Usher Holds Off Country Star

Gretchen Wilson falls just short of Number One

Usher's Confessions sold another 228,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan, to spend its seventh week (out of a possible eight) at Number One. But the R&B singer just scraped by on this week's chart. Country music newcomer Gretchen Wilson stormed onto the charts with her debut album, Here for the Party, which sold 227,000 at Number Two. The album is enjoying a crossover success, due in no small part to Wilson's infectious single "Redneck Woman," which has sparked not only support in the country music community, but among DJs at dance clubs.

After spending the past several years watching several artists rise to success behind the Dirty South banner, 8 Ball and MJG, pioneers of the form, finally got their due with Living Legends, their first set for P. Diddy's Bad Boy Records. The duo's latest sold 121,000 copies at Number Two, edging D12's D12 World, which continues to sputter after a strong first week, selling 117,000 at Number Four. Hoobastank's The Reason rounds out the Top Five, selling 80,000 copies. One slot lower is an eye-popping comeback: Eighties R&B has-been Teena Marie hadn't released an album in a decade until La Dona found its way to stores last week, oddly enough, courtesy of Cash Money Records. Hitless since "Lovergirl" in 1985, Marie sold a startling 75,000 copies of her latest, to bow in at Number Six.

The vast majority of the chart proved less surprising, as sales in the Top 200 slipped from 4.4 million last week to 3.8 million this week. Which isn't to say that everyone took sales hits. Modest Mouse's Good News for People Who Love Bad News jumped from Number Thirty-four to Number Twenty-three behind a 5,000 copy sales spike to 35,000. And Franz Ferdinand continue to cash in on their reams of press accolades. The Scottish import's self-titled debut sold 14,000 copies to zip from Number 107 last week to Number Sixty-five.

Next week's chart is a free-for-all. Confessions is still posting strong six-figure sales, though Wilson's Party has fresher legs. And new releases from Alanis Morissette and Lenny Kravitz could also shake up things in the Top Ten.

This week's Top Ten: Usher's Confessions; Gretchen Wilson's Here for the Party; 8 Ball and MJG's Living Legends; D12's D12 World; Hoobastank's The Reason; Teena Marie's La Dona; Prince's Musicology; Now That's What I Call Music! 15; Mario Winans' Hurt No More; and Petey Pablo's Still Writing in My Diary: 2nd Entry.