It’s with his worst first-week sales numbers since breakout album My Way in 1997, but Usher puts up big-enough numbers in the first week of sales for Looking 4 Myself to secure his fourth straight #1 album on the Billboard 200. Myself moves 128k in its debut week—over 200k less than his previous album, Raymond vs. Raymond, and nearly a full million less than the 1.096 million (!!!) sold by 2004′s Confessions in its first week. We’ve detailed the likely reasons (or lack thereof) elsewhere, but here’s hoping it’s one of those slow-burning deals where the album’s fifth single turns out to be the biggest and the LP stays in the top 20 for like 70 weeks. (Good album, people!!)
Lots of other debuts in the top ten this week, including new albums from Brick Squad rapper Waka Flocka Flame (Triple F Life, #10, 33k), UK singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran (+, #5, 42k) and country singer/songwriter Josh Turner (Punching Bag, #4, 45k). Somewhat surprisingly, the highest debut of the week comes from decades-old prog rockers Rush, whose #2 debut for latest effort Clockwork Angels is their highest in nearly two decades, since 1993′s Counterparts also hit the runner-up position. Geez, a rising tide really lifts all boats with this Canadian pop movement, huh? Good for Geddy and co.
Next week, expect big numbers for Justin Bieber, and his fourth trip to the summit of the Billboard 200—the same number as mentor Usher, despite being 15 years younger. Billboard projects that The Bieb will sell somewhere between 400k and 500k in the first week of release for his second original LP, Believe, giving him both the best sales week of his career and the best debut week for any artist this year. (Adele still holds Best Week Overall honors for the 730k she sold in her post-Grammys 21 victory lap.) Sounds about right to us.