If you're one of those people who grouses that the holiday shopping season seems to come earlier each year, don't bother looking at next week's Billboard albums chart, where a flood of new releases — led by country crossover diva Shania Twain — storm the chart and rake in some early Yuletide coin.
Twain's fourth album, Up!, sold more than 874,000 copies, easily surging past the rest of the pack and into next week's #1 spot, according to sales figures released by SoundScan on Wednesday (November 27).
In all, eight new releases crack the top 20 next week. The pop comp Now That's What I Call Music! Vol. 11 — featuring Nelly, No Doubt, Kylie Minogue, Aaliyah, Dixie Chicks and others — debuts in the runner-up slot, selling just under 316,000 copies.
Ja Rule boasts the week's next highest debut, landing at #4 with his The Last Temptation, which moved more than 237,000 copies in its first week in stores. Ja comes in right on the heels of Eminem and the "8 Mile" soundtrack, which holds strong at #3 after selling an additional 281,000 copies.
A few rock veterans also managed to bust into the top 10. Matchbox Twenty's third album, More Than You Think You Are, sold more than 178,000 copies to debut at #6, while the debut album from Audioslave (featuring ex-Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell and former members of Rage Against the Machine) will debut at #7 with 162,000 copies sold.
The surge of new blood pushes last week's #1, Jay-Z's The Blueprint 2: The Gift and the Curse, down to #5 on next week's chart. Missy Elliott, a rising Avril Lavigne and Justin Timberlake round out the top 10.
Toni Braxton, Mudvayne and late Beatles guitarist George Harrison will also make the top 20 next week. R&B songstress Braxton's More Than a Woman sold more than 97,000 copies in its first week in stores to debut at #13. Taking a much louder route, Mudvayne will debut at #17 after selling just under 79,000 copies of The End of All Things to Come. Harrison's posthumous solo offering, Brainwashed, sold more than 74,000 copies to debut at #18.
Talib Kweli came thisclose to scoring a top-20 debut with his latest, but the rapper's Quality sold 67,000 copies to come in at #21, missing the top 20 by less than 500 copies.
The week's other notable debuts include Craig David's Slicker Than Your Average at #32, Erick Sermon's React at #71, Cash Money Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 at #87, Susan Tedeschi's Wait for Me at #90 and the "Friday After Next" soundtrack at #114.