Given its star power and the chart success of its predecessors, it's no surprise that volume nine of the Now That's What I Call Music! series takes the top spot on next week's Billboard 200 albums chart.
With songs by Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, Ludacris and Pink, Now 9 sold nearly 420,000 copies in its first week, easily beating the #2 debut of Jay-Z and R. Kelly's rap/R&B musical marriage, Best of Both Worlds, which sold about 220,000 copies, according to SoundScan numbers released Wednesday (March 27).
The "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" soundtrack drops to #3 after selling more than 130,000 copies in its 65th week on the chart, while Mr. Margaritaville Jimmy Buffett quietly but forcefully steps into fifth place after selling nearly 79,000 copies of Far Side of the World. Another world, the one outside neo-soul singer Glenn Lewis' window, apparently looks a lot like the #4 spot on the chart. His debut album sold over 85,000 copies in its first week.
The top 10 is rounded out by Alan Jackson's Drive (#6), Linkin Park's Hybrid Theory (#7), Alanis Morissette's Under Rug Swept (#8), Ludacris' Word of Mouf (#9) and Pink's Missundaztood(#10).
Brandy's Full Moon slips out of the top 10, dropping six spots to #11, while B2K's self-titled debut falls 10 spots to #12 in its second week on the chart. Other albums on their way down from the chart's upper reaches include Usher's 8701 at #19 and Creed's Weatheredat #22.
Heading in the opposite direction are the White Stripes. The Detroit blues-garage duo's third album, last July's White Blood Cells, hit the chart three weeks ago after it was reissued by V2 Records, and it has climbed steadily ever since. On next week's chart it jumps 36 spots to #121 with nearly 12,000 copies sold. Also making good headway is Maxwell, who, thanks to his "This Woman's Work" video, will see Now move up 28 notches to #80.
Petey Pablo may be riding high from the success of Now 9, which features a remix of his "Raise Up" (see "Now 9 Remixes Pink, City High, Petey Pablo"), but his own LP isn't faring too well Diary of a Sinner: 1st Entry drops 20 spots to #131.
Fans may be trying to tell Wu-Tang's Killa Beez to buzz off: The Sting falls 32 places to #78 with almost 17,000 albums sold. And they may just be saying the same thing to Destiny's Child, who haven't come close to duplicating the success of J. Lo's remix album. Their This Is the Remix falls 21 spots to #50 in just its second week on the chart.
Other new and notable debuts include the "Blade II" soundtrack at #26, Ol' Dirty Bastard's The Trials & Tribulations of Russell Jones at #33, Darren Hayes' Spin at #35 and Corey's I'm Just Corey at #73.