The comeback album that won't quit, Mariah Carey's The Emancipation of Mimi, has sold another 172,000 copies to return to Number One this week, according to Nielsen SoundScan. This marks the pop diva's eighth week in stores without dipping below 170,000. Carey edged out Los Angeles metal act System of a Down, whose Mezmerize (the first half of a double album) climbed two spots to Number Two (118,000), and Audioslave, whose second effort Out of Exile fell two places in its second week to Three (99,000).
Rounding out the Top Five are country star Toby Keith's latest, Honkytonk University, which moved 85,000 copies to climb a rung to Number Four, and Gwen Stefani's Love, Angel, Music, Baby, which jumped five places to take Number Five (83,000). The No Doubt frontwoman's solo debut has shown incredible elasticity, earning its highest place yet after more than six months on the racks -- partly on the strength of her hit single "Hollaback Girl."
The latest album from rap superstar 50 Cent, The Massacre, has also refused to quit since its early March debut, and this week hopped three spots back into the Top Ten, at Number Eight (75,000). And former American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson's second record, Breakaway, also jumped, five places Number Nine (69,000).
Chicago rapper Common's return, the Kanye West-produced Be, held strong in its second week, down four spots to Number Six (77,000). And Blur frontman Damon Albarn's project, Gorillaz, keep their second studio effort Demon Days in the Top Twenty in its second week, down eight places to Number Fourteen (55,000) -- not bad for an animated concept band.
Meanwhile, the biggest debut this week came from Brit bad boys Oasis, long deemed tired by U.S. press. Their sixth studio album, Don't Believe the Truth, sold a very respectable 65,000 copies to enter at Number Twelve, nearly twice the wimpy sales of 2002's Heathen Chemistry -- though still not on a par with the Gallagher brothers' persistent claim at the title of "biggest band in the world." With the launch of their U.S. summer arena tour coming up in late June, Don't Believe may even have a healthy shelf life.
Smiles were turned upside down in Southern California rock band Seether, as their breakthrough album, Karma & Effect, sank from Number Eight to Twenty-Two (40,000) in just its second week out. And hip-hop duo Young Gunz couldn't keep Brothers From Another from plummeting -- from a promising Number Fifteen debut to Number Fifty-Three (20,000).
Three major releases will vie for the top spots next week: British rockers Coldplay's much-hyped third album, X&Y; Detroit garage duo the White Stripes' fifth album, Get Behind Me Satan; and Los Angeles hip-hoppers Black Eyed Peas' fourth album, Monkey Business. While Coldplay should take the top slot, look for the Stripes and the Peas to have their highest first-week sales yet.
This week's Top Ten: Mariah Carey's The Emancipation of Mimi; System of a Down's Mezmerize; Audioslave's Out of Exile; Toby Keith's Honkytonk University; Gwen Stefani's Love, Angel, Music, Baby; Common's Be; Dave Matthews Band's Stand Up; 50 Cent's The Massacre; Kelly Clarkson's Breakaway; Il Divo's Il Divo.