After one of the weakest album release weeks of 2003, the P. Diddy-organized soundtrack to Bad Boys II earned its third straight visit to Number One, selling 156,000 copies, according to SoundScan. Bad Boys held off another various artists collection, Now That's What I Call Music! 13, which sold 114,000 copies at Number Two.
No other record registered six-figure sales, as Beyonce's Dangerously in Love moved up two slots to Number Three with sales of 88,000 and Evanescence's Fallen continued to fare well against a feeble field, moving from Number Ten to Number Four with sales of 79,000.
The charts weren't without a handful of newcomers. R&B supergroup LSG -- featuring Gerald Levert, Keith Sweat and Johnny Gill -- sold 66,000 copies of their second album, LSG2 at Number Six. JS's R. Kelly-produced debut, Ice Cream, jumped in at Number Thirty-three with sales of 28,000, and the late, great Celia Cruz made a strong showing at Number Forty with Regalo del Alma. As a matter of fact, Cruz's passing last month prompted a minor chart coup, as her Exitos Eternos suddenly appeared on the chart at Number Ninety-five (with sales of 12,000) and her Hits Mix jumped from Number 142 to Number 106, selling 10,000 copies.
There was little else of note happening on the charts, though Coldplay's A Rush of Blood to the Head warrants mention. Propelled by successful videos for "The Scientist" and "Clocks," the album sits at Number Eighteen, returning to the Top Twenty just three weeks shy of its one-year anniversary.
Next week looks to offer little relief. New albums by Smash Mouth and Blues Traveler should make solid, if modest, debuts, as both bands have reliable constituencies whittled down from their late-Nineties sales peaks. Once again, Evanescence are positioned to make an outside bid at Number One, as Fallen continues to enjoy sporadic sales spikes, while Bad Boys II and Now 13 continue to see their sales erode. One newcomer, Robert Randolph, has been earning fans the old-fashioned, grassroots way. His studio debut, Unclassified, will chart next week and reveal whether Randolph and his Family Band have tapped the jam-band culture in a manner closer to the Dave Matthews Band (strong album sales paired with strong concert draw) or Phish (strong concert draw with weaker retail clout).
This week's Top Ten: Bad Boys II soundtrack; Now That's What I Call Music! 13; Beyonce's Dangerously in Love; Evanescence's Fallen; Chingy's Jackpot; LSG's LSG2; 50 Cent's Get Rich or Die Tryin'; Ashanti's Chapter II; Mya's Moodring; and Norah Jones' Come Away With Me.