Welcome to the dog days of summer in the music industry. Big name releases have slowed to a crawl, and besides, it’s too damn hot to go out and buy CDs anyhow. This week’s chart boasts a country 1-2 punch, as Reba McEntire enters at the top of the chart with “Keep on Loving You”, scanning 96,000 units in its’ first week, more than enough to unseat last week’s chart champ, George Strait. His Twang album has to settle for the runner-up spot with a relatively anemic 61,000 sold. The chart’s most eye-opening debut, however, has to come from Third Eye Blind, a band many considered to be at least a decade past their sell-by date. Their fourth studio effort (and first on an independent label), Ursa Major, blasts onto the chart at #3, scanning 49,000 copies. It’s the highest charting album ever for Stephan Jenkins and his crew.

As has been custom for the past few weeks, the top of the chart isn’t exactly the top of the chart. In the wake of Michael Jackson’s death, his albums have taken up permanent residence in the upper reaches of the charts. However, they are not eligible for the Billboard 200 because of a rule which relegates all albums 18 months or older that are not currently being worked at radio to the Catalog chart. Thusly, “Number Ones” does not appear on the chart, despite the fact that it’s sold enough copies in the past week that it would rank at #2 on the chart-if it were allowed to chart.

Actually, a quick look reveals that “Number Ones” is now THE BIGGEST-SELLING ALBUM OF 2009. With over 1.6 million copies scanned since January (much of that obviously occurring in the past two months), Jackson slides past Taylor Swift to stand alone as the year’s #1 album. Not bad for an album that Billboard won’t even allow to place on it’s chart, huh? How weird will it look if “Number Ones” is able to hold it’s position and ends the year as the 2009’s biggest-selling album despite not appearing on the Billboard 200 at all?

Moving back to the regular chart, I’m sure there are tears being shed at the Sean Paul household. The formerly top-selling reggae superstar debuts at an anemic #12, selling only 28,000 copies of his latest album, “Imperial Blaze”. Coming off of two consecutive Platinum albums, that’s got to hurt.

Colbie Caillat is scheduled to debut at #1 next week with a total that will approach 100K.

Here are this week’s Top 20 comprehensive¬†albums:

1) Reba McEntire “Keep on Loving You”

2) Michael Jackson “Number Ones”

3) George Strait “Twang”

4) Third Eye Blind “Ursa Major”

5) Kings of Leon “Only by the Night”

6) The Black Eyed Peas “The E.N.D. (The Energy Never Dies)”

7) Neil Diamond “Hot August Night NYC”

8) Various Artists “Hannah Montana Movie Soundtrack”

9) Michael Jackson “The Essential Michael Jackson”

10) Taylor Swift “Fearless”

11) Daughtry “Leave This Town”

12) Various “Now 31”

13) Maxwell “BLACKsummersnight”

14) Sean Paul “Imperial Blaze”

15) Zac Brown Band “Foundation”

16) Michael Jackson “Thriller”

17) Ledisi “Turn Me Loose”

18) Soundtrack “Hannah Montana 3”

19) Jason Aldean “Wide Open”

20) Lady GaGa “The Fame”