The eagerly awaited and highly publicized album from Mariah Carey nabbed the top spot on the nation’s album sales chart according to sales data released Wednesday. Her Columbia Records disc “Butterfly” has sold more 235,000 copies since its Sept. 16 bow.

“Butterfly” pushed last week’s leader LeAnn Rimes into the No. 2 spot even though her third album, “You Light Up My Life,” sold an impressive 204,000 copies and topped the tally logged during its first week of sales. The Curb Records disc again led the country and contemporary Christian listings as well.

Another debut, Busta Rhymes’ “When Disaster Strikes” disc, checked in at No. 3 on sales of 165,000 copies. The Elektra Entertainment disc, like Carey’s, benefited from a well-planned setup by label marketers.

Rapper Master P, whose recently said he’ll retire from recording albums and focus on film and TV, slipped two notches to No. 4. His No Limit Records disc “Ghetto D” sold more than 124,000 copies and put the disc over 500,000 units in just three weeks.

The entrepreneur posted a slim lead over Puff Daddy’s Bad Boy/Arista Records disc “No Way Out,” which moved 119,000 copies and into the No. 5 post.

Fleetwood Mac’s Reprise Records “The Dance” logged 103,000 copies and landed at No. 6, while crossover artists Jars of Clay, who routinely top the contemporary Christian music charts, bowed at No. 7 with its latest “Much Afraid.” The disc found favor with 101,000 consumers.

Jewel, the Energizer Bunny of the pop albums chart, checked in at No. 8 on sales of 92,000 copies of her Atlantic Records debut “Pieces of You.” The diminutive diva is the longest resident of the chart’s Top 100 listings (84 weeks) and her disc has crossed the 4.5 million unit tally.

Trisha Yearwood added 90,000 copies to her 400,000-plus unit tally for her MCA Nashville disc “Songbook — A Collection.” The disc nabbed the chart’s No. 9 post.

Danish group Aqua’s debut release “Aquarium,” which opened at No. 15 on sales of 55,000 copies, jumped five notches to No. 10 on sales of 90,000 copies.

Sales of the disc were undoubtedly helped in part by the publicity surrounding the lawsuit filed by Mattel against MCA Records over the group’s satirical hit song, “Barbie Girl.”

Other notable entries this week included a significant bow from Arista’s soundtrack to the Fox pic “Soul Food” and a potent showing from comedian Adam Sandler.

The Arista soundtrack, which boasts a who’s who of urban/R&B powerhouses, bowed at No. 16 on sales of 64,000 copies, while Sandler’s latest — in which he departs from his previous offerings and sings through the disc — landed at No. 18.

The actor/comedian’s Warner Bros. Records disc “What’s Your Name” logged 63,000 copies thanks primarily to the frequent air and video play of the kickoff track “The Lonesome Kicker,” as Sandler has done little to promote the album.

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