So you thought this week’s #1 album was gonna be Paramore, huh? Or maybe the new one from Mariah Carey? Thought Madonna might have a shot?


In a week filled with divas, the Grande Dame of them all came out on top. Barbra Streisand’s “Love is the Answer” scans 180,000 units to land at #1 on this week’s Billboard album chart. It’s the legend’s first #1 in twelve years, and her 9th #1 album overall-tops among female artists.

Paramore settles for the #2 position. “Brand New Eyes” beats the sophomore jink by selling 175,000 copies, while Mariah Carey’s “Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel” is shaping up to be a sales disappointment. Carey opens at #3 with 168K, less than half the total that greeted her in the first week of release of her last album, “E=MC2” just last year!!

Babs, Paramore and Mariah lead a pack of 8 new releases in the Top 10-a new record. The only holdovers from last week’s Top 10 are Jay-Z’s “Blueprint 3”, which slides 2-6, still riding the strength of two hit singles, and Pearl Jam’s “Backspacer”, which slides from the Number One spot to #10. The other releases debuting in the Top 10 come from Breaking Benjamin (#4), the reconfigured Alice in Chains (#5), Madonna (#7), Miranda Lambert (#8) and Selena Gomez (#9). How’s that for diversity? A little country, a little teen-pop, a little leftover grunge for ya.

Madonna’s album opens with a respectable 72K. Not bad when you consider that most people with a pulse have most of this material already and the two new songs aren’t especially memorable (and can be purchased a la carte on iTunes).

Further down the chart, AFI must be wondering where their fan base went. After scoring a chart-topper with their last album, Davey Havok and his crew manage a weak showing at #12 with their new one, “Crash Love”, only scanning 52,000 copies in it’s first week.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. The first holiday album to debut on a chart this year is Michael McDonald’s “This Christmas”. The former Doobie opens at #95, with a whole 2 months to go before the holidays begin in earnest.

Next week, it looks like KISS will score the first #1 album of their career with “Sonic Boom”, underscoring the fact that the boomer generation is still buying records. This WalMart exclusive has been heavily publicized and it seems to be paying dividends.

Here’s a look at this week’s Top 20:

1) Barbra Streisand-Love is the Answer
2) Paramore-Brand New Eyes
3) Mariah Carey-Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel
4) Breaking Benjamin-Dear Agony
5) Alice in Chains-Black Gives Way to Blue
6) Jay-Z-The Blueprint 3
7) Madonna-Celebration
8) Miranda Lambert-Revolution
9) Selena Gomez-Kiss & Tell
10) Pearl Jam-Backspacer
11) Miley Cyrus-Time of Our Lives EP
12) AFI-Crash Love
13) Whitney Houston-I Look to You
14) Harry Connick Jr.-Love Songs
15) Metalocolypse:Dethklok-Deth Album II
16) The Avett Brothers- I and Love and You
17) Three Days Grace-Life Starts Now
18) Lynyrd Skynyrd-God & Guns
19) Taylor Swift-Fearless
20) Drake-So Far Gone EP