Thanks to a very healthy slate of new releases and the Beatles’ debut on iTunes, this week’s Billboard chart almost looks like one from 5 or 6 years ago when more people were buying records and also bodes well for a fairly successful holiday season.

Nine albums scan over 100,000 copies this week (actually, eight of the nine scan over 150,000). This number includes seven debuts, but…this week’s chart-topper is actually a holdover. Susan Boyle actually INCREASES her first week total with “The Gift”, scanning an additional 335,000 copies. It’s extremely rare for an album (especially one that debuts at the top) to improve on it’s first week total, so kudos to SuBo and crew for being able to do that.

Between Susan Boyle at the top and Taylor Swift at #9, a sea of new albums infiltrate the chart. Pint-size reality show star Jackie Evancho leads the charge at #2 with 239,000 units sold of her “O Holy Night” CD. She’s followed by Rihanna at #3 (boasting the biggest first week sales of her career), Josh Groban at #4, Kid Rock at #5, Rascal Flatts at #6, Keith Urban at #7 and the Glee “Christmas” album at #8. All of these titles ring up between 160K and 200K this week.

The Fabs infiltrate the Top 200 with twelve re-entries. When you add in the two double-disc greatest hits collections that were already on the chart, The Beatles manage an impressive 14 spots on this week’s chart. “Abbey Road” is the top charter at #48, and that iconic album’s “Here Comes the Sun” is one of many Beatles tracks to show up on the digital download chart this week at #28. It’s the second-highest ranked Beatle track on the chart, behind “Let it Be”, which starts off at #26. Of course, that doesn’t compare to the “Glee” cast’s Pat Boone-ized version of Cee-Lo’s “Fuck/Forget You”. That ditty starts at #1 with an impressive 192,000 downloads. Right behind it? Cee-Lo’s original “Fuck You” with 190,000-pushing the song over a million sales.

As I mentioned earlier this week, Lee DeWyze was on tap to score the lowest first-week total for an “American Idol” champ in history. My prognostication skills turn out to be pretty good. DeWyze starts at #19 with a relatively anemic 39,000 copies sold. For comparison, last year’s winner, Kris Allen, started with over 80,000 units sold. 2008’s winner, David Cook, started with nearly 280,000 units sold. Talk about how the mighty have fallen!

As far as year-to-date sales, Eminem’s “Recovery” becomes the first album of 2010 to jump over the 3 million mark. Lady Antebellum’s not far behind, with 2.8 million sold of “Need You Now”, and I wouldn’t count Taylor Swift (at 1.7 million with five weeks left in the year) out, either. Trey Songz and Susan Boyle both jump over the 500K mark, becoming the 28th and 29th albums to sell more than a half million copies this year. However, at least three more albums will skate past that mark next week: Linkin Park’s latest, Lil Wayne’s “I Am Not a Human Being”, and Kanye West’s new album, which is expected to scan over half a million copies-a number that could inflate even further due to Thanksgiving week traffic.

Here’s this week’s Top 20:

1) The Gift-Susan Boyle
2) O Holy Night-Jackie Evancho
3) Loud-Rihanna
4) Illuminations-Josh Groban
5) Born Free-Kid Rock
6) Nothing Like This-Rascal Flatts
7) Get Closer-Keith Urban
8) Glee Christmas Album-Glee Cast
9) Speak Now-Taylor Swift
10) 5.0-Nelly
11) What Separates Me from You-A Day to Remember
12) My Kinda Party-Jason Aldean
13) Now That’s What I Call Music 36-Various Artists
14) Greatest Hits So Far!-Pink
15) Incredible Machine-Sugarland
16) The Promise-Bruce Springsteen
17) And if Our God is For Us…-Chris Tomlin
18) Greatest Hits-Bon Jovi
19) Live it Up-Lee DeWyze
20) Glory in the Highest (Christmas Album)-Chris Tomlin

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