Rascal Flatts 'Feels Like' No. 1

Rascal Flatts becomes only the second country group to top The Billboard 200 this week as its third Hollywood set, "Feels Like Today," debuts at No. 1. With U.S. sales of 201,000 copies, accord

Rascal Flatts becomes only the second country group to top The Billboard 200 this week as its third Hollywood set, "Feels Like Today," debuts at No. 1. With U.S. sales of 201,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan, the set leads an avalanche of debuts, including top 10 placements for Hilary Duff, Ciara, the Used and Marilyn Manson.

Previously, the Dixie Chicks were the sole country group to reach the summit of The Billboard 200. The Monument/Columbia act has done it twice, first in 1999 with "Fly," and again in 2002 with "Home."

"Feels Like Today" is also Rascal Flatts' second No. 1 title on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart. It's the follow-up to 2002's "Melt," which opened with sales of 169,000 copies, putting it at No. 1 on the country tally and No. 5 on The Billboard 200. The set has a to-date sales total of 2.2 million.

Duff comes up just shy of No. 1 with her self-titled Buena Vista/Hollywood sophomore album. The actress/singer's set bows at No. 2 on sales of 192,000 copies, giving the Disney-owned Hollywood label control of the chart's top two positions. Duff's 2003 debut, "Metamorphosis," opened in the same spot with 204,000 copies, then moved to No. 1 the following week; it has sold 3.4 million to date.

Hip-hop newcomer Ciara enters at No. 3 with 125,000 units sold of her Sho'nuff/Music Line/LaFace debut, "Goodies." The title track featuring Petey Pablo has been on top of Billboard's Hot 100 for five consecutive weeks.

The Used's "In Love and Death" (Reprise/Warner Bros.) opens at No. 6 with 93,000. The group's self-titled debut didn't appear on The Billboard 200 until four months after its June 2002 release, when it peaked at No. 63. The set has sold 563,000 to date.

Boasting a new cover of Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus," Marilyn Manson's greatest hits compilation, "Lest We Forget: The Best Of" (Nothing/Interscope), bows at No. 9 with 80,000 copies. Manson's 2003 studio effort, "The Golden Age of Grotesque," debuted to No. 1 and has sold 455,000 to date.

Last week's No. 1, Green Day's Reprise/Warner Bros. punk opera, "American Idiot," falls to No. 4 on a 54% decline to 124,000 units. After a 25% drop to 118,000, Nelly's "Suit" slips 2-5, while its simultaneously released Derrty/Fo' Reel/Universal set "Sweat" drops 4-8 on a 37% slide to 80,000.

Rounding out the top 10, Ray Charles' "Genius Loves Company" (Concord/Hear Music) falls 6-7 on a 13% dip to 81,000, while Tim McGraw's "Live Like You Were Dying" (Curb) falls five spots to No. 10 on a 24% decline to sales of 77,000 units.

Just outside of the top tier, Joss Stone enters at No. 11 with her full-length S-Curve/EMI debut "Mind, Body & Soul." The 17-year-old's 2003 introductory EP, "The Soul Sessions," barely snuck onto the chart in its first week at No. 199, but peaked at No. 39 this year. It has sold 623,000 units so far.

The newly completed version of a 1967 Beach Boys project gives Brian Wilson his highest Billboard 200 ranking as a solo artist. "Brian Wilson Presents Smile" opens at No. 13 on sales of 65,000 copies. The Beach Boys last saw the upper reaches of the chart in 1976, when "15 Big Ones" (Capitol), peaked at No. 8.

Also debuting in the top 20 is Talib Kweli's "The Beautiful Struggle" (Rawkus; No. 14/63,000), Interpol's "Antics" (Matador; No. 15/62,500), Queen Latifah's "The Dana Owens Album" (Vector; No. 16/61,000) and Guerilla Black's "Guerilla City" (Virgin; No. 20/46,000).

The onslaught of new entries continues through the top 50 of The Billboard 200, with Shawnna's "Worth Tha Weight" (Def Jam, No. 22), Social Distortion's "Sex, Love and Rock'n'Roll" (Time Bomb, No. 31), Juanes' "Mi Sangre" (Universal Latino, No. 33), Roadrunner's "MTV2 Headbangers Ball, Vol. 2" (No. 43), Barry Manilow's "Scores: Songs From Copacabana and Harmony" (Concord, No. 47), Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr.'s "The Rat Pack: Boys Night Out" (Capitol, No. 49) and Jesse McCartney's "Beautiful Soul" (Hollywood, No. 50).

Keane's "Hopes and Fears" (Interscope) is The Billboard 200's "greatest gainer" thanks to a 34% jump to 20,500 units, fueled by a $6.99 deal at Best Buy stores that generated a 72-53 move. A similar retail deal pushes Snow Patrol's "Final Straw" (A&M) 126-114 on a 28% increase to 10,000 copies.

The heavy debut week saw overall U.S. album sales rise about 5% to 10.8 million units over the previous week, although it is about 7.5% lower than the same week last year. Year-to-date sales are beating 2003 by about 5.8% with 462 million units.