50 Cent’s Get Rich or Die Tryin’ is marching towards 4
million served, selling another 234,000 this past week, according
to SoundScan, to hang onto Number One for the third straight week.
And though her Grammy glow has faded somewhat, Norah Jones’
Come Away With Me continues to sell well, moving 176,000
copies, spending its third straight week at Number Two.
The remainder of the Top Ten looked largely as it did a week
ago, with some minor shuffling. Evanescence’s Fallen is
shaping up to be the year’s strongest rock rookie. The debut album
by the Arkansas band debuted at Number Seven three weeks ago, and,
rather than making a quick exit, the album has begun to climb,
reaching Number Five with sales of 85,000. Sean Paul’s Dutty
Rock is the week’s only Top Ten first-timer, breaking in at
Number Nine (with sales of 62,000) after nineteen weeks of release.
And though the sales week closed before the Oscar winners were
announced, anticipation for the show seems to have boosted Eminem’s
stock. The 8 Mile soundtrack climbed from Number
Twenty-nine to Number Ten with sales of 55,000, and the rapper’s
The Eminem Show jumped from Number Eighteen to Number
Twelve with sales of 50,000. Those two albums were the only Top
Fifty entries to enjoy a sales increase from the previous week.
While most albums only suffered slight sales dips
(Fallen only fell 7,000 copies and Kid Rock’s
Cocky moved 15,000 units fewer than the previous week),
the first signs of Dixie Chicks backlash were present on this
week’s chart. The band’s Home only dropped from Number
Four to Number Seven, but the its sales went into free fall
compared to other Top 100 albums: from 124,000 to 72,000.
Debuts weren’t scarce, but they also weren’t particularly
inspiring. (Hed) PE’s Blackout was the week’s strongest
newcomer at Number Thirty-three with sales of 28,000, followed by
the Allman Brothers Band’s first new album in nearly a decade,
Hittin’ the Note, which sold 25,000 at Number
Thirty-seven. Just squeezing into the Top 100 was Stephen Malkmus
and the Jicks’ Pig Lib, arriving at Number Ninety-seven
with sales of 11,000. And scoring one for the independents was Cody
Chesnutt’s The Headphone Masterpiece. The ambitious two-CD
rock/soul debut received reams of kind press, none of which
translated into sales. A video and a few appearances with the Roots
(including a visit to David Letterman’s show) later and
Masterpiece slipped onto the charts at Number 128 months
after its release, with sales of 8,000.
Next week’s chart will be an interesting barometer for the
remainder of the sales year, because Linkin Park’s Meteora
arrived in record stores yesterday. The album was kept under tight
watch during its creation and wasn’t shipped out to reviewers in
hopes of curbing potential leaks and bootlegging. Should the album
succeed, such security measures might become the norm for
high-profile releases. The flip side is that Korn’s
Untouchables, which stiffed last summer, might have been a
forecast of things to come — namely the end of new metal’s reign.
Meteora is a lock for a Number One debut, but if it
doesn’t stay there for a few weeks, Limp Bizkit, Puddle of Mudd and
Co. might have a rough 2003.
This week’s Top Ten: 50 Cent’s Get Rich or Die Tryin’;
Norah Jones’ Come Away With Me; R. Kelly’s Chocolate
Factory; the Chicago soundtrack; Evanescence’s
Fallen; Kid Rock’s Cocky; the Dixie Chicks’
Home; Fabolous’ Street Dreams; Sean Paul’s
Dutty Rock; and the 8 Mile soundtrack.