August 3, 2005

Hits CD leads U.S. charts as comic gets big laugh

By Margo Whitmire

LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - The 19th installment of the "NOW
That's What I Call Music!" hits compilation series led the U.S.
pop album charts for a second week, staving off a slew of top
tier debuts by Young Jeezy, Jason Mraz, Babyface and comedian
Dane Cook, according to sales data issued Wednesday.

The multi-label disc sold 236,000 copies in the week ended
July 31, suffering a hefty 46% fall from its debut week, said
Nielsen SoundScan.

At No. 2, rapper Young Jeezy scored his first solo spot on
the Billboard 200 with "Let's Get It: Thug Motivation 101" (Def
Jam), which sold 172,000 copies. Last month, the Atlanta-based
artist enjoyed a No. 5 opening as part of Boyz N Da Hood. The
quartet's self-titled effort bowed with 101,000 copies.

Not since the Steve Martin album "A Wild and Crazy Guy"
reached No. 2 in 1979 has the Billboard 200 seen a comedy disc
break the top 5. That all changed this week as Dane Cook's
"Retaliation" (Comedy Central Records) bowed at No. 4 with
86,000 copies. Cook's first set, "Harmful if Swallowed," never
made it to the big chart and sold just 3,000 copies in its
debut week in 2003; it has moved 255,000 to date.

Jason Mraz also dodged the sophomore slump with "Mr. A-Z"
(Atlantic), which opened at No. 5 with a career-best week of
81,000 units. It took five months for the singer/songwriter's
2002 debut, "Waiting for My Rocket To Come," to enter the
Billboard 200, where it peaked at No. 55. That album, which has
sold 935,000 copies to date, was propelled by the hit single
"Remedy," a No. 4 hit on Billboard's Adult Top 40 list. His
latest single, "Wordplay," is currently climbing that chart's
top 20.

"Grown & Sexy," Babyface's first studio album in four
years, sold 56,000 copies to bow at No. 10 on the Billboard
200. The Arista disc is the highest-charting effort for the R&B
producer/singer/songwriter since 1996's "The Day" (Epic), which
reached No. 6 and has sold 1.5 million to date. His last
effort, 2001's "Face2Face," debuted and peaked at No. 25 with a
55,000 copy first-week; it has sold 371,000 to date.

In the midst of the top 10 debuts, Mariah Carey's "The
Emancipation of Mimi" (Island/Def Jam) slipped one place to No.
3 with 102,000 copies. Coldplay's "X&Y" (Capitol) fell two to
No. 4 with 73,000, while the Black Eyed Peas' "Monkey Business"
(A&M/Interscope) dropped one to No. 7 with 68,000. Gorillaz's
"Demon Days" (Parlophone/Virgin) rose one place to No. 8 with
sales of 59,300, while R. Kelly's "TP.3 Reloaded" (Jive)
tumbled six places to No. 9 with 59,200 units.

Other notable debuts included Trey Songz's "I Gotta Make
It" (Atlantic, No. 20), Lil Rob's "Twelve Eighteen: Part I"
(Upstairs Records, No. 31), Jason Aldean's self-titled Broken
Bow album (No. 37), Ruff Ryders/Artemis' "Ruff Ryders:
Redemption, Volume 4" (No. 40), and Alanis Morissette's "Jagged
Little Pill (Acoustic)" (Maverick) (No. 50).

Overall U.S. album sales were up 2% over the previous week
at 10.4 million units, but were about 10% lower than the same
week last year. Sales for 2005 are behind 2004 by about 8% at
324 million units.