For a third week in a row, a country singer has the best-selling album in the country. Following on the heels of Zac Brown and Kenny Chesney, Toby Keith topped this week's Billboard 200 chart with Bullets in the Gun.
Making the feat somewhat less impressive: the 71,000 copies of Bullets that were purchased in its first week of sales is the lowest total by a chart-topping debut album since Nielsen SoundScan started tracking sales in 1991 (that doesn't mean it's the lowest-selling number 1 in history; as Billboard points out, Justin Bieber's My World 2.0 was number one with just 60,000 albums sold back in May, but it had been out for two months by then). Keith's 2009 album, American Ride, debuted at number 3, selling 90,000 copies in its first week.
Keith's numbers weren't the only figures to take a dip. Overall sales of albums were 4.89 million, 22% lower than the total for the same week last year.
To be fair, the rest of the albums in the top ten didn't offer Keith much support. The only other debuts on the chart were Bruno Mars' Doo-Wops & Hooligans, which lands at number 3 (with 55,000 copies sold) and Flockaveli by Waka Flocka Flame, which spends its first week at number 6 (37,000).
Returning albums included Chesney's Whiskey, which dropped to number 2 (with 65,000 copies sold) and Eminem's Recovery, which rose one spot to number 4 (52,000). Zac Brown Band's You Get What You Give drops to number 5 (43,000). Linkin Park's A Thousand Suns (37,000), Katy Perry's Teenage Dream (32,000), Trey Songz's Passion, Pain & Pleasure (32,000) and Selena Gomez & the Scene's A Year Without Rain (27,000) fill the last four spots in the top ten.
Don't expect next week's top ten to be much better, though it may earn an interesting asterisk. Lil Wayne's album I Am Not A Human Being, out this week on CD, will be packaged along with copies of the DefJam Rapstar video game sold at Best Buy. Last week, as a digital-only release, Human Being was the number 2 album in the country. Next week, despite the promotional tie-in, it may not make it onto the chart at all. That's because SoundScan doesn't count items scanned as a video game in its collection of sales data.
But don't worry, Weezy fans. Even if the charts don't have your back, the RIAA does -- they changed their rules earlier this year to allow Gold and Platinum status to be awarded to albums based on the sales of the video games they come bundled with.