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Mary J. Blige can't knock 'Noel' from No. 1 spot

December 28, 2007|Geoff Boucher | Times Staff Writer

The Queen of Hip-Hop Soul is back -- not that she ever really left. Mary J. Blige has been on a major career run in recent years, and she's still working it with "Growing Pains," her eighth studio album, which debuts this week at No. 2 on U.S. album chart with 629,000 copies sold.

Blige started this year with the most nominations at the 49th annual Grammy Awards, and she hasn't taken her foot off the accelerator. The first singles from the new album have been "Just Fine," which this month picked up yet another Grammy nomination, and "Work That," the high-energy track that was featured in a recent iTunes commercial.

The strong first-week sales by Blige weren't enough to claim No. 1 on the Nielsen SoundScan chart. For the fifth consecutive week, that spot belongs to "Noel," Josh Groban's wildly successful collection of Christmas songs. "Noel" sold 757,000 copies, and with sales of about 3.5 million it is the best-selling 2007 album. No Christmas album has spent as many consecutive weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard chart.

After Blige, the top debut this week belonged to New Jersey native Jaheim, who arrives at No. 11 with "The Makings of a Man."

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