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Eminem’s ‘The Marshall Mathers LP 2’ Debuts at No. 1, Bests 2010’s ‘Recovery’

[UPDATED: 3:18 p.m. PST] Rap titan Eminem conquered the U.S. album chart last week, completely dominating the field with the second-best debut performance of 2013 to date.

“The Marshall Mathers LP 2” (Interscope) rocketed to No. 1 with a 792,000-copy bow, according to Nielsen SoundScan data for the week ending Nov. 10. So far this year, that number has been bested only by Justin Timberlake’s 968,000-unit first-week score with “The 20/20 Experience.”

It is the Detroit performer’s seventh No. 1 release, and it managed an unlikely feat in a year of sagging sales by outdoing its predecessor’s arrival: 2010’s “Recovery” settled in with a 741,000-unit first week.

A measure of Eminem’s sales potency can be seen in the comparatively quiet performance by fresh competition on the chart. Canadian pop songstress Celine Dion’s “Loved Me Back to Life” (Columbia) debuted at No. 2 with a 77,000-unit total – less than 10% of the tally for “Mathers 2.” The bilingual Dion’s last English-language release, 2007’s “Taking Chances,” debuted at No. 3 with a 214,000-unit frame.

Another, very different Canadian talent, Avril Lavigne, boarded her self-titled Epic release at No. 5, shifting 44,000. It’s the vocalist’s fifth top-five album in her 11-year, five-album career, but her lowest-charting U.S. set to date; 2011’s “Goodbye Lullaby” peaked at No. 4 in the wake of two No. 1 albums, 2007’s “The Best Damn Thing” and 2004’s “Under My Skin.”

The week’s other new entry was a cappella quintet Pentatonix’s “PTX V2” (Madison Gate), which logged on at No. 10 with 21,000 sold. In 2011, the Texas-bred group were winners on the self-descriptive NBC show “The Sing-Off”; they previously released two EPs.

The remainder of the top 10 titles: the Robertsons’ “Duck the Halls” (No. 3, 73,000 sold, up 5%), Katy Perry’s “Prism” (No. 4, 61,000, off 33%), Kelly Clarkson’s “Wrapped in Red” (No. 6, 43,000, off 39%), Drake’s “Nothing Was the Same” (No. 7, 37,000, down 3%), Lorde’s “Pure Heroine” (No. 8, 35,000, flat), and last week’s No. 1 title, Arcade Fire’s “Reflektor” (No. 9, 31,000, off 77%).

Next week will provide a test of Lady Gaga’s ongoing market strength, as her new “Artpop” makes its debut. Also on tap: a newly minted set of the perennially popular Beatles’ BBC recordings.

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