R&B stalwarts the Isley Brothers featuring Ronald Isley aka Mr. Biggs march to a career-best debut of No. 3 on The Billboard 200 this week with “Eternal” (DreamWorks/Interscope), one of four albums charging into the top-10 on the new chart. “Eternal” sold 225,000 units in the U.S., according to SoundScan, translating to the Isleys’ highest chart position since 1975’s “The Heat is On” topped the album chart.
Last week’s top two albums remain unscathed, with the seventh volume in the hits compilation series “NOW! That’s What I Call Music” (EMI/Universal/Sony/Zomba/Virgin) surviving a 37% sales dip to hold onto No. 1, and ‘N Sync hanging on at No. 2 following respectable sales of 244,000 units, a 47% decline in the album’s third week.
The big opening of “Eternal,” which also debuts at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums tally, was foretold by the success of the group’s R. Kelly-penned single, “Contagious.” The track climbs 5-3 on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart and squeaks up 21-20 on The Billboard Hot 100 this week. “Eternal” also marks a significant increase over the group’s last album, 1996’s “Mission to Please” (T-Neck/IDJMG), which debuted at No. 31 on The Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 32,000 units.
Right behind the Isley Brothers is Usher with “8701” (Arista). The album sold 211,000 units to arrive at No. 4 on The Billboard 200, tying the top chart position for his last set. Usher also benefited from an early hit single, “U Remind Me,” which is at No. 4 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks tally and No. 5 on The Billboard Hot 100.
Arriving at No. 5 is the debut solo effort from rapper Jadakiss. His “Kiss This Game Goodbye” (Ruff Ryders/Interscope) moved 204,000 units, besting both of his albums with the Lox. “Kiss This Game Goodbye” appeared last week on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart due to street-date violations, and rockets 89-2 this week, outperforming Usher in pure R&B markets. Jadakiss’ single, “Knock Yourself Out,” is at No. 51 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks tally.
Young pop star Aaron Carter doesn’t quite match the numbers that his older brother Nick gets with the Backstreet Boys, but the Disney Radio favorite arrives at No. 7 on sales of 133,000 units of his sophomore Jive effort, “Oh Aaron.” Other noteworthy debuts include Philly’s Most Wanted’s “Get Down or Lay Down” (Atlantic) at No. 69, Carolyn Dawn Johnson’s “Room with a View” at No. 87, and the Universal soundtrack to the Kevin Smith-directed film “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back” at No. 92.
Alicia Keys’ single “Fallin'” remains at No. 1 for a second-straight week atop The Billboard Hot 100 and the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart. Her album, “Songs in A Minor,” slips 3-6 behind all of this week’s big debuts.
The Hot 100’s fastest-growing track at radio is Afroman’s “Because I Got High,” blasting 67-33. The track precedes his debut Universal album, “Good Times,” due Aug. 28, and also appears on the “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back” soundtrack. The chart’s fastest-growing track at retail is Dream’s “This is Me,” which holds at No. 80 despite receiving a sales boost.
The Hot 100’s top debut is LFO’s “Every Other Time” at No. 65. Other noteworthy debuts include Gorillaz’ “Clint Eastwood” at No. 73, R. Kelly’s ‘Feelin’ On Yo Booty” at No. 74, Alan Jackson’s “Where I Come From” at No. 76, and Alien Ant Farm’s cover of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” at No. 78. Jennifer Lopez’s “I’m Real,” a track that has been making small gains each week in its pursuit of the top of the chart, skips 4-2 on the Hot 100, while Trick Daddy’s “I’m a Thug” soars 46-30.
The soundtrack to “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” once again helms Billboard’s Top Country Albums tally, marking the 17th non-consecutive week that the album has been at No. 1. The set is also in its fourth week at No. 1 on the Top Internet Album Sales chart. Blake Shelton has the top single on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart for a third straight week with “Austin.”
Staind’s “It’s Been Awhile” is now three weeks shy of tying a record on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, having been No. 1 for 18 straight weeks. The previous record of 21 weeks was held by 3 Doors Down’s “Loser.” “It’s Been Awhile” previously tied a record set by the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Scar Tissue” on Billboard’s Modern Rock Tracks chart after staying at No. 1 on that survey for 16 straight weeks. That stretch was ended last week by Sum 41’s “Fat Lip,” which falls to No. 2 this week behind Alien Ant Farm’s “Smooth Criminal.”