Linkin Park’s “Meteora” makes a crater-like impact on The Billboard 200, crashing onto the chart at No. 1. The Warner Bros. set sold 810,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan, the third-best sales week of 2003. Only 50 Cent’s “Get Rich or Die Tryin'” (Shady/Interscope) has performed stronger this year, as it sold 872,000 copies and 822,000 copies, respectively, in its first two weeks of release.
The Linkin Park set leads the charge of five albums — including titles by Celine Dion, Brian McKnight, and the Diplomats — that debut in the top-10 of The Billboard 200 this week.
“Meteora” is the follow-up to 2000’s “[Hybrid Theory],” which debuted at No. 16 but went on to become the top-selling album of 2001, racking up 7.7 million copies to date. In the interim, Linkin Park released a remix album, “[Reanimation],” which debuted at No. 2 last year. Its current single, “Where I Belong,” has become a top-5 hit on Billboard’s mainstream and modern rock airplay charts.
Pulling in at No. 2 on The Billboard 200 is Dion’s “One Heart” (Epic), which sold 432,000 copies. Despite being released in conjunction with the start of her much-hyped Las Vegas production, sales of “One Heart” fell short of the 558,000 copies “A New Day Has Come” sold in April of last year. The latter has tallied sales of 2.8 million copies to date.
The 12th edition of the “NOW That’s’ What I Call Music!” compilation series (Universal/EMI/Zomba/Sony) lands at No. 3 on sales of 256,000 copies. The 11th edition began its chart life in November at No. 2 on sales of 316,000 copies, and moved another 375,500 copies in its second week, thanks to holiday shoppers.
Last week’s No. 1 album, 50 Cent’s “Get Rich pr Die Tryin’,” falls to No. 4 on The Billboard 200, its lowest chart position in its eight weeks of release. Sales of the album slipped 18% to 193,000 copies over the prior week. The Epic soundtrack to “Chicago” received a 25% sales boost to 121,000 copies following its six wins at last week’s Academy Awards. Despite the increase, the three debuts at the top of album chart force the soundtrack to slip two positions to No. 6.
Brian McKnight’s “U Turn” (Motown/Universal) parks at No. 7 on 109,000 copies sold. His last album of new material, 2001’s “Superhero,” also arrived at No. 7, but had higher first-week sales of 151,000 copies. To date, “Superhero” has moved 872,000 copies.
The first outing from the Cam’ron-led Diplomats, “Diplomatic Immunity” (Roc-A-Fella), enters The Billboard 200 at No. 8 on sales of 92,000 copies. Cam’ron’s “Come Home With Me” arrived at No. 2 last June and has sold just over 1 million copies to date.
In its fourth week of release, Wind-Up rock act Evanescence’s debut album, “Fallen,” sold 85,000 copies, on par with its total last week, yet it dips 5-9 on the chart. R. Kelly’s “Chocolate Factory” (Jive) tumbles 3-10 on a 19% sales drop to 85,000 copies.
“Let ‘Em Burn,” the latest from the Hot Boys, arrives at No. 14 on sales of 64,000 copies. The Cash Money/Universal rap collective falls well short of the 142,000 copies sold by its 1999 album “Guerilla Warfare” in its debut week. To date, the latter has moved 1.4 million copies.
B2K’s “Pandemonium” (Sony) blasts 84-13 on the chart thanks to a 394% sales increase to 64,000 copies. The massive gain is due to last week’s release of a “special edition” version of the album featuring added tracks and a DVD.
Other notable newcomers this week 702’s “Star” (Motown/Universal) at No. 45 on sales of 21,000 copies, and Jaci Velasquez’s “[Unspoken]” (Sony) at No. 55 with 18,000 copies.