Usher Sends D12 Packing

Confessions reclaims top of albums chart with sales of more than 267,000 copies last week.

After temporarily stepping back while D12 had their moment in the sun, Usher will retake his previous position at the top of the Billboard albums chart next week.

Confessions sold 267,000 copies last week, according to SoundScan, 5,000 more copies than the LP did the week before. The increasing prominence of the album’s second single, “Burn,” can take credit for the slight rise.

After seven weeks, six of which were spent at the top, Usher’s fourth album has amassed more than 3.1 million in sales.

Sales of D12′s second album, D12 World, dropped off by 63 percent in its second week, though the 196,000 copies it managed to move was enough to secure a spot at #2, ahead of Prince’s Musicology. Thanks to a combination of album purchases and three shows’ worth of ticket sales (all concertgoers receive a copy of the album, whose cost has been worked into the ticket price), Musicology sold more than 150,000 copies to keep its place at #3 for the third week in a row.

Keeping his journal on wax is proving profitable for Petey Pablo. On the strength of “Freek-A-Leek,” the Southern rapper’s second album, Still Writing in My Diary: 2nd Entry, will come in at #4, with more than 117,000 copies sold. Pablo’s latest is on par with his 2001 debut, Diary of a Sinner: 1st Entry, which sold more than 103,000 copies in its first week for a #13 chart debut.

Moms nationwide helped Norah Jones and Josh Groban’s latest albums re-enter the top 10. The presumably popular Mother’s Day gifts each increased their weekly sales by about 35,000 copies, so that Jones’ Feels Like Home will advance three spots to #8, with more than 90,000 copies sold, while Groban’s Closer jumps nine spots to #9, with more than 78,000 copies sold.

The rest of the top 10 finds jazz singer Diana Krall’s The Girl in the Other Room taking one step back to #5 (with more than 97,000 copies sold); Hoobastank’s The Reason continuing to reap the benefits of the crossover title track and moving up a spot to #6 (90,000); Mario Winans’ Hurt No More dropping two spots to #7 (90,000); and Now That’s What I Call Music! 15 falling four places to #10 (76,000).

Although weekly sales rose by 11 percent for Evanescence’s Fallen (from 59,000 to 67,000), the album will slip out of the upper bracket to #11, followed by Southern gospel rockers Third Day’s seventh album, Wire, at #12. Totally Hits 2004, featuring tracks by Jet, Maroon 5, Kelis and J-Kwon, will land at #14; second-season “American Idol” loser Kimberley Locke’s One Love will bow in at #16; and soul diva Patti LaBelle’s Timeless Journey will enter at #18 to round out the top-20 debuts.

Next week’s other notable albums-chart debuts include Flaw’s Endangered Species at #42; Sevendust’s live, Southside Double-Wide at #90; Magnetic Fields’ I at #152; the Pixies’ Wave of Mutilation: The Best of the Pixies at #161; and comedian David Cross’ It’s Not Funny at #194.

Last week’s statistics also show that downloaded tracks far outnumbered conventional single sales. While Clay Aiken’s “Solitaire/ The Way” will be the #1 single on next week’s Billboard 200 singles chart with more than 9,500 copies sold, Hoobastank’s “The Reason” was downloaded more than 15,700 times to be the most popular downloaded track last week. The top 200 singles moved a total of 92,000 copies, while the top 200 tracks were downloaded more than 374,000 times. Since January 1, however, sales of the top 200 singles exceed the top 200 downloads, 7.1 million to 6.2 million.