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CHART PREVIEW: BRAD’S BAD, DUFF’S TOUGH
Country Crooner, Hollywood’s Pop Princess Still Neck and Neck
As the crack(ed) HITS retail squad readies all available fingers and toes to do its usual Monday-morning number crunching, it looks like Hilary Duff and Brad Paisley are still each within reach of #1 on this week’s album chart.

As of late last week, Duff’s Most Wanted (Hollywood), a hits package containing three new tracks, was being snapped up by her still-rabid fan base, whose appetite has been whetted by an onslaught of TV appearances. The album is expected to land on the chart with around 200k in first-week sales.

But so is Paisley’s Time Well Wasted (Arista Nashville/RLG), as the Joe Galante/Butch Waugh RLG juggernaut shepherds yet another big release into chart-topping territory—this one just ahead of what’s looking like a major fourth quarter for the label group in spite of rough going for the business as a whole.

So, we’ll either have a big hat or a pop princess at #1 this week, with one or the other tailing close behind at #2.

Also debuting this week are alt-rock stalwarts 311, whose 213th album, Don’t Tread on Me (Zomba/ZLG), continues to appear to be headed for a first-week sales total of about 100k.

Last week’s #1, Staind’s Chapter Five (Flip/Elektra) is likely to see its first week of 188k turn into a second week of about 90k or so, if it behaves like most albums do. That would put both Staind and 311 somewhere in the Top 10 for this week, but we’re not exactly sure where, because that turf is pretty well crowded with solid sellers like Now 19, Faith Hill and Mariah Carey, each of which has been shifting units in the 100k-plus range.

Lastly, don’t miss the chart debut of new artist Click Five, whose Greetings From Imrie House (Lava/Atlantic) is headed for a first week of 30k-40k. Ordinarily, such solid starting numbers might have inspired congratulatory slaps on the back for an artist-development job well done, but by now we all know the kind of party Lyor Cohen threw down for Jason Flom.

Also apparently headed for a 30k-40k debut week is Silverstein’s Discovering the Waterfront (Victory). Please stay tuned to this space for various updates, back-pedaling and/or retractions as the actual numbers continue to become clearer. Or, just look at the final chart tomorrow. Thank you.
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