Despite Prince's best efforts and a strong sales push for the soundtrack of the hit film "Hairspray," the 25th addition to the Now That's What I Call Music! compilation clings to the #1 spot on next week's Billboard albums chart (despite a 33-percent slip in sales) on nearly 150,000 copies sold.
With contributions from the likes of Fall Out Boy, Avril Lavigne, Gwen Stefani, Fergie, Justin Timberlake, Ne-Yo, Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Daughtry, Now 25's commercial appeal is obvious — and historically, the Now collections are consistent best-sellers. But the Hairspray soundtrack did pose a modest threat to the compilation's #1 standing.
While the film hasn't been a box-office champ, sales of the soundtrack swelled by 41 percent, helping the disc — which features the pipes of John Travolta, Zac Efron, Queen Latifah, Nikki Blonsky, and Michelle Pfeiffer — climb two chart positions to #2. During the album's third week in stores, it sold more than 101,000 units, according to the latest SoundScan figures, released Wednesday morning (August 1). Meanwhile, following at #3 is the 24th studio offering from Prince, Planet Earth, which debuts with 95,500 scans. But Prince's wasn't the only LP to make a top 10 bow this week.
Opening at #7, thanks to sales of 44,600, is the latest from Canadian punks Sum 41, Underclass Hero. It becomes the band's highest charting effort, surpassing 2004's Chuck, which debuted at #10, but with much stronger sales: 65,700 and change.
Falling two chart positions this week to #4 is Hannah Montana 2: Meet Miley Cyrus, the latest from the star of the Disney Channel original series, which sold 92,300 copies. Miley's dad, country crooner Billy Ray Cyrus, is looking up at his offspring from the #20 position, where his new album, Home at Last, debuts this week with 28,200 scans. With close to 64,500 copies flying off record store shelves, rapper T.I.'s T.I. vs. T.I.P. lands in the #5 slot, followed at #6 by Fergie's The Dutchess, with a reported 52,600 scans. Linkin Park's Minutes to Midnight slips one spot to #8, with 41,800 sold, while Amy Winehouse's Back to Black finishes at #9, with 40,200 scans.
It was released nearly four months ago, and now, thanks to its hit single, "Hey There Delilah," the Plain White T's' Every Second Counts finally cracked the chart's top 10, rounding things out with 39,200 copies sold. The LP debuted at #186, with sales of 4,500, and has steadily climbed the top 200 ever since. It'll be interesting to see how the album fares next week.
In all, there were 21 newcomers to next week's Billboard chart, including rapper Yung Berg's Almost Famous EP, which generated 19,500 scans to open at #32. Right behind him at #33 is the soundtrack to El Cantante, the new film starring Jennifer Lopez and hubby Marc Anthony, which sold just 35 fewer copies. Following at #34 is Tegan and Sara's Con, which scanned 19,300 units. Meanwhile, Christian rockers BarlowGirl bow at #40, having sold 18,000 copies of their album How Can We Be Silent.
Canadian rock act Evans Blue clears the top 50 with a #44 opener for their latest, The Pursuit Begins When This Portrayal of Life Ends, which sold 16,900 units. Hanson's new one, The Walk, follows at #56, thanks to 12,400 in week-one sales, and coming in at #68, with 10,700 scans, is Absolute Garbage, a retrospective release chronicling the career of the female-fronted rock group. Silverchair's Young Modern opens at #70, with 10,500 copies sold, while the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Is Is EP debuts at #72 with 10,200 scans.
Making its debut at #77 with 9,500 copies snatched up is Monsters of Rock: Platinum Edition, a collection of 18 cuts from the height of the hair-metal craze; the disc features songs from Skid Row, Poison, Warrant, Ratt, Winger and a whole host of other bands you'd long since forgotten about. Metal pops up again at #106, as Within Temptation's Heart of Everything nets sales of 7,000-plus, and just two spots down on the chart, with sales of just under 7,000, is the soundtrack to The Simpson's Movie."
The three-disc, 46-track Live in Boston '70, which captures the Doors during a two-night stint in Beantown at the height of their fame; sold 5,100 copies, to open at #145. Meanwhile, coming in at #154 with 4,800 scans is the debut album from rapper Freekey Zekey, Book of Ezekiel, and down in the #167 slot, thanks to a reported 4,400 in sales, is former Phish frontman Trey Anastasio's newest, The Horseshoe Curve. Last but not least, barely making the top 200 with 3,800 units sold, is Prey for Eyes, the latest from metal merchants the Red Chord, who claim the chart's #198 position.