After debuting more than 12 years ago on the Billboard 200, pop superstar P!nk gets her first No. 1 album this week as "The Truth About Love" debuts with 280,000 sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
That's the best debut sales week for the singer, whose previous highest start came when "M!ssundaztood" launched with 220,000 at No. 6 in 2001. Also, the opening week for "The Truth About Love" is the third-biggest debut this year, following Justin Bieber's bow with "Believe" (374,000) and Madonna's "MDNA" (359,000).
P!nk's new album performed stronger than anticipated, as some industry sources last week were initially thinking that it would sell around 220,000 to 230,000. However, the set kept on blowing past expectations on a daily basis, and by the weekend, was on its way to passing 250,000.
The album was supported by a major promotional campaign by Target, which offered an exclusive version of the set and created a TV commercial starring P!nk. Last week, P!nk performed on NBC's "Today" show, while the album itself was sale-priced at Amazon MP3 for $5. Earlier in the month she took the stage on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" and the MTV Video Music Awards.
"The Truth About Love" is P!nk's sixth top 10 set, following "M!ssundaztood" (No. 6), "Try This" (No. 9), "I'm Not Dead" (No. 6), "Funhouse" (No. 2) and "Greatest Hits . . . So Far!!!" (No. 5). Her 2000 debut album, "Can't Take Me Home," topped out at No. 26.
P!nk's new album hits No. 1 the same week she claims her eighth leader on the Pop Songs airplay chart (known as Mainstream Top 40 on Billboard.biz) with the single "Blow Me (One Last Kiss)." It's her third No. 1 in a row on the airplay chart, following "Raise Your Glass" in 2010 and "F**kin' Perfect" in 2011. Among all acts in the Pop Songs chart's 20-year history, only Rihanna and Katy Perry have earned more No. 1s -- they each have nine.
But P!nk isn't the only star making a splash on the Billboard 200 this week, as five more albums debut in the top 10. Trailing her at No. 2 is the "Cruel Summer" compilation, presented by Kanye West, starting with 205,000. Featuring hits like "Mercy" (West, Big Sean, Pusha T and 2 Chainz) and "Clique" (West, Big Sean and Jay-Z), the set also bows at No. 1 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. It's the second various-artists collection to reach the top of the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums tally this year, following "Maybach Music Group Presents: Self Made 2."
Back on the Billboard 200, at No. 3 this week is the latest from the Killers, as the band's "Battle Born" bows with 113,000. The group's last studio release, 2008's "Day & Age," debuted and peaked at No. 6 with 193,000 sold during the busy Thanksgiving shopping week.
Last week's No. 1, Dave Matthews Band's "Away From the World," falls to No. 4 with 62,000 (down 77%) while Little Big Town's "Tornado" slides 2-5 with 50,000 (down 55%).
Carly Rae Jepsen, who owns the year's second-biggest-selling digital song with "Call Me Maybe," debuts at No. 6 on the Billboard 200 with her "Kiss" album (46,000). Her smash No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 single "Call Me Maybe" has sold 5.7 million copies this year, second only to Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know" (6.4 million).
One step behind Jepsen on the Billboard 200 is an act that's never had a Hot 100 hit, Grizzly Bear. The rock band's new "Shields" enters at No. 7 with 39,000 -- its highest chart position and best sales week yet. During release week, the act played "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" (Sept. 21) and had its album streamed in its entirety via NPR's First Listen program.
Bob Dylan's "Tempest" shuffles 3-8 in its second week (35,000; down 38%), and the Avett Brothers' "The Carpenter" slips 4-9 (30,000; down 69%).
Lastly, Ben Folds Five snares its first top 10 as "The Sound of the Life of the Mind" debuts at No. 10 with nearly 30,000. (It's also the first top 10 for Ben Folds, with or without the Five.) "The Sound of the Life of the Mind" is group's first album since 1999's "The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner" debuted and peaked at No. 35.
Over on the Digital Songs chart, K-pop phenomenon Psy dances his way to No. 1 for the first time with "Gangnam Style." The single jumps up three slots with 301,000 downloads sold last week (up 60%). It displaces Taylor Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together," which slips to No. 3 with 196,000 (down 13%). Rising one slot (3-2) is Maroon 5's "One More Night" with 205,000 (up 7%).
Fun.'s "Some Nights" ascends 5-4 (159,000; up 4%), Alex Clare's "Too Close" climbs 6-5 (131,000; down less than 1%), and Flo Rida's "Whistle" jumps 10-6 (123,000; up 12%).
West, Jay-Z and Big Sean's "Clique" tumbles 2-7 (122,000; down 42%), Owl City and Jepsen's "Good Time" rises 11-8 (112,000; up 8%), and P!nk's "Blow Me (One Last Kiss)" drops 7-9 (105,000; down 10%).
Rounding out the top 10 is the chart's highest debut: Christina Aguilera's "Your Body" begins at No. 10 with 103,000. Released on Monday, Sept. 17, "Your Body" is Aguilera's first top 10 as a lead artist on the Digital Songs chart since 2008, when "Keeps Gettin' Better" peaked at No. 5. "Your Body" is the lead single from Aguilera's fifth studio album, "Lotus," due Nov. 13.
Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending Sept. 9) totaled 5.4 million units, up 6% compared with the sum last week (5.1 million) and up 3% compared with the comparable sales week of 2011 (5.3 million). Year-to-date album sales stand at 212.7 million, down 5% compared with the same total at this point last year (222.9 million).
Digital track sales this past week totaled 23.5 million downloads, up 3% compared with last week (22.9 million) and up 13% stacked next to the comparable week of 2011 (20.8 million). Year-to-date track sales are at 986 million, up 6% compared with the same total at this point last year (931.4 million).
Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2011 when: J Cole's "Cole World: The Sideline Story" debuted at No. 1 with 217,000 sold and Blink-182's "Neighborhoods" launched at No. 2 with 151,000.