Strait's 'Somewhere' Heads Right To No. 1
George Strait's "Somewhere Down in Texas" (MCA Nashville) earns the country veteran his third No. 1 on The Billboard 200 this week and becomes his 20th to lead the Billboard Hot Country Albums roundupGeorge Strait's "Somewhere Down in Texas" (MCA Nashville) earns the country veteran his third No. 1 on The Billboard 200 this week and becomes his 20th to lead the Billboard Hot Country Albums roundup. The new studio set sold 245,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan, to end the three-week reign of Coldplay's "X&Y" (Capitol), which slips to No. 3 on a 23% fall to sales of 140,000.
The 28th album of Strait's career is led by his highest-debuting single on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart. "You'll Be There" opened there at No. 30 in April and is No. 4 this week.
Ying Yang Twins score their highest-charting album to date with the No. 2 entry of "U.S.A.: United States of Atlanta" (TVT). The set gave the Atlanta hip-hop combo of D-Roc and Kaine their career-best sales week with 201,000 copies, besting the No. 11/62,000-copy opening of 2003's "Me & My Brother," which has sold 1.1 million so far.
The No. 5 spot yields the only other top 10 debut this week, making way for Cassidy's "I'm a Hustla" (Full Surface/J). The rapper, who recently turned himself in to Philadelphia police in connection with an April shooting, sold 93,000 copies of his sophomore set in its first week. Despite the big opening, it falls short of his 2004 major label debut, "Split Personality," which started at No. 2 with 118,000 copies; it has sold 414,000 to date.
In line with Coldplay's two-spot yield, remaining top tier titles shift only slightly this week. Mariah Carey's "The Emancipation of Mimi" (Island/Def Jam) falls 2-4 on a miniscule 0.2% dip to 131,000. Sales of the Black Eyed Peas' "Monkey Business" (A&M/Interscope) fell 12% to 90,000, causing a 4-6 move, while the Foo Fighters' "In Your Honor" (Roswell/RCA) falls 3-7 on a 23% slip to 88,000.
Rebounding into the top 10 are Kelly Clarkson's "Breakaway" (RCA), which jumps 11-8 with a 3% push to 63,000 copies; Gwen Stefani's "Love, Angel, Music, Baby" (Interscope), which climbs 12-9 with a 0.5% increase to 61,000; and Toby Keith's "Honkytonk University" (DreamWorks Nashville), which leaps 13-10 with a 4% gain to 60,500 units.
Anthony Hamilton, whose 2003 Arista solo breakthrough, "Comin' From Where I'm From," debuted quietly but to much critical praise, nabs the best Billboard 200 spot and sales week of his career. "Soulife," recorded prior to his Arista debut and shelved at the Soulife label for financial reasons, bows at No. 12 with 53,000 copies after a re-emergence on Rhino. "Comin' From Where I'm From" started at No. 33 with 33,000 copies and has gone on to sell 1.1 million.
Vivian Green rounds out the top 20 entries with her highest-charting set to date. The No. 18 debut of "Vivian" (Sony Urban Music/Columbia) comes thanks to the Philadelphia songstress' career-best sales week of 46,000 copies. Green's 2002 debut, "A Love Story," which opened at No. 93 with 16,000 copies, later peaked at No. 51 and has a to-date total of 531,000.
Other notable Billboard 200 debuts include CKY's "An Answer Can Be Found" (Island, No. 35); Razor & Tie's "Slow Motion" compilation of R&B hits (No. 37); Raheem DeVaughn's "The Love Experience" (Jive, No. 46); and Bizarre's "Hannicap Circus" (Sanctuary, No. 48).
Overall U.S. album sales were up 6.6% over the previous week at 10.9 million units, but trail the same week last year by 2.7%. Sales for 2005 are behind 2004 by 7.5% at 283 million units.