Over on the Digital Songs chart, Eminem's new single "Not Afraid" debuts at No. 1 with 379,000 downloads according to Nielsen SoundScan -- the best sales week for a single this calendar year. Also starting high on the Digital Songs tally are 3Oh!3's "My First Kiss" (featuring Ke$ha) with 190,000 (No. 3) and the cast of "Glee's" take on "Total Eclipse of the Heart" with 134,000 (No. 6). "Heart" is "Glee's" second-best sales week ever -- only the cast's debut effort, "Don't Stop Believin'," registered a bigger sales week: 177,000 upon its debut almost a year ago.
Eminem's monster sales haul with "Not Afraid" will also enable the tune to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart this week. It's just the 16th time the feat has been achieved in the sales/airplay-hybrid chart's nearly 52-year history.
Back on the Billboard 200 albums chart, Godsmack's "Oracle" arrives atop the list with 117,000 sold. "Oracle" is the Sully Erna-led band's third straight full-length studio album to debut at No. 1. Previously, they hit the top with 2006's "IV" and 2003's "Faceless." The new album's opening frame of 117,000 is off compared to "IV's" 211,000-starter and "Faceless'" 267,000 launch.
Last week's No. 1, B.o.B's "The Adventures of Bobby Ray" falls to No. 12 with 36,000 -- down 57%. It's actually the first album to fall from No. 1 to out of the top 10 this year. The last time it happened was back in November of 2009, when John Mayer's "Battle Studies" descended from No. 1 to No. 13 in its second week.
Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now" is one of the few holdovers in the top 10 this week as it stays steady at No. 2 with 97,000 -- though it's up a handsome 28% in sales. The album is a likely beneficiary of Mother's Day shopping as the holiday fell on the final day (May 9) of SoundScan's tracking week. A bunch of titles on the tally see increases probably due to Mom's Day, like Michael Buble's "Crazy Love" which charges from No. 22 to No. 15 with 29,000 -- up 98%. All told, overall album sales are up 11% this week compared to the previous frame.
MercyMe's "The Generous Mr. Lovewell" is the tally's second-highest debut, starting at No. 3 with 88,000. It's both the highest charting album for the group and the act's best sales week ever. Previously, MercyMe hadn't gone higher than No. 12, when "Undone" debuted and peaked at that rank back in 2004. And, in terms of sales, "Lovewell's" bow beats the 84,000-start of "All That Is Within Me" back in 2007.
Carole King and James Taylor join forces on the duets album "Live at the Troubadour," which starts at No. 4 with 78,000. This gives Taylor at least one top 10 album in each decade since the 1970s. He last reached the top 10 with "Covers" in 2008. As for King, it's her first visit to the top 10 since 1976 when "Thoroughbred" reached No. 3.
Trailing King and Taylor is Justin Bieber's "My World 2.0," which descends one slot to No. 5 with 64,000 (down 7%). Following the Bieb at No. 6 is Deftones and its return with "Diamond Eyes" (62,000). It's the fourth top 10 album for the act, which last charted with "Saturday Night Wrist" in 2006 (No. 10 with a 76,000 start).
The Dixie Chicks' Emily Robison and Martie Maguire bow at No. 7 with the self-titled debut album from its new side project Court Yard Hounds (61,000). After the Hounds comes AC/DC's "Iron Man 2" set, which falls three places to No. 8 with 55,000 (up 5%, but pushed down the chart in a busy week).
Toni Braxton and her Atlantic Records debut with "Pulse" (No. 9 with 54,000) is the final bow in the top 10 this week. Braxton's last album, "Libra," (released through Blackground/Universal Motown) debuted and peaked at No. 4 in 2005 with 114,000. In total, the new set is Braxton's fifth top 10 album.
The top 10 closes this week with Usher's "Raymond v Raymond," dipping four rungs, even though it has a gain in sales. The set shifted 51,000 -- up 7% -- but is pushed back despite its increase, like "Iron Man 2," due to the batch of debuts ahead of it.
Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending May 9) totaled 6.07 million units, up 11% compared to the sum last week (5.46 million) and down 7% compared to the comparable sales week of 2009 (6.50 million). Year to date album sales stand at 109.7 million, down 10% compared to the same total at this point last year (122.0 million).