Trivia time: In the 50-year history of the Billboard album chart, who was the first male artist from a pop or rock group to enter the chart at No. 1 with his solo debut? Answer: Matchbox Twenty’s Rob Thomas, who achieved that first just this week with the release of his side project, ? Something to Be. The disc sold 252,000 copies, according to Soundscan, dethroning Mariah Carey’s The Emancipation of Mimi after just one week on top. That album slipped to No. 2 on sales of 226,000. (Don’t cry for Mariah; she’s sold more than 631,000 CDs in two weeks.)
There were three other top-10 debuts this week. Some 181,000 record buyers wanted to know Who Is Mike Jones?. The Houston rapper’s first major-label album debuted in third place. Entering the chart at No. 4, on sales of 147,000 was Il Divo, the self-titled release by the new quartet overseen by Simon Cowell. And Southern rap collective Three 6 Mafia debuted at No. 10 with Choices II: The Set-Up, which sold 56,000 copies.
Still going strong was 50 Cent’s The Massacre, which dipped two places to No. 5 and sold another 127,000. Gwen Stefani’s Love, Angel, Music, Baby rose three places to No. 6. Also up three, to No. 7, was the Killers’ Hot Fuss. Green Day’s American Idiot held in eighth place. Switching places with Stefani and landing at No. 9 was NOW That’s What I Call Music! Vol. 18. Just missing out on a top-10 berth, by fewer than 200 sales, was last week’s No. 2, Mudvayne’s Lost and Found, which dropped nine places to No. 11 in its second week.