Album Sales: Justin Bieber's 'Believe' scores the best debut of the year; Kenny Chesney, Fiona Apple open strong

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He’s probably not your boyfriend, but according to this week’s Billboard 200, you’ll still never let him go.

Justin Bieber’s latest album Believe debuted atop the chart today, selling 374,000 copies in its first week, making it the strongest bow of 2012 ahead of Madonna’s MDNA, which shifted 359,000 copies in March.

Believe became Biebers’ fourth No. 1 album following 2011′s Under the Mistletoe and Never Say Never: The Remixes, and 2010′s My World 2.0. Interestingly, Bieber has earned all those No. 1 albums without ever nabbing a No. 1 single. Believe‘s lead single “Boyfriend” became his highest charting song ever (“Baby” climbed to No. 5), but it peaked at No. 2.

Despite the strong showing, Bieber didn’t score the highest sales week of the year. That title belongs to (who else?) Adele, whose sophomore disc 21 shifted 730,000 copies in the week after the Grammys. (Also of note, 21 dropped out of the Top 5 for the — cue horror-movie music — second time in its 70-week run this week. It sits at No. 7.)

In second place, country titan Kenny Chesney earned his tenth Top 10 debut with Welcome to the Fishbowl, which swam away with 193,000 in its first frame. The set, which is driven by Tim McGraw collaboration “Feel Like a Rock Star,” didn’t give Chesney his strongest sales week ever, but it opened higher than Hemingway’s Whiskey, which debuted with 183,000 in 2010.

Fiona Apple returned to the Billboard chart for the first time in seven years, and earned her best ranking ever — third place. The Idler Wheel… shifted 72,000 copies in its first week, a touch behind 2005′s Extraordinary Machine, which debuted at No. 7 with 94,000.

The final debut in the Top 10 came from the Smashing Pumpkins, who started off in fourth place with Oceania, which sold 54,000 units.

More on EW.com
Fiona Apple tells Jimmy Fallon about her famous meltdown, plays two songs
Watch Justin Bieber’s ‘Today’ show performance

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