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Disc shoppers want it ‘Now!’

Compilation beats R&B debut, Underwood

Holiday shoppers continued to believe in the gift of “Now! That’s What I Call Music Vol. 20,” returning the album to the top of the nation’s sales chart for the week ended Sunday.

The UME compilation of various artists sold 158,000 discs in its fifth week, down 45% but enough to edge out the self-titled Jive debut of R&B singer Chris Brown (154,000 sold), according to Nielsen SoundScan.

“American Idol” winner Carrie Underwood led all other distaff competition during the week as “Some Hearts” (Arista) sold 154,000 discs to move her to No. 3, up from seventh.

The top 10’s only other bow this week found Shakira’s “Oral Fixation, Vol. 2” (Epic) grabbing the No. 5 position on the strength of 128,000 albums sold; disc is the all-English follow-up to “Fijacion Oral, Vol. 1,” which entered the charts earlier this year at No. 4 with 157,000.

Enya’s “Amarantine” (Reprise) climbed from eighth last week to sixth, though selling 35% less this week at 116,000 units.

At No. 7, Mariah Carey’s “The Emancipation of Mimi” (Island) continued to move units, with another 110,000 discs sold, while Madonna’s “Confessions on a Dance Floor” (Warner), down 50% from last week to 105,000, fell from the fourth slot to No. 8.

System of a Down’s “Hypnotize” (Columbia), the previous week’s top seller, slid to the 10th spot in its second week with a nearly 70% fall-off to 102,000 copies.

“Switch” (Epic), the first new INXS album since the death of Michael Hutchence in 1997, fronted by reality show winner J.D. Fortune, debuted at No. 17 with 75,000 sold.

Other new rock entries included the live Dave Matthews Band disc “Weekend on the Rocks” (RCA) at No. 37, selling 42,000 units, and the sophomore effort from the Darkness, “One Way Ticket to Hell … and Back” (Atlantic), landing at No. 58 with 26,000 discs sold.

CD sales dipped 9% from the previous week and are off 10% from the same seasonal shopping period a year ago.

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