It's already beginning to look a lot like Christmas at America's record stores. Not only have superstars dutifully lined up new releases to cash in on the coming holiday shopping season, but actual Christmas albums are starting to fly out of stores, with two in this week's Top Ten.
One, Home for Christmas, belongs to boy wonders 'N Sync. The new album arrived at No. 7 for the week ending Nov. 15, according to SoundScan. That's right beside the act's self-titled debut (No. 6), which has been on the charts for months. (Between the two records, 'N Sync sold 248,000 records last week.) The other Top Ten holiday album is Celine Dion's These Are Special Times, which inched up from No. 4 to No. 3 it's second week in stores.
As for the straight ahead superstar releases, R&B hit-maker R. Kelly's latest, the two-CD set R., came in at an impressive No. 2. While the much-anticipated boxed-set from Bruce Springsteen, Tracks, debuted at a modest No. 27. (No doubt the package's hefty list price -- about $70 -- kept sales down a bit.)
None of the newcomers were able to budge Alanis Morissette's two-week-old Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie from the No. 1 spot. And even though Morissette has kept a rather low professional profile for much of `98, her new album is actually the third one this year that she has performed on to go to No. 1. The others were the soundtrack to City of Angels and the Dave Matthews Band's Before These Crowded Streets.
Looking ahead to next week when the sales tallies come back from the industry's so-called Super Tuesday of Nov. 17 (the date new records by Jewel, Method Man, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, and more hit stores), Morissette doesn't stand a chance of hanging on to No. 1 for a third week. In fact the new live double CD by Garth Brooks may outsell Infatuation by one million copies next week alone.
Elsewhere on the chart, U2's greatest hits package, Best of U2: 1980-1990, continues to sell well its second week in stores, coming in at No. 5. The record could have sneaked up one more spot but the band and it's label opted to release two versions of 1980-1990. One is a limited edition double set, complete with an entire CD of B-sides, which sold 136,000 copies last week. The other is a less expensive single disc without the old rarities, which sold 29,000. If combined, the two would have just edged out rapper Jay-Z's latest for the No. 4 position.
From the top, it was Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie (selling 268,000 copies), followed by R. (216,000); These Are Special Times (163,000); Jay-Z's Vol. II: Hard Knock Life (161,000); Best of U2: 1980-1990; `N Sync (130,000); Home For Christmas (118,000); Shania Twain's Come On Over (105,000); Dru Hill's Enter the Dru (90,000); and The Backstreet Boys (89,000).