Green Day takes top spot on Billboard 200
'Breakdown' No. 1 despite Wal-Mart sales banGreen Day bows at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with "21st Century Breakdown," selling 215,000 in an abbreviated three-day sales week. The Reprise/Warner Bros. set saw an off-cycle release on Friday, May 15 in order to more closely align its world-wide street dates. Nielsen SoundScan's tracking week ends on Sunday.
"Breakdown" gives the band its second chart-topper, following 2004's "American Idiot," which debuted with 267,000 after a normal-length's week of sales. Both "Breakdown" and "Idiot" were hampered by not being stocked in Wal-Mart stores, as the big box giant declines to stock albums that carry parental advisory stickers. (Neither album was available in an edited version.)
"Breakdown's" sales figure will perhaps grow on next week's chart, when it will have a full seven-day week's worth of sales reflected on the tally. However, Eminem's "Relapse" -- which was released yesterday (May 19) -- will presumably give the rapper his fifth consecutive No. 1 album.
In non-Green Day chart news this week, Cam'Ron's "Crime Pays" (Diplomatic Man/Asylum) cashes in with a No. 3 debut, selling 43,000 copies. That gives the rapper, who has been absent from the chart since 2006, his fifth top 10 album. Paul Wall's "Fast Life" (SwishaHouse/Asylum) enters at No. 15 on the Billboard 200 with 22,000. His last set, "Get Money Stay True," bowed at No. 8 with 92,000 in 2007. He topped the tally with "The Peoples Champ" in 2005 when that set opened at No. 1 with 176,000. Roots rock singer/songwriter Steve Earle achieves the highest charting album of his career as his "Townes" set (New West) bows at No. 19 with 18,000. The effort is comprised of 15 songs written by the late Townes Van Zandt.
New rock band Parachute lands at No. 39 with its debut album "Losing Sleep" (Mercury), starting with 11,000 solely from sales through the iTunes Store. The digital retailer got the set one week early -- all other physical and digital retailers bowed the album yesterday (May 19). Not coincidentally, the set's song "Under Control" was promoted as a free single of the week in the iTunes Store, which likely garnered a lot of consumers to snap up the economically priced $6.99 album.
Elsewhere in the top 10 this week, the "Hannah Montana: The Movie" soundtrack (Walt Disney) holds at No. 2 with 68,000 (down 17%); Lady GaGa's "The Fame" (Streamline/KonLive/Cherrytree/Interscope) moves up two slots to No. 4 with 41,000 (up less than 1%); Rascal Flatts' "Unstoppable" (Lyric Street) slips one position to No. 5 with 33,000 (down 44%); Bob Dylan's "Together Through Life" (Columbia) falls one rung to No. 6 with 31,000 (down 40%); Taylor Swift's "Fearless" (Big Machine) stays put at No. 7 with 30,000 (down 25%); Chrisette Michele's "Epiphany" (Def Jam) falls from No. 1 last week to No. 8 this week with 29,000 (down 65%); Rick Ross' "Deeper Than Rap" (Maybach/Slip-N-Slide/Def Jam) falls four slots to No. 9 with 26,000 (down 24%) and Ciara's "Fantasy Ride" (LaFace) rounds out the top 10, at No. 10 (26,000; down 68%), after its No. 3 opening last week.
Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending May 17) totaled 5.82 million units, down 10.5% compared to the sum last week (6.51 million) and down 21.6% compared to the same sales week of 2008 (7.43 million). Year to date album sales stand at 136.4 million, down 13.3% compared to the same total at this point last year (157.3 million).