Here’s a phrase we couldn’t imagine uttering three years ago: It’s good to be Britney Spears.  Lots of fans want to hold, “Hold It Against Me,” the first single from Spears’ upcoming album, against them as the song debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Spears is only the second artist in the chart’s 52-year history to have more than one song bow in pole position  (we’ll reveal the other artist at the end of this posting). As you recall, it wasn’t so long ago that Spears’ “3” came in at No. 1 for the week of Oct. 24, 2009, according to Billboard.

While we celebrate that fact, in this digital sales age, it’s not the rare feat that it once was. In fact, it was only two months ago that Ke$ha’s “We R Who We R” launched at No. 1. (The Billboard 100 combines airplay and digital sales). A total of 18 songs have started their chart lives at No. 1.

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Spears’ “Hold It Against Me” received massive airplay, registering 45 million first-week audience impressions, according to Nielsen BDS, but it was digital sales that really drove it up the chart.  “Hold It Against Me” sold 411,000 copies in its opening frame, handily topping the Digital Songs chart. That’s the most of any female solo artist and tops the 325,000 copies sold for Taylor Swift’s “Today Was a Fairytale” last February.

So what about last week’s two other big single releases? Avril Lavigne’s “What the Hell,” from her March 8 release "Goodbye Lullabye," and Kanye West and Jay-Z’s “H*A*M,” from their Spring set, "Watch The Throne?"  It’s a very welcome return for Lavigne as her tune opens on No. 13 on the Hot 100 and No. 6 on Digital Songs.

Despite all of West’s bluster, he and Jay-Z have to settle for third place among the newcomers. “H*A*M” sells 125,000 digital copies, which is enough to come in at No. 10 on the Digital Sales chart. Combine that with airplay and it lands at No. 23 on the Billboard Hot 100.

“Hold It Against Me” knocks last week’s No. 1, Bruno Mars’ “Grenade” to No. 2, Katy Perry’s “Firework” down 2-4 and Rihanna’s “What’s My Name” featuring Drake 3-4.

Rounding out the Top 10 are Wiz Khalifa’s “Black and Yellow” (5), Enrique Iglesias’s “Tonight (I’m Lovin’ You”) (6), the aforementioned “We R Who We R”  (7), Pink’s “Raise Your Glass” (8), The Black Eyed Peas’ “The Time (Dirty Bit)” (9) and Mars’ “Just the Way You Are” (10)”

So who is the artist who bests Britney in terms of having more than two songs debut at No. 1? None other than mama-to-be Mariah Carey.  She entered the Billboard 100 twice at No. 1 in 1995 with “Fantasy” and “One Sweet Day” and then again in 1997 with “Honey.”