Outkast, Keys Remain #1, #2 On Billboard Albums Chart

Now That's What I Call Music!, Sheryl Crow follow at #3 and #4.

Outkast are starting the new year off on the right foot, which is placed firmly atop the Billboard albums chart.

Speakerboxxx/The Love Below sold more than 150,000 copies during the last week of 2003, according to SoundScan, protecting the pole position from Alicia Keys for a second week in a row. Including the two weeks the double album spent at #1 after its September release, Big Boi and Andre 3000 have been at the top of the weekly heap four times with their fifth album.

Keys barely manages to hold on to the #2 spot with her second album, The Diary of Alicia Keys, whose sales of more than 116,000 copies bests Now That’s What I Call Music! 14 by a mere 4,000 copies.

With the gift-giving holidays over, all but one album in the top 200 saw a decline in sales last week; the soundtrack to “Cold Mountain,” at #114, moved about 300 more copies than it did a week earlier. That said, Evanescence’s Fallen was able to retain more retail value than its top-10 competition. Last year’s best-selling debut album by a group lost 44 percent of its sales to move up nine spots to #7 on sales of 85,000 copies.

Conversely, Toby Keith took the biggest post-presents hit. Shock’n Y’all slips from #3 to #9, on sales of more than 83,000 copies — just 27 percent of the previous week’s total. Down the chart, the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Greatest Hits will make some sizable chart movement. The more than 58,000 copies it moved last week lifts the funk-rockers’ latest best-of set, which includes two new songs, from #33 to #19.

Rounding out the top 10 is The Very Best of Sheryl Crow, moving up a spot to #4 (more than 103,000 sold); No Doubt’s Singles 1992-2003, rising three to #5 (99,000); Jay-Z’s The Black Album, moving up six to #6 (88,000); G-Unit’s Beg for Mercy, stepping up three to #8 (83,000); and Ruben Studdard’s Soulful, falling a peg down to #10 (82,000).