With its first studio album in nearly 10 years, Sade's "Soldier of Love" debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with 502,000 copies sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan, giving the act its second chart-topper . . . All told, the group has notched eight top 10s in a row on the Billboard 200—its entire output of albums . . . "Soldier" is one of four new albums to bow in the top 10 this week. The others? Jaheim's "Another Round," Josh Turner's "Haywire" and tobyMac's "Tonight."
Nearly 10 years after the group's last studio effort, Sade's "Soldier of Love" conquers the Billboard 200, blasting in at No. 1 with 502,000, according to Nielsen SoundScan. That's the act's first No. 1 debut and its best sales week since SoundScan began tracking sales in 1991. On top of that, it's the best sales week for an album by a group since AC/DC's "Black Ice" bulldozed in at No. 1 on the Nov. 8, 2008, chart with 784,000.
"Soldier" is Sade's second No. 1 album. Its first, "Promise," spent two weeks at the top in 1986.
The new album is the first studio effort from the band—led by vocalist Sade Adu—since "Lovers Rock" was released in November 2000. That set debuted and peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 with 370,000 sold in its first week. Since its release, "Lovers Rock" has sold 3.9 million in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
The new album is Sade's sixth studio set, stretching back to its "Diamond Life" debut in 1985. All told, the act has notched eight top 10 albums in a row on the Billboard 200—its entire recorded output. That total comprises its six studio sets, one greatest-hits collection ("The Best Of") and one live recording ("Lovers Live").
With that feat of eight top 10s, Sade is the first group since Led Zeppelin to see their first eight charting albums all reach the top 10. Led Zep actually did it with its first 10 albums—from 1969 with its self-titled No. 10-peaking set, up until 1983 when "Coda" topped out at No. 6.
Last week's No. 1, Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now," slips to No. 2 in its third week on the chart, shifting 208,000 (down not quite 1%). So far, the set has sold 897,000 copies. Figure than the album's miniscule third-week decline was partially owed to Valentine's Day shopping, as this chart's sales tracking week ended Sunday, Feb. 14.
The Billboard 200's second-highest entry this week is Jaheim's "Another Round," which climbs in at No. 3 with 112,000. His last studio effort, "The Makings of a Man," was released Christmas week of 2007 and bowed at No. 11 with 176,000. (It's unfair to compare the debut sales weeks of the two sets, since "Makings" was released during the busiest music shopping week of the year, so its sales were naturally elevated.) All told, "Another Round" is Jaheim's fourth top 10 album and second-highest-charting set, following the No. 1-peaking "Ghetto Classics" in 2006.
Country singer Josh Turner is the third-best bow on the chart, as his "Haywire" lights up at No. 5 with 85,000 copies. It's the artist's third straight top 10 album and follows up "Everything Is Fine," which debuted and peaked at No. 5 with 84,000 in 2007. On the Top Country Albums chart, Turner enters at No. 2 behind Lady A's "Need You Now."
The final top 10 start comes from tobyMac, who nets his second top 10 album in a row as "Tonight" enters at a career-high No. 6 with a personal-best sales week of 79,000. Toby McKeehan is the man behind the tobyMac name, and this is his second top 10 album on the Billboard 200 following 2007's "Portable Sounds." That set entered and peaked at No. 10 with 51,000 in its first week. McKeehan was also a member of dc Talk, which notched five hit albums on the Billboard 200, including the No. 4-peaking "Supernatural" in 1998.
As for the holdovers on the chart that populate the top 10 this week, Lil Wayne's "Rebirth" slides down two rungs to No. 4 (89,000; down 49%), Lady Gaga's "The Fame" falls three slots to No. 7 (76,000; down 4%), and the Black Eyed Peas' "The E.N.D." drops two positions to No. 8 (67,000; down 4%). Closing out the top 10 this week is Susan Boyle's "I Dreamed a Dream," holding steady at No. 9 (51,000; up 10%) and Taylor Swift's "Fearless," down three to No. 10 (50,000; down 6%).
Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending Feb. 14) totaled 7.8 million units, up 17% compared with the sum last week (6.7 million) and down 8% compared with the comparable sales week of 2009 (8.6 million).
A LOOK AHEAD:
On next week's Billboard 200, expect Sade's "Soldier of Love" to rule the tally for a second week, as no new releases that dropped Feb. 16 will pose a challenge for No. 1.
As for the new albums aiming to make waves on next week's chart, they include Jamie Cullum's "Devil May Care" and the 10th-anniversary reissue of Santana's "Supernatural."
Album units, current chart week: 7.8 million units
UP 17% from last week's charts: 6.7 million units
DOWN 8% from the comparable week in 2009: 8.6 million units
This week: The top three albums on the Billboard 200 sell more than 100,000 copies.
This week last year on the Billboard 200: Taylor Swift's "Fearless" returned to No. 1, selling 92,000 (up 44%) following her performance on the Grammy Awards (Feb. 8, 2009). Robert Plant and Alison Krauss' "Raising Sand," last year's Grammy winner for album of the year, flew from No. 69 to No. 2 with 77,000 (up 715%). The highest debut on the list was India.Arie's "Testimony: Vol. 2, Love & Politics," arriving at No. 3 with 75,000.
A LOOK AHEAD
Among the albums released this week, due on next week's charts: Jamie Cullum's "Devil May Care," the soundtrack to "Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lighting Thief," Dan Black's "Un" and the deluxe reissue of Santana's "Supernatural."
Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2009 when: Taylor Swift's "Fearless" notched its 10th week at No. 1, shifting 62,000 copies, while Charlie Wilson's "Uncle Charlie" arrived in the No. 2 slot with 58,000. The second-highest debut was Morrissey's "Years of Refusal" at No. 11 with 31,000.