Faith Hill, The Artist Make Noise

Savage Garden, Fiona Apple, Tonic, Mike Ness also debut.

Faith Hill will prove this week that chart success runs through her

household, while The Artist, formerly Prince, will see the results of

major-label distribution after three years without it.

Hill's Breathe will debut at #1 on this week's Billboard

200 albums chart, replacing Rage Against the Machine's The Battle of

Los Angeles, which will slip to #4.

Hill's album sold 242,229 copies in its first week of release, according

to SoundScan data released on Wednesday (Nov. 17). Hill's husband and fellow

country singer, Tim McGraw, reached that plateau earlier this year when

his A Place in the Sun debuted at #1 in May. The Breathe

title track (RealAudio

excerpt) already is a top-10 country hit.

The Artist's Rave Un 2 the Joy Fantastic will debut at #18 on sales

of 83,971 copies. The album is his first under a distribution deal with

Arista Records that allows The Artist to retain ownership of his recording

masters.

Here is the rest of this week's top 10: Mariah Carey's Rainbow at #2;

Latino-rock band Santana's Supernatural at #3; the Backstreet Boys'

Millennium at #5; pop group Savage Garden's Affirmation at

#6; Britney Spears' ... Baby One More Time at #7;

the soundtrack to the animated film "Pokémon: The First Movie" at

#8; German pop singer Lou Bega's A Little Bit of Mambo at #9; and

rapper Lil' Wayne's Tha Block Is Hot at #10.

R&B singer Montell Jordan's Get It On Tonite, which the singer

said in September he divided into two sections for slow jams and for

party songs, will debut at #32. Rock band Tonic will debut further down

the chart at #81 with their second album, Sugar.

The Savage Garden album and the "Pokémon" soundtrack are also debuts

this week.

The Artist's most recent original major-label studio album was 1996's

Chaos and Disorder, on Warner Bros., although EMI/Capitol Records

distributed a three-CD set, Emancipation, later that year. Last

year's Newpower Soul, and the box set Crystal Ball, like

Rave Un 2 the Joy Fantastic, were released on The Artist's NPG

Records but did not have the major-label distribution of the new CD. In

August, Warner Bros. released an album of Prince outtakes called The

Vault: Old Friends 4 Sale.

Rave Un 2 the Joy Fantastic features collaborations with Sheryl

Crow, Chuck D, Eve, Ani DiFranco and Gwen Stefani, of No Doubt. It also

features production from some guy named Prince.

"It is inspiring if it's done properly," The Artist said in September

about tapping into his former self. "You can produce by opening channels.

Prince can do things to me that others can't. Jimi Hendrix can do a rock

album, and I want to ask him if I can use his name."

The album's first single is "The Greatest Romance Ever Sold" (RealAudio

excerpt). This week's debut marks the highest chart point for The

Artist since 1995's The Gold Experience, which reached #6. He

released 10 top-10 albums earlier in his career, including three #1 albums:

Purple Rain, Around the World in a Day and Batman.

Outside the top 10, introspective singer/songwriter Fiona Apple's new

album, with a 90-word title, referred to as When the Pawn ... for

brevity's sake, will debut at #13. The disc builds on the dark tones of

Apple's first LP, Tidal (1996). Again she uses piano to augment

songs such as "Fast As You Can" (RealAudio

excerpt).

While sales of The Battle of Los Angeles fell substantially (from

more than 430,000 to around 198,000) in its second week, Frank Youngworth, the

head buyer for a Tower Records in Chicago, said he doubts the album will

go the way of Nine Inch Nails' The Fragile, which debuted at #1

in September but has plummeted to #103.

"I think it will sell well through the Christmas season," he said of the

Rage album. "If it's a good album, it will keep selling."

Several of the six albums that debuted in the top 10 last week didn't

fare nearly as well their second week. WWF: The Music, Volume 4, a

collection of pro-wrestling entrance songs, fell from #4 to #17. The

Counting Crows' third album, This Desert Life, went from #8 to

#25. Foo Fighters' There Is Nothing Left To Lose went from

#10 to #32. Lil' Wayne managed to hold some ground, falling to #10 from

#3.

Two wildly different soundtracks — for the movies "End of Days" and

"Light It Up" — will debut at #19 and #20, respectively. The soundtrack

to "End of Days," an Arnold Schwarzenegger film, features the first Guns

N' Roses song in eight years, "Oh My God" (RealAudio

excerpt), and other hard-rock songs. The soundtrack to "Light It

Up," an urban crime-drama, is loaded with hip-hop tracks from Ja Rule,

OutKast and others.

Other debuts will come from San Francisco Bay Area rapper E-40, whose

Charlie Hustle: Blueprint of a Self-Made Millionaire will enter

the chart at #28; singer Natalie Merchant, whose Live in Concert

will appear at #82; defunct dub-punk band Sublime, whose Greatest

Hits comes in at #114; and Social Distortion singer Mike Ness, whose

country-flavored Under the Influences will rest at #174.

Although it no longer sits atop the chart, Supernatural continues

to gain an audience. The album, guitarist Carlos Santana's most glowing

success in three decades, features collaborations with Rob Thomas of

Matchbox 20, Dave Matthews, Lauryn Hill and others. This week, the album's

sales rose nearly 4,000 copies from last week's total, to a little more

than 207,000, a higher total than any of three weeks it spent at #1 in

October and November.

This week marks the first time in two months that a guitar-rock album

will not hold the #1 position on the chart. Nine Inch Nails' The

Fragile, Creed's Human Clay, Supernatural and The

Battle of Los Angeles all preceded Breathe.

(An earlier version of this story ran at 7:35 PM EDT on Wednesday, Nov. 17, 1999.)