On the Billboard 200 , country rules the top three roost for the first time in three years with Taylor Swift's "Speak Now" holding court at No. 1 for a second week, Jason Aldean's "My Kinda Party" arriving at No. 2 and Sugarland's "The Incredible Machine" falling a rung to No. 3 . . . Aldean also makes news of his own: "Party" marks a new peak on the chart and his best sales week . . . In other news, Mariah Carey, Neil Diamond and Brad Paisley all collect their latest top 10 albums while Rihanna's "What's My Name" debuts at No. 1 on the Digital Songs chart with 235,000 sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
For the first time in three years, the three top-selling albums in the United States are all country efforts. Taylor Swift's "Speak Now" holds at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 for a second week (320,000; down 69%, according to Nielsen SoundScan), Jason Aldean's "My Kinda Party" starts at No. 2 (193,000), and Sugarland's former No. 1 "The Incredible Machine" slips one rung to No. 3 (60,000; down 32%).
Country albums last monopolized the top three rungs on the Nov. 10, 2007, chart, when Carrie Underwood's "Carnival Ride" debuted at No. 1 (527,000), Robert Plant and Alison Krauss' "Raising Sand" started at No. 2 (112,000), and Gary Allan's "Living Hard" bowed at No. 3 (69,000).
Last week, Swift's "Speak" made a historic bow with 1,047,000 sold, just the 16th time since SoundScan began tracking sales in 1991 where an album sold at least 1 million copies in a week. As history has proven, it was all but a given that "Speak" would take a steep drop in sales this week. The set's 69% decline is on par with the sophomore-week dive of our last million-plus seller: Lil Wayne's "Tha Carter III." It went from 1,006,000 in its premiere week to 309,000 in its second stanza.
Back on this week's Billboard 200, with Aldean's "Party" starting at No. 2 with 193,000, it earns him his best sales week and a new peak on the list. His last album, 2009's "Wide Open," notched his previous best frame when it started with 109,000 at No. 4.
Mariah Carey's second holiday album, "Merry Christmas II You," jingles in at No. 4 with 55,000 in its first week. It marks the diva's 16th top 10 set. Among women, only Barbra Streisand (with 30) and Madonna (19) have had more. Carey's first seasonal effort, 1994's "Merry Christmas," peaked at No. 3.
Lil Wayne's "I Am Not a Human Being" slips one spot to No. 5, though with a gain in sales, as it sells 49,000 in its sixth chart week (up 5%). Kings of Leon's "Come Around Sundown" falls three rungs to No. 6 with 40,000 (down 40%) while Eminem's "Recovery" descends two to No. 7 (38,000; up 1%).
Neil Diamond nets his 17th top 10 album as "Dreams" debuts at No. 8 with 35,000. It's the singer's fourth top 10 release since 2005, when "12 Songs" began his recent hot streak with a No. 4 entry. He's since notched top 10s with "Home Before Dark" (No. 1 in 2008) and "Hot August Night/NYC" (No. 2 in 2009).
Right behind Diamond at No. 9 is Brad Paisley with "Hits Alive" starting with 31,000. It's the country star's sixth top 10 effort and second best-of collection.
Rounding out the top 10 at No. 10 is "The Union" from Elton John and Leon Russell, falling four slots with 27,000 (down 27%).
On the Digital Songs chart this week, Rihanna's "What's My Name" (featuring Drake), starts at No. 1 with 235,000, marking the diva's ninth No. 1 and her and third this year. It's the second single to chart from RiRi's upcoming "Loud" album, following "Only Girl (In the World)," which arrived at No. 1 with 249,000 a little more than a month ago. Rihanna also topped the list back in July and August as the featured guest on Eminem's "Love the Way You Lie." Last week's No. 1 Digital Song, Ke$ha's "We R Who We R," falls to No. 2 with 220,000 (down 21%).
Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending Nov. 7) totaled 5.4 million units, down 6% compared with the sum last week (5.8 million) and down 21% compared with the comparable sales week of 2009 (6.7 million). Year-to-date album sales stand at 247.4 million, down 13% compared with the same total at this point last year (286 million).
Digital track sales this past week totaled 19.9 million downloads, up 6% compared with last week (18.8 million) and up 8% stacked next to the comparable week of 2009 (18.4 million). Year-to-date track sales are at 956.9 million, down less than 1% compared with the same total at this point last year (961 million).
Album units, current chart week: 5.4 million units
Down 6% from last week's charts: 5.8 million units
Down 21% from the comparable week in 2009: 6.9 million units
This week last year on the Billboard 200: Carrie Underwood's "Play On" opened at No. 1 with 318,000 sold, bumping Michael Jackson's "This Is It" soundtrack down one rung to No. 2 with 196,000 (down 48%). The top five albums each sold more than 100,000, including the debuting "My Christmas" from Andrea Bocelli at No. 3.
A LOOK AHEAD
Among the albums released this week, due on next week's charts: Susan Boyle's "The Gift," Bon Jovi's "Greatest Hits," the "Now 36" compilation, Kid Cudi's "Man on the Moon 2: The Legend of Mr. Rager," Reba McEntire's "All the Woman I Am," Cee-Lo Green's "The Lady Killer," Elvis Presley's "Viva Elvis," Blake Shelton's "Loaded: The Best of Blake Shelton," Dave Matthews Band's "Live in New York City" and Quincy Jones' "Q: Soul Bossa Nostra."
Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2009 when: Bon Jovi's "The Circle" arrived at No. 1 with 163,000 sold, pushing the previous week's topper, Carrie Underwood's "Play On," to No. 3 with 128,000 (down 60%). The top four albums each sold more than 100,000.