On one hand, there was a whole lotta shakin' goin' on this week on the albums chart. Eight new titles entered the Top 100, three of which made the Top Ten, which is the healthiest batch of newcomers so far this year. Sales in general also turned upwards, after a post-Christmas slide. Yet the actual numbers are still disconcerting. Jennifer Lopez's remix album, J to tha Lo! debuted Number One with sales of 156,000, according to SoundScan, just over a year after her J.Lo gave her a Number One with sales that were fifty-percent heftier.
Lopez's latest unseated Alan Jackson's Drive, which had spent three weeks on top, but barely. Drive scanned 150,000 copies, leaving the album some 8,000 copies shy of the 1 million mark.
If Alan Jackson proved a welcome change for a Top Ten that has been dominated by guys with guitars, rappers and teen pop, then try on this week's Number Three: Barry Manilow's Ultimate Manilow sold 113,000 copies, topping the likes of Creed, Linkin Park and Ludacris. Sade's Lovers Live was the week's third Top Ten newcomer, selling 66,000 copies for a Number Ten entry. Mary J. Blige's re-release of last year's No More Drama (along with some bonus tracks), proved a worthwhile venture, as the album sold 55,000 copies for a Number Twenty debut.
In a promising sign, nearly a third of the albums that make up the Top 100 also registered sales increases, though they tended to be of 5,000 copies or less. The biggest boost was U2, whose red, white and blue Super Bowl spot boosted All That You Can't Leave Behind from Number Sixty-six to Number Twenty-five, with sales of 46,000.
A guess at next week's charts is wide open. Drive's attrition has been rather small, having dropped only 40,000 copies from the previous week, suggesting that it could top J to tha Lo! next week. And newcomers don't look particularly strong, as Chris Isaak and Kasey Chambers both have the type of constituencies that guarantee debuts in the Top 100, not the Top Ten. The end of the month promises a new album from Alanis Morissette as well as the Grammy Awards, so sales should pick up.
This week's Top Ten: Jennifer Lopez's J to tha Lo!; Alan Jackson's Drive; Barry Manilow's Ultimate Manilow; Creed's Weathered; Linkin Park's Hybrid Theory; Ludacris' Word of Mouf; Nickelback's Silver Side Up; Ja Rule's Pain Is Love; Pink's Missundaztood; and Sade's Lovers Live.