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POP MUSIC | Pop Albums

'Impossible' Soundtrack Can't Beat 'N Sync's 'No Strings'

May 18, 2000|GEOFF BOUCHER

Unseating 'N Sync from No. 1 on the nation's album sales chart proved to be an impossible mission even for Metallica, Limp Bizkit and the other hard-edged all-stars assembled for the soundtrack to the new "Mission: Impossible" movie.

The heartthrobs of 'N Sync extended their streak at No. 1 to eight consecutive weeks by selling 188,000 copies of "No Strings Attached" last week. The group has now racked up 5.5 million in total sales of its third album.

This week almost certainly marks the end of 'N Sync's streak, however, with the new Britney Spears album arriving on the charts next week. That disc is expected to be one of the big sellers of the summer, and some retailers project that its first-week sales will surpass 1 million copies.

The "Mission: Impossible" collection sold 130,000 copies in its debut week to reach No. 2. The album features "I Disappear," the first Metallica song written for a soundtrack. The band may be embroiled in a feud with Napster, the controversial online music exchange site, and weathering a minor rebellion among fans that use that popular site, but "I Disappear" is already a hit with rock radio stations.

The soundtrack also offers Limp Bizkit's "Take a Look Around (M:I-2 Theme)," a dissonant reworking of Lalo Schifrin's classic theme song for the "Mission: Impossible" television series. Others featured on the soundtrack include the Foo Fighters with Queen guitarist Brian May, the Butthole Surfers, Rob Zombie and Chris Cornell.

The Top 5 for the week is rounded out by Santana's "Supernatural," Sisqo's "Unleash the Dragon" and Joe's "My Name Is Joe," respectively.

The second-highest debut of the week belonged to the teen trio Hanson at No. 17, with "This Time Around," which sold 64,000 copies. That's a relatively modest showing for the Oklahoma brothers, considering that three years ago the group led the youth-pop craze with "MMMBop."

Yet another youth-pop star, Mandy Moore, debuts this week at No. 21 with "I Wanna Be With You," an odd collection from Epic Records that largely repackages songs from her last album. Of the 12 tracks on the new disc, four appeared on "So Real" and two more are remixes of songs from that 1999 album. The new album also features two versions of its title track, one of which was previously available on the "Center Stage" soundtrack.

On the singles chart, Toni Braxton's "He Wasn't Man Enough" holds on to the top spot for the fifth consecutive week.

New and Notable

Toni Braxton, "The Heat," LaFace. There are a few moments of semi-anonymous pop here, but the highlights convey the kind of deeply held viewpoint that places Braxton with such thoughtful artists as Lauryn Hill and Erykah Badu rather than the diva crowd.

Jeff Buckley, "Mystery White Boy," Columbia. These concert performances from a mid-'90s tour fully capture the late singer's vision, with frayed excursions traveling from dreamy whispers to volcanically emotional bursts, all sung in the voice of a fallen angel.

Pearl Jam, "Binaural," Epic. Winningly touches on classic traditions, with a wider musical vocabulary and more sophisticated shadings than the band has shown before. A big step out of a rut.

DJ Quik, "Balance & Options," Arista. The Compton rapper-producer's lyrics show tremendous insight and depth, and as in his other four collections, the music is among the most innovative and textured hip-hop has to offer.

Sleater-Kinney, "All Hands on the Bad One," Kill Rock Stars. The Northwest's famed feminist trio's fifth album continues to convey the gut-wrenching emotions that first drew fans and critics to its Riot-Grrrl-powered camp in the mid-'90s.

Neil Young, "Silver & Gold," Reprise. The album doesn't have the overriding urgency or ambition of 1992's similar-minded "Harvest Moon," but it is as consistently open and optimistic as anything Young has ever produced.

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