By Chris Willman
September 17, 2008 at 12:00 PM EDT
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  • Movie

How strong was Metallica fans’ Death wish? Forceful enough that the metal quartet is the rare act able to improve on its previous sales in this otherwise sorry music retail climate. Death Magnetic, their first album in five years, debuted with 490,000 copies, the fourth best sales debut of the year so far — trailing the first weeks of Lil Wayne, Coldplay, and the Jonas Brothers, but ahead of Mariah Carey and Usher. Moreover, Metallica achieved that total in a mere three days, since the album came out on a Friday and the sales period ends on Sunday. (Most new releases appear on Tuesdays and have an initial six-day sales window.) Metallica also unleashed their last album, 2003’s St. Anger, on an unusual release day; that one appeared in stores on a Thursday and amassed 418,000 copies in a four-day week, well short of what they were able to do this time. Obviously, the hype about this being a true return to their 1980s roots paid off with what we’ve previously referred to as “rock’s most notoriously irritable fan base.”

How strong was Metallica fans’ Death wish? Forceful enough that the metal quartet is the rare act able to improve on its previous sales in this otherwise sorry music retail climate. Death Magnetic, their first album in five years, debuted with 490,000 copies, the fourth best sales debut of the year so far — trailing the first weeks of Lil Wayne, Coldplay, and the Jonas Brothers, but ahead of Mariah Carey and Usher. Moreover, Metallica achieved that total in a mere three days, since the album came out on a Friday and the sales period ends on Sunday. (Most new releases appear on Tuesdays and have an initial six-day sales window.) Metallica also unleashed their last album, 2003’s St. Anger, on an unusual release day; that one appeared in stores on a Thursday and amassed 418,000 copies in a four-day week, well short of what they were able to do this time. Obviously, the hype about this being a true return to their 1980s roots paid off with what we’ve previously referred to as “rock’s most notoriously irritable fan base.”

The next highest debut on the Nielsen Soundscan albums chart belonged to Jessica Simpson, making her entrance as a country singer with Do You Know, as featured in this week’s issue. It scanned 65,000 units to top the country chart and placed No. 4 in the overall rankings. LL Cool J’s Exit 13 came in at No. 9 with sales of 44,000. This is his last album for the Def Jam label after a 23-year career on the imprint, and given that this number is well under half of what the veteran rapper was able to debut with a couple of years ago, maybe everyone could benefit from a fresh start. Eric Benet’s Love & Life debuted at No. 11 with 40,000, and Gym Class Heroes bowed on the chart at No. 14 with 32,000. Perhaps the most surprising entry was a posthumous splash by comedian Mitch Hedberg, whose Do You Believe in Gosh? entered at No. 18 with 27,000 units. Natalie Cole’s Still Unforgettable, a very belated sequel to her Grammy-winning 1991 standards behemoth Unforgettable With Love, sold 24,000 for a No. 19 start.

Holdovers in the top 10 included last week’s topper, Young Jeezy’s The Recession, at No. 2, followed by Kid Rock at No. 3, Slipknot, the Jonas Brothers, the Game, and Lil Wayne at Nos. 5-8, and the Mamma Mia!

soundtrack at No. 10. Taking a serious dive: New Kids on the Block,

whose reunion album debuted at No. 2 last week but sank to No. 16 this

time.

The top single on the digital songs chart was again Pink’s “So

What,” which sold 253,000 downloads, a 28 percent increase, upping the

song’s total to 702,000 in just three weeks on the market. That 253K

tally is the highest one-week figure for a song since Coldplay’s “Viva

la Vida” sold roughly the same number in June. The highest debut this

week was “Swagga Like Us,” a collaboration between Jay-Z and T.I.,

which entered at No. 4 with 139,000 downloads. Taylor Swift’s “Love

Story” was in at No. 8 with 97,000, and Fall Out Boy’s “I Don’t Care”

squeaked into the top 10 with 89,000. Between them at No. 9 was a

surprising re-entry: Estelle’s “American Boy.” Her label

briefly removed the hit song from sites like iTunes in hopes of goosing

her album sales, a la Kid Rock, but fans didn’t go for the whole

package, so the single suddenly became available for individual

download after all, following a one-week absence from the chart.

The top single on the digital songs chart was again Pink’s “SoWhat,” which sold 253,000 downloads, a 28 percent increase, upping thesong’s total to 702,000 in just three weeks on the market. That 253Ktally is the highest one-week figure for a song since Coldplay’s “Vivala Vida” sold roughly the same number in June. The highest debut thisweek was “Swagga Like Us,” a collaboration between Jay-Z and T.I.,which entered at No. 4 with 139,000 downloads. Taylor Swift’s “LoveStory” was in at No. 8 with 97,000, and Fall Out Boy’s “I Don’t Care”squeaked into the top 10 with 89,000. Between them at No. 9 was asurprising re-entry: Estelle’s “American Boy.” Her labelbriefly removed the hit song from sites like iTunes in hopes of goosingher album sales, a la Kid Rock, but fans didn’t go for the wholepackage, so the single suddenly became available for individualdownload after all, following a one-week absence from the chart.

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  • Movie
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