Despite a 61% decline in sales, Mariah Carey's Island Def Jam set "E=MC2" remains atop The Billboard 200 for a second straight week. The album, the diva's sixth No. 1, moved 182,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan. British singer Leona Lewis' "Spirit" (Syco/J) follows suit, staying put at No. 2 in its second week with 96,000 and a 1% sales increase.
Parody musical duo Flight Of The Conchords' self-titled full-length debut bows at No. 3 with 52,000. The Sub Pop album comes on the heels of "The Distant Future" EP, released in October, which reached No. 116 on The Billboard 200. This is the Seattle indie label's highest-charting title since the Shins' "Wincing the Night Away" bowed at No. 2 in February 2007.
With 47,000 copies, Ashlee Simpson's "Bittersweet World" (Geffen) debuts at No. 4, her first album not to take the No. 1 spot on the chart. Her first two albums, 2004's "Autobiography" and 2005's "I Am Me," both started at No. 1.
Hip-hop artist Atmosphere easily scores his best sales and chart week ever as "When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Sh*t Gold" (Rhymesayers) starts at No. 5 with 36,000. His previous charting high-water mark came from 2005's "You Can't Imagine How Much Fun We're Having," which peaked at No. 66. "When Life..." also becomes the highest-charting album for the Rhymesayers label; the previous best was, again, Atmosphere's stop at No. 66.
The multi-label "NOW 27" compilation slips 5-6 with 32,000 (-17%), while the Rhino soundtrack to "Juno" bounces back 8-7 with 31,000 (-2%). George Strait's "Troubadour" (MCA Nashville) falls 6-8 with 29,000, a 24% dip. Taylor Swift's self-titled Big Machine set climbs 10-9 with a 9% sales loss to 27,000.
Country singer Phil Vassar ties his previous charting best with his first Universal South album "Prayer of a Common Man" at No. 10; the set sold 27,000. His 2006 "Greatest Hits" collection also achieved the same peak. Sales of this set are fueled by his new single "Love is a Beautiful Thing," which continues to climb the Hot Country Songs chart and currently sits at No. 5.
Story Of The Year has the next biggest debut on The Billboard 200 as "The Black Swan" (Epitaph) starts with 21,000 at No. 18, one slot better than the No. 19 debut of its 2005 album "In the Wake of Determination." Other debuts this week include California-by-way-of-Boston duo the Weepies' "Hideaway" (Nettwerk) at No. 31 with 14,000 and rapper Prodigy's "H.N.I.C. Pt. 2" (AAO Music) at No. 36 with 13,000.
Album sales this week are down 8% from last week's sum with 6.87 million units and down 11% from the same week last year.