Celine, Backstreet, Britney Pop The Top

Juvenile's Tha G-Code and soundtracks featuring N.W.A, R.E.M. debut.

It's a pop, pop, pop, pop world as Christmas approaches, and Celine Dion

continues to be the dominant popster of them all.

Dion's All the Way: A Decade of Song, a 1990s retrospective that

includes "My Heart Will Go On" (RealAudio

excerpt) and "Beauty and the Beast," sold another half-million

copies last week and will return to #1 on this week's Billboard

200 albums chart, after a one-week dip to #2, according to sales figures

released Wednesday (Dec. 22) by SoundScan.

Last week's #1 album, the late rapper the Notorious B.I.G.'s Born Again,

will fall to #14, and this week's top 10 will be dominated by such pop

staples as the Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera.

The only new record to crack the top 10 will be New Orleans rapper Juvenile's

Tha G-Code, which sold 289,791 copies in the week ending Sunday,

according to SoundScan. That's enough to debut at #10 during a week in

which 19 albums — an unusually high number — sold 200,000 or

more copies as the holiday shopping season neared its end.

Soundtrack albums featuring new music by the seminal gangsta-rap group

N.W.A and the popular rock band R.E.M. will debut much farther down the

chart.

The top 10 are: All the Way: A Decade of Song (#1); the Backstreet

Boys' Millennium (#2); Spears' ... Baby One More

Time (#3); Aguilera's self-titled debut (#4); rock band Santana's

Supernatural (#5); jazz-pop saxophonist Kenny G's Faith: A

Holiday Album (#6); country singer Shania Twain's Come On Over

(#7); R&B singer Mariah Carey's Rainbow (#8); rapper Will Smith's

Willennium (#9); and Juvenile's Tha G-Code (#10).

The Backstreet Boys and Spears albums both have earned Diamond Awards

from the Recording Industry Association of America, recognizing shipments

of 10 million copies each. The RIAA on Tuesday said the two pop acts were

the biggest-selling acts of 1999, with the Backstreet Boys — who

this year also shipped 3 million copies of their self-titled 1997 album

— leading the way.

All the Way: A Decade of Song sold 536,741 copies last week, reaching

a sales total of just under 2 million copies in five weeks in stores,

according to SoundScan.

Twain's Come On Over has been out for just over two years. It

re-entered the top 10 three weeks ago, shortly after a remix version of

the album, Come On Over: The International Version, was released.

The two albums have the same UPC code, and sales of the two are being

counted together, according to a SoundScan spokesperson and Mercury

Nashville sales representative Ben Klein. Combined sales to date are 11.6

million copies.

"What you need is a record with 10 or 12 singles on it, and we've had nine

country singles so far," Mercury Nashville president Luke Lewis said of

the album's longevity.

Tha G-Code continues Juvenile and Cash Money Records' streak of

success this year. The 24-year-old rapper's 1998 album, 400 Degreez,

has spent most of this year in the top 40 (it's now at #39), driven by

the catchy dance single "Back That Azz Up." The new album continues his

tradition of humorous, free-flowing raps and producer Mannie Fresh's

formula of relentless machine-gun beats.

"I don't get serious with this," 28-year-old Fresh said in November. "I

have fun doing this. The first thing that pops into my brain — that's

what I go with [in the studio]."

Songs on the Tha G-Code include "U Understand," "Something Got 2

Shake" and "Da Magnolia" (RealAudio

excerpt).

The only other debuts in this week's top 200 will be soundtracks. The

soundtrack to the Ice Cube comedy "Next Friday," at #55, includes a reunited

N.W.A's first song in eight years, "Chin Check" (RealAudio

excerpt). N.W.A members Dr. Dre, Ice Cube and M.C. Ren appear on

the track, with Snoop Dogg filling in for the late Eric "Eazy-E" Wright,

who died of AIDS-related complications in 1995. N.W.A's DJ Yella did not

perform on the track but will appear in the song's video.

"It's the best sh-- in the world," said Mel-Man, who co-produced "Chin

Check" with Dr. Dre. "This was my first time working with Ice Cube, and

him and Dre, ... they both lead: Dre as far as music; Cube as far as

lyrically."

Mel-Man also co-produced Dr. Dre's album Dr. Dre 2001.

The soundtrack to the Andy Kaufman biopic "Man on the Moon" will scrape

the chart at #169. R.E.M. contributed three pop songs, including the single

"The Great Beyond," and several instrumental score pieces to the album,

which also includes their 1992 single "Man on the Moon."