Three different titles start atop Billboard‘s Top Rock Albums, Alternative Albums and Hard Rock Albums charts (dated July 8), with Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit leading the overall Top Rock Albums chart with The Nashville Sound.
The set is the first No. 1 on the chart for Isbell with his 400 Unit band, and second leader overall for the Alabama singer-songwriter, following previous album Something More Than Free (Aug. 8, 2015). Nashville also represents the best sales week of Isbell’s career; the LP opens with 54,000 equivalent units, with 51,000 in traditional album sales, according to Nielsen Music, besting Something‘s 46,000-copy sales start. Nashville also bows at a career-best debut and peak of No. 4 on the Billboard 200, surpassing Something (No. 6).
“The Nashville Sound just had the best week of any album we’ve ever made,” Isbell wrote on Twitter June 23. “So much for alienating half my audience by speaking my mind,” he added, as Nashville contains more politically charged lyrics than his previous material.
Also, Lorde debuts at No. 1 on Alternative Albums for the second time, as her second full-length Melodrama bows with 109,000 units (82,000 in sales). Her first LP, 2013’s Pure Heroine, spent 15 weeks atop Alternative Albums.
Lorde’s success with her new album, her first No. 1 on the all-genre Billboard 200, should come as little surprise to anyone following alternative radio. “Green Light,” Melodrama‘s lead single, peaked at Nos. 4 and 9 on the Adult Alternative Songs and Alternative Songs airplay charts, respectively, while follow-up “Perfect Places” has hit No. 30 on Alternative Songs in two weeks on the chart so far.
Meanwhile, Nickelback earns its fifth No. 1 on Hard Rock Albums with Feed the Machine, the veteran band’s ninth studio album. The set moved 47,000 units in its first week (43,000 from album sales). The release also debuts at No. 2 on both Top Rock Albums and Alternative Albums; it’s the first Nickelback studio set not to enter at No. 1 upon its release on either chart dating to the inception of Top Rock Albums in 2006 and Hard Rock (and Alternative) Albums in 2007.
Nonetheless, Machine bows within the top 10 of the Billboard 200 (No. 5), maintaining a streak of seven straight Nickelback studio albums to reach the region, a run that began with the No. 2 premiere of Silver Side Up in 2001.
In other Top Rock Albums action, Styx makes its first appearance in the top 10, as new album The Mission bows at No. 9 (14,000 units). The band’s 16th studio album is its first since 2005’s Big Bang Theory, as well as the first consisting solely of original material since 2003’s Cyclorama. The new album’s No. 45 arrival on the Billboard 200 gives Styx its best rank on the chart since 1984’s live album Caught in the Act (No. 31).