The seventh volume in the hits compilation series "NOW! That's What I Call Music" (EMI/Universal/Sony/Zomba/Virgin) easily holds onto No. 1 on for a third straight week on The Billboard 200. Despite a

The seventh volume in the hits compilation series "NOW! That's What I Call Music" (EMI/Universal/Sony/Zomba/Virgin) easily holds onto No. 1 on for a third straight week on The Billboard 200. Despite a sales decline of 29% to 279,000 copies, according to SoundScan, the set has no trouble fending off a challenge from Alicia Keys' "Songs in A Minor" (J Records), which rebounds 6-2 on the chart.

With three weeks at No. 1 under its belt, "NOW! 7" ties the fourth and sixth volumes in the series for the longest grip on the pole position. The album, however, will face a tough challenge next week from another "Now." This one is the Columbia album from neo-soul singer Maxwell.

Keys' "Songs in A Minor" has already sold 1.6 million units in eight weeks on the chart, thanks in part to a strong performance by the lead single, "Fallin'," which is No. 1 for a third straight week atop The Billboard Hot 100 and Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks tally. Sales of "Songs in A Minor" decreased only 6% to 180,000 units, yet it rebounds up the chart due to bigger declines by albums in last week's top-5.

Three of last week's Billboard 200 debuts had solid second weeks. The Isley Brothers' "Eternal" (DreamWorks/Interscope) falls 3-4 on a 39% sales decline to 138,000 copies, while Usher's "8701" (Arista) slides 4-5 with a 40% sales drop to 127,000 units. Jadakiss's "Kiss Tha Game Goodbye" (Ruff Ryders/Interscope) slips 5-6 based on a 45% sales loss to 122,000 copies, while Aaron Carter's "Oh Aaron" (Jive/Zomba) doesn't fair quite as well, falling 7-13, after a 36% sales drop to 85,000 units.

The Isley Brothers, however, continue to outperform Keys in pure R&B markets, holding at No. 1 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart for a second straight week. Keys is at No. 3, sandwiched between Jadakiss and Usher.

The soundtrack to "American Pie 2" (Republic/Universal) blasts 26-7 on The Billboard 200, shooting into the top-10 in its third week on the chart. The album's lead single, 3 Doors Down's "Be Like That," is No. 13 on the Billboard's Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.

The highest debut on The Billboard 200 comes from the various artists collection "Ozzfest 2001: The Second Millennium" (No Name/Epic) at No. 25. Another compilation album, "The Source Hip-Hop Music Awards 2001" (Def Jam), arrives at No. 28. The 43,000 copies sold by the 2001 edition of that set is slightly less than the 53,000 moved in the first week by last year's collection, which had a higher chart debut at No. 19.

Alison Krauss & Union Station's "New Favorite" (Rounder) lands at No. 35, making it Krauss' highest debut on The Billboard 200. Krauss surely received a boost from the increased exposure brought by the Mercury soundtrack to "O Brother, Where Art Thou," which is No. 1 for an 18th non-consecutive week on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart. Krauss' "New Favorite" opens at No. 3 on that tally. Over on Billboard's Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart, Blake Shelton's "Austin" is No. 1 for a fourth straight week.

Surging toward the upper reaches of the Hot 100 this week is Janet Jackson's "Someone to Call My Lover," which flies 12-3, settling in right behind Jennifer Lopez's "I'm Real," which is No. 2 for second straight week. The single helps propel sales of Lopez's "J. Lo" album (Epic), which climbs back into the top-10 of The Billboard 200, where it inches up 11-10.

The Hot 100's fastest-growing track at radio is Afroman's "Because I Got High," which soars to No. 20 on that chart in just its third week. Afroman's debut album, "Good Times" (Universal), will be released next Tuesday (Aug. 28); the single is also available on the Universal soundtrack to "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back."

The Hot 100's fastest-growing track at retail is another soundtrack cut, Petey Pablo's "Raise Up." The singles comes from Murder Inc./Def Jam's "The Fast and the Furious" soundtrack; the rapper's debut Jive/Silvertone album, "Diary of a Sinner: 1st Entry," will be released on Oct. 23.

The Hot 100's top debut is Michelle Branch's "Everywhere" at No. 62, while her debut Maverick set, "The Spirit Room," enters The Billboard 200 at No. 97. Other noteworthy debuts on the Hot 100 include Five for Fighting's "Superman (It's Not Easy)" at No. 69, Sum 41's "Fat Lip" at No. 75, and Ja Rule's "Livin' it Up" featuring Case at No. 78.

Janet Jackson's "Someone to Call My Lover" takes an even bigger jump on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart, rocketing 69-12. On that chart, Jay-Z's "IZZO (H.O.V.A.)" moves up one into the top-5, and both Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott's "One Minute Man" and Trick Daddy's "I'm a Thug" have new peak positions, at No.'s 9 and 10, respectively. On Billboard's Hot Rap Singles tally, Coo Coo Cal's "My Projects" is No. 1 for a third straight week.

Staind's "It's Been Awhile" enters an incredible 19th straight week atop Billboard's Mainstream Rock Tracks tally, while Alien Ant Farm's cover of Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal" begins a second week at No. 1 on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks chart.

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