For a sixth straight week, 50 Cent’s “The Massacre” manages to stay at the head of the pack and hold onto its place at No. 1 on The Billboard 200. Despite continually sliding sales, which fell 22% from the previous week to 165,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan, it was enough to keep the Shady/Aftermath/Interscope title on top of the tally.
Settling for No. 2 is Faith Evans’ “The First Lady” (Capitol), with first-week sales of 157,000. The chart position and the one-week sales tally are both career bests for the singer, who spent seven years on the Bad Boy label. The album also opens at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums list.
Evans’ last Bad Boy set, 2001’s “Faithfully” debuted and peaked on The Billboard 200 at No. 14 with sales of 101,000 copies. The album has moved 834,000 to date.
Also debuting in the top 10 is Lisa Marie Presley’s second studio album, “Now What” (Capitol), which lands at No. 9. First week sales of 56,000 copies are far below those of her 2003 debut, “To Whom It May Concern,” which moved 142,000 to start at No. 5. That set has sold 590,000 to date.
Last week’s top debut, Beck’s “Guero” (Interscope), slips 2-3 on a 50% dip to 81,000 copies, a familiar story as all of the acts hanging in the top 10 saw a sales drop. Despite a 24% fall to 77,000 copies, the 18th installment of the “NOW That’s What I Call Music!” series manages a 5-4 gain, switching places with 112’s “Pleasure & Pain” (Def Soul/IDJMG), which suffered a 48% slide to 61,000.
Will Smith’s “Lost and Found” (Interscope) is steady at No. 6, even though sales fell 39% to 60,000, while Green Day’s “American Idiot” (Reprise) jumps 10-7 despite an 8% drop to 59,000 copies.
Beanie Sigel’s “The B. Coming” (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam) falls 3-8 on a 56% drop to 57,000 units and Jack Johnson’s “In Between Dreams” (Brushfire) rounds out the top tier, dipping 8-10 on a 16% fall to 55,000 copies.
With a No. 12 bow, Donnie McClurkin’s “Psalms, Hymns & Spiritual Songs” (Verity) gives the gospel singer his highest charting set on The Billboard 200 thanks to a career-best sales week of 52,000 copies. R&B singer Brandy enters at No. 27 with “The Best of Brandy” (Atlantic) on sales of 26,000.
Another act reaching a career chart high is Hot Hot Heat, whose “Elevator” (Sire/Reprise) enters at No. 34 with 22,000 copies. Featuring songs by Beck, the Futureheads and Modest Mouse, Warner Bros.’ “The OC: Music From the OC: Mix 4” moved 16,000 to enter at No. 56.
Recent appearances on the syndicated “Oprah Winfrey Show” gave big boosts to albums by Joss Stone and Chris Botti. In Stone’s case, the singer’s “Mind, Body & Soul” (S-Curve) bolts 76-18 on a 170% sales gain to 37,000 copies. Contemporary jazz trumpeter Botti’s “When I Fall in Love” (Columbia) returns to The Billboard 200 after a one-week hiatus, landing at No. 47 thanks to a 278% sales increase to 19,000 units.
Overall U.S. album sales were down 6.6% from the previous week at 9.7 million units, about 23% off from the same week last year. Year-to-date sales are about 9% lower than 2004 at 155 million units.