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CHART PREVIEW: COLDPLAY, PEAS, STRIPES, ONE, TWO, THREE
As Expected, Brits will Rule This Week, Followed by Hip-Hop Collective, Detroit Duo, Latin Lovely
Even with much of the actual tallying of retail reports from around the nation yet to be done, we can report one thing about this week’s album chart with rare assurance: Coldplay will be #1.

Well, duh, those of you who have been paying attention might say, and you’d be right: From its first day of release, X&Y (Capitol) has shown itself to be a genuine monster, with sales projections growing steadily through the week. At this point, our prognosticators project the album will claim #1 with first-week sales approaching 750k.

Hopefully, Chris Martin will now be able to breathe a sigh of relief, which is bound to make life nicer for both G.P. and baby Apple.

But Coldplay, big as it is, is but one of four major debuts set to hit the chart tomorrow: The Black Eyed PeasMonkey Business (A&M/Interscope) has the #2 chart berth all but locked up, with projections pointing to first-week sales near 225k, while Detroit alt-rockers the White Stripes should lay claim to #3 on sales upwards of 170k for Get Behind Me Satan (V2)—though one should not count last week’s chart topper, Mariah Carey’s Emancipation of Mimi (Island), out of the running for that position. Sales of Mimi are expected to reach 165k for the week, but with a smash project like this, one never knows.

And let us not neglect smoldering Colombian superstar Shakira, whose Fijacion Oral (Epic) is set to debut at #5 based on sales approaching 145k. Even if she falls short of that number, she’ll still have the biggest-selling first week for a Spanish-language album ever (Ricky Martin’s En Espanol previously held that honor, selling 65k out of the box in 2003).

And she’ll likely hold on to #5 on the chart regardless of the (in)accuracy of our 145k projection, since the next-highest-selling chart entry is expected to be System of a Down’s Mezmerize (American/Columbia), at 90k.

More on all of the above as it develops. Or, you could just check the chart when it’s final tomorrow and ignore us like everyone else does. Thank you.
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