Withstanding a strong charge from country newcomer Gretchen Wilson, Usher holds onto his place atop The Billboard 200 for a seventh week. His LaFace/Zomba set "Confessions" stays at No. 1 despite a 15

Withstanding a strong charge from country newcomer Gretchen Wilson, Usher holds onto his place atop The Billboard 200 for a seventh week. His LaFace/Zomba set "Confessions" stays at No. 1 despite a 15% sales drop to 228,000 copies sold in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

But right on the R&B star's heels is Wilson, whose Epic debut "Here for the Party" pops into the second slot with 227,000 copies. It's the best opening sales week ever by a debut country artist, and good enough for No. 1 on the Top Country Albums chart. Wilson's debut single "Redneck Woman" jumps to the lead on the Hot Country Singles & Tracks tally in its 11th week of release, making it the first No. 1 on that chart by a female solo artist in more than two years.

At No. 3, Dirty South duo 8Ball and MJG score the highest position of their career with Bad Boy's "Living Legends." With 121,000 copies, first-week sales beat the No. 39 peak of 2000's "Space Age 4 Eva" (J-COR), which debuted with 74,000 copies sold and has moved 434,000 to date.

R&B songstress Teena Marie makes her first Billboard 200 top-10 appearance with Cash Money/Universal's "La Dona." Bowing at No. 6, the album opens with 75,000 copies sold. Marie last appeared on the chart in 1990 with the Columbia release "Ivory," which peaked at No. 132.

With a 40% drop to 117,000 copies in its third week, D12 slides to No. 4 with "D12 World" (Shady/Interscope), while Hoobastank continues to climb 6-5 despite a 12% decrease with "The Reason" (Island).

Hard rock act Killswitch Engage appears on the chart for the first time at No. 21 with "The End of Heartache" (Roadrunner), which sells 38,000 copies. The foursome's 2002 release "Alive or Just Breathing" has sold 109,000 copies to date.

Overall U.S. album sales are down 12.3% to 10.3 million, about 7% ahead of the comparable week last year. Sales for the year are beating those of 2003 by 7.8%.