Chris Willman
April 24, 2008 AT 12:00 PM EDT

You didn’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure that E=MC2, Mariah Carey’s latest, would debut atop the Billboard/Soundscan album chart. Her “lambs” turned out in force, snapping up 463,000 copies for the best first-week sales so far in 2008 and Carey’s own best weekly tally yet. Her previous disc, 2005’s The Emancipation of Mimi, something of a comeback after a series of disappointing efforts, bowed with 404,000 units sold. The previous best this year had been Jack Johnson’s Sleep Through the Static, which came out of the gate with 375,000 a couple of months ago.

The next-highest debut this week belonged to Lady Antebellum, a freshman country trio on Capitol Nashville, whose self-titled CD came in at No. 4 with sales of 43,000. This is the second week in a row that a relatively unknown country act has scored a surprisingly solid bow on the album chart, following James Otto’s impressive debut, Sunset Man, which drops to No. 12, moving 84,000 units in just two weeks. In fact, nine of the top 50 albums are by country acts, thanks partly to the effect of April 14’s CMT Awards.

Another benefactor of the recent CMT Awards was a non-country performer: the show’s cohost, Miley Cyrus. Her live album, Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: The Best Of Both Worlds Concert,

leaped from No. 31 to No. 3, with this week’s sales of 47,000

representing a 162 percent gain. But you can’t credit CMT exposure for

all of that: The main reason for the boost is that the CD (which

also comes with a bonus DVD) had been a Wal-Mart exclusive for a month

before finally going out to all retailers this sales period.

Other notable album chart debuts: Thrice, at No. 17, with The Alchemy Index, Vol. 3 & 4: Air & Earth (21,000 copies); Rush’s Snakes & Arrows: Live at No. 18 (21,00); Children Of Bodom at No. 22 with Blooddrunk (19,000); kid faves the Naked Brothers Band at No. 23 with I Don’t Want to Go to School (19,000); and, benefiting from the exposure of a free iTunes track, Tristan Prettyman at No. 27 with Hello (18,000).

On the digital songs chart, “Four Minutes,” the Madonna/Justin

Timberlake hookup, moved up one notch and took over the top spot,

selling 201,000 singles this week for a total of 847,000. Mariah fans

and Madonna aficionados, notorious for going to war with one another

online, are curious how the two divas will fare in a head-to-head

matchup. Madonna’s album isn’t out until next Tuesday (April 29), but

her single has already outsold Mariah’s “Touch My Body,” which holds at

No. 6 with a grand total of 627,000 sold. But this week, Carey’s “Bye

Bye” debuted on the songs chart at No. 11 with 60,000 sold, so Madge

should be prepared for a fight on that front.

Another benefactor of the recent CMT Awards was a non-country performer: the show’s cohost, Miley Cyrus. Her live album, Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: The Best Of Both Worlds Concert,leaped from No. 31 to No. 3, with this week’s sales of 47,000representing a 162 percent gain. But you can’t credit CMT exposure forall of that: The main reason for the boost is that the CD (whichalso comes with a bonus DVD) had been a Wal-Mart exclusive for a monthbefore finally going out to all retailers this sales period.

Other notable album chart debuts: Thrice, at No. 17, with The Alchemy Index, Vol. 3 & 4: Air & Earth (21,000 copies); Rush’s Snakes & Arrows: Live at No. 18 (21,00); Children Of Bodom at No. 22 with Blooddrunk (19,000); kid faves the Naked Brothers Band at No. 23 with I Don’t Want to Go to School (19,000); and, benefiting from the exposure of a free iTunes track, Tristan Prettyman at No. 27 with Hello (18,000).

On the digital songs chart, “Four Minutes,” the Madonna/JustinTimberlake hookup, moved up one notch and took over the top spot,selling 201,000 singles this week for a total of 847,000. Mariah fansand Madonna aficionados, notorious for going to war with one anotheronline, are curious how the two divas will fare in a head-to-headmatchup. Madonna’s album isn’t out until next Tuesday (April 29), buther single has already outsold Mariah’s “Touch My Body,” which holds atNo. 6 with a grand total of 627,000 sold. But this week, Carey’s “ByeBye” debuted on the songs chart at No. 11 with 60,000 sold, so Madgeshould be prepared for a fight on that front.

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