Usher Crushes Competition

R&B singer spends fourth week at Number One

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Usher's Confessions sold another 302,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan, to spend its fourth week at Number One.

With a wimpy set of new releases hitting stores last week, sales in the Top 200 nearly flatlined, dropping to 3.6 million from 5.4 million last week. Only one other record, Now That's What I Call Music! 15, reached six-figure sales (122,000 copies sold at Number Two) and only two records in the Top Fifty posted sales increases from last week. That said, one of the two, Hoobastank's The Reason, charged past all of the recent Top Ten vets to reach Number Three. The record has enjoyed some momentum from its title track and a well-timed Visa advertisement that prompted a jump from 70,000 copies sold to 74,000 on this week's chart. That increase helped push the album up from the Number Eighteen spot it occupied a week ago.

Hoobastank's success was about the only good news. Modest Mouse's Good News for People Who Love Bad News sold 39,000 copies at Number Twenty, pushing the record past 100,000 sales in just two weeks of release. Sugarcult's Palm Trees and Power Lines was the week's highest debut, but with sales of 22,000 it hardly constituted a threat to the Top Ten, falling in at Number Forty-six.

Next week could offer an R&B showdown. Usher's sales have gradually been moving down to more modest levels, and while Prince doesn't shift units as wildly he did in the Eighties, his new Musicology comes packed with bunches of buzz following a Grammy-opening performance, a hyped summer tour and his induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

This week's Top Ten: Usher's Confessions; Now That's What I Call Music! 15; Hoobastank's The Reason; Janet Jackson's Damita Jo; Guns N' Roses' Greatest Hits; Norah Jones' Feels Like Home; Jessica Simpson's In This Skin; Evanescence's Fallen; Lil' Flip's U Gotta Feel Me; and Kanye West's The College Drop Out.