Unbreakable -- which was released on Oct. 2 -- arrives atop the chart with 116,000 equivalent album units earned in the week ending Oct. 8, according to Nielsen Music. Of that sum, the set sold 109,000 in pure album sales.
Unbreakable is Jackson’s first studio album since 2008’s Discipline, which also debuted at No. 1. Jackson previously led the list with All For You (2001), The Velvet Rope (1997), janet. (1993), Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814 (1989) and Control (1986).
Among women with the most No. 1 albums, Jackson has the third-most leaders. Only Barbra Streisand (with 10) and Madonna (eight) have more.
Streisand and Jackson are also in rare company: along with Bruce Springsteen, the three performers are the only acts with No. 1 albums in the last four decades: '10s, '00s, ‘90s and '80s.
Streisand most recently topped the tally in 2014 with Partners, and also collected leaders in the '00s, '90s, '80s, '70s and '60s. Springsteen, like Jackson, has claimed No. 1s in the '10s, '00s, '90s and '80s. Springsteen has a total of 11 No. 1s. (Notably, Streisand is the only act with No. 1s in the last five and six decades.)
Unbreakable is also Jackson’s first independently distributed album, and it was released on her own Rhythm Nation label through BMG. The set also starts at No. 1 on the Independent Albums chart.
Jackson’s new album was led by the single “No Sleeep,” featuring J. Cole. The track became her 40th hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart (peaking at No. 63), and has spent seven weeks at No. 1 on the Adult R&B Songs chart.
Somewhat unusually, Unbreakable hit No. 1 without the benefit of a single press interview by Jackson to promote the album. Although Jackson been quiet with the media, she’s been on the road with her Unbreakable World Tour since Aug. 31, released a music video for “No Sleeep,” and made an appearance on the BET Awards to accept the Ultimate Icon Award (June 28).
Unbreakable leads a relatively quiet top 10 on the Billboard 200, where only three new albums bow in the region. The calm comes after two straight weeks where the top 10 saw seven debuts.
The Weeknd’s Beauty Behind the Madness climbs 5-2 with 73,000 units (down 11 percent), Drake and Future’s What a Time to Be Alive dips 2-3 with 65,000 (down 39 percent) and last week’s leader, Fetty Wap’s self-titled album, falls to No. 4 in its second frame with 64,000 (down 50 percent).
Tamar Braxton starts at No. 5 with her latest album, Calling All Lovers, bowing with 43,000 units (38,000 in pure album sales). Her last studio effort, 2013’s Love and War, debuted and peaked at No. 2 with 114,000 copies sold in its first week.
The entire top five on the Billboard 200 are R&B/hip-hop albums -- the first time the region has been dominated as such since the Jan. 13, 2007-dated chart. That week, Omarion’s 21 led the list, followed by Akon’s Konvicted, the Dreamgirls film soundtrack, Nas’ Hip Hop Is Dead and Young Jeezy’s The Inspiration.
Taylor Swift’s 1989 is nearing a full year in the top 10, as it spends a 50th week in the region (rising 7-6 with 38,000 units; down 8 percent). The album has yet to depart the top 10 since its debut at No. 1.
Thomas Rhett’s Tangled Up slips 6-7 in its second week (just over 32,000 units; down 58 percent), George Strait’s Cold Beer Conversation is down 4-8 (32,000; down 63 percent), Luke Bryan’s Kill the Lights rises 13-9 (30,000; up 4 percent) and Don Henley’s Cass County falls 3-10 (29,000; down 67 percent).