Next Week’s Chart Will Be Wearin' a Big Hat
Leave it to George Strait to demonstrate once again that you don’t need to be a pop star to sell a shitload of records. Coming off last year’s 50 Number Ones package, which lassoed a resounding 343k in its first week, the country traditionalist’s new MCA Nashville album, Somewhere Down in Texas, is galloping toward a finish of 250k or thereabouts, a durn sight more than the 125k-150k the “experts” were predicting.

That means ol’ George will be the king of the hill on next week’s album chart, unseating Coldplay, whose Capitol opus held the top spot for the last three weeks. X&Y moved 179k units to hold onto #1 this week, while Island/IDJ’s resilient Mariah Carey landed #2 with 127k, so, barring something totally unexpected, they won’t even pose a challenge to Strait.

Also bowing this week are a pair of releases from the recently quiet hip-hop sector: TVT’s Ying Yang Twins, who we think will come in just shy of 150k, and J’s Cassidy, who should finish at around 90k.

Another pair of debuts project to 50k or so. Those would be Sony Urban/Columbia’s Vivian Green and Atlantic/Rhino’s Anthony Hamilton—the latter showing surprising strength for a reissue.

As for the big picture…remember those glorious days when rock bands ruled the charts and the market had one up week after another. Sorry, kiddies, but those days ended last week. Music sales for the week just completed were down 12.2% from the previous week (10.5 million units vs. 11.9 million) and down 16.7% from the comparable week in 2004 (12.6 million). Year to date, we’re looking at a grand total of 272 million units, trailing last year’s total to this point of 295 million by 7.6%. (6/29a)