T.I. notches his third straight No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 as his "Paper Trail" debuts atop the list with 568,000. That figure not only marks the rapper's best sales week ever, but the third-biggest of the year and Atlantic Records' highest frame since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking data in 1991 . . . Over on the Billboard Hot 100, T.I. shakes up the chart as he replaces himself at No. 1 with the high-flying single "Live Your Life," which zooms from No. 80 to No. 1 in its second week on the chart . . . T.I. hogs the chart spotlight this week, but he's not the only artist making a splash on the Billboard 200. We've also got big debuts from Jennifer Hudson, Robin Thicke, James Taylor, Jack's Mannequin, Ben Folds and Kellie Pickler.


FLASH POINTS

• T.I.'s "Paper Trail" becomes the rapper's third straight No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 starting with 568,000. That figure not only marks his best sales week, but the third-biggest of the year and Atlantic Records' highest frame since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking data in 1991. The label's previous high came when, well . . . T.I. topped the chart with "King" in 2006, shifting 522,000 . . . The new Grand Hustle/Atlantic album was led by the single "Whatever You Like," which spent five weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

• Speaking of the Hot 100 . . . T.I. breaks the chart's record for largest climb to No. 1, which he established just six weeks ago, as "Live Your Life," featuring Rihanna, leaps 80-1. The song supplants his own "Whatever You Like" -- which made a 71-1 improvement on the Sept. 6 chart -- at the top, making the rapper the first artist to replace himself at No. 1 since Usher traded in "Burn" for "Confessions Part II" in July 2004. ("Whatever" is pushed to No. 2 this week.) The lift for "Life" was spurred by a record first-week digital take of 335,000 downloads, which surpasses Mariah Carey's opening-week sum of 286,000 for "Touch My Body." The weekly total for "Life" is second only to 467,000 downloads shifted by Flo Rida's "Low" on the Jan. 12 chart, which reflected sales from the week after Christmas.

• T.I. isn't the only artist shaking up the Billboard 200 this week, as seven more albums crash into the chart's top 20. The runner-up is the self-titled debut album from singer/actress Jennifer Hudson, starting with 217,000. The Academy Award winner scored her first top 40 single on the Billboard Hot 100 last week with the album's lead single, "Spotlight" . . . Robin Thicke easily notches his best sales week -- and his highest-charting album on the Billboard 200 -- as "Something Else" climbs in at No. 3 with 137,000. The singer's previous high-water marks came with his last release, "The Evolution of Robin Thicke." After debuting at No. 45 in 2006, the album eventually climbed to a peak of No. 5. Its best sales week was in February 2007, when it was reissued in a deluxe edition, pushing its sales to a weekly high of 116,000.

• James Taylor's "Covers" arrives at No. 4 with 95,000, giving the singer/songwriter his highest-charting album since "October Road" debuted and peaked at No. 4 in 2002. The "Covers" set, released through Starcon/Hear Music, also benefits from being sold in Starbucks stores and through QVC. Taylor performed on the shopping channel Sept. 12 . . . Last week's No. 1, Metallica's "Death Magnetic," slides to No. 5 in its fourth week on the chart (86,000; down 34%).

• Ben Folds and Jack's Mannequin earn kudos this week as both acts score record highs on the Billboard 200. The latter's sophomore album, "The Glass Passenger," starts at No. 8 with 49,000 -- easily the highest-charting set and best sales week for the band. Its first release, "Everything in Transit," spent just two weeks on the chart, bowing at No. 37 with 22,000 . . . Folds earns his highest-charting album (as a solo artist or with his namesake band Ben Folds Five) as "Way to Normal" bows at No. 11 with 40,000. It had previously reached as high as No. 13 when "Songs for Silverman" bowed in 2005.

• Other debuts on the Billboard 200 this week include Kellie Pickler's self-titled sophomore set (No. 9 with 43,000), Anberlin's "New Surrender" (No. 13 with 36,000), Trivium's "Shogun" (No. 23 with 24,000) and the "Nightmare Revisited" compilation album (No. 31 with 19,000). "Nightmare" contains covers of songs from "The Nightmare Before Christmas" film by such acts as Marilyn Manson, Korn and Amy Lee.



