New CD Works Like a Charm for Mariah

12/12/2002 at 01:00 AM EST

Mariah Carey is back. "Charmbracelet," her eighth album and her first since cutting a new record deal with Island Def Jam, debuted in third place on the jam-packed holiday album charts.

It sold more than 241,000 copies in its first week of release, thanks in large part to the heavy radio airplay of the first single, the ballad "Through the Rain."

That's a long way from last year's "Glitter," which sold less than half that in its first week (116,000) and led to her departure from EMI (which gave her $28 million to take a hike).

Variety reports that the sales figures on "Charmbracelet" were among the best in Carey's career -- despite still being short of her personal best, 1999's "Rainbow," her final recording for longtime label Sony. That album sold nearly 323,000 units in its first go-round.

Meanwhile, the No. 1 and 2 spots on this week's charts went to recent PEOPLE cover girl Shania Twain, with her CD "Up!," and Tim McGraw, with his "Tim McGraw & the Dancehall Doctors."

Next week comes the debut sales figures for another diva on the comeback trail -- Whitney Houston -- and her delayed Arista release, "Just Whitney."

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