Prince cast a funky purple glow over the charts this week, selling 183,000 copies of his 3121, according to Nielsen SoundScan, to capture Number One. Critically acclaimed and boasting the sexed-up single "Black Sweat," 3121 finds the Artist Formerly Known as a Symbol making music in the vein of his equally commercially successful album, 2004's Musicology. Though his songs might be slightly more PG-13 these days, Prince still injected some much-needed adult content into a chart recently dominated by the underage set.
Case in point: the soundtrack to the Disney Channel's Grease-like movie, High School Musical, gratefully fell from the top spot to Number Two. Still, the album moved another 152,000 copies this week, proving that singing kids possess a magical money-spending power over their parents. This has got to be frustrating British pretty boy James Blunt, whose Back to Bedlam dropped one spot to Number Three (111,000), still unable to beat out the Disney set.
Prince aside, R&B and hip-hop made a more modest showing in this week's Top Ten, and some high-performing rappers took major sales hits.
First, the good news: Rapper B.G.'s The Heart of Tha Streetz Vol. 2 debuted at Number Six (62,000), and young crooner Ne-Yo sold 72,000 copies of In My Own Words, dropping just one place to Number Five. But last week's debut sensation, E-40's My Ghetto Sensation, plummeted in a major way. The face of San Francisco's Hyphy movement dropped from a bright Number Three to Twenty-One, moving only 39,000 copies. And Reality Check, the latest from seemingly unbeatable New Orleans-born rapper Juvenile took a beating, dropping ten spots to Number Fifteen (44,000).
Elsewhere, a series of American Idol appearances helped boost sales for Barry Manilow, whose adult contemporary favorite, The Greatest Songs of the Fifties, zipped up twenty places to Number Four (78,000). And country stalwart Alan Jackson's gospel album, Precious Memories, climbed five spots to Number Nine (56,000).
Other notable Top Ten debuts include Ben Harper, a favorite on the jam-band circuit. His critically lauded double-album, Both Sides of the Gun, sold 59,000 copies -- enough to propel it to Number Seven. And for a fresh teen injection, seventeen-year-old singer-songwriter Teddy Geiger earned high marks this week with his punny debut, Underage Thinking (Number Eight, 56,000).
Watch the charts next week to see if rapper Ghostface Killah can redeem the lagging hip-hop sales. And the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, led by singer Karen O's banshee wail, might rattle up the charts with their strong sophomore effort, Show Your Bones.
This week's Top Ten: Prince's 3121; High School Musical: The Original Soundtrack; James Blunt's Back to Bedlam; Barry Manilow's The Greatest Songs of the Fifties; Ne-Yo's In My Own Words; B.G.'s The Heart of Tha Streetz Vol 2.; Ben Harper's Both Sides of the Gun; Teddy Geiger's Underage Thinking; Alan Jackson's Precious Memories; Johnny Cash's The Legend of Johnny Cash.