"Now" is not the time to be surprised that the "Now 25" collection debuts at No. 1 on The Billboard 200. After all, it's the 12th No. 1 in the series ... Thanks to a hefty opening weekend, the soundtrack to the new movie musical "Hairspray" zooms into the top five in its second week ... iTunes favorite Colbie Caillat starts strong in the top five ... Taylor Swift makes the slowest climb to No. 1 on the Top Country Albums chart since 1999 ... Yellowcard bows in the top 20 ... And in Progress Reports: Reba McEntire and Dolly Parton go head to head, the White Stripes send Linkin Park packing, Matchbox Twenty returns to the charts and Kenny Chesney wastes no time getting his latest No. 1 single.



FLASH POINTS



• It should come as no great surprise to see the sturdy "Now" series lodged in the top slot on The Billboard 200. This week, "Now 25" becomes the 12th No. 1 in the "Now" series -- and the fourth straight chart-topper for the line -- selling 223,000 units. Earlier this year, "Now 24" bowed at No. 2 with 230,000 before moving to No. 1 the following week (albeit with a sales decline). "Now 25" gives the regular series -- excluding the spin-off "Latino," Christmas and "#1's" titles -- its 11th consecutive debut in the top two. All 25 albums in the regular "Now" series have peaked in the top 10, stretching back to the franchise's big daddy, 1998's "Now." That set featured such pop gems as Janet Jackson's "Together Again," Hanson's "MMMBop," Aqua's "Barbie Girl" and Backstreet Boys' "As Long As You Love Me." The new "Now 25" set boasts 13 top 10 Billboard Hot 100 singles, including T-Pain's "Buy U a Drank," Justin Timberlake's "Summer Love" and Carrie Underwood's "Before He Cheats" ... One year ago, the "Now 22" album held at No. 1 for a second week on The Billboard 200, moving 207,000.

• Miley Cyrus climbs to No. 2 this week with her "Hannah Montana 2/Meet Miley Cyrus" set while T.I.'s "T.I. Vs. T.I.P." is down two slots to No. 3. The new "Hairspray" film soundtrack, powered by a media blitz and a No. 3 opening at the U.S. and Canada box office last weekend, zooms 20-4 in its second week on the chart. It's up 95% with a total of 72,000 sold for the week. The movie earned $27.5 million at the box office, coming in third behind "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry" and "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix." "Hairspray" is the fifth soundtrack to log time in the top 10 this year, following "Hannah Montana," "Hannah Montana 2," "Dreamgirls" and "Jump In!" ... Go figure then, that the four top-selling soundtracks of 2007 so far are those same titles ... Coming in at No. 5 on the year-to-date tally is "High School Musical," followed by "Daddy's Little Girls," "Broken Bridges," "Cars," "Happy Feet" and the deluxe edition of "Dreamgirls" rounding out the top 10.

• iTunes phenom Colbie Caillat starts at No. 5 on The Billboard 200 and at No. 1 on Top Digital Albums with her debut, "Coco." The artist has been featured in iTunes' free single of the week program while the digital store sells the album for only $7.99. Target and Best Buy carried the set for less than $8 as well, while Circuit City sold it for only $6.99. The digital configuration of her album accounted for 56% of its overall first-week sales ... In its 39th week on Top Country Albums, Taylor Swift's self-titled debut hits No. 1 -- the slowest chart climb to the top since 1999, when Dixie Chicks took 51 weeks to get to the top with "Wide Open Spaces." It only gets better -- two weeks ago, Swift's album crossed the 1 million mark in Nielsen SoundScan sales. There's nothing like celebrating both a platinum debut and your first No. 1 album all in the same month ... Back on The Billboard 200, Yellowcard debuts at No. 13 with its latest, "Paper Walls" (40,000). It follows the band's "Lights and Sounds," which bowed at No. 5 with 90,000 last year. Its first album, 2003's "Ocean Avenue," spent a lengthy 81 weeks on the chart, eventually peaking at No. 23.

• Next, we have a trio of debuts from Rooney, the Rocket Summer and Tech N9ne at Nos. 42, 44 and 49, respectively. Rooney returns to The Billboard 200 with its sophomore set "Calling the World" (No. 42; 15,000). Its self-titled debut spent 31 weeks on the chart, topping out at No. 125 in early 2004. The set has sold 395,000 to date, according to Nielsen SoundScan ... This is the Billboard 200 debut for Rocket Summer, which previously spent one week on the Top Heatseekers chart with "Hello, Good Friend" in 2005. The band's new album, "Do You Feel," starts with 15,000 units ... Tech N9ne, aka Aaron Yates, snares his highest-charting album on The Billboard 200 as "Misery Loves Kompany" bows at No. 49 with 13,000 units. It also starts at No. 3 on Top Independent Albums. The Kansas City, Mo., rapper's album chart history dates back to 2001, when "Anghellic" peaked at No. 59.



