The upper reaches of the Billboard album chart have been a game of musical chairs between Ashlee Simpson's ''Autobiography'' and the hits compilation ''NOW That's What I Call Music! Vol. 16.'' Simpson topped the chart first, then ''Now,'' then Simpson again for two weeks. Now, ''Now'' is back on top, selling another 207,000 copies, according to SoundScan. Simpson is back at No. 2, with sales of 164,000. Meanwhile, Prince's ''Musicology'' vaulted five spots to No. 3 as he sold 99,000 copies, one to each ticketbuyer at three concerts last week.
Two new releases cracked the top 10 this week. ''The Hard Way,'' by rap supergroup 213, entered the chart at No. 4 on sales of 95,000, a higher opening-week chart position than any of 213's individual members (Snoop Dogg, Warren G, and Nate Dogg) have seen in recent years. Proving that exposure on Simpson's MTV reality show generates record sales is Ryan Cabrera, her ex, whose ''Take It All Away'' debuted at No. 8 and sold 66,000 discs.
Usher's ''Confessions'' rose one spot to No. 5 and shifted another 78,000 units. Maroon 5's ''Songs About Jane'' returned to the top 10, jumping six rungs to No. 6. Falling four places was Shyne's ''Godfather... Buried Alive.'' Climbing one spot each were Avril Lavigne's ''Under My Skin'' (No. 9) and Big & Rich's ''Horse of a Different Color'' (No. 10).