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"The story of the week had to be Usher. I can’t remember a repackage with added material ever having that big an effect on sales."
——George Deahl, Hastings
STRAIT EDGES USHER
MCA Nashville Country Star Slips Past Repackaged Usher; Good Charlotte, Korn Bow in Top 5
Country comfort bests soul redux this week.

In a race that went down to the wire, MCA Nashville C&W crooner George Strait’s 50 Number Ones ends up at #1, squeaking by LaFace/ZLG soul superstar Usher’s repackaged Confessions, which features four new songs, including the smash remix duet with Alicia Keys, "My Boo."

Epic punk rockers Good Charlotte’s concept album, Chronicles of Life and Death, bows at #3, with a healthy total just shy of 200k, while labelmates Korn’s Greatest Hits Vol. 1, a combination of covers of other people’s smashes as well as their own, lands at #4.

The rest of the Top 10 features holdovers Fo’ Reel/Universal rap crossover phenom Nelly’s Suit (#5), Buena Vista/Hollywood teenpopper Hilary Duff (#6), Reprise’s Green Day (#7), Lyric Street/Hollywood’s Rascal Flatts (#8), Concord’s Ray Charles (#9) and Curb’s Tim McGraw (#10).

Country and PoMo rock each holds down three places in the Top 10.

Hastings' George Deahl was truly pumped up with this week's new releases and groundbreaking repackage. We could tell because he was breathing. "Obviously, George Strait’s greatest hits release had a big week at our stores, but the story of the week had to be Usher. I can’t remember a repackage with added material ever having that big an effect on sales. Good Charlotte and Korn also had solid debuts."

Other debuts are scored by WB’s R.E.M. (#14), WSM’s Totally Hits 2004 V.2 (#19), Columbia’s Cake (#23), Anti’s Tom Waits (#30) and Capitol’s 1-20 (#35).

The reconfigured Usher album is up a huge 765%, from sales of around 40k to this week’s total of 344k. Geffen’s Shark Tale soundtrack (#42-33), riding the fish tails of the #1 movie box office hit, sees a 20% boost.

Other gainers include Island/IDJ’s The Killers (#42, +2%) and Nelly’s Suit (+1%).

Next week, look for Epic’s Celine Dion, Island/IDJ’s Sum 41 and Rawkus/Geffen rapper Mos Def to be the top chart entrants.

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