The Billboard 200

Sales data provided and compiled from Nielsen SoundScan
*1 New VARIOUS ARTISTS NOW 25 (Universal / EMI / Sony BMG / Zomba / UMRG) 11 5 KELLY CLARKSON My December (RCA / RMG)
2 3 MILEY CYRUS Hannah Montana 2 (Soundtrack)/Meet Miley Cyrus (Walt Disney / Hollywood ) 12 2 THE SMASHING PUMPKINS Zeitgeist (Martha's Music / Reprise / Warner Bros.)
3 1 T.I. T.I. Vs T.I.P. (Grand Hustle / Atlantic / AG) *13 New YELLOWCARD Paper Walls (Capitol )
*4 20 SOUNDTRACK Hairspray (New Line ) 14 11 THE WHITE STRIPES Icky Thump (Third Man / Warner Bros.)
*5 New COLBIE CAILLAT Coco (Universal Republic / UMRG) 15 21 TAYLOR SWIFT Taylor Swift (Big Machine )
6 8 FERGIE The Dutchess (will.i.am / A&M / Interscope / IGA) 16 18 RIHANNA Good Girl Gone Bad (SRP / Def Jam / IDJMG)
7 7 LINKIN PARK Minutes To Midnight (Machine Shop / Warner Bros.) 17 14 BRAD PAISLEY 5th Gear (Arista Nashville / SBN)
8 9 AMY WINEHOUSE Back To Black (Universal Republic / UMRG) 18 16 MAROON 5 It Won't Be Soon Before Long (A&M / Octone / IGA)
9 12 NICKELBACK All The Right Reasons (Roadrunner ) 19 17 T-PAIN Epiphany (Konvict / Nappy Boy / Jive / Zomba)
10 6 BON JOVI Lost Highway (Mercury / Island / UMGN/IDJMG) 20 22 AVRIL LAVIGNE The Best Damn Thing (RCA / RMG)
* indicates titles with greatest sales gains this week






MARKET WATCH

• Album units, current chart week: 8.11 million units
• DOWN 2.2% from last issue's charts: 8.3 million units
• DOWN 8.9% from same week, 2006: 8.9 million units
• This week: The top two albums sell more than 100,000 copies.
• This week last year on The Billboard 200: the "Now 22" various-artists compilation retained the top slot for a second week, selling 207,000. Los Lonely Boys' "Sacred" started at No. 2 with 67,000 while Rodney Atkins' "If You're Going Through Hell" began at No. 3 with 55,000. Only the No. 1 album sold more than 100,000 units.



BORDERLINES

• The No. 20 album this week, Avril Lavigne's "The Best Damn Thing" (RCA/RMG), sold 27,000.
• The No. 20 album for the same week of 2006, Corinne Bailey Rae's "Corinne Bailey Rae" (Capitol), sold 30,000.
• Average total of the No. 20 album for the same week of the year during the past 10 years (1998-2007): 45,685.



PROGRESS REPORTS

• The White Stripes pick up their second Alternative/Modern Rock chart-topper as "Icky Thump" climbs 2-1. The duo's "Seven Nation Army" previously held the pole position for three weeks in July 2003. "Thump" ends the 15-week stay at No. 1 for Linkin Park's "What I've Done," leaving it one week short of tying the record for most weeks atop the Alternative/Modern Rock chart shared by the Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Scar Tissue," Staind's "It's Been Awhile" and Green Day's "Boulevard of Broken Dreams." "Thump" is the second consecutive No. 1, and third overall, for Warner Bros. this year. No other label has had more than one Alternative/Modern Rock No. 1 in 2007.

• On Hot Country Songs, Kenny Chesney's "Never Wanted Nothing More" rises 2-1 in its eighth week, marking the chart's fastest trip to the top since Tim McGraw's "Live Like You Were Dying" scaled the list in seven weeks in July 2004. "Nothing More" is Chesney's swiftest No. 1 accomplishment, topping "There Goes My Life" (2003) and "When the Sun Goes Down" (2004). Those both needed nine weeks to reach the top. Chesney's new song introduces the new album "Just Who I Am: Poets & Pirates," scheduled for a Sept. 11 release ... Elsewhere on Hot Country Songs, Reba McEntire collects her 55th top 10 hit, as "Because of You" (with Kelly Clarkson) strides 12-10. McEntire now ties Dolly Parton as the women with the most top 10 Hot Country Songs. The latter's most recent came with her featured appearance on Brad Paisley's No. 1 "When I Get Where I'm Going" in 2006 ... Farther down the chart, Trisha Yearwood debuts at No. 49 with "Heaven, Heartache and the Power of Love," her first single for Indie-owned Big Machine, after spending her entire career with MCA. Her forthcoming studio album drops Nov. 13 ... Her former label takes advantage of Yearwood's departure, as it has a "Greatest Hits" set planned for a Sept. 11 release.


