Ne-Yo's so sick that he can't be denied.
The rookie R&B crooner, whose debut single "So Sick" already topped the Billboard Hot 100 radio, now has a number one album to go along with, as In My Own Words topped the Billboard 200, selling 301,000 copies for the week ended Sunday, according to Nielsen SoundScan numbers.
The 23-year-old singer (whose birth certificate reads Shaffer Smith) also saw his follow-up single, "When You're Mad" become the most added track on urban and rhythm radio stations.
Before his solo release, Ne-Yo had waves in the music biz as a songwriter for the likes of Mary J. Blige, Jamie Foxx, Ruben Suddard, Faith Evans and B2K. He even cowrote the most played song of 2004, Mario's "Let Me Love You."
"Ne-Yo's use of the harmonies and words has touched music lovers from all ages and backgrounds," Jay-Z, the president and CEO of Def Jam, says in a statement. "He is the true embodiment of the word 'artist.' "
Ne-Yo's supremancy came at the expense of high-voltage Ohio rockers Hawthorne Heights. Last month, the group called on fans to do whatever they could to deter In My Own Words sales and help make the band's own If Only You Were Lonely number one. The group said a victory for Hawthorne Heights would be a victory for rock music and independent labels.
However, when the dust settled, the Buckeye State's finest sold 114,000 copies of If Only You Were Lonely to finish in third place, behind Ne-Yo and last week's champ, the Disney Channel's High School Musical soundtrack. Still, the group remains one of the best-selling indie rock acts of the decade. Its 2004 debut, The Silence in Black and White, has sold more than 780,000 copies, an all-time best for the Victory Records roster, thanks in large part to the band's Top 40 rock hit, "Ohio Is for Lovers."
Meanwhile, thanks to continued promotion and airplay on Disney's television and radio networks, High School Musical soundtrack sold 127,000 copies last week, actually up 26,000 copies from its chart-topping previous week.
Alan Jackson had a Top 5 debut with his new gospel album, Precious Memories. The country singer, known for such hits as "Gone Country" and the Grammy-winning 9-11 tribute "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)," sold 107,000 copies of his new disc to open at number four.
Finally, with Walk the Line out on DVD and hype around Reese Witherspoon's successful Oscar bid, The Legend of Johnny Cash roped in 80,000 copies to jump 14 spots to number six. Likewise, the Walk the Line soundtrack leapt 34 spots to 11.
The rest of the Top 10, all holdovers, were Mary J. Blige's The Breakthrough at five, Jack Johnson's Sing-A-Longs and Lullabies for the Film Curious George at seven, Carrie Underwood's Some Hearts at eight, James Blunt's Back to Bedlam at nine and Andrea Bocelli's Amore in the 10 spot.
Sex-tape star Kid Rock narrowly missed a Top 10 open as his concert album Live Trucker sold 56,000 copies at 12. The album, whose title and cover references Bob Seger's Live Bullet, features such Rock hits as "Badwitdaba," "Cowboy" and "Picture" (replacing Sheryl Crow with Gretchen Wilson for the female vocals).
Further down the charts were Hank Williams III's Straight to Hell at 73, Algo De Mi's Conjunto Primavera at 82, Bruce Springsteen's double-disc Hammersmith Odeon Live '75 at 93, Rhett Miller's Believer at 138 and Elvis Costello's live album with the Metropole Orkest orchestra, My Flame Burns Blue, at 188.
Here's a recap of last week's Top 10 albums:
1. In My Own Words, Ne-Yo
2. High School Musical soundtrack, various
3. If Only You Were Lonely, Hawthorne Heights
4. Precious Memories, Alan Jackson
5. The Breakthrough, Mary J. Blige
6. The Legend of Johnny Cash, Johnny Cash
7. Sing-A-Longs and Lullabies for the Film Curious George, Jack Johnson & Friends
8. Some Hearts, Carrie Underwood
9. Back to Bedlam, James Blunt
10. Amore, Andrea Bocelli