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Norah Makes It Three

Pop jazz singer holds on at Number One

One benefit of January’s sluggish album sales is that oddball types
get to call themselves chart-toppers. Last year it was the
soundtrack to O Brother, Where Art Thou?, and now it’s
Norah Jones’ turn. The jazzy pop singer sold another 112,000 copies
of Come Away With Me, according to SoundScan, to hold onto
the Number One position for the third consecutive week.

Elsewhere in the Top Ten, Avril Lavigne’s Let Go
continues to be a whopping sales success that can’t quite grab a
Number One. The record slipped a slot to Number Three with sales of
91,000. Meanwhile, like Jones’s record, the soundtrack to
Chicago has been faring well with all that jazz. The album
climbed from Number Four to Number Two with a sales jump of 9,000
copies to 92,000.

The rest of the Top Ten was all about holding patterns, save Kid
Rock’s Cocky, which has resembled a rhyming brawler with
less bravado in his name: Rocky. The album has been on the charts
sixty-two weeks and was long pointed to as a prime example of a
major-label flop. After the gargantuan success of the
multi-platinum Devil Without a Cause, Cocky was
to have been a sure thing for the holiday season 2001. Instead it
stiffed, debuting at a modest Number Six that November, with sales
of 218,000. Beating the promotional drum did diddley, draping the
album in the post-9/11 patriotic colors of red, white and blue
didn’t either. By its second week the record was out of the Top
Ten, and by the following summer it was out of the Top 100. But
Cocky and Rock battled back through a second holiday
season, and now, propelled by “Picture,” a huge hit with a guest
spot by Sheryl Crow, the album has slugged its way to Number Seven,
a mere slot below its highest position sixty-two weeks ago. And
consistent weekly sales like last week (59,000 copies) — as
opposed to the industry-preferred big first-week splash — have put
the album’s tally at 2.3 million to date . . . hardly worthy of the
casket ordered a year ago.

Elsewhere on the charts, Jesus and sissy music fared well. The
gospel collection, Worship Together: I Could Sing of Your Love
Forever
bounded from off the charts to Number Thirty-nine
(with sales of 21,000) over the past two weeks. Mannheim
Steamroller soothed their way to a Number Seventy-two debut with
Romantic Melodies, probably pulling in many of the same
13,000 consumers as Ultimate Yanni at Number
Seventy-four.

In a more pop-oriented stripe, Beyonce’s little sis Solange
debuted at Number Forty-nine with the prematurely-titled Solo
Star
.

Next week could be a bit of a toss-up. Come Away With
Me
has been sitting comfortably at Number One, in part due to
a lack of competition. It’s a safe bet that Lou Reed’s
not-so-mainstream Poe-project, The Raven, won’t make the
same ripples as 2002 releases by other middle-aged rockers like
David Bowie and Elvis Costello. But if more than a 100,000 fans
remember and miss the Smashing Pumpkins, Billy Corgan’s
Zwan could prove to be another oddball Number One. And
there’s always issues of momentum, something Chicago and
its accompanying soundtrack has in spades. And there’s always Avril
. . .

This week’s Top Ten: Norah Jones’ Come Away With Me;
the Chicago soundtrack; Avril Lavigne’s Let Go;
the Dixie Chicks’ Home; Jennifer Lopez’s This Is Me .
. . Then
; the 8 Mile soundtrack; Kid Rock’s
Cocky; Missy Elliott’s Under Construction;
Aaliyah’s I Care 4 U; and Ja Rule’s The Last
Temptation
.

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