In taking five years to record and release her latest album, Monica
seems to have made some ravenous fans. The R&B singer’s
After the Storm sold 186,000 copies, according to
SoundScan, to debut Number One. The figure is more than double that
of her previous release, The Boy Is Mine, which dropped in
at Number Eight in 1998.
Storm just edged Luther Vandross’ Dance With My
Father, which sold 182,000 copies at Number Two, easily
putting its to-date sales past a half-million. Actually, the top of
the charts has become something of a J Records logjam, as the label
issued Storm and Dance, as well as this week’s
Number Five album, Annie Lennox’s Bare, which sold 93,000
copies. In between is Metallica’s St. Anger, which sold
138,000 copies at Number Three, pushing it past 900,000 sales in
less than three full weeks.
Last week’s chart indicated that the summer was heating up
record sales, with ten new albums in the Top Fifty and 5.3 million
album sales in the Top 200. But this week’s chart tells a different
story: The Top 200 only registered 3.9 million sales, and other
than Monica’s Storm the only newcomers of note were goth
metalmen Type O Negative’s Life Is Killing Me (Number
Thirty-nine, 27,000 copies sold) and the various artists collection
Reggae Gold 2003 (Number Forty-three, 25,000).
This week’s fiercest battle is on the singles chart, where Clay
Aiken and Ruben Studdard remain engaged in an American
Idol sell-off. The former sold another 144,000 copies of
“Bridge Over Troubled Water” (which sold 393,000 last week) while
the latter sold 112,000 of “Flying Without Wings” (286,000 last
week). As a bit of perspective, the Number Three single, the
American Idol collaboration “God Bless the U.S.A.,” moved
a mere 8,000 copies.
As for next week’s album chart, Destiny’s Child frontwoman
Beyonce Knowles’ solo debut, Dangerously in Love, looks
like a lock for the top slot, but Michelle Branch’s Hotel
Paper should put up strong numbers based on the steady success
of her debut. A bit lower down, it will be interesting to see if
Liz Phair decision to sell her soul to the Matrix on her
self-titled fourth album will translate into a sales success.
This week’s Top Ten: Monica’s After the Storm; Luther
Vandross’ Dance With My Father; Metallica’s St.
Anger; Radiohead’s Hail to the Thief; Annie Lennox’s
Bare; 50 Cent’s Get Rich or Die Tryin’; Norah
Jones’ Come Away With Me; Evanescence’s Fallen;
the 2 Fast 2 Furious soundtrack; and Kelly Clarkson’s