"Charmbracelet," Mariah Carey's much-hyped first MonarC/Island album, had solid first week sales of 241,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan, but it wasn't enough to knock country diva Shania Twain from the top of The Billboard 200. Twain's "Up" (Mercury Nashville) leads for a third-straight week with 317,000 units, while Carey's has to settle for a No. 3 entry.
"Charmbracelet" also fell a few thousand units short of Tim McGraw's latest Curb effort. His "Tim McGraw and the Dancehall Doctors" sold 251,000 units in its second week, a 58% slide from the previous week, and remains locked in the No. 2 spot on the tally. Twain and McGraw also hold fast at first and second, respectively, on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart.
Carey has been making the media rounds of late, appearing on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," NBC's "Dateline," and an MTV special. All the promotion added up to first week sales for "Charmbracelet" that easily eclipsed that of last year's Virgin soundtrack to her film "Glitter," which sold 116,000 units in its first week, and topped-off at about half a million. Carey's promotional blitz continued this morning (Dec. 11) with a performance at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn., that was broadcast live by NBC's "Today."
Elsewhere on the chart, the 11th edition of the "NOW! That's What I Call Music" (Sony/Universal/EMI/Zomba) series holds at No. 4 despite suffering a 40% sales hit to 223,000 copies. The Eminem-led soundtrack to "8 Mile" (Shady/Interscope) falls two notches to No. 5, the result of a 44% sales decline to 221,000 units. Sales of Avril Lavigne's "Let Go" (Arista) slipped 22% to 176,000 units, but that's enough to fuel a three-position jump up to No. 6. To date, more than 2.5 million copies of "Let Go" have been sold.
In its second week on the tally, Jennifer Lopez's "This Is Me ... Then" (Epic), saw a 46% sales dip to 171,000 copies, but falls only one slot to No. 7. Its two-week total is just shy of the half-million mark. 2Pac's "Better Days" (Interscope) slides three slots to No. 8 on The Billboard 200 following a 55% sales slip to 163,000 units. In urban markets, however, 2Pac continues to reign, and the album tops Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart for a second-straight week.
The Dixie Chicks' "Home" (Monument/Columbia) jumps back 17-9 in its 14th week on the tally thanks to sales of 144,000 copies. Look for a strong performance from the Chicks next week as well, as the group starred last night in an hour-long NBC performance special. Rounding out the top-10 is another country effort, Faith Hill's "Cry" (Warner Nashville), which slides 42% to sales of 133,000 copies. "Cry" was up to No. 7 last week after the singer was featured on a NBC Thanksgiving night special.
The only other debut inside the top half of The Billboard 200 is Josh Groban's "In Concert," which arrives at No. 35 on sales of 59,000 copies. The Reprise artist made television appearances last week on "Live With Regis and Kelly" and "Access Hollywood" to promote the album, which also helped fuel a 41% sales jump for his self-titled debut, causing a 27-12 increase on the chart. The latter album has sold close to 2 million units this year.
The Billboard 200 will be posted tomorrow on Billboard.com.
-- Todd Martens, L.A.