Paul McCartney's "Flaming Pie," riding the momentum of the Beatles' multimillion-selling "Anthology" series, was the nation's No. 2-selling album during its first week in stores. McCartney's 27th solo collection sold about 121,000 copies during the seven-day period that ended Sunday, according to SoundScan.
The Spice Girls' "Spice," which sold about 137,000 copies, tops the chart for the fourth week in a row.
Debuting at No. 3, an especially impressive showing for a gospel release, was "God's Property," by the contemporary gospel choir God's Property From Kirk Franklin's Nu Nation.
The week's best-selling single was "I'll Be Missing You," a tribute to slain rapper Notorious B.I.G. by Sean "Puffy" Combs and the rapper's widow, Faith Evans.
Here are some recent releases that are generating critical or commercial attention:
Wu-Tang Clan's "Wu-Tang Forever" (Loud). The overwhelming passion of the music and the relentless nature of the rhyming make the concept "Wu-Tang Forever" feel more like a reality than a folly.
Erasure's "Cowboy" (Maverick). With such tasty techno-pop bonbons as "Rain," the veteran British synth-pop duo of Vince Clarke and Andy Bell display their usual flair for melodic vocals and blurb-like sentimentality.
Michael Jackson's "Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix" (Epic). If Jackson would settle down and hone his individual sound instead of trying to follow every current trend simultaneously, he might recapture his relevance.
Steve Winwood's "Junction Seven" (Virgin). Joined by Lenny Kravitz, Nile Rodgers and Des'ree on key tracks, the function at "Junction" is relentlessly jubilant and romantic, but the songs on his seventh solo album aren't much to celebrate.
George Strait's "Carrying Your Love With Me" (MCA Nashville). Like Dirty Harry, Strait knows his limitations, and like Clint Eastwood, he plays to his strengths as he gets older. Although he sounds more sprightly than ever, he's still unable to breathe life into the vaguely drawn ballads here with vocal power alone.
Various Artists' "Time and Love: The Music of Laura Nyro" (Astor Place). This project of music by women doesn't boast the powerhouse names, but the lineup, featuring Rosanne Cash, Phoebe Snow, Jill Sobule, Suzanne Vega and others, is marked by an integrity and independence benefiting the honoree.
Wu-Tang Clan's "Wu-Tang Forever" (Loud), Sinead O'Connor's "Gospel Oak" (Chrysalis), Jungle Brother's "Raw Deluxe" (Gee Street), Faith No More's "Album of the Year" (Slash/Reprise).
Tuesday: John Cale's "Eat/Kiss" (Hannibal), k.d. lang's "Drag" (Warner Bros.), Suga Free's "Street" (Island Black Music), Thrill Kill Cult's "A Crime for All Seasons" (Red Ant), Changing Faces' "All Day/All Night" (Big Beat/Atlantic), Pavement's "Shady Lane" (Matador).
June 17: En Vogue's "EV3" (EastWest), Ben Harper's "The Will to Live" (Virgin), K-Ci & Jo-Jo's "Love Always" (MCA), Neil Young & Crazy Horse's "The Year of the Horse" (Reprise).