After a few weeks of being unseated by new releases, and because it just felt so empty without him, Eminem will settle in atop the Billboard 200 albums chart again next week.
Neck-in-neck with him — as has been the trend since they both appeared on the chart together — is Nelly, who takes second place. The Eminem Show sold more than 170,000 copies, while Nellyville came in close behind with over 160,000 units moved, according to SoundScan figures released Wednesday (August 28).
Sort-of-punk grrrl Avril Lavigne's Let Go moves up a couple of spots to #3, right ahead of the Clipse, whose prayers must have been answered because their Lord Willin' is a new addition to the top five after selling more than 120,000 copies in its first week (see "Lord Willin', The Clipse's Time Has Come"). Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band's The Rising rounds out the top five, dropping two spots to #5 with nearly 120,000 copies sold.
James Taylor is at #6 with October Road, followed by Now That's What I Call Music! Vol. 10 — featuring Britney Spears, Blink-182 and B2K — at #7. Linkin Park's Reanimation holds strong at #8, and Toby Keith's Unleashed enters the top 10 at #9.
Norah Jones' Come Away With Me moves up three places to #10 after selling another 70,000 copies, bringing its total to just under the 1 million mark. The 22-year-old Jones has been steadily climbing the charts since she released her debut in February.
Several new releases bow in the top 20, including Animal House by Angie Martinez (#11), Something Worth Leaving Behind by Lee Ann Womack (#16) and Tropical Storm by Beenie Man (#18).
In the world of improved placement, there are a few decipherable moves and some more mysterious. Although the album has been out and on every rock radio and video outlet for almost a year, System of a Down's Toxicity jumped 13 spots to #28 with nearly 34,000 albums sold, a more than 6,000-copy increase over the previous week. One year after Aaliyah was killed in a plane crash, sales of her last album, Aaliyah, have increased enough to result in a 30-spot jump to #123 on sales of nearly 10,000 copies.
Thursday's MTV Video Music Awards may be heavily promoted, but you wouldn't know it from the way many artists scheduled to attend performed at record stores last week. Ashanti's self-titled album slips to #19, the Vines' Highly Evolved falls 11 spots to #40, Michelle Branch tumbles to #60, Ja Rule's Pain Is Love backslides to #126 and the Strokes' Is This It takes the biggest dive, 21 places to #135.
Other notable debuts this week include the side project of Joey Jordison of Slipknot and Tripp Eisen of Static X, the Murderdolls, whose Beyond the Valley of the Murderdolls enters at #102. Sleater-Kinney's One Beat comes in at #107, and Black Sabbath's double live album culled from '70s concerts, Past Lives, debuts at #114.