The Billboard 200

Sales data provided and compiled from Nielsen SoundScan
*1 New T.I. Paper Trail (Grand Hustle / Atlantic / AG) *11 New BEN FOLDS Way To Normal (Epic / Sony Music)
*2 New JENNIFER HUDSON Jennifer Hudson (Arista / RMG) 12 9 YOUNG JEEZY The Recession (CTE / Def Jam / IDJMG)
*3 New ROBIN THICKE Something Else (Star Trak / Interscope / IGA) *13 New ANBERLIN New Surrender (Tooth & Nail )
*4 New JAMES TAYLOR Covers (Hear / Concord) 14 11 LIL WAYNE Tha Carter III (Cash Money / Universal Motown / UMRG)
5 1 METALLICA Death Magnetic (Warner Bros. ) 15 10 JONAS BROTHERS A Little Bit Longer (Hollywood )
6 3 NE-YO Year Of The Gentleman (Def Jam / IDJMG) 16 2 DEMI LOVATO Don't Forget (Hollywood )
7 7 KID ROCK Rock N Roll Jesus (Top Dog / Atlantic / AG) 17 4 THE PUSSYCAT DOLLS Doll Domination (Interscope / IGA)
*8 New JACK'S MANNEQUIN The Glass Passenger (Sire / Warner Bros.) 18 14 THE GAME LAX (Geffen / IGA)
*9 New KELLIE PICKLER Kellie Pickler (BNA ) 19 15 RIHANNA Good Girl Gone Bad (SRP / Def Jam / IDJMG)
10 6 JAZMINE SULLIVAN Fearless (J / RMG) 20 5 KINGS OF LEON Only By The Night (RCA / RMG)
* indicates titles with greatest sales gains this week





MARKET WATCH

• Album units, current chart week: 7.47 million units
• UP 15.7% from last issue's charts: 6.46 million units
• DOWN 16.1% from same week, 2007: 8.90 million units
• This week: The top three albums each sell more than 100,000 copies.
• This week last year on the Billboard 200: Bruce Springsteen bowed at No. 1 with "Magic," shifting 335,000. The previous week's chart-topper, Rascal Flatts' "Still Feels Good," slipped to No. 2, selling 168,000 (down 69% in its second week). Four more albums debuted in the top 10 at Nos. 3, 4, 5 and 9. The top five albums each sold more than 100,000.



BORDERLINES

• The No. 50 album this week, the soundtrack to "Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist" (Atlantic), sold 11,000.
• The No. 50 album for the same week of 2007, Gorilla Zoe's "Welcome to the Zoo" (Block/Bad Boy South/Bad Boy), sold 16,000.
• Average total of the No. 50 album for the same week of the year during the past 10 years (1999-2008): 21,236.


PROGRESS REPORTS

• Kenny Chesney rises to No. 1 on Hot Country Songs with "Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven," his 15th No. 1. The song is his 12th chart-topper this decade, moving him within one of Toby Keith's mark for most leaders in the 2000s. Tim McGraw has also earned 12 No. 1s in that span . . . Country kudos also go out to Taylor Swift, who notches her sixth top 10 single -- climbing from No. 11 to No. 9 -- with "Love Story."

• On the Adult Top 40 chart, Jason Mraz breaks Daniel Powter's record for the slowest climb to No. 1 for a solo male as "I'm Yours" rises from No. 2 to No. 1. It's Mraz's first chart-topper on the Adult Top 40 tally. The 28-week climb of "Yours" bests Powter's 27-frame trek with "Bad Day" in 2006.

• Celine Dion breaks a three-way tie for the most hits this decade on the Adult Contemporary chart, as "My Love" debuts at No. 25, becoming her 16th entry of the 2000s. Dion also held the record for the most chart entries in the 1990s, so "Love" thus extends her lead for most charted titles in the last two decades. Since her arrival in 1991, she's made 39 appearances. Dion's career totals include 21 top 10s and 11 No. 1s, also both tops among all artists on the Adult Contemporary chart since the beginning of the '90s.


A LOOK AHEAD

• Among the titles released this week, due on next week's charts: Tim McGraw's "Greatest Hits 3," Sarah McLachlan's "Closer: The Best of Sarah McLachlan," Bob Dylan's "Tell Tale Signs: The Bootleg Series Vol. 8," Rise Against's "Appeal to Reason," Oasis' "Dig Out Your Soul" and Marco Antonio Solis' "No Molestar."

• Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2007 when: Kid Rock's "Rock N Roll Jesus" bowed at No. 1 with 172,000. The previous week's chart-topper, Bruce Springsteen's "Magic," slipped to No. 2 with 133,000 (down 60%). New albums from LeAnn Rimes, Sara Evans and Josh Groban also started in the top 10. The top two albums each sold more than 100,000.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

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