Mariah Carey chalks up No. 1 with 'E=MC2'


After "Emancipation," a proclamation: Mariah Carey is all the way back.

Obliterating any cloudy memories of her "Glitter" fiasco, the pop diva attacks the Billboard 200 this week with "E=MC2," her sixth No. 1 album. The follow-up to her comeback smash "The Emancipation of Mimi," the biggest-selling album of 2005, gives Carey the best opening week of her career and the largest first-week total of any record this year.

The full-throated singer-songwriter is now tied with Madonna and Janet Jackson for the second-most No. 1 albums, behind only Barbra Streisand's eight. It should be a brief three-way tie, however, as Madonna's "Hard Candy" streets Tuesday.

No tears for Carey, though: Her albums have sold a combined 50 million units in the 17-year SoundScan era, third on the list behind Garth Brooks (67.8 million) and the Beatles (56.2 million).

The only new entry in the top 10 this week is the self-titled debut from country trio Lady Antebellum. It's the first rookie album by a duo or group to debut at No. 1 on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart. The Nashville group's first single, "Love Don't Live Here," also cracks the country singles top 10 this week.

Meanwhile, a pair of former top 10 mainstays roar back into the upper echelon this week. "Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: The Best of Both Worlds Concert" vaults from No. 31 to a new peak of No. 3 with a 162% gain. The set became available to all music sellers last week after spending its first five weeks of release as a Wal-Mart exclusive. Coincidentally, the "Juno" soundtrack also sees a 162% surge, spurred by the DVD release of the Oscar-nominated indie comedy. The set rockets 38 notches.

Two rock acts return to the top 20: Thrice's "The Alchemy Index Vols. III and IV: Air and Earth" (Vagrant) starts at No. 17 with 21,000 units, and Rush's "Snakes and Arrows Live" (Atlantic) slithers in at No. 18 with 21,000

Overall album sales are up 1.9% from last week at 7.5 million units but down 8.1% from the same week in 2007.

The complete top 10:

1. "E=MC2," Mariah Carey (Island, 463,000 units)

2. "Spirit," Leona Lewis (Syco, 95,000)

3. "Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert," Miley Cyrus (Walt Disney/Hollywood, 47,000)

4. "Lady Antebellum," Lady Antebellum (Capitol Nashville, 43,000)

5. "Now 27," Various artists (Sony BMG/EMI/Universal/Zomba, 39,000)

6. "Troubadour," George Strait (MCA Nashville, 38,000)

7. "Alvin and the Chipmunks," Soundtrack (Razor & Tie, 32,000)

8. "Juno," Soundtrack (Rhino, 31,000)

9. "Accelerate," R.E.M. (Warner Bros., 30,000)

10. "Taylor Swift," Taylor Swift (Big Machine, 30,000)

Billboard analyst Keith Caulfield contributed to this report.