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“We’ve been very excited to see just how well the new Beck release did this week, debuting #1 on our chart. But one of the biggest stories this week has to be The Bravery, which more than lived up to the hype, debuting #5 with us.”
——Kevin Hawkins, Tower Records

FANS QUAFF ANOTHER BECK, TRY ON A BEANIE, COUNT TO 112 AND EXERT THEIR WILL

UMG Widens Its Lead, As Interscope Scores Three of the Top Five, and Def Jam/IDJ Nails Down the Other Two. Can You Say "Dominant"?

Like a massive inversion layer hanging over the L.A. basin, 50 Cent continues to loom over the Top 50 Albums chart. It’s the fifth straight #1 finish for the Shady/Aftermath/Interscope sales monster, who’s rapidly closing in on 3 million in sales, and once again there’s nothing else in Fitty’s area code.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some significant stories coming out of retail. The biggest involves the surprisingly big first week enjoyed by Beck’s Guero (Interscope), which boogaloos into the #2 position off of 150k units, powered by tremendous press and significant Internet action—it shot right to the top of the iTunes album chart the day of release—not to mention a boost from Starbucks, which is turning into a major player in the adult marketplace. By the way, that 150k represents the Beckster’s biggest week at retail. Ever. By far.

Behind Beck at #3 is Beanie Sigel’s The B. Coming (Def Jam/IDJ) at 134k, followed by the same label’s One Twelve, whose 119k on Pleasure & Pain beat the group’s numeric moniker.

In the #5 position is Will Smith (Interscope), whose TV blitz helped him to come on strong for a finish just a kiss away from 100k—98.7k, to be precise. Rocket scientists reading this drivel may have already noticed that Interscope scored three out of the Top 5, with cousin label Def Jam/IDJ nailing down the other two. Can UMG get any more dominant?

The fifth and final Top 10 debut belongs to blue-collar comic Larry the Cable Guy, out of Jeff Foxworthy’s posse, whose 88k bow (good for #7) makes The Right to Bare Arms (Warner Bros.) the biggest comedy-album debut of the modern sales era. Don’t that jest beat all, y’all?

The other noteworthy bow belongs to new band The Bravery, whose self-titled debut (Island/IDJ) came in at #16 off a robust 33k—just five slots behind feuding labelmates The Killers. That oughta kick up the rivalry a notch or two.

“We’ve been very excited to see just how well the new Beck release did this week, debuting #1 on our chart,” says Tower’s Kevin Hawkins from behind two turntables and a microphone. “Great record, great press, and he definitely made the most of it. Beanie Sigel also had a solid week, as did One Twelve and Will Smith. But one of the biggest stories this week has to be The Bravery, which more than lived up to the pre-release hype, debuting #5 with us.”

Here’s the rest of the Top 10: Epic’s Now 18 (#6), Columbia/CRG’s Frankie J (#8), Brushfire/Universal’s Jack Johnson (#9) and Reprise’s Green Day (#10).

Next week, look for debuts from Faith Evans and Lisa Marie Presley.

HITS LIST: AMPERSANDS
Dynamic duos (12/3a)
TAYLOR'S TREMENDOUS YEAR
She'd make one helluva CEO. (12/3a)
THEY CALL THE WINDFALL MARIAH (HOLIDAY EDITION)
Ch-chingle bells (12/3a)
SONG REVENUE:
BOWS OF HOLLY
Adele is money. (12/3a)
UTA MUSIC EXPANDS IN NASHVILLE
Reshuffling the deck (12/3a)
CHESTNUTS
Roasting.
STOCKINGS
Stuffing.
PIPERS
Piping.
SANTA
Coming.
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