The fourth album from Britney Spears gives the media darling her fourth No. 1 debut on The Billboard 200. "In the Zone" sells 609,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan, leading three albums into the top-10. While it's an impressive first week for the pop superstar, it falls short of the 746,000 copies her 2001 release "Britney" sold when it bowed at No. 1.
Spears has a hefty lead over G-Unit's "Beg for Mercy" (Shady/Interscope), which is up 3-2 despite a 13% sales dip to 327,000 copies. The debut from the 50 Cent-led group has sold 704,000 copies in two weeks on the chart. G-Unit's "Stunt 101" holds at No. 5 on Billboard's Hot Rap Tracks tally.
Blink-182's self-titled Geffen set bows at No. 3 with 313,000 copies. The total falls just short of the 350,000 copies 2001's "Take off Your Pants and Jacket" sold in its first week. The single "Feeling This" is No. 2 on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks chart.
Last week's chart topper, Jay-Z's "The Black Album" (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam) slips to No. 4 on a 37% second-week sales slide to 288,000 copies. The Beatles enter at No. 5 with "Let It Be ... Naked" (Apple/Capitol), a remixed version of the album that removes the orchestral overdubs added by producer Phil Spector. The new edition sells 280,000 copies, less than half of the 595,000 copies the group's hits set "1" sold when it debuted at the top in 2000.
Josh Groban's "Closer" (Warner Bros.) slips 4-6 in its second week on the chart, suffering a 48% sales hit to 196,000 copies. The album has sold 571,000 copies since its release. The soundtrack to the Tupac Shakur documentary "Resurrection" (Amaru/Interscope) falls 2-7 in its sophomore week, the victim of a 58% decline to 180,000 copies. Thus far, the album has moved 610,000 units.
The 14th volume in the NOW That's What I Call Music" (Universal/EMI/Zomba/Sony) series dips 6-8 in its third week. Sales of the compilation are down 11% to 174,000 copies, giving the album a to-date sales total of 726,000.
Toby Keith's "Shock'n Y'all" (DreamWorks) endures a 28% sales dip to 164,000 copies in its third week, sending the set down 5-9. Since its release, the album has sold 976,000 copies. OutKast's two-CD set "Speakerboxxx/The Love Below" is up 11-10 in its ninth week on the chart, with sales gaining 5.5% to 145,000 copies. The album has moved 1.8 million since it debuted at No. 1. Meanwhile, the act's "The Way You Move" featuring Sleepy Brown is up 4-2 on the Hot Rap Tracks tally.
Three more albums debut in the top-20. Michael Jackson's Epic hits package "Number Ones" lands at No. 13 with 121,000 copies, while the three-CD live set from Dave Matthews Band, "The Central Park Concert" (RCA) enters at No. 14 with 111,000 copies.
Korn's "Take a Look in the Mirror" (Epic), which was moved to an off-cycle release last Friday in an effort to thwart piracy, enters at No. 19 with 96,000 copies. Epic parent Sony says it was unable to get the early shipments out to all retail outlets. The band's last album, "Untouchables," sold 434,000 copies in its first full week last year.
Other notable entries include a Red Hot Chili Peppers "Greatest Hits" package from Warner Bros. at No. 21 with 92,000 copies, 112's "Hot & Wet" (Def Jam) at No. 22 with 92,000 copies, Linkin Park's "Live in Texas" (Warner Bros.) at No. 23 with 89,800 copies, a LeAnn Rimes "Greatest Hits" set from Curb at No. 24 with 82,000 copies, and Reba McEntire's "Room To Breathe" (MCA) at No. 25 with 73,000 copies.