“The Diary of Alicia Keys” gives the young R&B sensation her second No. 1 debut on The Billboard 200. The only newcomer in the top-10 this week, the J Records album sold 618,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan, to take the top spot. That’s the third highest opening week of the calendar year and more than double the best sales week of Keys’ first effort, “Songs in A Minor.”
“Songs in A Minor” bowed at No. 1 with 236,000 copies in summer 2001, and scored its best week during that year’s holiday season, when it moved 241,000 copies. Two years and five Grammy Awards later, the album has sold 5.6 million copies.
The new album was preceded by a flurry of television appearances, including heavy exposure on BET and MTV and two performances last week on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno.” The album’s first single, “You Don’t Know My Name,” is a top-5 track on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart and a top-15 title on the Hot 100.
Toby Keith’s “Shock’n Y’all” (DreamWorks) soars 6-2 in its fifth week on the chart, but is a distant second to Keys. The album is up on a 4% sales increase to 213,000 copies, giving the set a to-date total of 1.39 million. Keith is the subject of a heavy promotional campaign on CMT, leading up Saturday’s (Dec. 13) premiere of his new video “American Soldier.”
Josh Groban’s “Closer” (Warner Bros.) follows Keith’s effort up the chart, with a 7-3 move. Sales were down just 7% to 188,000 copies, giving the album a four-week total of 961,000 copies. Groban’s music is being heavily pushed on America Online, and the artist will appear on Monday’s (Dec. 15) episode of the syndicated “The Sharon Osbourne Show.”
The 14th volume in the “NOW That’s What I Call Music!” (Universal/EMI/Zomba/Sony) series rises one slot to No. 4, withstanding a 15.5% sales drop to 186,000 copies. Since its release five weeks ago, the hits compilation has sold 1.13 million units.
OutKast’s two-CD set “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below” (Arista) jumps 10-5 on a 5.7% sales gain to 178,000 copies. The set has now sold 2.15 million copies. OutKast is tied with Beyoncé, Jay-Z and Pharrell Williams with six nominations for the 46th Grammy Awards, which were revealed last week.
Teen star Hilary Duff’s “Metamorphosis” is down 4-6, the result of a 31% sales dip to 154,000 copies. The singer has sold 1.45 million copes of her Buena Vista debut. Britney Spears’ “In the Zone” (Jive) falls 3-7 in its third week on the tally. Although sales were down 40% to 150,000 copies, it was enough to bring Spears’ to-date total to just above the 1 million mark.
No Doubt’s Interscope compilation “The Singles 1992-2003” slips 2-8 on a 43% sales dip to 144,000 copies. In two weeks of release, the set has sold 397,000 copies. “The Very Best of Sheryl Crow” jumps back into the top-10 with a 15-9 gain. Sales of the A&M/Interscope compilation were up 4% to 132,000 copies. In its five weeks of release, the album has sold 662,000 copies.
Last week’s chart topper, Jay-Z’s “The Black Album” (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam), falls to No. 10 on a 52% slide to 124,000 copies. To date, the set has sold 1.1 million copies.
Harry Connick Jr. soars 23-12 with his “Harry for the Holidays” (Columbia), a career-high mark for the New Orleans-based artist. Following his Thanksgiving night NBC holiday special and a slew of television appearances, sales of the album were up 18% to 113,000 copies. His 1994 set “When My Heart Finds Christmas” peaked at No. 13.
Trace Adkins scored his best sales week with the Capitol set “Comin’ on Strong.” The album bows at No. 31 with 62,000 copies. His 2001 “Greatest Hits” collection peaked at No. 9, but sold 56,000 copies in its best week.