As previously reported, Jason Aldean scores his first No. 1 on the Billboard 200, as “Night Train” rolls in at the summit with 409,000 copies sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan, while Brandy, Scotty McCreery and Jamey Johnson make top five entrances. What other titles chug to notable Billboard 200 moves?
— Donald Fagen: The co-founder of jazz/rock outfit Steely Dan posts his highest rank as a soloist since “Kamakiriad” debuted and peaked at No. 10 on the June 12, 1993, tally, as “Sunken Condos” starts at No. 12 with 18,000. Fagen is considering touring to promote the set. “I’ve been the frontman for Steely Dan for a long time, but (it’s) a whole different thing being the center of attention with your own band. (It’s) kind of a heavy deal for me, but a lot of fun. We’ll see what happens with (‘Sunken Condos’); if it’s a total turkey, I don’t want to be associated with it at all. But if it seems like it’s worth doing, we probably will do something.”
— Hunter Hayes: The singer’s self-titled debut set (13,000, up 32%) logs its highest placement in two months (43-31), and its second-best rank since its debut 35 weeks ago. Perhaps helping: its former Hot Country Songs No. 1 “Wanted” is crossing to top 40 radio. Hayes’ “Live” EP, meanwhile, debuts on Top Country Albums at No. 33 (2,000).
— Benjamin Gibbard: Fronting Death Cab for Cutie, Gibbard has made four trips to the Billboard 200’s top 40, with the band’s “Narrow Stairs” having topped the May 31, 2008, ranking. His debut solo album, “Former Lives,” arrives at No. 34 with 12,000. The set includes the single “Teardrop Windows,” a No. 26 Triple A hit, and “Bigger Than Love,” featuring Aimee Mann. Not on the album? “Ichiro’s Theme,” Gibbard’s summer single benefiting the Seattle Mariners’ “Refuse to Abuse” campaign against domestic violence. (The ode to longtime Mariner star Ichiro Suzuki was actually released shortly after he was traded to the New York Yankees in July.)
— Christina Perri: “A Very Merry Perri Christmas,” the pop singer/songwriter’s first seasonal offering, a debut at No. 98 (4,000), brings updates of such holiday favorites as the Carpenters’ “Merry Christmas Darling” and John Lennon’s “Happy Xmas (War Is Over).”
— K’Naan: “Country, God or the Girl” starts at No. 129 with 3,000, aided by two singles that dented the Mainstream Top 40 airplay chart earlier this year: “Is Anybody Out There?,” featuring Nelly Furtado (No. 27), and “Hurt Me Tomorrow” (No. 37).
— Pink Floyd: 1973’s seminal “Dark Side of the Moon returns at No. 156 for a record-extending 817th week on the Billboard 200. It sports a 46% increase to 3,000.
— Gov’t Mule: The Southern rock/jam band, which formed in 1994, serves up “The Georgia Bootleg Box” (new at No. 171), a 65-song live set that culls tracks from 1996 concerts in Athens, Atlanta and Macon. Ga.