To look at Nielsen SoundScan, the message this week is do not underestimate the power of country, as Nashville up-and-comers Rascal Flatts knock pop-punk veterans Green Day from the top spot with the release of Feels Like Today (201,000 copies sold).
This is country-pop trio Rascal Flatts' third album and follow-up to 2002's double-platinum Melt. While Melt marked a watershed crossover moment for the country crew with its Number Five debut, Feels Like Today is Flatts' first Number One.
Two other new releases push Green Day down to Number Four (124,000): Teen sweetheart Hilary Duff's self-titled sophomore album enters at the Two spot (192,000), followed by Lil' Jon protege Ciara's debut Goodies at Number Three (125,000), propelled by the Number One summer single of the same name. Duff's strong performance -- no doubt linked to the imminent release of her latest flick Raise Your Voice -- matches that of her 2003 debut, Metamorphosis. That album went on to top the charts the following week.
Utah hard rockers the Used snatched the Number Six slot (93,000) with their sophomore effort In Love & Death -- a much stronger showing than their 2002 self-titled debut. Shock rocker Marilyn Manson got back in the Top Ten, courtesy of his new compilation, Lest We Forget (Number Nine, 80,000).
Losers this week include Keith Urban's Be Here, which appeared at Number Three last week and has already plunged to Seventeen (61,000). And Chevelle, after a raring-to-go entrance at Number Eight, have fallen to Twenty-Five (41,000).
Pop-punk should get its revenge next week, as Good Charlotte's The Chronicles of Life and Death looks to seize Number One. R.E.M. also hope to end their U.S. sales slump with Around the Sun.
This week's Top Ten: Rascal Flatts' Feels Like Today; Hilary Duff's Hilary Duff; Ciara's Goodies; Green Day's American Idiot; Nelly's Suit; the Used's In Love & Death; Ray Charles' Genius Loves Company; Nelly's Sweat; Marilyn Manson's Lest We Forget; Tim McGraw's Live Like You Were Dying