Linkin Park Tops Maroon 5, Scores Fifth No. 1 Album With 'Living Things'
Linkin Park Tops Maroon 5, Scores Fifth No. 1 Album With 'Living Things'

As projected last week, Linkin Park debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with its new album, "Living Things," ahead of the also-debuting "Overexposed" by Maroon 5 at No. 2.

However, the race for No. 1 turned out to be much closer than initially expected. Linkin Park starts with 223,000 while Maroon 5 enters with 222,000 according to Nielsen SoundScan. A little over 1,000 copies sold separates the two titles -- the smallest gap between Nos. 1 and 2 on the chart since the Dec. 11, 2011 tally.

That week, the gap was less than 1,000 between the top two rungs. Nickelback's "Here and Now" debuted at No. 2 with just under 227,000, while Michael Buble's "Christmas" rose 2-1 with a little more than 227,000.

Linkin Park's "Living Things" secures the band its fifth No. 1 on the chart. In the span of time since 2000 -- when Linkin Park debuted on the Billboard 200 -- no other band has had more No. 1 albums.

Linkin Park's previous studio effort, "A Thousand Suns," was released in 2010 and also bowed at No. 1 -- with 241,000. Of the act's five studio releases, all but its first reached No. 1. That album, 2000's "Hybrid Theory," peaked at No. 2 for four nonconsecutive weeks in early 2002. Though it never hit No. 1, "Hybrid Theory" did finish 2001 as that year's top selling album.

In addition to four No. 1 studio sets, Linkin Park also earned a No. 1 album with its Jay-Z collaboration effort "MTV Ultimate Mash-Ups Presents: Collision Course."

In the runner-up slot on the Billboard 200 this week is Maroon 5, with its new album "Overexposed." It's the band's fourth studio album, and follows 2010's "Hands All Over." The latter set also bowed (and peaked) at No. 2, selling 142,000 in its first week.

"Overexposed's" start marks Maroon 5's best sales week for an album since 2007's "It Won't Be Soon Before Long" debuted at No. 1 with 429,000. That large sum was driven by the band's building success over the previous five years, thanks to the steady sales of its debut album "Songs About Jane." That album was released in June of 2002, though it didn't reach a Billboard chart until December of that year.

"Overexposed" comes after a very buzzworthy year for Maroon 5. In April of 2011, the group's frontman Adam Levine debuted as a coach on NBC's breakout TV show "The Voice." Shortly thereafter, he notched a No. 4 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 as the featured guest on Gym Class Heroes' single "Stereo Hearts." Also last summer, Maroon 5 teamed with Levine's fellow "Voice" coach Christina Aguilera for the Hot 100 No. 1 "Moves Like Jagger." The group followed that up with its current hit, "Payphone," the lead single from "Overexposed." It has reached No. 2 on the Hot 100.

Back on the Billboard 200, last week's No. 1 album, Justin Bieber's "Believe," falls to No. 3 with 115,000 (down 69%).

At No. 4, the "Maybach Music Group Presents: Self Made 2" compilation album starts with 98,000. The first "Self Made" set arrived almost a year ago, and bowed at No. 5 with 59,000. The new effort includes Wale's current top 20 Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs hit "Bag of Money," featuring Maybach label chief Rick Ross, along with Meek Mill and T-Pain.

Right behind the "Self Made 2" set at No. 5 is R. Kelly, who debuts his latest album, "Write Me Back," with 68,000. It's his 14th top 10 album and follows 2011's "Love Letter," which launched at No. 6 with 154,000. "Write Me Back" is R. Kelly's first studio album to bow with less than 100,000 since his first solo set, 1993's "12 Play," debuted with 44,000.

As for the rest of the top 10 albums: Kenny Chesney's "Welcome to the Fishbowl" slips 2-6 (61,000; down 68%), Adele's "21" holds at No. 7 (42,000; down 12%) and One Direction's "Up All Night" is steady at No. 8 (39,000; down 6%). Usher's "Looking 4 Myself" slides 6-9 with 36,000 (down 26%) and the "Rock of Ages" soundtrack dips 5-10 with 28,000 (down 42%).

Over on the Digital Songs chart, Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" is a non-mover at No. 1, selling 251,000 downloads (down 5%). In fact, the entire top five titles are stationary this week. Katy Perry's "Wide Awake" (207,000; down 6%), Maroon 5's "Payphone" featuring Wiz Khalifa (186,000; down 15%), Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know" featuring Kimbra (156,000; down 11%) and Ellie Goulding's "Lights" (152,000; up 2%) round out the rest of the Nos. 2-4 slots, respectively.

At No. 6 is the Digital Songs chart's highest new entry, "Good Time" by Owl City & Carly Rae Jepsen. It debuts with 140,000 downloads.

David Guetta's "Titanium," featuring Sia, slips 6-7 with 125,000 (down 1%) and Flo Rida's "Whistle" flies 32-8 with 113,000 (up 115%). The song has been featured in recently TV commercials on The CW touting the network's summer lineup.

Rihanna's "Where Have You Been" moves 7-9 (110,000; down 9%) and Usher's "Scream" rounds out the top 10, falling 8-10 with 102,000 (down 14%).

Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending July 1) totaled 5.74 million units, down 3% compared with the sum last week (5.94 million) and down 9% compared with the comparable sales week of 2011 (6.34 million). Year-to-date album sales stand at 150.46 million, down 3% compared with the same total at this point last year (155.46 million).

Digital track sales this past week totaled 25.17 million downloads, down 1% compared with last week (25.38 million) and down less than 1% stacked next to the comparable week of 2011 (25.29 million). Year-to-date track sales are at 672.73 million, up 6% compared with the same total at this point last year (635.35 million).

Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2011 when: Beyonce's "4" held at No. 1 for a second week, selling 115,000 (down 63%). The highest debut came from Lloyd's "King of Hearts" at No. 10 with 26,000.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

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