This week's Billboard 200 is brought to you by the letter "B." As Michael Buble's "Call Me Irresponsible" rises to No. 1 on the chart, the four highest debuts on the list belong to a bunch of "B" acts: Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Bobby Valentino, Barbra Streisand and Bjork ... Other acts that debut on the chart this week include Elliott Smith, Travis and Yolanda Adams ... Additionally, we've got updates on Interpol, Queens of the Stone Age, Linkin Park, Billy Currington, Fergie and David Bisbal.




FLASH POINTS



• This week's Billboard 200 is brought to you by the letter "B." As Michael Buble's "Call Me Irresponsible" rises to No. 1 on the chart, the four highest debuts on the list belong to a bunch of "B" acts: Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Bobby Valentino, Barbra Streisand and Bjork. Smooth operator Buble benefits from Mother's Day shopping, giving him his first No. 1 album. Though the set's sales dropped 32%, it's enough to keep him ahead of Bone Thugs' new album "Strength & Loyalty." The latter set, the rap act's first for a major label in nearly five years, gives the group its first top 10 album since "BTNHResurrection" debuted and peaked at No. 2 in 2000. "Strength & Loyalty" begins with 119,000 units -- the group's best debut sales week since "BTNH" began with 280,000. Last year's "Thug Stories" started at No. 25 with 31,000 while 2002's "Thug World Order" debuted at No. 12 with 82,000 ... The new album was preceded by the smash single "I Tried" (featuring the inescapable Akon), which recently become Bone Thugs' second career single on the CHR/Top 40 chart, following 1996's "Tha Crossroads." On The Billboard Hot 100, "I Tried" became Bone Thugs' first top 10 single since "Look Into My Eyes" (powered by strong sales, but little airplay) hit No. 4 in 1997.

• Bobby Valentino returns with his second album, the appropriately titled "Special Occasion," bowing at No. 3 on The Billboard 200 (92,000) and at No. 1 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. It's his second chart-topper on the latter list. Valentino's debut effort came in at No. 3 as well on The Billboard 200 back in 2005, but with 180,000. That album sported the smash single "Slow Down," which rose as high as No. 8 on The Billboard Hot 100 and No. 1 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. However, Valentino's new single, "Anonymous," is keeping a somewhat lower profile. It has yet to reach the Hot 100, though it's slowly climbing the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. Last week it skipped 40-35. For the week ending May 13, the song was ranked top 10 at 11 radio stations, according to Nielsen BDS, including KNDA Corpus Christi, Texas (139 detections), and KDAY Los Angeles (30 plays).


• Barbra Streisand scores her 29th top 10 album on The Billboard 200 as "Live in Concert 2006" starts at No. 7 with 60,000. She has notched top 10s in every decade going back to the '60s, including her 1963 debut set, "The Barbra Streisand Album" (No. 8). The new album -- taken from her 2006 U.S. tour -- is her seventh traditional live concert recording to chart on The Billboard 200. The others are 1968's "A Happening in Central Park" (No. 30), 1972's "Live Concert at the Forum" (No. 19), 1987's "One Voice" (No. 9), 1994's "The Concert" (No. 10), 1995's "The Concert - Highlights" (No. 81) and 2000's "Timeless - Live in Concert" (No. 21) ... With 29 top 10 albums, Streisand is fourth on the all-time list of acts with the most top 10s -- only the Rolling Stones, Frank Sinatra and the Beatles have more ... Somehow, in her entire career, Streisand has never toured continental Europe. All that is changing June 15, when she kicks off her tour in Stadio Flaminio in Rome. The trek will take the diva to Austria, France, Ireland and England.

• Bjork earns her first top 10 album -- and her highest-charting set -- as "Volta" debuts at No. 9 with 43,000. Though she has started with better sales -- "Vespertine" bowed with 75,000 in 2001 -- she has never peaked beyond No. 14 until now. Chalk it up to how it doesn't take much to hit high notes on the chart anymore. And it helps that everyone's been buzzing about Bjork's collaboration with Timbaland on the album's lead single, "Earth Intruders." The beat-heavy song is reminiscent of Bjork's most club-friendly material from the '90s. She performed the single April 21 on "Saturday Night Live." Bjork also headlined the Coachella Festival in Indio, Calif., April 27 before starting her own U.S. tour May 2 at Radio City Music Hall in New York. Last week, on April 8, she was interviewed on NPR's "All Things Considered."

• Other debuts on The Billboard 200 this week include the late Elliott Smith's archival album "New Moon" at No. 24 with 24,000. The set's material dates from 1994-1997, previous to his major-label deal with DreamWorks in 1998. Dipset's "DukeDaGod Presents More Than Music, Vol. 2" lands at No. 26 with 23,000. Travis' "The Boy With No Name" gives the U.K. act its fourth U.S. charting set as it bows at No. 58 with 12,000. Yolanda Adams' "The Best of Me" starts at No. 60 with 11,000. The hits set caps her run with Elektra and Atlantic Records, as the singer has moved on to Columbia. Billboard broke the news last week in the "Inside Track" column (May 19).



