In perhaps the calm before Pearl Jam's Yield-inspired storm, things were relatively static on the Billboard album charts this week
as the top four slots remained unchanged from a week ago.
With just a week before Pearl Jam's new album hits the charts, it was clear sailing for Titanic, which Reuters reported on Tuesday was setting itself up to become the top-selling soundtrack of all time. With total sales pushing toward the 2 million mark, it has held the #1 spot for the past three weeks. While Celine Dion's Let's Talk About Love held steady at #2, the Spice Girls' Spiceworld inched closer to that double-platinum (more than 2 million sold) mark, sitting tight at #3.
SoundScan reported that the bubblegum-pop phenomenon sold 114,000 copies of Spiceworld last week and have sold 1.9 million copies total. Sexually charged soul singer Usher also hung in there, with sales of My Way strong enough to keep the album in the #4 slot.
Titanic may be king now, but will it be able to hold its own against Yield, the new Pearl Jam album released on Tuesday?
If one were to judge by the Billboard singles chart, it might be a tough battle. "Given to Fly," Yield's first single, may be getting strong airplay on modern-rock radio, but it dropped from #32 two weeks ago to #42 last week. Meanwhile, Dion's hit single off the Titanic LP, "My Heart Will Go On" -- the only non-scored piece on the album -- has yet to hit the charts since its release Tuesday.
Looking at week-to-date album sales is probably a better gauge of what to expect. At the Wherehouse record store on Van Ness in San Francisco, Receiving Clerk Mango Samuels, 31, said that Yield is clearly out-selling the Titanic soundtrack. "I'd say that [Pearl Jam] is going to debut at #1 next week," he said, "just because we've sold 42 copies of Yield this week and only 13 copies of Titanic."
A bit further down the charts, SoundScan reported that last week's
#10, Master P protégé Young Bleed's "All I Have In This World,
are..." My Balls and My Word sold 52,000 copies and tumbled to #16.
Money, Power & Respect, the debut by rap-sampling master Puff Daddy associates The Lox, also slid down the charts a bit, selling 48,000 copies and moving from #14 to #19, according to SoundScan.
Experiencing upward movement were Brit-rockers The Verve, who SoundScan reported moved 42,000 copies of Urban Hymns and landed at #23 from #36, thanks more than likely to the continuous airing of their hit "Bitter Sweet Symphony" as a part of Nike's newest TV commercial. The Great Expectations soundtrack was also on the rise. The album, which features new music from ex-Stone Temple Pilots singer Scott Weiland and former Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell, jumped from #40 to #27.
Marcy Playground continued to experience success based on their hit single "Sex & Candy," with their self-titled debut moving up two notches to #36.
The remainder of the top 10 are: Matchbox 20 (#5); Backstreet Boys (#6);
Savage Garden (#7); Chumbawamba (#8); Mase (#9); and Spice Girls, Spice, (#10). [Wed., Feb. 4, 1998, 6 p.m. PST]