• Two artists come home to adult radio this week, led by Matchbox Twenty, which blasts back onto the Hot AC/Adult Top 40 chart at No. 29 with "How Far We've Come," the group's first entry since "Downfall" more than three years ago. Not that lead singer Rob Thomas hasn't been busy -- he's scored five solo top five hits in that span of time. "How" is one of six new cuts scheduled for the band's best-of set, "Exile on Mainstream," due Oct. 2 ... On the Adult Contemporary chart, Howard Jones visits the tally for the first time in exactly 15 years, as Katrina Carlson's update of his own "No One Is to Blame," on which he guests, debuts at No. 30. From 1985–1992, five of Jones' songs reached the survey, including the original "Blame," a No. 1 hit in 1986.



Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums

Sales data provided and compiled from Nielsen SoundScan
1 1 T.I. T.I. Vs T.I.P. (Grand Hustle / Atlantic / AG)
*2 New VARIOUS ARTISTS NOW 25 (Universal / EMI / Sony BMG / Zomba / UMRG)
3 3 T-PAIN Epiphany (Konvict / Nappy Boy / Jive / Zomba)
4 5 FABOLOUS From Nothin' To Somethin' (Desert Storm / Def Jam / IDJMG)
5 4 R. KELLY Double Up (Jive / Zomba)
6 6 NE-YO Because Of You (Def Jam / IDJMG)
7 7 RIHANNA Good Girl Gone Bad (SRP / Def Jam / IDJMG)
8 8 AMY WINEHOUSE Back To Black (Universal Republic / UMRG)
9 2 KELLY ROWLAND Ms. Kelly (Music World / Columbia / Sony Music)
10 9 CHRISETTE MICHELE I Am (Def Jam / IDJMG)
* indicates titles with greatest sales gains this week
Top Country Albums

Sales data provided and compiled from Nielsen SoundScan
1 2 TAYLOR SWIFT Taylor Swift (Big Machine )
2 1 BRAD PAISLEY 5th Gear (Arista Nashville / SBN)
3 3 TOBY KEITH Big Dog Daddy (Show Dog Nashville )
4 4 CARRIE UNDERWOOD Some Hearts (Arista / Arista Nashville / RMG)
5 6 TIM MCGRAW Let It Go (Curb )
6 5 BIG & RICH Between Raising Hell And Amazing Grace (Warner Bros. / WRN)
7 8 RASCAL FLATTS Me And My Gang (Lyric Street / Hollywood)
8 7 JASON ALDEAN Relentless (Broken Bow )
*9 14 RODNEY ATKINS If You're Going Through Hell (Curb )
10 9 SUGARLAND Enjoy The Ride (Mercury / UMGN)
* indicates titles with greatest sales gains this week
Top Pop Catalog Albums

Sales data provided and compiled from Nielsen SoundScan
1 1 TIM MCGRAW Greatest Hits (Curb )
*2 3 GUNS N' ROSES Greatest Hits (Geffen / IGA)
*3 4 MICHAEL BUBLE It's Time (143 / Reprise / Warner Bros.)
4 2 JOURNEY Journey's Greatest Hits (Legacy / Columbia / Sony Music)
5 5 KELLY CLARKSON Breakaway (RCA / RMG)
*6 8 ORIGINAL BROADWAY CAST RECORDING Wicked (Decca Broadway / Universal Classics Group)
7 6 BON JOVI Cross Road (Mercury / UMe)
*8 12 PLAIN WHITE T'S All That We Needed (Fearless )
9 9 BOB SEGER & THE SILVER BULLET BAND Greatest Hits (Capitol )
10 11 THE BEACH BOYS The Very Best Of The Beach Boys: Sounds Of Summer (Capitol )
* indicates titles with greatest sales gains this week




A LOOK AHEAD

• Among the titles released this week, due on next week's charts: Prince's "Planet Earth," Garbage's "Absolute Garbage," Sum 41's "Underclass Hero," Marc Anthony's "El Cantante," Billy Ray Cyrus' "Home at Last," the Doors' "Live in Boston," Silverchair's "Young Modern," Tegan & Sara's "The Con," Hanson's "The Walk" and the soundtrack to "The Simpsons" film.
• Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2006 when: former Destiny's Child member LeToya entered at No. 1 with her self-titled debut, selling 165,000. The "Now 25" album slipped to No. 2 with 151,000 while new albums from Pharrell and Tom Petty bowed at Nos. 3 and 4, respectively. The top four albums sold more than 100,000 units.