NEW YORK • Carrie Underwood shed plenty of tears, suffering three miscarriages before getting pregnant with her second child.
But when it comes to music, she delivered yet another smash hit without a hitch, with her new album, Cry Pretty, topping the Billboard chart and earning the best sales week of the year by a woman.
Her sixth LP debuted with 266,000 album equivalent units, including 251,000 in traditional sales (combining physical and digital copies) and 14 million streams, according to Nielsen Music.
Overall, those numbers bested Cardi B's Invasion Of Privacy from April, the previous high-water mark for a female artist this year.
Using a now-standard tactic to boost first-week sales, Underwood relied in part on a bundle that paired her new album with tickets to her upcoming tour.
Cry Pretty also performed well at big-box stores such as Target and Walmart, Billboard said. It is her fourth Billboard No. 1, a record for a woman in country music.
The first-week total for Cry Pretty was also the biggest debut week for a country album since Luke Bryan's Kill The Lights in 2015.
At No. 2 is Eminem, who relied much more on digital streams, as is common in hip-hop. Songs from Kamikaze, his surprise album from late August, were played 71 million times in the last chart period, and added another 44,000 in sales, for a total of 103,000 units.
East Atlanta Love Letter by R&B singer 6lack came in at No. 3 in its debut.