It’s a big week for new music, as five albums debut inside the Billboard 200′s top 10 this week, including a bow at No. 1 for big-voiced pop newcomer Ariana Grande.
Grande tops the charts with Yours Truly, her debut studio album, selling 138,000 copies in its first week out, according to data from Nielsen SoundScan. Grande becomes the third act to score a No. 1 album with a debut in 2013, following A$AP Rocky‘s February release Long. Live. A$AP and Selena Gomez‘s July release Stars Dance.
Much of the 20-year-old’s success is owed to two mediums: radio and TV. Her debut single “The Way” has peaked at No. 9 on the Hot 100, while her starring role on the Nickelodeon sitcom Sam & Cat — in which she reprises the role of Cat Valentine she originated in Nickelodeon’s four-season run of Victorious — has kept her profile high among the teen demographic.
It was a tight race to the finish, Billboard reports. Early forecasts saw Yours Truly neck-and-neck with Love & War, the sophomore release from R&B artist Tamar Braxton. According to Billboard, Grande’s camp, which includes Bieber’s manager Scooter Braun, launched a download promotion for the new album last Thursday (Sept. 5), which gave those who purchased Yours Truly through the singer’s website through last Sunday (Sept. 8) a ticket to an upcoming event with Grande later this year. The promotion accelerated sales by between 5,000 and 7,000 copies, label sources confirmed.
That gap ended up not mattering, as Love & War manages sales of 114,000. That’s still a striking return to the charts for Braxton, who last released an album — Tamar — in 2000. That album peaked at No. 127 on the Billboard 200. Love & War, meanwhile, hits the No. 1 spot on the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. The eponymous lead single has peaked at No. 57 on the Hot 100 and at No. 13 on the R&B chart.
A third debut hit six digits in album sales this week, too. The return of Nine Inch Nails sees Trent Reznor and co. sell 107,000 copies of Hesitation Marks, the band’s first album since 2008′s The Slip. “Came Back Haunted,” the set’s lead single, has found a home on alternative rock radio, peaking at No. 7 on the Alternative Songs chart.
Braxton isn’t the only R&B artist to score a top five debut. John Legend debuts at No. 4 with Love in the Future, his fourth disc. Legend sold 68,000 copies of the album, which is his sixth consecutive set that hits the top 10 on the Billboard 200. Evolver, his last solo record, also debuted at No. 4, but with 133,000 albums moved in 2008.
The week’s other top 10 debut is another player in the R&B world. Jaheim notches a No. 6 debut with Appreciation Day, the singer-songwriter’s sixth studio album, selling 58,000 copies. That tally, according to Billboard, is his lowest first-week sales number, with his previous low 2001′s Ghetto Love, which sold 80,000.
Luke Bryan becomes the week’s highest-ranking returning act on the chart. Crash My Party falls from No. 2 to No. 5, after debuting at No. 1 two weeks ago. The album sold 68,000 copies this week, making its total tally 847,000 since its release.
Blurred Lines from Robin Thicke continues to decline in chart position fairly steadily, though the album’s 57,000 copies sold is a 3 percent increase from last week. The album hits No. 7 this week, one spot from last week’s rank.
Justin Timberlake‘s The 20/20 Experience (38,000) and Imagine Dragons’ Night Visions (35,000) round out the top 10.
-Kevin Rutherford, Radio.com