Rock band Muse earns its highest-charting album as The 2nd Law debuts at No. 2 on the Billboard 200. The set sold 101,000 in its first week, according to Nielsen SoundScan. It's the third top 10 for the act, which previously claimed a No. 9 set with Black Holes and Revelations and a No. 3 rank with The Resistance.
Muse's start with The 2nd Law wasn't enough to bump Mumford & Sons' Babel out of the top slot though, as it remains at No. 1 with 169,000 (down 72%). It's the first time since June that an album has spent successive weeks at No. 1. The last to do so was John Mayer's Born and Raised, which ruled on the June 9 and June 16 charts.
Fun trivia: This is the first time British rock bands have been Nos. 1 and 2 on the Billboard 200 in the same week since May 9, 1992. That's when Def Leppard's Adrenalize was in its fourth week at No. 1 and the Cure's Wish bowed at No. 2.
Back on this week's Billboard 200, R&B singer Miguel nabs his best week ever, as his sophomore effort, Kaleidoscope Dream, starts at No. 3 with 71,000. His debut set, 2010's All I Want Is You, racked 45 weeks on the chart, rising to a peak of No. 37 on the May 24, 2011, tally.
P!nk's former No. 1 The Truth About Love is steady at No. 4 with 52,000 (down 45%) while rock band Three Days Grace enters at No. 5 with Transit of Venus (48,000). It's the third top 10 for the act and follows 2009's Life Starts Now, which launched at No. 3 with 79,000.
Jazz singer/pianist Diana Krall sees her latest album, Glad Rag Doll, bow at No. 6 with 46,000. It's her fifth top 10 effort on the Billboard 200, while over on the Traditional Jazz Albums chart, it earns Krall her 10th No. 1.
One-time "America's Got Talent" runner-up Jackie Evancho arrives at No. 7 on the Billboard 200 with her latest effort, Songs From the Silver Screen (41,000 sold). It's the 12-year-old's fifth entry on the tally and marks her third top 10 effort. She earlier notched top 10 sets with 2010's O Holy Night EP and 2011's Dream With Me.
Little Big Town's Tornado is the third and final holdover from last week's chart still in the top 10, as it rises one spot to No. 8 with 31,000 (down 8%).
British newcomer Cher Lloyd captures a No. 9 debut with her first U.S. album, Sticks & Stones (31,000), while veteran singer Van Morrison starts at No. 10 with Born to Sing: No Plan B (29,000). The latter ties Morrison's highest rank, when 2008's Keep It Simple also debuted and peaked at No. 10.
Switching gears to the top 10 of the Digital Songs chart, One Direction's "Live While We're Young" comes crashing in at No. 1 with 341,000 downloads sold. It's the third-largest debut sales week for a digital song by a group, outpaced only by Maroon 5's "Payphone" (493,000) and the Black Eyed Peas' "Boom Boom Pow" (464,000 in 2009).
But 1D isn't the only big bow this week, as the entire top three are new arrivals. Taylor Swift's latest single, "Red," lands at No. 2 with 312,000. It's the title track from her upcoming album, due Oct. 22, and is the third pre-release single from the set. It starts a bit larger than its last early single, "Begin Again," which launched a week ago at No. 1 with 299,000.
At No. 3, Adele's title theme song from the James Bond film "Skyfall" debuts with 261,000 after a little more than three days of sales in the tracking week (which ended on Sunday night).
PSY's "Gangnam Style" slips 2-4 with 257,000 (down 13%), Maroon 5's "One More Night" drops 4-5 with 167,000 (down 8%), and Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" falls 5-8 with 149,000 (down 11%).
Ke$ha's "Die Young" tumbles 3-7 with 138,000 (down 27%), fun.'s "Some Nights" moves 6-8 with 129,000 (down 8%), and Rihanna's "Diamonds" dips 7-9 with 108,000 (down 18%). Alex Clare's "Too Close" rounds out the top 10, descending 8-10 with 102,000 (down 12%).
Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending Oct. 7) totaled 5.4 million units, down 6% compared with the sum last week (5.7 million) and up 4% compared with the comparable sales week of 2011 (5.1 million). Year-to-date album sales stand at 223.8 million, down 4% compared with the same total at this point last year (233.6 million).
Digital track sales this past week totaled 23.3 million downloads, up 1% compared with last week (23.1 million) and 13% stacked next to the comparable week of 2011 (20.6 million). Year-to-date track sales are at 1 billion, up 6% compared with the same total at this point last year (972.3 million).
Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2011 when: Evanescence's self-titled album bowed at No. 1 with 127,000, marking the act's second chart-topper. The previous week's leader, Scotty McCreery's Clear As Day, fell to No. 4 with 88,000 (down 55%).