Juvenile took the Number One spot this week, with his latest album, Reality Check, selling 174,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan. While the New Orleans rapper was completing the record,hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck, and Juvenile was inspired to write the angry "Get Ya Hustle On," a rallying cry for everybody who "need a check from FEMA" after they "lost everything in Katrina."
Juvenile's triumphant arrival knocked last week's top album, R&B crooner Ne-Yo's In My Own Words, down four places to Number Five (114,000). And last week's Number Two, the tween-centric soundtrack to the Disney Channel movie High School Musical, fell to Number Three, moving another 138,000 copies. Meanwhile, sensitive pretty boy James Blunt rose an impressive seven spots, crawling up from Number Nine to a close second place (161,000).
Last week saw a major fleet of new releases, and the chart activity reflects the impressive set of debuts. Take Hasidic reggae sensation Matisyahu, who's got two albums on this week's chart. Riding high on the title single, Matisyahu's studio debut, Youth, bowed at Number Four, selling 119,000 copies in its first week in stores. And his live album, Live at Stubbs, out for eighteen weeks, continues to sit pretty in the Thirties, down six spots to Thirty-Six (25,000).
On the heels of a talked-about Pink Floyd reunion at last year's Live 8, David Gilmour's first solo album in more than two decades, On an Island, charted at Number Six, with a substantial 96,000 CDs sold. The release precedes a rare and brief North American tour, slated to kick off April 4th in New York.
Also notable in the Top Ten are two Johnny Cash compilations, which continue to experience sales spikes in the wake of the biopic Walk the Line's Oscar win. A collection of the Man in Black's hits, The Legend of Johnny Cash, moved another 70,000 copies to slip just two spots to Number Eight; while the movie's soundtrack climbed two places to Number Nine (63,000).
Meanwhile, a cluster of other high-profile releases brought mixed results. Veteran Southern gangsta Scarface debuted high, with his latest, My Homies, Part 2, bowing at Number Twelve (58,000). And Van Morrison's country album, Pay the Devil, debuted at Number Twenty-Six (32,000). But one promising debut did not pan out: the first effort from the Little Willies -- a.k.a. Norah Jones' side project. The multiplatinum, Grammy-winning crooner apparently couldn't sprinkle the same pixie dust over her country outfit's self-titled album: The Little Willies moved a modest 20,000 copies to bow at Number Forty-Eight.
With no big players hitting the shelves, next week expect to see Juvenile and Blunt battle it out -- in a fight that would have far more predictable results in life than on the album chart.
This week's Top Ten: Juvenile's Reality Check; James Blunt's Back to Bedlam; High School Musical: The Original Soundtrack; Matisyahu's Youth; Ne-Yo's In My Own Words; David Gilmour's On an Island; Carrie Underwood's Some Hearts; Johnny Cash's The Legend of Johnny Cash; Walk the Line; Jack Johnson and Friends' Sing-A-Longs and Lullabies for the Film "Curious George".