First! For the first time in a while, there was an actual horse race for No. 1 on the Billboard 200 this week. Linkin Park sold 223,000 copies of Living Things per Nielsen SoundScan — just 1,000 copies more than Maroon 5 sold of Overexposed — giving the band a very narrow victory and its fifth No. 1 album since 2000. Billboard tells us that's more than any other band.
2 Through 10: Bolstered by the success of last year's inescapable abomination "Moves Like Jagger," Maroon 5 took second place with their fourth album. Justin Bieber's Believe slipped to No. 3 with a still-impressive 115,000 copies sold, followed by a pair of debuts — Maybach Music Group Presents: Self Made 2 with 98K and R. Kelly's Write Me Back with 68K. Billboard reports this is Kelly's worst opening week since in 1993 solo debut. Kenny Chesney's Welcome to the Fishbowl dropped to 6 (61,000), Adele's 21 sticks around the Top 10 at No. 7 (42,000), One Direction's Up All Night took No. 8 (39,000), and Usher's Looking 4 Myself and Rock of Ages soundtrack close out the Top 10 with 36,000 and 28,000, respectively.
Rock Unsteady: Linkin Park's No. 1 notches only the third real top-charting rock album of the year — and we're already past the halfway point of 2012. Only Bruce Springsteen (in March) and Jack White (in May) have managed to reach the Top 200's top spot (we are not counting John Mayer's sappy Born and Raised in this tally). Still, Billboard maintains rock is having a decent year, earning five of the Top 20 selling albums of the year so far in their midway report. The highest-ranking of these LPs is Gotye's Making Mirrors with 538,000 copies sold.
Collecting on the Call: Carly Rae Jepsen is still No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with "Call Me Maybe," which by now 251,000 more people have heard (according to the Digital Songs chart sales figure).