The Big News: 16 years of anticipation wasn't enough to get Guns N' Roses back atop the charts as Axl Rose's opus Chinese Democracy disappointed the music industry with only 261,000 exclusive-to-Best Buy copies sold, good for third place in the most competitive sales week of 2008. Kanye West's 808s & Heartbreak also came in below estimated sales figures, but his 450,000 in debut sales were enough to pry the top spot away from Beyoncé's I Am...Sasha Fierce, which fell to four. Here's where things get wacky: At number two, ahead of Chinese Democracy and new albums by the Killers and Ludacris, was Taylor Swift's Fearless, which surged up from four last week thanks to a 23% sales increase. Fearless also crossed the platinum barrier after only three weeks.
Debuts: Ludacris' Theater of the Mind grabbed number five, coming in ahead of the Killers' Day & Age at six. Coldplay's Prospekt's March EP entered at 15, one slot behind Barry Manilow's Greatest Songs of the 80s. Paul McCartney side project the Fireman's Electric Arguments slotted at 67, Scott Weiland's Happy In Galoshes settled in at 96 and Rivers Cuomo's Alone 2 bowed at 174.
Last Week's Heroes: It's no secret that this week's slate of major releases disappointed at the cash register as Black Friday music sales were down substantially from last year. Among those who also under whelmed were Nickelback's Dark Horse, which stumbled from two to seven in its second week, and David Cook, whose self-titled album fell from three down to ten. Next week, we'll find out if Britney Spears' Circus can muster up the sales to reclaim the apex of the charts.