The fifth release by the R&B singer earned the highest debut figure since 'N Sync's Celebrity moved 1.9 million almost three years ago. Confessions also more than doubled the previous best one-week sales figure for an R&B artist; R. Kelly's TP-2.com sold 540,000 copies in 2000. Usher's previous album, 2001's 8701, went on to sell more than 3 million copies, but its first-week tally was a comparatively modest 211,000, and it never reached Number One.
Usher wasn't the only one who cashed in this week, as five other albums registered six-figure tallies, and total sales in the Top 200 were up to 5.5 million from 3.8 million a week ago. The fifteenth volume of the Now That's What I Call Music! series muscled in at Number Two with sales of 343,000. Guns n' Roses' Greatest Hits, Carl Thomas' Let's Talk About It and N.E.R.D.'s Fly or Die also made big debuts at Number Three, Four and Six, with sales of 169,000, 139,000 and 119,000, respectively. After six weeks at Number One, Norah Jones' Feels Like Home remained in the Top Five in spite of the new-release onslaught, selling another 121,000 copies.
The Top Fifty was peppered with additional newcomers: Master P's double album Good Side/Bad Side sold 68,000 at Number Eleven, and Cypress Hill's Till Death Do Us Part moved 45,000 copies at Number Twenty-one. However, the Vines' Winning Days didn't fare quite as well as the Aussie rockers' debut. Two years ago Highly Evolved sold 64,000 copies at Number Eleven, but the 43,000 sold by the new Winning Days was only good enough for Number Twenty-three.
Next week should continue the warm sales trend. Janet Jackson's Damita Jo was released this week and its placement on next week's chart will determine whether her February "wardrobe malfunction" will help or hurt her career. And veterans like Aerosmith and Eric Clapton are always reliable for Top Twenty debuts.
This week's Top Ten: Usher's Confessions; Now That's What I Call Music! 15; Guns n' Roses' Greatest Hits; Carl Thomas' Let's Talk About It; Norah Jones' Feels Like Home; N.E.R.D.'s Fly or Die; Evanescence's Fallen; Kanye West's College Drop Out; Jessica Simpson's In This Skin; and Kenny Chesney's When the Sun Goes Down.