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"We still believe in a strong fourth quarter and are looking forward to next week's Ja Rule numbers."
—--Mike Fuller, Hastings
SLOW SALE-ING, BUT
JAY-Z PREVAILS
Jay-Z, "Totally Hits," Enya, Usher and Rock On A Roll, But Ja Will Rule Next Week
It could be worse.

With nary a major new release driving consumers into stores, this week's album chart looks a lot like last week's album chart—minus a whole bunch of unit sales.

Roc-A-Fella/IDJ's Jay-Z retained the album chart throne this week, edging the only real newcomer, Arista's "Totally Hits 4," which bowed in the #2 spot.

This week's Top Five was rounded out by J Records' Alicia Keys, Reprise's Enya and Roadrunner/IDJ's Nickelback.

And speaking of the Enya album, in a week when few projects posted any sales increase, that one shot up 17%. The only other Top 20 album to post a gain over last week was Arista's Usher, which jumped 21-9, thanks to two cuts working simultaneously at key radio formats. Those are called "smashes."

That said, rock albums continue to be ever present amid the top sellers, as Warner Bros' Linkin Park, Atlantic's P.O.D., Flip/Elektra's Staind and Columbia's System of a Down all remain in the Top 15.

"Given what's going with many businesses, the music community should be grateful for the run we're having," said Mike Fuller of Hastings, taking a sip from his half-full glass of Clamato. "We still believe in a strong fourth quarter and are looking forward to next week's Ja Rule numbers. Also, I love puppies and the colors of autumn in New England."

What Bob is so enthusiastic about is the next IDJ chart topper (this time on Murder Inc./Def Jam/IDJ), Ja Rule. Besides coming off sales of more than 3 million on his last album, Ja is an American. And that's what we're into. Thank you. You can go back to waving the American flag now.

NEAR TRUTHS:
CHART WARS
Blind leading the blind. (8/3a)
AIRHEAD: MODI OPERANDUS
(OR SOMETHING)
Dysfunctional AF (8/3a)
CHART STORY: A BIG FOLKIN' DEAL (UPDATE)
The year's biggest debut. (7/31a)
NEAR TRUTHS: A HEALTHY MARKET
Star power. (8/1a)
MICROSOFT GETS CLOSER TO TIKTOK ACQUISITION
The clock is ticking... (8/3a)
TAYLOR SWIFT
Taylor Swift Taylor Swift Taylor Swift. Taylor. Swift.
VOTE BY MAIL
It's a conspiracy, because everyone does it.
MARY TRUMP
Family is everything.
BILLIE EILISH RETURNS
Unleash the giant spider!
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