Unplugged Unleashed, Powering Alicia Toward Top Spot on Next Week’s Chart
Alicia KeysUnplugged (J) may not be the superstar’s next “official” album, but we expect it to rack up at least 185k, with a shot at 200k. That should be enough to put Keys in the #1 spot, unless Nickelback pulls another stunner in week two.

Next week’s second highest debut looks like it will go to MCA Nashville’s Gary Allen, who’s a-fixin’ to end up just south of 100k. Latin heartthrob Ricky Martin is presently trending toward the 65k-75k sector with his Columbia album, but sales out of Puerto Rico could bolster that number.

In the next wave are a pair of rock bands (and you know how popular that dang ol’ rock music is with the kids, doncha, Grammy?). Those would be Sevendust, with its initial release on Winedark, through the bustling, oncoming Fontana, which is heading toward 55k-65k, and Maverick’s Story of the Year, close behind at 50k-55k.

The music biz moved another 10.9 million albums on the week, up 6.3%, or 653k albums, over last week, but down slightly—0.4%, or 47k units—versus the comparable week of 2004. Album sales on the year now stand at 425.7 million units, which is 10.2%, or 48.3 million, fewer than last year at this time.