The seventh volume in the "Now That's What I Call Music" hit compilation series has moved past the 1.5 million mark in total U.S. sales, but it can no longer claim the top spot on the nation's sales chart.
After three weeks at No. 1, the album, which features recent hits by such artists as Destiny's Child and Janet Jackson, fell to third this week behind new releases from R&B star Maxwell and rapper Juvenile.
Maxwell's "Now" sold 296,000 copies in its first week in stores to outdistance Juvenile's "Project English," which sold 213,000 in its first week. The "Now That's What I Call Music" compilation finished third with 212,000 sales. Alicia Keys' "Songs in A Minor" was fourth with 180,000.
Along with D'Angelo, Maxwell is one of the most respected male artists in the '90s' neo-soul movement, and reviews of the new album have been generally enthusiastic.
Writing about the album in The Times, Marc Weingarten noted, "Maxwell is a student of the slow-burn school of soul. On his third album, [he] never strains beyond a whisper, drawing listeners in with supple funk moves and bedroom imprecations. This is music for hushed intimacies."
The remaining six spots on this week's Top 10 are held by, in order, 'N Sync, the Isley Brothers, Linkin Park, Usher, Staind and Jennifer Lopez. The best-selling single again is Janet Jackson's "Someone to Call My Lover."
But retailers don't expect Maxwell's stay at the top to be long. A group of high-profile albums was released Tuesday, and first-day sales suggest that Slipknot, a garish metal band with cartoonish masks and macabre props, is the strong favorite to be No. 1 on next week's chart with its "IOWA."
Other new albums that will likely break into the Top 10: Mary J. Blige's "No More Drama" and Brian McKnight's "Superhero."
Fred Durst, the Limp Bizkit leader who seems to have a magic touch for finding other hit bands, looks as if he has another winner in "Puddle of Mudd," whose debut album also got off to a fast start, retailers say.
(From The Times' album reviews)
Alicia Keys' "Songs in A Minor," J. In a striking debut, Keys moves from the funky sensuality of Prince's "How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore" to the neo-soul vitality of Macy Gray and Jill Scott. (Robert Hilburn)
Bilal's "1st Born Second," Interscope. Inspired by such giants as Miles Davis and Jimi Hendrix, the 21-year-old Philadelphia native underscores his multifaceted awareness of history, not to mention how a song can slice straight through the gut. (Natalie Nichols)
Bjork's "Vespertine," Elektra. Well before Radiohead visited the outer limits, Bjork established herself as a true pop adventurer with a string of esoteric albums that laughed in the face of categorization. Perhaps having reached a point where she's abandoned all concerns about commercial success, the Icelandic singer seems to reach deep within herself for her truest and most impressive work yet. (Steve Baltin)
Mary J. Blige's "No More Drama," MCA. Though not as innovative as her early recordings, "No More Drama" seamlessly incorporates the smoother soul and gospel flavors of 1999's "Mary" with her trademark blend of hip-hop, funk and R&B. (N.N.)
D12's "Devil's Night," Shady/Interscope. While Eminem uses wit, venom and energy to make his work remarkable, the other rappers in D12 employ awkward raps that lack the spunk, authority and humorous edge typical of Eminem's lyrics. (Soren Baker)
'N Sync's "Celebrity," Jive. The group pushes aside the playful naughtiness of "No Strings Attached" to veer unevenly between superstar attitude and poor-little-big-shot vulnerability. (N.N.)
Gillian Welch's "Time (The Revelator)," Acony. The first sounds on Welch's haunting third album are jarring adjacent notes strummed an acoustic guitar. (Randy Lewis)