Rihanna Gets First No. 1 Album on Billboard 200

 

The busy Thanksgiving holiday shopping week has predictably shaken up the Billboard 200, sending a diva to No. 1 for the first time and rearranging many of the albums on the tally.

As earlier reported, Rihanna's Unapologetic opens at No. 1 with 238,000 sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan, marking her first chart-topper. The release, her seventh album, follows six earlier top 10 sets dating back to her first album in 2005.

Last week's leader, One Direction's Take Me Home, falls to No. 3 with 176,000 in its second week (down 67%) while Taylor Swift's Red holds steady at No. 2 with 185,000 (up 28%).

American Idol winner Phillip Phillips' debut album, The World From the Side of the Moon, starts at No. 4 with 169,000. 2011 champ Scotty McCreery entered at No. 1 in October of that year with his first album, Clear As Day. It bowed with a more robust figure -- 197,000.

Kid Rock grabs his seventh top 10 album as Rebel Soul bows at No. 5 this week, moving 146,000 copies. It's his first major-label album to be sold digitally, though the bulk of his catalog is still unavailable as downloads. Digital sales amounted to 57,000 of first-week sales for Rebel Soul, and it enters at No. 3 on the Digital Albums chart.

The overall bow for Rebel Soul is the smallest for a Kid Rock studio set since Devil Without a Cause started with 4,000 way back in 1998. His last studio set, 2010's Born Free, launched at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 with 189,000. That was up a bit compared with the album that came before it, 2007's Rock N Roll Jesus, which entered at No. 1 with 172,000.

Back on this week's chart, Rod Stewart's Merry Christmas, Baby remains at No. 6 with 117,000 (up 47%) while P!nk's The Truth About Love jumps back into the top 10, rising 22-7 with 114,000 (up 334%).

The latter album profits from buzz generated by P!nk's acrobatic performance on the American Music Awards (Nov. 18) as well as discount pricing at major retailers. Last Thursday through Saturday (Nov. 22-24), the album was sale-priced for $7 at Target, while during the weekend, Best Buy offered it for $5.99. iTunes and Amazon MP3 also got in on the action, selling it for $6.99.

Jason Aldean's Night Train chugs back into the top 10 as well, moving 13-8 with 103,000 (up 157%). Like P!nk's set, Aldean's was also on sale at Target.

Right behind Aldean is a new arrival from Led Zeppelin, the live album Celebration Day (No. 9 with 101,000). The set, culled from a 2007 reunion concert in London, is the group's first new batch of recordings in decades. Celebration Day is Led Zeppelin's 13th top 10 album and first since the greatest-hits set Mothership debuted and peaked at No. 7 on the Dec. 1, 2007, chart.

Closing out the top 10 is Keyshia Cole's Woman to Woman, bowing in the No. 10 slot with 96,000. It's the singer's fifth straight top 10 debut in five tries and follows 2010's Calling All Hearts. That set launched and peaked at No. 9 with 128,000 sold during Christmas week that year.

Over on the Digital Songs chart, PSY's "Gangnam Style" returns to No. 1 with 229,000 (up 42%). Its big gain is owed to PSY's show-closing performance on The American Music Awards, where he collaborated with MC Hammer for a mashed-up version of "Gangnam Style" and "2 Legit 2 Quit."

Last week's No. 1, Rihanna's "Diamonds," slips to No. 2 with 176,000 (up 3%), while "The Voice" contestant Cassadee Pope arrives at No. 3 with "Over You" (152,000). Ke$ha's "Die Young" is stationary at No. 4 (151,000; up 14%), Bruno Mars' "Locked Out of Heaven" is pushed back 3-5 (slightly more than 151,000; up 2%), and Phillip Phillips' "Home" scales 9-6 (131,000; up 27%).

The Lumineers' "Ho Hey" dips, despite a gain, 5-7 with 126,000 (up 4%), Flo Rida's "I Cry" holds at No. 8 with 117,000 (up 12%), and Maroon 5's "One More Night" slips 7-9 with nearly 117,000 (down 1%). P!nk's "Try," the song she sang on The American Music Awards, jumps 33-10 with 101,000 (up 126%).

Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending Nov. 25) totaled 9.7 million units, up 44% compared with the sum last week (6.8 million) and down less than 1% compared with the comparable sales week of 2011 (9.8 million). Year-to-date album sales stand at 267.8 million, down 4% compared with the same total at this point last year (278.7 million).    
    
Digital track sales this past week totaled 24.1 million downloads, up 9% compared with last week (22 million) and up 9% stacked next to the comparable week of 2011 (22.1 million). Year-to-date track sales are at 1.2 billion, up 6% compared with the same total at this point last year (1.1 billion).  

Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2011 when: Michael Buble's Christmas held at No. 1 for a second week, selling 293,000 (up 29%). The chart's highest debut was at No. 23, where Trey Songz' Inevitable EP started with 27,000.

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