For the first time in three years, the top three selling albums in the U.S. are all country efforts. Taylor Swift's "Speak Now" holds at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 for a second week (320,000; down 69% according to Nielsen SoundScan), Jason Aldean's "My Kinda Party" starts at No. 2 (193,000) and Sugarland's former No. 1 "The Incredible Machine" slips one rung to No. 3 (60,000; down 32%).
Country albums last monopolized the top three rungs on the chart dated Nov. 10, 2007, when Carrie Underwood's "Carnival Ride" debuted at No. 1 (527,000), Robert Plant and Alison Krauss' "Raising Sand" started at No. 2 (112,000) and Gary Allan's "Living Hard" bowed at No. 3 (69,000).
Last week, Swift's "Speak Now" made a historic 1,047,000 bow, just the 16th time since SoundScan began tracking sales in 1991 where an album sold at least 1 million copies in a week. As history has proven, it was all but a given that "Speak Now" would take a steep drop in sales this week. The set's 69% decline in on par with the sophomore-week dive of our last million-plusser: Lil Wayne's "Tha Carter III." It went from 1,006,000 in its premiere to 309,000 in its second stanza.
Back on this week's Billboard 200, "My Kinda Party's" start at No. 2 with 193,000 earns Aldean him his best sales week and a new peak on the list. His last album, 2009's "Wide Open," notched his previous best frame, when it started with 109,000 at No. 4.
Mariah Carey's second holiday album, "Merry Christmas II You," jingles in at No. 4 with 55,000 in its first week. It marks the diva's 16th top 10 set. Among women, only Barbra Streisand (with 30) and Madonna (19) have had more. Carey's first seasonal effort, 1994's "Merry Christmas," peaked at No. 3.
Lil Wayne's "I Am Not a Human Being" slips one spot to No. 5, though with a gain in sales, as it sells 49,000 in its sixth chart week (up 5%). Kings of Leon's "Come Around Sundown" falls three rungs to No. 6 with 40,000 (down 40%) while Eminem's "Recovery" descends two to No. 7 (38,000; up 1%).
Neil Diamond nets his 17th top 10 album, as "Dreams" debuts at No. 8 with 35,000. It's the singer's fourth top 10 release since 2005, when "12 Songs" began his recent hot streak with a No. 4 entry. He's since notched top 10s with "Home Before Dark" (No. 1 in 2008) and "Hot August Night/NYC" (No. 2 in 2009).
Right behind Diamond at No. 9 is Brad Paisley with "Hits Alive," which starts with 31,000. It's the country star's sixth top 10 effort and second best-of collection.
Rounding out the top 10 at No. 10 is "The Union," from Elton John and Leon Russell, falling four slots with 27,000 (down 27%).
On the Digital Songs chart this week, Rihanna's "What's My Name" (featuring Drake), starts at No. 1 with 235,000, marking the diva's ninth No. 1 -- and third this year. It's the second single to chart from Rihanna's upcoming "Loud" album, following "Only Girl (In The World)," which arrived at No. 1 with 249,000 a little over a month ago. Rihanna also topped the list back in July and August as the featured guest on Eminem's "Love the Way You Lie." Last week's No. 1 Digital Song, Ke$ha's "We R Who We R" falls to No. 2 with 220,000 (down 21%).
Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending Nov. 7) totaled 5.43 million units, down 6% compared to the sum last week (5.80 million) and down 21% compared to the comparable sales week of 2009 (6.86 million). Year to date album sales stand at 247.36 million, down 13% compared to the same total at this point last year (285.96 million).
Digital track sales this past week totaled 19.84 million downloads, up 6% compared to last week (18.77 million) and up 8% stacked next to the comparable week of 2009 (18.42 million). Year to date track sales are at 956.86 million, down less than 1% compared to the same total at this point last year (960.97 million).