Usher scores his third straight No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 as "Raymond v Raymond" bumps Justin Bieber's "My World 2.0" out of the top slot, selling 329,000 copies in its first week according to Nielsen SoundScan. He previously led the tally with 2008's "Here I Stand" and 2004's "Confessions." That's the third-best sales week of the year, following the debuts of Sade's "Soldier of Love" (502,000) and Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now" (481,000).
Usher topped the Billboard 200 his last time out in 2008 with "Here I Stand," selling 443,000 in its opening frame. The star's No. 1 streak started with his first chart-topper -- 2004's "Confessions."
He supported the new set's release last week with stops on "American Idol" and "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," and on both he performed his new single "OMG." The single is expected to make a handsome debut on the Billboard Hot 100 when the new chart is unveiled tomorrow (Apr. 8).
Bieber's "My World 2.0" falls to No. 2 with 291,000 though it's up 3% in sales. There's no doubt that Easter basket shopping helped sales of Bieber's album in its second week, as the bunny holiday fell on Sunday, April 4, the final day of the sales tracking week. That second-week gain (from a No. 1 debut) is incredibly rare. It marks the first time a No. 1-debuting album -- issued on a traditional Tuesday release schedule -- has posted an increase in its second week since 2002. Back in the week ending March 31 -- also Easter week of that year -- the "Now 9" compilation fell from No. 1 to No. 2 but with an 11% gain (moving from 419,000 to 463,000).
The last time an artist or group's album, released on a Tuesday, had a second-week increase from a No. 1 debut was even earlier -- during Thanksgiving week of 2000. That's when the Beatles' hits set "1" claimed an 11% increase in its second frame, moving from No. 1 the previous week (595,000) to No. 2 that week (662,000).
Hot on the heels of the release of her much-blogged-about music video for "Window Seat," Erykah Badu's "New Amerykah, Part Two: Return of the Ankh" enters the Billboard 200 at No. 4 with 110,000. It's the follow up to 2008's "New Amerykah: Part One (4th World War)," which bowed at No. 2 with 124,000. Over on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, the new album debuts at No. 2 and is her sixth straight set to reach the top three -- her entire career-output. She previously notched No. 1s with "Baduizm" and "Live," a pair of No. 2s with "World Wide Underground (EP)" and "New Amerykah: Part One" and a No. 3 hit with "Mama's Gun."
Country king Alan Jackson rolls in with the Billboard 200's third-highest debut at No. 7 with his latest set, "Freight Train," shifting 72,000 copies in its first week. It's Jackson's 11th top 10 effort on the big chart, while over on the Top Country Albums list, where it enters at No. 2, it's his 21st top 10 album. His last album, 2008's "Good Time," debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with 119,000 sold in its premiere week.
As for the rest of the top 10: the "Now 33" compilation holds at No. 3 with 123,000 (down 9%) while Lady Antebellum's sturdy "Need You Now" falls one spot to No. 5 with 87,000 (up 11%). The set has spent its entire 11-week chart run lodged inside the top five of the chart. Monica's "Still Standing" slips four spaces to No. 6 with 81,000 (down 56%) while Justin Bieber's first "My World" drops three rungs to No. 8 with 63,000 (up 26%). Rounding out the top 10 are Lady Gaga's "The Fame" -- down one spot -- at No. 9 with 49,000 (up 21%) and the Black Eyed Peas' "The E.N.D." holding steady at No. 10 with 43,000 (but up a sizable 25%).
Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending April 4) totaled 6.84 million units, up 13% compared to the sum last week (6.03 million) and down 4% compared to the comparable sales week of 2009 (7.11 million). Year to date album sales stand at 81.95 million, down 8% compared to the same total at this point last year (89.02 million).