The Queen of Hip-Hop Soul Mary J. Blige sold 286,000 copies of her sixth studio album, Love and Life, according to SoundScan, to earn her another Number One record. While the current industry slump has found marquee artists topping the charts with less hearty numbers than in the past, Blige continues to be quite reliable in her first week tallies. In 2001, her last album, No More Drama, sold 294,000 copies at Number Two, and before that, 1999's Mary and 1997's Share My World both moved 240,000 units at Number Two and One, respectively.
The veteran Blige was able to hold off a strong debut by fresh-faced newcomer Hilary Duff, who sold 204,000 copies of Metamorphosis at Number Two. The teen star's album was propelled by "So Yesterday," which over the past three charts had been the best-selling single in the country (Clay Aiken's "Bridge Over Troubled Water" reclaimed the top spot on this week's chart).
Last week's Number One, the Neptunes' The Neptunes Present . . . Clones fell to Number Three on the album chart with sales of 115,000. The Top Five was rounded out by Alan Jackson's Greatest Hits Vol. 2 (Number Four, 114,000 copies sold) and Youngbloodz's Drankin' Patnaz which debuted at Number Five with sales of 85,000.
There were several other strong debuts on the chart this week including Nappy Roots' second album, Wooden Leather, which sold 59,000 copies at Number Twelve. And Warren Zevon's terminal cancer seems to have reminded fans about his career. A year ago, his My Ride's Here was released, selling 34,000 to date. The Wind, which he began recording after his diagnosis, hit the charts at Number Sixteen with first-week sales of 48,000.
Elsewhere, the chart perked up a bit in the wake of the MTV Video Music Awards. Beyonce's Dangerously in Love enjoyed an 11,000 album increase in sales to 79,000; Coldplay's A Rush of Blood to the Head bounced back into the Top Ten with a 19,000 album spike to 62,000; and 50 Cent's Get Rich or Die Tryin' jumped 8,000 copies to 61,000.
Next week's chart will likely see the current gaggle of six-figure sellers scrambling for Number One, as a handful of buzz bands like the Raveonettes and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club released albums yesterday, but no industry heavy hitters.
This week's Top Ten: Mary J. Blige's Love and Life; Hilary Duff's Metamorphosis; the Neptunes' The Neptunes Present . . . Clones; Alan Jackson's Greatest Hits Vol. 2; Youngbloodz's Drankin' Patnaz; Beyonce's Dangerously in Love; Evanescence's Fallen; the Bad Boys II soundtrack; Chingy's Jackpot; and Coldplay's A Rush of Blood to the Head.