Newly Repackaged Usher Meets Strait “Number Ones” Package in Great R&B vs. Country Faceoff
Dang, this is excitin’.

It looks like the top of next week’s chart will come down to a good, old-fashioned repackaging brawl, with George Strait’s new double-disc collection of 50 #1 hits (plus one new song) going up against a new version of Usher’s Confessions featuring four new tracks, including the Alicia Keys remix of “My Boo.”

Usher, of course already has the biggest album of the year, with over 5.7 million sold in the U.S. to date. He’s still #27 on this week’s album chart, but with the new version in stores, he’ll be fighting it out with Strait for #1 honors next week.

Indeed, according to early reports from national accounts, after one day on sale, both Strait’s 50 Number Ones (MCA Nashville) and Confessions (LaFace/ZLG) are on track to sell over 250k apiece for the week. Stay tuned for more details on how this here repackaging rodeo is shaping up.

Meanwhile, Other big albums hitting the streets yesterday include a pair from Epic: Good Charlotte’s The Chronicles of Life and Death, which at this point looks like it will sell well over 150k for the week (making it the third-highest chart debut for next week, if you count the repackaged Usher as a debut), and Korn’s Greatest Hits Vol. 1, which looks like it will move around 100k. R.E.M.’s Around the Sun (Warner Bros.), also released yesterday, appears headed for a first week of just under 100k.