The jam-happy rockers' latest, Busted Stuff, made a resounding bow on the charts, opening at number one with 622,000 copies sold for the week ended Sunday, according to SoundScan numbers.
What makes DMB's numbers especially astonishing is that Busted Stuff has yet to score a strong radio single, unlike the hit "I Did It" that drove last year's Everyday.
The backstory to Busted Stuff is almost as compelling as its sales figures. The bulk of the songs on the album were written and recorded two years ago by producer Steve Lillywhite and became known as The Lillywhite Sessions. Matthews & Co. weren't happy with the songs, however, and shelved them. The band then wrote and recorded Everyday with producer Glen Ballard.
After The Lillywhite Sessions was leaked online and became a file-swapping smash--with several fans preferring it to Everyday--Matthews decided to revisit the songs. The band retooled and rerecorded the tracks (without any input from Lillywhite) and released it as Busted Stuff.
In the end, Busted Stuff sold about 100,000 fewer copies than Everyday did in its first week. (Coincidentally, Everyday benefited from the hype surrounding the new CD and jumped 53 spots to number 67.) Still, Busted Stuff's tally is impressive considering the lack of a lead single and this year's significant downturn in music sales.
To put it in perspective, the new Dave Matthews now ranks third behind Eminem and Nelly for best single-week sales of 2002.
After three weeks on top, Nelly's Nellyville slipped to number two, selling 305,000. Eminem's The Eminem Show was down a slot to third with 211,000.
With Dave Matthews scoring the week's only significant debut, the rest of the Top 10 were all holdovers: the Red Hot Chili Peppers' By the Way at four, Avril Lavigne's Let Go at five, Irv Gotti Presents...The Inc. at six, Styles' A Gangster and a Gentleman at seven, Ashanti's self-titled debut at eight, Counting Crows' Hard Candy at nine and Josh Groban's self-titled disc holding down the 10 spot.
Aussie buzz band the Vines inched their way closer to the Top 10, selling 64,000 copies of Highly Evolved to land at number 11.
The spiritually minded sister duo Mary Mary scored the week's second-best opening as Incredible sold 43,000 copies at number 20. Darryl Worley was on their heels at 21 with I Miss My Friend moving 42,000 copies.
It's been a long time coming, but Robert Plant (who turns 54 next month) has released a new album. Dreamland, his first solo effort since 1993's Fate of Nations, opened at number 40 with more than 25,000 copies sold. Revered art-rockers the Flaming Lips nailed the 50 slot with Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, while the soundtrack to Austin Powers in Goldmember opened at 56 (with the film destined to rule the box office this weekend, the soundtrack should get a boost on next week's charts).
Other noteworthy debuts included Jerzee Monet's Love & War at 60, Memphis rappers Triple 6 Mafia's Chronicles of the Juice Man Underground Album at 93 and Starting Line's Say It Like You Mean It at 109.
Here's a recap of the Top 10 albums for the week ended July 21:
1. Busted Stuff, Dave Matthews Band
2. Nellyville, Nelly
3. The Eminem Show, Eminem
4. By the Way, Red Hot Chili Peppers
5. Let Go, Avril Lavigne
6. Irv Gotti Presents...The Inc., various
7. A Gangster and a Gentleman, Styles
8. Ashanti, Ashanti
9. Hard Candy, Counting Crows
10. Josh Groban, Josh Groban