Avril Lavigne was the best damn thing on the charts this week. Literally.
The Canadian pop-punker debuted atop the Billboard 200 for a second consecutive time as her latest, The Best Damn Thing, sold 286,000 copies for the week ended Sunday, according to newly released Nielsen SoundScan numbers.
The singer previously topped the charts with 2004’s Under My Skin, which followed the number two opening for her 2002 debut, Let Go.
Powered by the hit single “Girlfriend,” The Best Damn Thing sold more than 1.5 million copies worldwide, opening at number one in 11 countries, including the U.K., Japan, Germany, Italy and in her native Canada.
In the U.S., the album has sold 1.8 million digital tracks, with “Girlfriend” approaching platinum sales status. Per the singer’s record label, “Girlfriend” will top the Hot 100 this week, giving Lavigne both the number one album and single in the country.
Lavigne’s second-straight number one kept Nine Inch Nails’ from a third. Previously hitting the top spot with 1999’s The Fragile and 2005’s With Teeth, Trent Reznor and crew had to settle for a number two debut as Year Zero moved 186,000.
A high-concept sci-fi album set about 15 years in an Orwellian future, Year Zero has been part of an innovative multimedia launch, including secret Websites to special USB drives (featuring music, video and/or images) reportedly discovered in Lisbon, Barcelona and Manchester.
The week’s third and final Top 10 bow belonged to American Idol contestant Bucky Covington, who finished in eighth-place last season. The country singer sold nearly 61,000 copies of his self-titled debut at number four. The album, which opened at number one on the Top Country Albums chart, marks the biggest bow for a country male rookie since Billy Ray Cyrus’ Some Gave All in ’92.
Elsewhere, country artist Clay Walker sold 32,000 copies of his latest, Fall, for a career-best open at 15, while R&B singer Lumidee sold 16,000 copies of Unexpected for a number 44 debut.
Many of Nashville’s finest got a boost from last week’s Country Music Television Awards. Martina McBride, who also made an American Idol appearance, climbed three spots to number five with Waking Up Laughing. Likewise, CMT’s big winner, Carrie Underwood, jumped five spots to nine with Some Hearts. The Idol alum took home three trophies, including the top prize, Video of the Year, for “Before He Cheats.”
The CMT Awards ultimately gave the sales chart a shot in the arm. Other surging country albums included Taylor Swift’s self-titled (up 11 to number 22), Rascal Flatts’ Me & My Gang (up 11 to 28), Sugarland’s Enjoy the Ride (up 41 to 36), Keith Urban’s Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing (up 26 to 66) and Kenny Chesney’s Road & the Radio (up 50 to 148).
Overall, the Top Country Albums chart boasted a 16 percent gain from the week previous, and coupled with the big Top 10 bows, helped the Billboard 200 claim a modest 1 percent sales increase from last week. But at this point, the recording industry will take anything in the positive side of the ledger as year-to-date sales are down 11 percent from the same time last year.