Enjoying her biggest sales week of the '90s, Madonna roars back up the charts with her new album, Ray of Light, selling 371,000 copies for the week ending March 8, according to SoundScan.
That nearly triples what her last album, the Evita soundtrack, sold its first week in stores.
Unfortunately for the Material Girl, the critically acclaimed Ray of Light was blocked from the No. 1 spot by the still-mighty Titanic soundtrack. That fits a frustrating pattern for Madonna, with all her '90s albums (Erotica, Bedtime Stories and Evita) coming this close to No. 1, but never landing the coveted spot. Perhaps Ray of Light will end the drought.
The other big top ten news came in the form of gangsta rapper Scarface, whose My Homies debuts at No. 4.
From the top, it was Titanic (selling 476,000 copies) followed by Ray of Light; Celine Dion's Let's Talk About Love (224,000); My Homies; Savage Garden (107,000); Silkk the Shock's Charge It 2 Da Game (105,000); K-Ci & Jo Jo's Love Always (100,000); Backstreet Boys (98,000); the soundtrack to the Wedding Singer (93,000); and Usher's My Way (90,000).
Meanwhile, Garth Brooks continues his yo-yo chart act. A few weeks back, after appearing on the highly rated "Oprah Winfrey Show," Brooks' three month-old Sevens jumped from No. 24 to No. 4, but then began to drop again. This week he's back up, from No. 22 to No. 12. The fuel this time? His recent NBC concert special and his "Saturday Night Live" hosting duties. If he could just get his own weekly show, than maybe Sevens would stay in the top 10 for good.
Elsewhere, sales of the Artist's Crystal Ball are growing, jumping from No. 141 to No. 62. That's noteworthy because Crystal Ball is the four-disc set that the Artist, trying to do an end-run around major record companies, first tried to sell by a 1-800 number and on the Internet. When that didn't pan out he announced a deal with the Best Buy chain to sell the record exclusively (again without a major label backer). Fact is, fans can find Crystal Ball in lots of stores besides Best Buy. But the Artists' approach remains a novel one, and for now it seems to be working.