Drake Leads Debut-Filled Billboard 200

 

The Billboard 200's top four albums are all debuts this week, led by Drake's Nothing Was the Same, which launches at No. 1 with 658,000 sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Last Friday, industry sources forecast that the set would start with around 660,000-670,000.

As reported last night (Oct. 1), Nothing Was the Same tallies the second-largest sales week of 2013. The only album to sell more this year (so far) is Justin Timberlake's The 20/20 Experience, when it bowed at No. 1 with 968,000 following its release in March. 

Nothing Was the Same—Drake's third No. 1 album—also marks his personal best sales week. His last album, 2011's Take Care, started at No. 1 with 631,000. His full-length debut, Thank Me Later, launched at No. 1 with 447,000 in 2010. The year before that, his debut EP, So Far Gone, bowed and peaked at No. 6 with sales of 73,000 copies.

This week marks the fourth week in a row that the Billboard 200's top three albums are debuts. It’s the first time that that’s happened in a year. It last occurred on the four charts dated Sept. 22, 2012, through Oct. 13, 2012. 

Coming in at No. 2 this week is Kings of Leon's Mechanical Bull, selling 110,000. It marks the band's third top 10 album, following 2010's Come Around Sundown (No. 2 debut and peak with 184,000) and 2008's Only by the Night (a No. 5 debut with 74,000 that later peaked at No. 4).

At No. 3, Cher's notches her highest debut ever—and highest-charting solo album—as her new set Closer to the Truth bows with 63,000 sold. It’s her first album since 2002's Living Proof.

Until this week, Cher had never gone higher than No. 4 with her solo albums, reaching that peak with both Believe in 1999 and The Very Best of Cher in 2003. As one-half of Sonny & Cher, she only went higher once, with 1965's No. 2-peaking Look at Us. It was stuck in the runner-up slot for eight weeks behind the Beatles' Help!

Right behind Cher is another entertainment icon that has been charting for decades: Elton John. His new studio album, The Diving Board, jumps in with a debut at No. 4 with 47,000 sold. It’s his 18th top 10 album.

Last week's No. 1 album, Jack Johnson's From Here to Now to You, falls to No. 5 with 37,000 (down 69% in its second week). Luke Bryan's Crash My Party holds at No. 6, selling 36,000 (down 24%).

Next up: We have three more debuts at Nos. 7, 8 and 9.

Progressive rock band Dream Theater logs its third consecutive top 10 album as its new self-titled set opens at No. 7 with 34,000. It follows 2011's A Dramatic Turn of Events (No. 8 debut and peak with 36,000) and 2009's Black Clouds & Silver Linings (No. 6 debut/peak with 40,000).

Dance trio Krewella arrives at No. 8 with its debut set, Get Wet, selling 27,000. The act has notched two songs on the Billboard Hot 100 thus far: Alive (No. 32 peak) and Live For the Night (No. 100).

Metallica is back in the top 10 for the first time since 2008, as its new live album/soundtrack to the movie Metallica: Through the Never bows at No. 9 with 26,000. The set is the group's ninth top 10 set overall. The band previously reached the region with Death Magnetic (No. 1, 2008), St. Anger (No. 1, 2003), S&M (No. 2, 1999), Garage, Inc. (No. 2, 1998), Reload (No. 1, 1997), Load (No. 1, 1996), Metallica (No. 1, 1991) and . . . And Justice for All (No. 6, 1988).

Closing out the top 10 is Justin Moore's Off the Beaten Path, which slips 2-10 in its second week, selling 25,000 (down 74%).

Over on the Digital Songs chart, Lorde's "Royals" is steady at No. 1, selling 294,000 downloads (down 4%). Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus also hold at Nos. 2 and 3 with "Roar" and "Wrecking Ball," respectively. The songs sold 239,000 (down 21%) and 221,000 (down 27%).

Avicii's "Wake Me Up!" rises one rung to No. 4 with 182,000 (down 4%), and Eminem's "Berzerk" climbs 9-5 with 134,000 (though it's down by 9%). Lady Gaga's "Applause" rises a spot to No. 6 with 133,000 (down 17%), and Jay Z's "Holy Grail," featuring Timberlake, rises 10-7 with 123,000 (down 8%).

Perry's "Dark Horse," featuring Juicy J, drops 4-8 in its second week, selling 104,000 (down 46%). Drake earns the chart's highest debut, bowing at No. 9 with "All Me," which sold 101,000. The song features 2 Chainz and Big Sean.

Lana Del Rey & Cedric Gervais' "Summertime Sadness" closes out the top 10, climbing three rungs to No. 10 with 99,000 (down 10%).

Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending Sept. 29) totaled 5.2 million units, up 13% compared with the sum last week (4.6 million) and down 10% compared with the comparable sales week of 2012 (5.7 million). Year-to-date album sales stand at 205.2 million, down 6% compared with the same total at this point last year (218.4 million).

Digital track sales this past week totaled 20.3 million downloads, down 7% compared with last week (21.9 million) and down 12% stacked next to the comparable week of 2012 (23.1 million). Year-to-date track sales are at 974.6 million, down 3% compared to the same total at this point last year (1 billion).

Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2012 when: Mumford & Sons' Babel held at No. 1 for a second week, selling 169,000 (down 72%). Muse's The 2nd Law debuted in the runner-up slot, selling 102,000

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