"8 Mile" Stays on Top

The bad news for album sales is that the winter chill has set in, and even those who did late holiday shopping have probably gotten around to picking up gifts. If there is a silver lining, it's that with no blockbuster releases being issued at all (nevermind the several-per-week pace of the fall) the charts have become something of a free-for-all, with any number of records having a chance at claiming a week at Number One.

The 8 Mile soundtrack held onto that coveted slot for another week, with sales of 119,000 according to SoundScan. But it was tight. Though last week, it seemed Avril Lavigne's Let Go might finally slip into the top spot, the record settled for Number Three with sales of 113,000. The week's big jump was by jazz-tinged pop singer Norah Jones, whose debut, Come Away With Me sold 118,000 copies at Number Two. Her five Grammy nominations this week (tied with seven other acts for the most) also seems to make Jones a good shot at Number One next week.

There were no new release among this past week's Top 200 albums, and only one release, the XXX soundtrack (Number Eighty-five, 16,000 copies sold), enjoyed a sales increase. Only the top three albums topped six figures, but, as a consolation, at this time last year the charts were almost as bad, with only four records topping six-figure sales.

Next week's slugfest at the top won't likely include any new blood. With a continued scarcity of new releases, 8 Mile, Come Away With Me and Let Go seem sure to duke it out another week.

This week's Top Ten8 Mile soundtrack; Norah Jones' Come Away With Me; Avril Lavigne's Let Go; the Dixie Chicks' Home; Christina Aguilera's Stripped; Jennifer Lopez's This Is Me . . . Then; Justin Timberlake's Justified; Shania Twain's Up!; Aaliyah's I Care for You; and Now That's What I Call Music? 11.