Britney Spears Album Still Way Ahead Of Chart Pack

... Baby One More Time passes 2 million in sales; Family Values compilation debuts at #7.

It may have seemed, after she reclaimed the #1 spot on the Billboard 200

albums chart last week, that there was nowhere to go but down for Britney

Spears.

But she has managed to go up even from there, with an explosion in sales of

... Baby One More Time that has given the 17-year-old's debut

album an even firmer hold on the top of the chart this week while putting

the album over the 2 million mark in total sales, making it the year's

biggest-selling release so far.

In the week ending Sunday, 272,820 copies of ... Baby One More Time

(RealAudio excerpt of title track)

were sold, an increase of more than 100,000 copies from the week before,

according to sales tracker SoundScan. The #2 album, soul-pop group TLC's

Fan Mail, sold 197,482 copies.

Tracy Stubbs, manager of Camelot Music near Walt Disney World in Orlando,

Fla., said Britney's success was easy to explain.

"It's that pop sound of hers," Stubbs said. "There's no angst in that

kid."

TLC's album, meanwhile, is enjoying strong sales amid speculation -- and a

published report in Vibe -- that the trio are about to break up.

Their producer, Dallas Austin, refuted those claims last week and said,

"They're such different people ... [but] they perform together like they're

one person. It's amazing."

Two albums at nearly opposite ends of the music spectrum debuted in the

top 10 this week.

Family Values: The Biggest Show of Stars for '98, a live album

chronicling performances by Korn, Limp Bizkit, Orgy, Ice Cube and others from

last year's Family Values tour, debuted at #7. The album includes live versions

of Korn's "Freak on a Leash," Orgy's New Order cover, "Blue Monday," and

Limp Bizkit's George Michael cover, "Faith."

Debuting at #4, meanwhile, was Sogno, by Andrea Bocelli, an Italian

opera singer who performed with Celine Dion at both the Grammy Awards and

the Oscars.

The soundtrack to "The Matrix" -- the country's #1 movie last weekend -- entered

the chart at #18. The soundtrack includes Marilyn Manson's

"Rock Is Dead"

(RealAudio excerpt), along with tracks by Rob Zombie, Rage Against the Machine,

Prodigy and Ministry. The R&B-heavy soundtrack to the controversial

television show "The PJs," which features Jermaine Dupri, Timbaland,

Snoop Dogg and Krayzie Bone, also cracked the top 100 in its first week, debuting at #86.

Punk rockers the Offspring, who were bounced from the top five last month

because of strong debuts by TLC, rapper Eminem and hip-hop group the

Roots, moved back up to #5 with Americana. The second single,

"Why Don't You Get a Job?"

(RealAudio excerpt), is getting heavy play on rock radio and

MTV.

Rounding out the top five is Eminem, whose Slim Shady LP slipped from

#2 to #3 this week.

Grammy-winning singer Lauryn Hill's The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill

seems to be losing momentum after a long run at or near the top of the chart.

Falling out of the top five for the first time since early this year,

Miseducation slid to #8 from #4.

Also in the top 10 were country singer Shania Twain's Come On Over

(#6), pop group 'N Sync's self-titled debut (#9) and country trio the

Dixie Chicks' Wide Open Spaces (#10).

Korn's August 1998 album Follow the Leader, meanwhile, continued

inching toward the top 10, skipping from #17 to #15. British girl group

B*Witched jumped six spots to #12 with their self-titled album and rockers

Sugar Ray leaped 10 spots to #17 with 14:59, which boasts the top-five single

"Every Morning"

(RealAudio excerpt).

Australian film director and dance remixer Baz Luhrmann continued to

move up the chart with his 1998 album Something for Everybody,

which includes the novelty hit "Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)."

Ricky Martin, the former Menudo singer and "General Hospital" actor who

won a Grammy for Best Latin Rock Performance this year, made similar

strides, as his Vuelve moved from #65 to #46. Martin's next album

will feature a duet with Madonna.

Surging faster than all of those albums, though, was Five, the

self-titled debut from pop group Five. The album has zoomed 100 spots to

#27 in two weeks.

Approaching oblivion: Sammy Hagar's Red Voodoo dropped 30 spots

to #52 in its second week in stores. Rapper Cool Breeze's Eat Points

Greatest Hits plummeted from #38 to #91, and British rock band Blur's

13 fell to #120 after debuting last week at #80.

And Cher's Believe fell out of the top 10, dropping to #11 from

#7. Her single "Believe" is the #2 single in the country.

The pope, meanwhile, continues rocking. Pope John Paul II's Abba

Pater -- speeches and chants by the pontiff set to world music -- climbed

from #198 to #175.

Perhaps the Pope can bless several American soul artists on his way up

the chart. Last week Blackstreet, Ginuwine and Silk all appeared in the

top 25. This week, they all slipped -- Blackstreet's Finally from

#9 to #26, Silk's Tonight from #21 to #45 and Ginuwine's 100%

Ginuwine from #10 to #19.

This still puts them in a better position than Joey McIntyre. The former

New Kid on the Block's brief relationship with the Billboard 200

albums chart is kaput, as Stay The Same, his solo debut, fell more

than 100 spots to leave the top 200 after just two weeks.