Edges out Maroon 5 by just over 1,200 units

In a now-rare face-off between two popular rock bands, Linkin Park took top honors over Maroon 5 and captured No. 1 on the U.S. album chart with its new “Living Things.”

Edging out its competitor by just over 1,200 units, Linkin Park’s latest Warner Bros. album led with opening-week sales of 224,000, according to Nielsen SoundScan data for the week ending July 1.

It’s the Southern California band’s fourth chart-topping collection. Sales have suffered a minor comparative drop-off since 2010’s “A Thousand Suns,” which bowed with a 241,000-unit week.

Maroon 5’s “Overexposed” (Octone/A&M) matches the debut position of the L.A. act’s last album, 2010’s “Hands All Over.” The new set’s first-week tally of 222,000 considerably betters the last album’s out-of-the-box total of 142,000 – thanks no doubt to Adam Levine’s exposure on NBC’s sing-off “The Voice.”

Facing a surprisingly large 69% decline, teen-popper Justin Bieber’s “Believe” (Island) dropped two slots in its second week, selling 115,000. Title entered at No. 1 last week with the best debut-week sales of the year to date.

The Maybach Music Group comp “Self Made, V. 2″ (Warner Bros.) entered at No. 4 with 98,000 sold. Set features tracks by top rappers Rick Ross, Wale and Meek Mill.

R&B star R. Kelly’s “Write Me Back” (RCA) moved in at No. 5 with a 68,000-unit entrance. While the set betters Kelly’s No. 6 bow of “Love Letter,” his unit numbers are way off; last collection pulled in 154,000 its first week.

Holdovers took up remainder of the week’s top 10 with eroding sales: Kenny Chesney’s “Welcome to the Fishbowl” (No. 6, 61,000 sold, down 68%), Adele’s “21” (No. 7, 42,000, off 12%), One Direction’s “Up All Night” No. 8, 39,000, off 6%), Usher’s “Looking 4 Myself” (No. 9, 36,000, down 26%) and the “Rock of Ages” soundtrack (No. 10, 28,000, down 42%).

New titles by Chris Brown and Flo Rida lead the competition for next week’s chart.

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