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Alicia Keys Tops Chart

With help from friends, piano woman dumps Nickelback

October 19, 2005 12:00 AM ET

Alicia Keys' Unplugged album took the Number One spot this week, selling 196,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The CD, Key's third release, features guest spots by Common, Maroon 5's Adam Levine, Mos Def and Damian Marley. Keys knocked Canadian rockers Nickelback from their career high at the top spot: Their fifth effort, All the Right Reasons, sold 170,000 copies to come in second place.

Another big debut this week came from California-born country man Gary Allan's sixth effort, Tough All Over, which sold 100,000 CDs to land at Number Three. The album, inspired by the suicide of Allan's wife, is a hard-won crossover for the artist: His last record, 2004's See If I Care peaked at Number Seventeen.

Black Eyed Peas' Monkey Business continued to stick to the Top Ten: After months in stores, the album climbed back up four places to Number Four (90,000). And hip-hop superstar Kanye West's sophomore effort, Late Registration, sold another 83,000 copies in its seventh week to climb one spot to Number Five.

At Number Six is Latin pop star Ricky Martin's follow-up to 2003's Spanish-language album Almas del Silencio, Life (73,000), which features Black Eyed Peas, Amerie and Fat Joe, as well as production by Scott Storch. Sheryl Crow's fifth studio album, Wildflower, dropped two places to Number Seven (59,000) in its third week out. Veteran Chicago rapper Twista's latest, The Day After, fell from last week's career-high debut at Number Two to Number Eight (58,000). Country bad girl Gretchen Wilson's sophomore album and former chart-topper, All Jacked Up, also dropped: five places to Number Nine (57,000), while Atlanta rapper Young Jeezy's Let's Get It: Thug Motivation 101, jumped nine spots back into the Top Ten (Ten, 54,000).

Feeling gloomier this week is gloomy-enough-already Fiona Apple, whose much-delayed third album, Extraordinary Machine, made for her highest debut yet, at Number Seven last week -- only to quickly drop seven spots, out of the Top Ten, to Number Fourteen (48,000). And Glasgow art rockers Franz Ferdinand's follow-up to their acclaimed, eponymous 2004 debut, You Could Have It So Much Better, dropped even faster: from Number Eight to Number Twenty-Seven (35,000), in only its second week out.

Next week, expect Stevie Wonder's first album in ten years, A Time to Love, to hit the Top Ten. And a whole generation of neo-New Wave fans just might make Depeche Mode's latest, Playing the Angel, chart high. And for those who feel Ashlee Simpson's post-lip-sync-debacle pain, there's always her sophomore CD, I Am Me. Let's see how many people buy it.

This week's Top Ten: Alicia Keys' Unplugged; Nickelback's All the Right Reasons; Gary Allan's Tough All Over; Black Eyed Peas' Monkey Business; Kanye West's Late Registration; Ricky Martin's Life; Sheryl Crow's Wildflower; Twista's The Day After; Gretchen Wilson's All Jacked Up; Young Jeezy's Let's Get It: Thug Motivation 101.

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Song Stories

“Santa Monica”

Everclear | 1996

After his brother and girlfriend both died of drug overdoses, Art Alexakis -- depressed and hooked on drugs himself -- jumped off the Santa Monica Pier in California, determined to die. "It was really stupid," said the Everclear frontman, who would further explore his personal emotional journey in the song "Father of Mine." "I went under the water. Then I said, 'I don't wanna die.'" The song, declaring "Let's swim out past the breakers/and watch the world die," was intended as a manifesto for change, Alexakis said. "Let the world do what it's gonna do and just live on our own."

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