So, I had two choices this afternoon: go to Best Buy, pick up an air conditioner (and the new Weezer CD), lug it home on the T, or sit here in the sweltering heat (fully dressed) and finish this column. Guess which one I picked?

Here’s this week’s charts, y’all (courtesy of Billboard):

Top 20 Albums:

1) “Here I Stand” Usher
2) “Sex & The City Soundtrack” Various Artists
3) “3 Doors Down” 3 Doors Down
4) “II Trill” Bun B
5) “Spirit” Leona Lewis
6) “Nothing But the Best” Frank Sinatra
7) “Rockferry” Duffy
8) “E=MC2” Mariah Carey
9) “Lay it Down” Al Green
10) “Narrow Stairs” Death Cab for Cutie
11) “Hard Candy” Madonna
12) “Taylor Swift” Taylor Swift
13) “We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things” Jason Mraz
14) “35 Biggest Hits” Toby Keith
15) “Home Before Dark” Neil Diamond
16) “Julianne Hough” Julianne Hough
17) “Now That’s What I Call Music 27” Various Artists
18) “Fight With Tools” Flobots
19) “Carnival Ride” Carrie Underwood
20) “Rock & Roll Jesus” Kid Rock

Top 20 Singles:

1) “Lollipop” Lil’ Wayne feat. Static Major
2) “Bleeding Love” Leona Lewis
3) “Viva La Vida” Coldplay
4) “Take a Bow” Rihanna
5) “I Kissed a Girl” Katy Perry
6) “Love in This Club” Usher feat. Young Jeezy
7) “No Air” Jordin Sparks & Chris Brown
8) “Sexy Can I” Ray J. & Yung Berg
9) “Time of My Life” David Cook
10) “4 Minutes” Madonna feat. Justin Timberlake
11) “Pocketful of Sunshine” Natasha Bedingfield
12) “Damaged” Danity Kane
13) “Got Money” Lil’ Wayne feat. T-Pain
14) “Bust it Baby Pt. 2” Plies feat. Ne-Yo
15) “Leavin'” Jesse McCartney
16) “Forever” Chris Brown
17) “What You Got” Colby O’ Donis feat. Akon
18) “Touch My Body” Mariah Carey
19) “It’s Not My Time” 3 Doors Down
20) “Love Song” Sara Bareilles

*So…when can an album sell nearly a half-million copies in it’s first week and be considered a flop? When you’re Usher and your last album sold over 1 million copies in it’s first frame. “Here I Stand” scans enough to become the second highest debut of the year so far (after Mariah Carey), but one can’t help think that it’s kind of a disappointment. Let’s see how truclulent the already abrasive Usher becomes in the coming weeks and months. Let’s also see how the next two “big” event albums-Li’l Wayne and Coldplay-fare in it’s wake.

*I tolerate Lil’ Wayne. As something of a hip-hop purist, the easy way out would be just to hate the guy, which I don’t. Not that you’ll ever see me running to the store to buy a Lil’ Wayne album (unless there’s money enclosed). However, the man has a record in the Top 20 with T-Pain. Put those two together and someone’s gotta die.

*Reverend Al “The Ladies’ Pal” Green has his first top ten album in nearly 35 years with the solid “Lay it Down”. For those who haven’t heard it yet, this is definitely a worthwhile pickup if you’re an Al fan. The man has not lost a step since his glory days. Could he be the best soul singer of all time? Hmmm…I’d resisted that concept for a while, but I might be coming around…however, he better not bring this look back EVER…

*”Viva La Vida” is now the biggest hit of Coldplay’s career. As someone who feels Chris Martin and the boys take a lot of unnecessary shit, this makes me happy. I’m very interested to see what Brian Eno does with them on this new album, pretentious title be damned.

*”I Kissed a Girl” by Katy Perry? Hey folks, welcome to the first official novelty song of 2008. It wasn’t particularly good 15 years ago when Jill Sobule hit with a song by the same title (‘memba her?) and it’s not particularly good now. Aw, look at the video. She’s petting a PUSSYcat. Haha! It’s supposed to be ironic!! Katy, Pink called…she wants her sound back. And she probably HAS kissed…well, a LOT of girls. So there!!

*Serious staying power for Kid Rock, as “Rock & Roll Jesus” closes in on the million scanned mark and jumps back into the Top 20 something like eight months after it’s release. Out of the whole “rap/rock” scene that he kinda got lumped in with a decade or so ago, who’d have thought that he’d pretty much be the last man standing?

*That Flobots song still makes my ears bleed. Sorry guys.