The EKG spike in last week's charts proved to be an isolated event, as we've segued back to an alarming flatline. Alan Jackson's Drive had another strong week, selling 230,000 copies according to SoundScan, to hold onto Number One for the second straight week. Creed's Weathered was the week's only other six-figure seller, moving 119,000 units in its tenth week of release.
As a matter of fact, this week's Top Ten was a virtual carbon copy of last week's. Ludacris' Word of Mouf (82,000 copies sold, Number Four) and Nickelback's Silver Side Up (80,000, Number Five) swapped spots from last week. The only newcomer was the O Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack. The mountain music juggernaut broke into Top Ten for the first time in its fifty-six weeks. The album has been an almost constant presence in the Top Fifty during its fifty-six week run, and is just a few weeks shy of topping the 4 million copy mark.
But the charts are full of overachieving vets. As has been the case in the still-fledgling 2002, hearty debuts this week are few. Chartwise, Nine Inch Nails did themselves no favors by releasing two versions of their new live album, Live and All That Could Have Been, a single-disc version and an expanded deluxe version. The two debuted at Numbers Twenty-six and Thirty-seven, with sales of 33,000 and 28,000, respectively. The cumulative total of 61,000 would have still fallen just short of Enya's A Day Without Rain, which finally dropped out of the Top Ten, falling one spot to Number Eleven with sales of 62,000. The only other debut in the Top 100 was Bad Religion's Process of Belief, which scanned 23,000 copies to land at Number Forty-nine.
Elsewhere, two albums made surges within the Top Fifty. The Moulin Rouge soundtrack, presumably propelled by the film's Golden Globe success, shot from Number Sixty-nine to Number Thirty-nine, with a 10,000 album sales increase. And New York City buzz band the Strokes did some moonlighting as a new Nielson Rating gauge. Their Saturday Night Live appearance boosted sales of their debut, Is This It, by 11,000 copies (from Number Sixty-three to Number Thirty-three), and proved that people, at least 11,000 of them, still watch the show.
Don't expect any upheavals next week. The Chemical Brothers' Come With Us is likely to make minor ripples, while Montell Jordan's R U With Me? and Dawn Robinson's Dawn could splash higher on the chart due to its current weakened state. But it still looks like we're Alanis away from our next big debut, and that's still a month away.
This week's Top Ten: Alan Jackson's Drive; Creed's Weathered; Linkin Park's Hybrid Theory; Ludacris' Word of Mouf; Nickelback's Silver Side Up; Ja Rule's Pain Is Love; Nas' Stillmatic; Usher's 8701; Pink's Missundaztood; and the O Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack.