Having peeked at his shadow last week, one hopes Punxutawney Phil's perceptive powers have no bearing on the record-buying climate, because it's still cold as hell in record stores. Alan Jackson's Drive topped the charts for the third-straight week, with sales of 189,000 copies according to SoundScan, a feat not accomplished by other recent country chart-toppers like Garth Brooks' Scarecrow, the Dixie Chicks' Fly, Tim McGraw's A Place in the Sun and Faith Hill's Breathe.
It's a dubious distinction, however, because Drive's sales figures wouldn't top the charts in a warmer sales season. Of last year's fifty-two weeks, only four had a Number One album with sales that low. That's not a knock on Drive, which has sold more than 800,000 copies to date, so much as it is one on the state of the charts in general.
Creed's Weathered seems to be getting comfy at Number Two, with sales of 109,000. For that matter, despite the fact that most suffered sales dips, last week's nine best-selling albums all held their places this week -- only Ludacris' Word of Mouf enjoyed a 5,000 copy boost. Mary J. Blige's No More Drama was the lone new entry in the Top Ten, rushing in to claim the tenth spot from Number Twenty-eight with sales of 62,000.
Debuts were plenty, though none strong enough for the top of the charts. The State Property soundtrack, featuring tunes by Beanie Sigel and other Roc-A-Fella rappers splashed in at Number Fourteen with sales of 52,000, just edging the two-disc The Essential Barbara Streisand, which was Number Fifteen with sales of 51,000. The Chemical Brothers' Come With Us didn't score the obligatory 40,000 debut sales that tends to greet new albums imported from the U.K. Still, the 30,000 copies of the record sold, secured it a spot at Number Thirty-two.
There were a handful of sales milestones to spruce up the dreary week. Linkin Park's Hybrid Theory sold another 91,000 copies to top 6 million sold. Nickelback's Silver Side Up topped the 3 million mark, No Doubt's Rock Steady (Number Twenty) sold 47,000 bringing its total sales to 1 million, Aaliyah's Aaliyah (Number Forty-eight) scanned 24,000 units taking its tally to 2 million.
Next week, Sade's first-ever live album, Lovers Live, looks to find its way high on the charts, though as a live compilation, the album hardly promises to be the sales juggernaut that carries us into spring.
This week's Top Ten: Alan Jackson's Drive; Creed's Weathered; Linkin Park's Hybrid Theory; Ludacris' Word of Mouf; Nickelback's Silver Side Up; Ja Rule's Pain Is Love; Nas' Stillmatic; Usher's 8701; Pink's Missundaztood; and Mary J. Blige's No More Drama.