Mary J. Blige's Geffen album Growing Pains, which hit the street yesterday, is on target for 600k, give or take, with a full week of pre-Xmas foot traffic in front of her.

INDUSTRY'S HAIL MARY PASS

Growing Pains Looking Like 600k, but Not Enough to Top Groban
Ordinarily, Josh Groban’s Noel, which just notched its fourth consecutive trip to the top of the HITS Album chart, would start to slow down as Christ’s birthday approaches, but that’s not the case, as it soars towards the 700k sales mark on next week's chart, according to reports from retailers around this great, big consumer country of ours.

That looks like it will be enough to hold back Mary J. Blige, whose Geffen album Growing Pains, which hit the street yesterday, is on target for 600k, give or take, with a full week of pre-Xmas foot traffic in front of her.

As for the other expected chart debuts, Atlantic’s R&B star Jaheim (180k) and rapper Lupe Fiasco (150-160k) are next up, followed by GospoCentric/ZLG’s Kirk Franklin (70-80k) and hip-hopper Chingy’s first album for Ludacris' DTP/IDJ label (30-35k).

As we swing into the busiest retail week of the year, the market was up 24.4% vs last week, down 23% vs. same week last year and now down over 15% year-to-date.

It’s getting so bad we can’t afford a stocking for the requisite lump of coal.

Meanwhile, Josh Groban’s Noel also vaulted into the #1 spot for 2007 overall through Dec. 16, with a total of 2.8 million. The rest of the Top 20 is as follows:

2. High School Musical 2 (Disney): 2.7m
3. Daughtry (RCA/RMG): 2.3m
4. Eagles, Long Road Out of Eden (ERC): 2.2m
5. Hannah Montana 2 (Disney): 2.15m
6. Linkin Park, Minutes to Midnight (WB): 1.98m
7. Fergie, Dutchess (A&M/Interscope): 1.9m
8. Alicia Keys, As I Am (J): 1.87m
9. Kanye West, Graduation (IDJ): 1.79m
10. Nickelback, All the Right Reasons (Roadrunner): 1.75m
11. Taylor Swift (Big Machine): 1.68m
12. Akon, Konvicted (SRC/Universal Motown): 1.6m
13. Justin Timberlake, FutureSex/LoveSounds (Jive): 1.5m
14. Maroon 5, It Won’t Be Soon Before Long (Octone/A&M): 1.49m
15. Carrie Underwood, Some Hearts (Arista Nashville): 1.47m
16. Norah Jones, Not Too Late (Blue Note): 1.44m
17. Carrie Underwood, Carnival Ride (Arista Nashville): 1.4m
18. Rascal Flatts, Still Feels Good (Lyric Street): 1.38m
19. Amy Winehouse, Back to Black (Universal Republic): 1.37m
20. Avril Lavigne, Best Damn Thing (Arista): 1.34m

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