News flash: The people of America like the hits. And, according to the latest Nielsen SoundScan figures, they flocked to their local record stores this past week and bought up 378,000 copies of the twentieth installment of Now That's What I Call Music!, which features radio-friendly singles from the likes of hip-hop heroine Missy Elliott, original American Idol champ Kelly Clarkson and Scottish buzz rockers Franz Ferdinand.
Right behind the chart-topping Now! 20 is another various-artists record of sorts, Santana's latest, All That I Am, which finds the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame guitarist joined by a new generation of hit-makers including Joss Stone, Los Lonely Boys and Sean Paul. All moved 142,000 copies to come in at Number Two, impressive but so far the album hasn't quite reached the heights of Santana's previous two star-studded affairs, 1999's Grammy-sweeping Supernatural and 2002's Shaman, which both hit Number One.
Nickelback found another hefty batch of people who don't read their reviews, as the Canadian rockers moved 101,000 copies of their bona fide chart powerhouse (and critical punching bag) All the Right Reasons. The band's fourth album hangs tough at Number Three in its fifth week in stores. Speaking of staying power, after twenty-two weeks, the Black Eyed Peas remain in the Top Five with Monkey Business (Number Four; 86,000).
Blasting onto the charts this week with -- you guessed it -- more hits are punk and rock veterans Blink-182 and John Fogerty, who placed at Number Six and Thirteen with their respective new best-of collections. Slipknot and Nirvana also got in the action, scoring with alternate versions of previously released songs on 9.0: Live (Seventeen; 42,000) and Sliver -- Best of the Box (Twenty-one; 38,000).
The chart's biggest dose of new blood came in the form of Third Day -- Christian rock's answer to Skynyrd. Their sixth album, Wherever You Are, moved 63,000 copies to enter at Number Eight, the Atlanta band's first Top Ten.
Next week, the Beastie Boys, the Eurythmics and Cyndi Lauper look to seize the chart with repackaged hits of their own, but Number One will be all about 50 Cent, thanks to the release of his new movie soundtrack, Get Rich or Die Tryin'.
This week's Top Ten: Now That's What I Call Music! Volume 20; Santana's All That I Am; Nickelback's All the Right Reasons; Black Eyed Peas' Monkey Business; Destiny's Child's #1's; Blink-182's Greatest Hits; Martina McBride's Timeless; Third Day's Wherever You Are; Rod Stewart's Thanks for the Memory . . . The Great American Songbook IV; Ashlee Simpson's I Am Me.