Alicia Keys returns to the top of The Billboard 200 with "As I Am," making this her fourth non-consecutive week at No. 1. The J Records effort had a 3% sales bump to 61,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The Rhino soundtrack to "Juno" is displaced 1-2 with 55,000, a 15% slip.
Moving 54,000 copies, the Mars Volta earns its best charting week ever, arriving at No. 3. The rock band has put two previous albums into the top 10, with better sales results: 2005's "Frances the Mute" bowed at No. 4 with 123,000 while 2006's "Amputechture" debuted at No. 9 with 59,000.
Bullet For My Valentine has a big charting and sales week, as "Scream Aim Fire" starts at No. 4 with 53,000. It easily trumps the band's previous best, the group's 2006 album "The Poison" only climbed to No. 128; that set, however, has gone on to sell 375,000.
The "2008 Grammy Nominees" multi-artist compilation album bows at No. 5 with 50,000 units. As one would expect, the Grammy Recordings/Hip-O/UMe set boasts tracks from this year's biggest awards nominees, including Feist, Amy Winehouse, Maroon 5, Kanye West and Herbie Hancock. Last year's "2007" edition started at No. 4 with 77,000 but rebounded two weeks later to a series-high chart peak and sales week at No. 3 with 131,000.
Mary J. Blige's Matriarch/Geffen album "Growing Pains" falls 4-6 with 47,000, a 4% sales increase.
Featuring dance remixes of the original "Hannah Montana 2" Disney movie soundtrack, the "Hannah Montana 2: Non-Stop Dance Party" album begins at No. 7 with 40,000. It comes on the heels of a weekend when Miley Cyrus' "Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour" film started atop the U.S. and Canadian box office with a powerful $31 million.
Keyshia Cole's "Just Like You" (Confidential/Imani/Geffen) holds tight at No. 8 for a second week with a 17% sales increase to 36,000 while Taylor Swift's Big Machine self-titled debut slips 6-9 with a 4% increase to 36,000. Miley Cyrus' double-disc "Hannah Montana 2 (Soundtrack)/Meet Miley Cyrus" clings to the No. 10 slot for a third week with 35,000 (+19%).
Three other efforts bow inside the top 50 on The Billboard 200 this week. Sarah Brightman scores her highest charting spot as "Symphony" (Manhattan) debuts at No. 13 with 31,000 (her previous high-water mark came with 2000's "La Luna," which peaked at No. 17). XL signees Vampire Weekend's much-hyped self-titled debut climbs on board at No. 17, moving 28,000 copies. Opera star Andrea Bocelli's CD/DVD package "Vivere: Live in Tuscany" (Decca) bows at No. 22, coincidentally, with 22,000.
Sales this week are up 4% from last week at 7.60 million units and down 18.9% from the same week last year. At 38.2 million units, this year's sales total is down 12% from the same sum last year.