Easter baskets seem to have been stuffed with CDs rather than eggs. Album sales shot up significantly for the first time since the Grammys, as consumers apparently celebrated the holiday by heading out in droves to their local music retailer. Leading the charge was Celine Dion, whose comeback album (armed with an Easter-friendly title), New Day Has Come, sold 527,000 copies according to SoundScan, to debut Number One.
Dion's first non-Christmas, non-compilation album in five years bumped Now That's What I Call Music! 9 from the top after a single week, but the teen-powered compilation didn't go without a fight. Now! 9 sold 463,000 copies, a 40,000 unit improvement over its debut week. Though there was little other competition at the top, five other albums registered six-figure sales, compared to a mere three last week. The World Wrestling Federation compilation, WWF Forceable Entry, including songs by Drowning Pool, Kid Rock and others, made a strong showing at Number Three with sales of 146,000; "ghetto soul" singer (and Magic Johnson signee) Avant's Ecstasy debuted at Number Six with sales of 122,000; and The Scorpion King soundtrack, featuring songs by Nickelback, Creed, System of a Down, Rob Zombie and others, made some ripples at Number Eight with sales of 93,000.
Most telling about the Top Ten was the number of various artists titles. Four of the ten best-selling records on the charts are compilations of some sort, perhaps reiterating that listeners are fed up with dropping nineteen clams on seventy minutes of shoddy music wrapped around a solitary hit.
Still, this week is about enjoying the bit of sunshine that spilled through. The tenured albums in the Top Twenty almost all fared well. Only four -- Jay-Z and R. Kelly's Best of Both Worlds, O Brother, Where Art Thou? (with all the God and death, it's as Easter-y an album as there is), Alanis Morissette's Under Rug Swept and Brandy's Full Moon -- didn't enjoy a sales boost.
This week's Top Ten: Celine Dion's New Day Has Come; Now That's What I Call Music! 9; WWF Forceable Entry; Jay-Z and R. Kelly's The Best of Both Worlds; O Brother, Where Art Thou?; Avant's Ecstasy; Pink's Missundaztood; The Scorpion King; Linkin Park's Hybrid Theory; and Alan Jackson's Drive.