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"Creed continues to gain—they own the fourth quarter. It's fantastic to see a band's third album show this kind of strength."
——Brant Berry, Fred Meyer

WE'RE OUTTA HERE!!!
OH, YEAH...CREED'S #1

Sales Are Huge, As Creed Rules, No Doubt Rocks Steady, but In Our Minds We're Already Gone
As the year comes to a close—for us, anyway—it ends on a high note. Sales are way up from last week, and all of the records through #34 sold in the six-figure range. Merry Christmas. Now let's get drunk.

"It was a huge week for a lot of records," said Fred Meyer's Brant Berry, stating the obvious. "Creed continues to gain—they own the fourth quarter. It's fantastic to see a band's third album show this kind of strength," added Berry, who then proved his own strength by jabbing a pair of hot knitting needles in his eyes. Ouch, that hurts.

What the Brantster is saying is that Christmas is a magical season, with people going into stores, buying things and running up their already overtaxed credit cards, whose cumulative debt, according to a report last week, now accounts for 20% of an average American's yearly income. And that doesn't even begin to account for the 10-15% rise in comparative sales from last week, with some titles, like Nickelback, up almost 50%.

And that doesn't even count for the beer and potato chips. This week, people are buying CDs, including lots of Creed records, as the Wind-up band remains at #1. Rounding out the Top Five are Now Vol. 8 (Virgin) at #3, Now Xmas (UTV) at #3, Britney Spears (Jive) at #4 and Garth Brooks (Capitol) at #5.

The week's biggest debut belongs to Interscope's No Doubt at #6.

"With both Now Vol. 8' and the Now Xmas,' the Now' phenomenon looks unstoppable, as do Garth Brooks and Nickelback," said Berry. He then went back to playing with a piece of string.

Hip-hop will rap up next week's chart, with new records from Jay-Z, Wu-Tang Clan, Lil' Bow Wow, Nas, Mystikal, Master P and Ruff Ryders Vol. 3 all charting—happily, we won't be here to print or tally it. Yeeeeee-haaaaaaah!!! Now that's magic.

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Start digging out your formal wear and let's do this.
THE NEXT BIG MONEY PLAY
it's not what you think.
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