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ONE-DAY SALES: RETAIL HOPS ON GRAVY TWAIN

Shania’s Selling, and Plenty Are Buying, As Up!, Now 11, Ja Rule Follow
Wheeeeee-dogggggies!!!! As expected, country trumps rap this week, as Shania Twain’s eagerly awaited new album, Up! (Mercury Nashville) gallops onto the chart like so many stampeding prairie dogs.

That’s only if you’re listening to the country disc of Twain’s unprecedented two-disc country/pop album. Either way, however, that album appears to be headed for a first week of over 800k, with a shot at 900k before it’s all said and done, according to early reports from national accounts. And that’s a guaranteed #1, cowpoke.

The Twain onslaught will make Jay-Z’s stay at #1 a brief one, but with 600k-plus under his belt after one week, you can bet no tears will stain his Blueprint. Meanwhile, early anlaysis of this year’s Twain effect on retail indicates that an inordinately large share of her sales will be coming from rack accounts (Wal-Mart, etc.). Racks usually lead on big ol’ mainstream country/pop sensations such as Twain, but the early rack numbers are reportedly astounding nonetheless.

Also flying off store shelves is the eleventh installment of the venerable Now series, this one on UTV, featuring hits by Nelly, the Dixie Chicks, Norah Jones and many more. Eearly reports hint that the compilation will have a first week of approximately 300k.

Murder Inc./IDJ’s Ja Rule, meanwhile, looks like he’ll see a first week of more than 200k for his The Last Temptation.

In the latest installment in Epic’s hard-rocking Q4 attack, the much-anticipated debut from Rage/Soundgarden supergroup Audioslave is on track to move 200k for the week, putting it in solid Top 5 contention. Atlantic’s Matchbox Twenty, meanwhile, looks headed for sales of around 150k.

Below that, it's all about another Epic rocker, Mudvayne’s End of All Things to Come, as well as Toni Braxton’s More Than a Woman (Arista) and George Harrison’s Brainwashed (Capitol). Each of these titles should come in at around 100k.

So saddle on up, ride on down to the neighbor’s ranch and spread the news: Shania’s back, and it shore do feel good, even if she is a space-suit wearing, flying-motorcycle-riding science-fiction superhero now. We may not understand it (like most things), but we can still get behind it. Yeeeeeeeeeeeee-hawwwwwwww!!!!

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