Rod Stewart is 39 years older than Simpson, but his career, though redirected, is as vital as ever.


More Standards From Stewart, Another Hit for RLG, Wonder Finally Lets It Go
The 21-year-old rock starlet Ashlee Simpson calls her new Geffen album I Am Me, and it looks like that’s exactly what 260k-270k fans have been waiting for. The SNL embarrassment was a year ago, and there’s what feels like a growing wave of sympathy and support for the Ash-ster—after all, who among us hasn’t been out of sync at one time or another?

Rod Stewart is 39 years older than Simpson, but his career, though redirected, is as vital as ever, with The Great American Songbook Vol. IV foxtrotting its way toward 190k-200k. That’ll easily put Clive’s most recent reclamation project at #2 on next week’s chart.

The week’s third biggest debut, at 140k-150k—which will equate to a #3 finish on the album chart—is from Martina McBride, as Joe Galante and Butch Waugh’s RLG tractor keeps pulling heavy tonnage. Has any label had a higher batting average this year than these country boys? We think not.

The loooooonnnnggg-awaited album from living legend Stevie Wonder (Motown) is trending toward 110k-115k, the same as Asylum MC Bun B.

There’s still life in the one-time Rose Bowl-filling, KROQ-loving Depeche Mode, whose first album of new material in a dog’s age, on Reprise, has perked up and is now on course to hit 120k, give or take.

Hold on, kiddies—we’re not quite done yet. Island/IDJ rockers Thrice should be good for 55k-60k. That’ll put the band ahead by a nose in its horse race with Mercury Nashville’s Billy Currington, who’s shootin’ for 50k-60k.

And now for the sobering part. Total album sales for the week were down 5.6% compared to last week, and that percentage represents a deficit of 614k pieces. Compared to a year ago, the deficit is 2.6%, or 245k. On the year to date, business is off 10% compared to 2004 to this point. We’re talking 48.6 million fewer units than last year.