Ashlee Simpson Tops the Chart

Teen pop singer beats out Rod Stewart, Stevie Wonder for Number One

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Ashlee Simpson took the Number One spot this week with her second album, I Am Me, which sold 220,000 CDs, according to Nielsen SoundScan. This is the younger Simpson's follow-up to her teen-pop debut, Autobiography, as well as her second consecutive chart-topper. While Autobiography sold nearly twice this much, 398,000, straight out of the gate in July 2004, I Am Me's debut is proof that Simpson's fans have recovered from her lip-syncing debacle on Saturday Night Live.

In second place this week is the fourth installment of Rod Stewart's Great American Songbook, Thanks for the Memory. While the last edition, in October of 2004, sold 40,000 more in its first week to top the chart, Thanks sold a solid 193,000 copies, making for a strong coda to the veteran rocker's standards series.

Other big debuts this week include country singer Martina McBride's sixth studio album, Timeless, which moved 185,000 CDs to land at Number Three -- a leg up on her last effort, 2003's Martina, which peaked at Number Seven. Soul legend Stevie Wonder released his first album in a decade, A Time to Love, which sold 121,000 copies to round out the Top Five. The superior follow-up to 1995's tepid Conversation Peace features guest spots from Bonnie Raitt, Paul McCartney, Prince, India.Arie and Doug E. Fresh.

Also new this week is the debut of Dirty South rapper Bun-B, Trill, which sold 118,000 CDs to come in at Number Six. And the quintessential Eighties synth pop oufit, Brits Depeche Mode, return with another Top Ten release, Playing the Angel, the follow-up to 2001's Exciter, which landed at Number Seven (99,000).

Meanwhile, Canadian rockers Nickelback's fifth effort, the former chart-topper All the Right Reasons, dropped two spots to Number Four (132,000); and chart mainstay the Black Eyed Peas' Monkey Business, in stores for months, dropped four places to Number Eight (94,000). Last week's Number One, Alicia Keys' Unplugged album -- which features guests Common, Maroon 5's Adam Levine, Mos Def and Damian Marley -- fell eight spots to Number Nine (83,000). And hip-hop superstar Kanye West's sophomore effort, Late Registration, fell five places to round out the Top Ten (78,000).

A few releases exited the Top Ten this week: Country man Gary Allan's sixth effort, Tough All Over, which debuted high, at Number Three, fell sixteen places to Number Nineteen (41,000). And Latin pop star Ricky Martin's Life -- which features Black Eyed Peas, Amerie and Fat Joe -- plummeted twenty-five spots to Number Thirty-One (32,000). Sheryl Crow's fifth studio album, Wildflower, dropped nine places to Number Sixteen (46,000) in only its fourth week out. And Chicago rapper Twista's The Day After fell fifteen spots to Number Twenty-Three (38,000).

With no major releases this week, expect Simpson to stay on top next week.

This week's Top Ten: Ashlee Simpson's I Am Me; Rod Stewart's Thanks for the Memory . . . The Great American Songbook IV; Martina McBride's Timeless; Nickelback's All the Right Reasons; Stevie Wonder's A Time to Love; Bun-B's Trill; Depeche Mode's Playing the Angel; Black Eyed Peas' Monkey Business; Alicia Keys' Unplugged; Kanye West's Late Registration.

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