Rascal Flatts scores third straight No. 1


Amid a heavy week of new releases, Rascal Flatts scores its third straight No. 1 on The Billboard 200 with the Lyric Street set "Still Feels Good." The set sold 547,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan, the largest sum for a country act since the band's own "Me and My Gang" shifted 722,000 last year. The trio's third album, 2004's "Feels Like Today," also bowed at the summit.

All told, 11 of this week's top 20 albums are new releases. Keyshia Cole's sophomore set "Just Like You" (Imani/Geffen) bows at No. 2, besting the No. 6 peak of her 2005 debut "The Way It Is." Sales of 281,000 copies were fueled in part by the single "Let It Go" featuring Missy Elliott and Lil Kim, which continues to rise on the Hot 100 (currently at No. 7) and has already occupied the penthouse on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs tally.

Foo Fighters' Roswell/RCA album "Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace" enters at No. 3 on The Billboard 200 with 168,000. The band's last record, 2005's "In Your Honor," earned its best charting numbers, bowing at No. 2 with 311,000.

R&B vocalist Jill Scott scores her second best charting album this week with "The Real Thing: Words and Sounds Vol. 3" (Hidden Beach), which debuts at No. 4 with 148,000. Scott's 2004 album "Vol. 2" bowed and peaked at No. 3.

Kanye West's Def Jam album "Graduation" continues its decline, slipping 2-5 with a 41% sales slip to 133,000. Reba McEntire's MCA Nashville set "Reba Duets" experiences a 57% sales slide, falling to No. 6 after a No. 1 bow last week. Disney's "High School Musical 2" soundtrack is down 6-7 with 85,000 (-15%).

R&B group Jagged Edge nabs its fifth Billboard 200 charting album with "Baby Makin' Project" (So So Def/Island Urban), which debuts at No. 7 with 78,000. The quartet's self-titled 2006 effort peaked at No. 4.

Descending 3-9, 50's Cent's "Curtis" (Shady/Aftermath) moves 71,000 units, a 50% decline. Kenny Chesney's "Just Who I Am: Poets & Pirates" (BNA/Sony BMG Nashville) falls 5-10 with 68,000 (-39%).

After a three-year absence from the charts, Queen Latifah re-enters with her best charting album ever, "Trav'lin' Light" (Verve) at No. 11 with 51,000 copies. That surpasses the No. 16 debut and peak of her last set, 2004's "The Dana Owens Album."

Melissa Etheridge earns her 10th top 40 album on The Billboard 200 as "Awakening" (Island) debuts at No. 13 with 48,000. Her first album since 1998, Joni Mitchell's "Shine," released through the Starbucks label Hear Music, debuts at No. 14 with 40,000. Chaka Khan's "Funk This" (Burgundy) enters right behind that at No. 15 with 39,000, while "Tony Bennett Sings the Ultimate American Songbook, Vol. 1" (Columbia) lands at No. 16 with 36,000. Rapper Gorilla Zoe's Bad Boy artist debut "Welcome to the Zoo" bows at No. 18 with 35,000.

Other debuts this week include Dethklok's "Dethalbum" (Williams Street, No. 21, 34,000), the David Crowder Band's "Remedy" (Six Step, No. 22, 32,000), Iron & Wine's "The Shepherd's Dog" (Sub Pop, No. 24, 32,000), Down's "Down III" (Down/Warner Music Group, No. 26, 29,000), Chris Botti's "Italia" (Columbia, No. 27, 29,000), will.i.am's "Songs About Girls" (A&M, No. 38, 21,000) and the Cheetah Girls' "TCG" (Disney, No. 44, 19,000).

Sales this week are up 9.2% from last week's sum but down 8.5% compared to the same week last year at 9.05 million units.