The Billboard 200

Sales data provided and compiled from Nielsen SoundScan
1 2 MICHAEL BUBLE Call Me Irresponsible (143 / Reprise / Warner Bros.) *11 15 TIM MCGRAW Let It Go (Curb )
*2 New BONE THUGS-N-HARMONY Strength & Loyalty (Mo Thugs / Full Surface / Interscope) 12 11 AKON Konvicted (Konvict / Upfront / SRC / Universal Motown / UMRG)
*3 New BOBBY VALENTINO Special Occasion (DTP / Def Jam / IDJMG) *13 19 MARTINA MCBRIDE Waking Up Laughing (RCA Nashville / SBN)
4 1 NE-YO Because Of You (Def Jam / IDJMG) 14 13 AMY WINEHOUSE Back To Black (Universal Republic / UMRG)
5 4 AVRIL LAVIGNE The Best Damn Thing (RCA / RMG) *15 21 TAYLOR SWIFT Taylor Swift (Big Machine )
*6 7 DAUGHTRY Daughtry (RCA / RMG) 16 17 ROBIN THICKE The Evolution Of Robin Thicke (Star Trak / Interscope)
*7 New BARBRA STREISAND Streisand: Live In Concert 2006 (Columbia / Sony Music) 17 23 NICKELBACK All The Right Reasons (Roadrunner )
*8 10 CARRIE UNDERWOOD Some Hearts (Arista / Arista Nashville / RMG) 18 18 FERGIE The Dutchess (will.i.am / A&M / Interscope)
*9 New BJORK Volta (Elektra / Atlantic / AG) 19 22 JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE FutureSex/LoveSounds (Jive / Zomba)
10 9 VARIOUS ARTISTS NOW 24 (EMI / Sony BMG / Universal / Zomba / Capitol) 20 3 RUSH Snakes & Arrows (Anthem / Atlantic / AG)
* indicates titles with greatest sales gains this week





MARKET WATCH

• Album units, current chart week: 8.51 million units
• UP 0.9% from last issue's charts: 8.43 million units
• DOWN 23% from same week, 2006: 11.04 million units
• This week: The top two albums sell more than 100,000 copies.
• This week last year on The Billboard 200: Red Hot Chili Peppers scored their first No. 1 album as "Stadium Arcadium" bowed at No. 1 with 442,000. Nick Lachey arrived in the runner-up slot with "What's Left of Me" (172,000) while Jagged Edge and the Isley Brothers featuring Ronald Isley debuted at Nos. 4 and 5 with 115,000 and 111,000, respectively. The previous week's No. 1, Tool's "10,000 Days," slipped to No. 3 with 157,000. The top six albums sold more than 100,000 units.



BORDERLINES

• The No. 1 album this week, Michael Buble's "Call Me Irresponsible" (Reprise), sold 145,000.
• The No. 1 album for the same week of 2006, Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Stadium Arcadium" (Warner Bros.), sold 442,000.
• Average total of the No. 1 album for the same week of the year during the past 10 years (1998-2007): 331,501.



PROGRESS REPORTS

• Interpol and Queens of the Stone Age return to the Alternative/Modern Rock radio chart with their new singles. Interpol's "The Heinrich Maneuver" bows at No. 29 while Queens' "Sick Sick Sick" checks in at No. 36. Interpol last charted with 2005's "Evil," which peaked at No. 24. "Heinrich" is the first single from the band's new "Our Love to Admire," due July 10. The band's last album, 2004's "Antics," has sold 454,000. Queens of the Stone Age's "Era Vulgaris" bows June 12. Its last studio set, 2005's "Lullabies to Paralyze," debuted and peaked at No. 5. It has moved 346,000 units ... Elsewhere on the Alternative/Modern Rock chart, Linkin Park holds at No. 1 with "What I've Done." It's a safe bet that the track will still be tops next week, when the act's album "Minutes to Midnight" presumably bows at No. 1 on The Billboard 200.

• Billy Currington's "Good Directions" rises 2-1. With 35.9 million impressions during the tracking week, Currington's second chart-topper swaps places with Sugarland's "Settlin'," which controlled the list last issue. It's the first time since the chart began using Nielsen BDS information (in January 1990) that Mercury Records replaced itself at No. 1 ... Currington previously spent two weeks at No. 1 on Hot Country Songs with "Must Be Doin' Somethin' Right" in December 2005, and has achieved three other top 10 singles. Currington is the only solo male artist on Mercury to reach No. 1 since Mark Wills spent six weeks at the summit with "19 Somethin'" in 2003.


• On the CHR/Top 40 radio chart, Fergie scores her fourth hit from "The Dutchess," as "Big Girls Don't Cry" bows at No. 33. It follows "London Bridge" (No. 4), "Fergalicious" (No. 2) and "Glamorous" (No. 2). Counting her output with the Black Eyed Peas, she has earned 13 chart hits. Though, oddly, only one -- "Where Is the Love" -- has hit the top spot ... Enrique Iglesias' "Dimelo" holds at No. 1 for a second week on Hot Latin Songs. It's his 17th chart-topper -- more than any other artist. David Bisbal's "Torre De Babel" moves 24-10 in its third week on the chart. It's his seventh top 10 hit, and it follows "Amar Es Lo Que Quiero," which peaked at No. 6 earlier this year.




Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums

Sales data provided and compiled from Nielsen SoundScan
*1 New BOBBY VALENTINO Special Occasion (DTP / Def Jam / IDJMG)
*2 New BONE THUGS-N-HARMONY Strength & Loyalty (Mo Thugs / Full Surface / Interscope)
3 1 NE-YO Because Of You (Def Jam / IDJMG)
*4 3 MUSIQ SOULCHILD Luvanmusiq (Atlantic / AG)
*5 New DIPSET DukeDaGod Presents Dipset: More Than Music, Vol. 2 (Diplomats / Koch)
*6 4 ROBIN THICKE The Evolution Of Robin Thicke (Star Trak / Interscope)
7 2 JOE Ain't Nothing Like Me (Jive / Zomba)
8 6 AKON Konvicted (Konvict / Upfront / SRC / Universal Motown / UMRG)
*9 New YOLANDA ADAMS The Best Of Me (Elektra / Atlantic / AG)
10 5 LLOYD Street Love (The Inc. / Universal Motown / UMRG)
* indicates titles with greatest sales gains this week
Top Country Albums

Sales data provided and compiled from Nielsen SoundScan
*1 3 CARRIE UNDERWOOD Some Hearts (Arista / Arista Nashville / RMG)
*2 4 TIM MCGRAW Let It Go (Curb )
*3 5 MARTINA MCBRIDE Waking Up Laughing (RCA / SBN)
*4 6 TAYLOR SWIFT Taylor Swift (Big Machine )
*5 7 RASCAL FLATTS Me And My Gang (Lyric Street / Hollywood)
6 8 ALISON KRAUSS A Hundred Miles Or More: A Collection (Rounder )
7 2 BLAKE SHELTON Pure BS (Warner Bros. / WRN)
8 1 MIRANDA LAMBERT Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (Columbia / SBN)
9 9 BUCKY COVINGTON Bucky Covington (Lyric Street / Hollywood)
*10 11 SUGARLAND Enjoy The Ride (Mercury / UMGN)
* indicates titles with greatest sales gains this week
Top Heatseekers

Sales data provided and compiled from Nielsen SoundScan
*1 New PARIS BENNETT Princess P (306 / TVT)
*2 5 BOYS LIKE GIRLS Boys Like Girls (Columbia / Sony Music)
*3 13 SECONDHAND SERENADE Awake (Glassnote / East West)
*4 8 EMERSON DRIVE Countrified (Montage / Midas)
*5 6 COLD WAR KIDS Robbers & Cowards (Downtown )
6 2 BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE The Poison (Trustkill )
7 1 PETER BJORN AND JOHN Writer's Block (AlmostGold )
8 3 UNK Beat'n Down Yo Block (Big Oomp / Koch)
*9 New THE SEA AND CAKE Everybody (Thrill Jockey )
*10 New ROBERTO CARLOS Grandes Exitos (Discos 605 / Sony BMG Norte)
* indicates titles with greatest sales gains this week
Top Pop Catalog Albums

Sales data provided and compiled from Nielsen SoundScan
*1 2 MICHAEL BUBLE It's Time (143 / Reprise / Warner Bros.)
2 1 BON JOVI Cross Road (Mercury / UMe)
*3 5 JOSH GROBAN Closer (143 / Reprise / Warner Bros.)
*4 7 RASCAL FLATTS Feels Like Today (Lyric Street / Hollywood)
*5 10 MICHAEL BUBLE Michael Buble (143 / Reprise / Warner Bros.)
6 4 IL DIVO Il Divo (SYCO / Columbia / Sony Music)
7 6 GUNS N' ROSES Greatest Hits (Geffen / Interscope)
8 8 KELLY CLARKSON Breakaway (RCA / RMG)
9 9 ORIGINAL BROADWAY CAST RECORDING Wicked (Decca Broadway / Universal Classics Group)
*10 20 SOUNDTRACK Dirty Dancing: 20th Anniversary (Legacy / RCA / Sony BMG)
* indicates titles with greatest sales gains this week




A LOOK AHEAD

• Among the titles released this week, due on next week's charts: Linkin Park's "Minutes to Midnight," Gretchen Wilson's "One of the Boys," Wilco's "Sky Blue Sky," Rufus Wainwright's "Release the Stars," Tank's "Sex, Love and Pain" and the soundtrack to "Shrek the Third."
• Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2006 when: Red Hot Chili Peppers held at No. 1 for a second week with "Stadium Arcadium," selling 157,000. Cam'Ron's "Killa Season" bowed at No. 2 with 114,000 while Ashley Parker Angel and the Raconteurs started at Nos. 5 and 7 with 72,000 and 61,000, respectively. The top two albums sold more than 100,000 units.