LOS ANGELES (Billboard) – Rock band Linkin Park notched its fourth No. 1 album on the U.S. pop chart Wednesday, narrowly beating R&B singer Trey Songz for top honors.
The Los Angeles-based group sold 241,000 copies of “A Thousand Suns” during the week ended September 19, according to tracking firm Nielsen SoundScan. Songz’s fourth album, “Passion, Pain & Pleasure,” arrived at No. 2 with 240,000. The exact difference between the two album was 1,005 units.
Linkin Park’s opening tally was off sharply from the 623,000-unit start for its last studio album, 2007′s “Minutes to Midnight.” The new album also managed to debut at No. 1 in Australia, Austria, Canada, Germany, New Zealand and Switzerland, the band’s spokeswoman said.
As for Songz, “Passion” becomes his highest-charting album with his best sales week: last year’s “Ready” started at No. 3 with 131,000.
Last week’s No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, Sara Bareilles’ “Kaleidoscope Heart,” tumbled to No. 12 with 28,000 in its second week, an ominous drop of 69%. It’s the second No. 1 set to fall out of the top 10 in its sophomore week this year, following B.o.B’s “The Adventures of Bobby Ray,” which also fell to No. 12.
As expected, the September 12 MTV Video Music Awards goosed the sales for many acts, even if some were squeezed lower in the rankings by a flush of new releases. Eminem, who opened the show and won two prizes, received a 10% boost in sales for “Recovery,” though it slipped one rung to No. 3 (89,000). Another performer, Justin Bieber, saw a 3% boost for “My World 2.0,” which fell two to No. 10 (36,000).
The chart’s largest unit gain was experienced by English pop singer Florence and the Machine’s “Lungs,” which vaulted 30 places to No. 14 after a 165% sales boost to 21,000.
The top 10 boasted another four new albums. Country singer Jamey Johnson scored his best sales week and ranking as “The Guitar Song” opened at No. 4 with 63,000. His 2008 release “That Lonesome Song” peaked at No. 28.
Robert Plant started at No. 5 with “Band of Joy,” selling 49,000. His previous release “Raising Sand,” a Grammy-winning collaboration with Alison Krauss, bowed at No. 2 in 2007 with 112,000 copies.
Weezer’s label debut for Epitaph Records, “Hurley,” opened at No. 6 with 45,000. It started off more slowly than the band’s underwhelming Interscope swan song “Raditude,” which debuted at No. 7 with 66,000 last November.
Killers frontman Brandon Flowers’ solo debut “Flamingo” flew in at No. 8 with 41,000.
Among the other holdovers, the “Now 35″ compilation fell four to No. 7 with 41,000, while Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” dropped five to No. 9 with 40,000.
Overall album sales totaled 5.35 million units, up 11% compared to the previous week, but down 17% compared to the comparable sales week of 2009. Year to date album sales stand at 210.7 million, down 13% compared to the same total at this point last year.