Debut from Simpson sis moves 398K.
It's Ashlee Simpson's turn in the spotlight, as her debut, "Autobiography" (Geffen), bows atop The Billboard 200 with U.S. sales of 398,000 units, according to SoundScan. She may have followed in sister Jessica's footsteps with an MTV reality show, but she charges ahead with her music career as the first Simpson sibling to score a No. 1 album.
Simpson co-wrote the 12-track set, including debut single "Pieces of Me," which rises to No. 3 on the Mainstream Top 40 chart. The singer has a deal with EMI Music Publishing.
Last week's leader, Jimmy Buffett, falls to No. 2 on a 38% sales decline to 148,000 with "License to Chill" (Mailboat/RCA).
Van Halen bows at No. 3 with the hits set "The Best of Both Worlds" (Warner Bros.), which moves 138,000 units. The last such project from the rockers, "Best of Volume 1," debuted at No. 1 in 1996 with 233,000 and has sold 3 million to date.
Usher drops to fourth place after a six-week run at No. 2. His LaFace/Zomba set "Confessions" slides 10% this week to 113,000 units.
Gretchen Wilson's "Here for the Party" (Epic) holds at No. 5 on a 0.5% drop to 89,000, and Prince's "Musicology" (NPG/Columbia) is still No. 8 on a 7% gain to 79,000. With the exception of those two sets, the bottom half of the top 10 slides down this week.
Lloyd Banks' former chart-topper "The Hunger for More" (G Unit/Interscope) dips 3-6 on a 10% decline to 88,000, while fellow former No. 1 Avril Lavigne drops 6-7 with "Under My Skin" (Arista), despite a 10% spike to 87,000.
Big & Rich's Warner Bros. debut, "Horse of a Different Color," slides two slots to No. 9 on a 5% drop to 74,000, and the soundtrack to "A Cinderella Story" (Hollywood) dips 9-10 with 71,000.
Debuting just outside the top 10 is R&B artist Lloyd's solo debut, "Southside" (Def Jam), which arrives at No. 11 with 67,000. After performing with teen pop group N-Toon, Lloyd was discovered by L.A. Reid and paired with R&B songstress Ashanti for the hit duet "Southside."
The Hives make their Interscope debut on The Billboard 200 this week with "Tyrannosaurus Hives." Their third full-length sells 33,000 to bow at No. 33, a career peak for the Swedish band. The punk revivalists reached No. 63 with 2000's "Veni, Vidi, Vicious" (Epitaph/Sire/Warner Bros.), which has a to-date total of 398,000.
Maroon5 is this week's greatest gainer, as a 27% sales spike to 44,000 sends "Songs About Jane" (Octone/J) up 27-20. The band's follow-up live EP, "1.22.03.Acoustic," moves 63-42 on a 34% increase to 25,000.
Overall U.S. album sales are up 0.9% from last week to 11.5 million units, about 6% ahead of the comparable week last year. Sales for the year are still beating those of 2003 by about 7%.