"I'm not prepared right now to stop working," former Arista head Clive Davis said at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in March 2000, shortly before he was forced to step down as head of the label he founded. "Don't worry about me." Indeed, Davis required little worry, as this week his chart magic was again evident by the debut of Alicia Keys, the teenage R&B phenom signed to Davis' new J Records. Her debut album, Songs in A Minor, topped the charts, selling 235,816 copies, according to SoundScan.
Keys' debut led one of the strongest Top Tens of the year, as all ten albums mustered sales in excess of 100,000. Still, when stacked against sales from a year ago, Keys' chart-topper still short of Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP, Britney Spears' Oops! . . . I Did It Again and Nelly's Country Grammar, all of which cleared 250K despite having been in record stores for weeks. Summer has been loaded with hits, but 'N Sync's upcoming Celebrity looks to be the only true potential blockbuster.
But Keys' feat is nonetheless an impressive one, as she unseated Eminem side project D12's Devil's Night from the top slot in only its second week of release. R&B ensemble Jagged Edge were the second of four Top Ten debuts, putting their Jagged Little Thrill at Number Three (with sales in excess of 200,000). Jay-Z signee Beanie Sigel and Lonestar (still riding the success of their crossover hit "Amazed") landed at Number Five and Number Nine with The Reason and I'm Already There, respectively. The past few weeks, which have been stacked with solid debuts, have ensured that no vets remain in the Top Ten. Destiny's Child's Survivor is the most seasoned at a mere nine weeks old, one week older than the Moulin Rouge soundtrack, which this week pushed past sales of 1 million copies.
Other new kids on the chart include Lil' Mo's Based on a True Story (Number Fourteen), LFO's Life Is Good (Number Eighty-seven), Tricky's Blowback (Number 138) and the Basement Jaxx's Rooty (Number 149).
Other chart milestones include Aaron Carter's Aaron's Party (Come Get It) which moved past 2 million copies sold and Lenny Kravitz's Greatest Hits which has now scanned more than 3 million copies.
Next week, Lil' Romeo's self-titled debut, which has the momentum of the Number One single "My Baby," looks to be the strongest new entry.
This week's Top Ten: Alicia Keys' Songs in A Minor (235,816 copies sold); D12's Devil's Night (220,884); Jagged Edge's Jagged Little Thrill (214,841); Staind's Break the Cycle (163,797); Beanie Sigel's The Reason (150,706); Destiny's Child's Survivor (132,093); the Moulin Rouge soundtrack (113,449); Blink-182's Take Off Your Pants and Jacket (112,648); Lonestar's I'm Already There (112,078); the Fast and the Furious soundtrack (110,985).