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Groban Unseats OutKast

Classical/pop singer tops the charts with second album

Josh Groban sold 111,000 copies of his second album Closer last week, according to SoundScan, to give the classical/pop singer his first Number One.

Groban’s music hardly fits the bill as a flavor of the moment. With rap, rock and new country dominating the charts, Closer might be the oddest Number One since O Brother, Where Art Thou?. But Groban’s rise has been fast. His debut album quietly entered the nether regions of the Top 200 in November 2001, but an Ally McBeal appearance and a PBS special launched the record into the Top Ten. Since then, the fresh-faced Groban sang at events ranging from the Nobel Peace Prize concert in Oslo to a multi-artist concert at the Vatican. What’s left? The Super Bowl? Well, yes, actually, as Groban will be at the big game singing his new single, “You Raise Me Up,” as a tribute to the space shuttle Columbia’s crew.

Groban’s rise to Number One was behind a 28,000 album spike, as Closer jumped from Number Eleven to Number One. The rest of the chart’s residents weren’t quite so active; only three other albums in the Top 100 registered improved sales over the previous week. The week’s second biggest success story was England’s neo-classicist metalmen the Darkness. The bombastic troupe reached Number Thirty-nine with sales of 25,000. Just two weeks ago, the record was at Number 173, and two weeks before that it failed to make the Top 200. Similarly, Maroon 5’s Songs About Jane jumped from Number 145 two weeks ago to Number Fifty-seven, thanks in part to tireless touring and TRL.

As for debuts, Phantom Planet checked in as the week’s strongest newcomer. The group’s self-titled second album arrived at Number Ninety-five with sales of 13,000. And don’t look for a lot of new blood next week, as new releases this week were scarce.

This week’s Top Ten: Josh Groban’s Closer; Alicia Keys’ The Diary of Alicia Keys; OutKast’s Speakerboxxx/The Love Below; No Doubt’s Singles 1992-2003; Toby Keith’s Shock N Y’all; Sheryl Crow’s The Very Best of Sheryl Crow; Now That’s What I Call Music! 14; Ruben Studdard’s Soulful; Evanescence’s Fallen; and Jay-Z’s The Black Album.

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