Usher Reclaims Spot

R&B superstar brings re-vamped album back to Number One

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Usher continues to be the sales titan of 2004. His Confessions CD -- re-released last week with three new tracks, including a duet with Alicia Keys -- sold another 336,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan, to top the nation's album chart. Back in March, the original version moved 1.1 million copies in its first week -- more than twice the total of any R&B artist in the fifteen-year history of SoundScan.

George Strait's compilation of country chart-toppers, 50 Number Ones, came in a close second, selling 331,000 copies, further spoiling the debut of Number One hopefuls Good Charlotte, whose third album of pop-punk anthems, Chronicles of Life and Death, sold 199,000. Like Usher and Strait, rap-metal men Korn found repackaged material to be a ticket up the charts, as their Greatest Hits moved 130,000 copies to land at Number Four, a big step up from their 2003's Take a Look in the Mirror, which debuted at Nineteen.

On the losing end this week were R.E.M., who continued their U.S. sales slump with Around the Sun. The CD sold 59,000 copies -- less than half of what 2001's Reveal did in its first week -- to debut Number Fourteen. Also, Interpol saw their sophomore effort, Antics, plunge from Fifteen to Forty-One (26,000), crushing any chance the indie darlings had of cracking the Top Ten; while the Used, who made a surprise debut at Number Six last week with In Love & Death, fell to Twenty-Six (37,000).

Next week, expect Sum 41's Chuck to raise the pop-punk flag at Number One, and look for Mos Def's long-awaited second album, The New Danger, to make some Top Ten noise.

This week's Top Ten: Usher's Confessions; George Strait's 50 Number Ones; Good Charlotte's Chronicles of Life and Death; Korn's Greatest Hits, Vol.1; Nelly's Suit; Hilary Duff's Hilary Duff; Green Day's American Idiot; Rascal Flatts' Feels Like Today; Tim McGraw's Live Like You Were Dying; Ciara's Goodies.