Singer/songwriter Alanis Morissette is the new queen of the Billboard 200 albums chart, with Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie debuting as expected at #1. But her crown isn't quite as big as some industry types had speculated.
According to SoundScan, a company that tracks music sales, Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie, Morissette's follow-up to 1995's mega-successful Jagged Little Pill, sold 469,000 copies in the week ending Nov. 8 -- enough to break the record for one-week sales by a female solo artist.
That record was formerly held by Lauryn Hill's The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, which moved 420,000 copies in the week ending Aug. 30, its first week of release. Hill, in turn, had grabbed the record from Madonna's electronica-fueled Ray of Light, which sold 371,000 copies in its debut during the week ending March 8.
Fueled by the success of "Thank U" (RealAudio excerpt), Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie was expected to break Hill's record. But much of the album's pre-release buzz involved predictions it might sell up to 800,000 copies in its first week of release, which would have broken this year's one-week sales record. The current holder of that record, punk-rappers the Beastie Boys' Hello Nasty, moved 681,572 in its first week of release.
"[Morissette] has put her heart and soul into making an amazing record," Howie Klein, president of Reprise Records, which is handling distribution of her Maverick-label album, said earlier this week. "And everyone at Reprise and Maverick have to work very hard to make sure it gets exposed and people know it's out so they [pick it up].
"This is a record that has the ability to touch people in an intimate way and will have a profound impact on people," he added.
Though the Beasties have managed to hold onto this year's one-week sales record for another week, it seems likely that Garth Brooks' much-hyped Double Live set will knock them off their pedestal when it's released Tuesday -- a day that has been dubbed "Super Tuesday" due to the large number of high-profile artists (including Ice Cube, Jewel, Mariah Carey, Geto Boys, Whitney Houston and Method Man) putting out albums that day.
Coming in behind Morissette at #2 this week is popular Irish-rockers U2's Best Of: 1980 to 1990. The set, which features a new version of U2 B-side "The Sweetest Thing," sold 237,000 copies in its first week of release. U2 were followed at #3 by rapper Jay-Z's Vol. 2 ... Hard Knock Life, which had been at #1 the past five weeks -- a record this year for a hip-hop release -- based on the strength of such singles as "Money Ain't a Thang" (RealAudio excerpt).
Pop-songstress Celine Dion comes in at #4 with These Are Special Times, a holiday-themed album that moved 126,000 copies in its first week of release. The other top-10 debut this week is from rapper Mia-X, who landed at #7 with her second full-length album, Mama Drama, which sold 99,000 copies.
Just south of the top 10, eclectic-folkie Beck bowed at #13 with Mutations, with 75,000 copies sold. Further down the charts: Hanson's Live From the Albertane landed at #32, the Rolling Stones' live album No Security checked in at #34 and Total's sophomore effort, Kima, Keisha & Pam, settled in at #39.
Meanwhile, Oasis' Masterplan, a collection of B-sides and rarities that includes "Acquiesce" (RealAudio excerpt), came in at #51; ska-rockers 311's Live landed at #77; the Rugrats soundtrack, which features No Doubt's performance of Elvis Costello's "I Throw My Toys Around," docked at #87; and Swedish alt-pop act the Cardigans' Gran Turismo settled in at #151.