First! Carrie Underwood's big arrival on the Billboard 200 this week makes Jack White's personally historic No. 1 last week look slightly less impressive, regardless of how much we loved that album. The American Idol superstar's latest LP Blown Away sold 267,000 copies, nearly doubling Blunderbuss's 138,000, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
2 Through 10: Norah Jones' ...Little Broken Hearts arrives at No. 2 with a seemingly impressive 110,000 copies, but actually marks her second-smallest debut since her first disc, which only sold 10,000 copies. At No. 3 is yet another Now compilation (Now 42) with 95,000 copies, while Adele takes a blistering loss and hits No. 4 with an inhumane 77,000 copies. B.o.B's Strange Clouds debuts at No. 5 (76,000), Lionel Richie slides to No. 6 (64,000), and Jack White's Blunderbuss takes a 60 percent hit at No. 7 (56,000). One Direction are still in the top 10 at No. 8 (45,000), while their polar opposite, Marilyn Manson, makes another Top 10 debut with Born Villain at No. 10 (38,000). The soundtrack for the TV show Smash clocked in at No. 9 with 39,000.
The MCA Factor: The death of Beastie Boys' Adam "MCA" Yauch last Friday had a huge impact on the group's sales, launching Licensed to Ill — the album that, incidentally, was the first rap album to ever top the Billboard 200 — back into the Top 20. Six of their other albums — Solid Gold Hits (No. 51), Paul's Boutique (No. 56), Hot Sauce Committee Part Two (No. 107), Ill Communication (No. 109), Check Your Head (No. 124), and Beastie Boys Anthology: The Sounds of Science (No. 141) — also returned to the chart. SoundScan puts their overall album sales growth at a whopping 1,235 percent, from 4,000 to 55,000 collective copies week over week. And that only reflects two full days of sales, since Yauch's death was announced on May 4 and tracking for each week's charts ends on the Sunday before the figures are released (in other words, album sales for the Beastie Boys this week only reflect the full days of May 5 and 6).
Underwood, Over Most: Carrie Underwood's Blown Away is the second-largest debut of 2012, just behind Madonna's MDNA. It's also a coup for country, because as Billboard notes, it's the best sales week for the genre since Lady Antebellum's Own the Night sold 347,000 back in October.