Record buyers flocked to Linkin Park this week, launching the latest disc from the California rap-rock giants into the top spot on the album charts and sending former champ 50 Cent to fourth in a session that was top-heavy with blockbuster new releases.
“Meteora” (Warner Bros.), Linkin Park’s first album of all-new material since 2000’s multiplatinum smash “Hybrid Theory,” sold more than 810,000 discs in its first week of release, according to data compiled by Soundscan.
The LP boys got a boost from near-incessant airplay of their first single, “Somewhere I Belong,” on both rock radio and musicvid channels — especially MTV2. The cable net debuted “Somewhere” along with a “Making the Video” special and a concert in Detroit.
Grabbing second was Celine Dion, whose latest effort, “One Heart” (Epic), sold nearly 432,000 units. The singer should get a boost in coming weeks from her multimillion-dollar Las Vegas stage show, which kicked off last month.
In third was the 12th installment of the megaselling pop-compilation series “Now That’s What I Call Music” (EMI). Album, which includes tracks from Nelly, Jennifer Lopez, Jay-Z and Beyonce Knowles, scanned 256,000 copies.
Last week’s topper 50 Cent slid down to fourth with “Get Rich or Die Tryin’ ” (Interscope/Aftermath), selling 193,000 units, while former silver medalist Norah Jones slipped to fifth with her smash “Come Away With Me” (Blue Note), with 149,000 discs sold.
‘U Turn’ debuts 7th
Among the other high-placed debuts was “U Turn” (Motown), from R&B singer Brian McKnight, which claimed seventh place and sold 109,000 discs. One spot lower in eighth was hardcore rap act the Diplomats, whose Def Jam debut “Diplomatic Immunity” scanned 92,000 units. And dirty-South rappers the Hot Boys bowed at 14 with “Let Em Burn” (Universal), on sales of 64,000 copies.
Urban pop foursome B2K scored big gains in the latest frame with a repackaged release of their CD “Pandemonium!” (Epic). Disc, which features three new tracks, shot up 71 places to No. 13, boosting sales almost fourfold to 64,000 units.
Also making significant gains was “Unleashed” (DreamWorks), from country star Toby Keith. Album, which moved up 13 spots to No. 29 on a 31% sales gain, has gained extra traction during the war with Iraq thanks to its ultra-patriotic single “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (Angry American).”
Next week will see the debut of “Elephant” (V2 Records), the long-anticipated fourth disc from indie-rock duo the White Stripes. While unlikely to dislodge Linkin Park from No. 1, album stands a solid chance at grabbing a top 10 spot.