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Madonna debuts at No. 1 -- with her best seller ever

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Madonna
Madonna: Mondino

For once, Madonna shocked no one: Her latest release, ”Music,” sold 419,000 copies in its first week to debut, predictably, at No. 1 on the Billboard album chart. This is the fastest seller of her career (12 releases), topping ’98’s ”Ray of Light,” which moved 370,000 units in its initial seven days. Following Maddy on Billboard’s list are Nelly (No. 2), Eminem (No. 3), Creed (No.4), and last week’s top finisher LL Cool J (No. 5).

With ”Music” scoring such big numbers, you might think it’s guaranteed to outsell ”Ray” overall. But not so fast. ”Ray” moved more than 4 million copies (no easy feat) largely because it hung around so long. Four singles with eye-catching videos and a Grammy win for Best Pop Album helped the William Orbit produced set log 78 weeks on the charts. For ”Music” to top ”Ray,” it’s gonna need a similar long range plan.

Madonna’s off to a good start, though. Last week’s star studded release party and in store appearance show that the new mom is willing to press the flesh to promote the album. ”No one can even remember the last time she did either of those,” says Billboard chart director Geoff Mayfield. ”So she’s obviously interested in making this record a success.” And ”Music” may have one important thing going for it that ”Ray” didn’t — a tour. The dance pop diva is gearing up for club dates later this year, with a possible full scale effort to follow. Plus, she’ll soon release the catchy, Mirwais produced second single, ”Don’t Tell Me,” which should keep her in heavy rotation at Top 40 radio once her hit title track cools.

In other chart news, Britney Spears moves up one spot to No. 6. Country stalwart George Strait’s eponymous album debuts at No. 7. Britney’s now official cuddle buddy, Justin Timberlake, and his boys ‘N Sync hold at No. 8. 3 Doors Down remain at No. 9. And the Baha Men climb to No. 10 with ”Who Lets the Dogs Out,” featuring the chant heavy, ”soon to be a jock rock classic” title tune. Oh, if only THAT were ”Music” to our ears.

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