Shania Twain Chases Eminem’s Chart Streak; Aaliyah, Whitney Debut In Top 10

Country crossover star's Up! sold an additional 373,000 copies last week.

Shania Twain will once again reside in the #1 slot of the Billboard albums chart next week with her album Up!, which sold an additional 373,000 copies last week, according to SoundScan. After four weeks at the top, where it seems like the only place to go is down, Twain managed to find someplace else to go — after Eminem.

The country crossover star hasn’t taken a cue from Benzino and raised beef, rather she’s setting her sights on the The Eminem Show‘s streak of being #1 for five weeks in a row, the longest stint as king of the hill of any album released this year. Three-week stretches, meanwhile, were enjoyed by Elvis Presley, Nelly, Ashanti, Alan Jackson and the Dixie Chicks, whose Home will jump up seven places to #2 (294,000), thanks to last week’s primetime TV special on the trio. Creed’s Weathered ended its run-at-one after eight weeks earlier this year, though the streak encompassed the last six weeks of 2001.

Aaliyah’s posthumous greatest-hits LP, I Care 4 U, will land at #3, with more than 279,000 copies sold in its first week. The album, which features such fan faves as “One in a Million” and “More Than a Woman” alongside previous unreleased tracks including “Miss You,” provided the late R&B singer with her best first-week sales ever, beating out 1999′s self-titled effort by nearly 100,000 copies.

Diva Whitney Houston and boy group B2K will bring up the rear of next week’s top 10 with new albums. On the heels of her “Primetime” TV interview, in which she definitively told Diane Sawyer that “crack is wack,” Houston’s sixth album, Just Whitney …, will come in at #9, with more than 205,000 copies sold. Pandemonium!, B2K’s third album, including their holiday jam Santa Hooked Me Up, released in October, will take the #10 slot by selling more than 194,000 copies.

It would seem Nas’ God’s Son making its chart debut at #18 with just 156,000 copies sold would be disappointing to the Queens MC, given that it’s his worst first week showing since his debut, Illmatic, which initially moved just under 60,000 copies to take the #12 spot in April 1994. But considering that the street date of his sixth album was bumped up to a Friday release after the album fell victim to bootlegging (see “Nas To Release God’s Son Earlier Than Planned” ), his three-day pull ain’t half bad. To use the sports-statistic projection “at this pace,” the album’s first-week (Tuesday through Sunday) sales total would near or eclipse last year’s Stillmatic, which came in at #8 with more than 342,000 in sales, but still fall far shy of I Am …, the #1 album of the week when it debuted in April 1999 with more than 470,000 in first-week sales.

Usual suspects rounding out the top 10 will include the uppermost echelon’s third country album, Tim McGraw & the Dancehall Doctors, moving down two spots to #4 (277,000); the soundtrack to “8 Mile,” stalled at #5 (272,000); Avril Lavigne’s Let Go, increasing its weekly sales by nearly 100,000 to hold at #6 (271,000); Now That’s What I Call Music! Vol. 11, slipping three spots to #7 (269,000); and Jennifer Lopez’s This Is Me … Then, taking a step back to #8 (219,000).

Overall, total figures rebounded from last week’s temporary dip in the holiday sales surge. Perhaps cash registers rested for a time after the universal post-Thanksgiving goose that immediately followed the holiday. In any case, total sales in the top 200 rose from 7.6 million copies to 10.7 million; while 31 albums sold more than 100,000 copies last week and 37 increased their weekly total by more than 10,000.

Only two LPs, Mariah Carey’s Charmbracelet and Tupac’s Better Dayz, failed to match the progress of most of their peers. In only its second week in stores, Carey’s new album dropped 11 places to #14 while its weekly total fell by nearly 70,000. Better Dayz, in stores a week longer than Carey’s follow-up to the poorly received Glitter, fell 13 spots to #21, while its weekly pull was whittled by more than 20,000 copies.

A self-imposed hiatus may have left some Phish fans high and dry, as the jam band’s latest, Round Room, which will land at #46, is also its most dimly welcomed. First-week sales of 64,000 copies are the band’s lowest numbers since 1994′s Hoist, which sold just over half that amount.

Electric Circus, Common’s follow-up to 2000′s Like Water for Chocolate, immediately trails the noodling troupe’s return, coming in at #47 with marginally fewer copies sold.

Only 1,000 copies separates the #49 album, Ballers, by Master P’s crew the 504 Boyz, from Swizz Beatz’s Swizz Beatz Presents G.H.E.T.T.O. Stories, landing at #50. The area-code MCs moved nearly 60,000 copies of their debut, which features contributions from No Limit top brass Silkk the Shocker and the general Percy Miller himself.

Other notable debuts on next week’s chart include the soundtrack to “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” at #62; Legend of the Liquid Sword by Wu-Tang’s GZA/Genius at #75; R&B songstress Nivea’s eponymous debut at #109; and Alanis Morissette’s CD/DVD best-of collection Feast on Scraps at #194.