Answers to readers' questions about Janet Jackson, Robbie Williams and Meat Loaf.

NOT SO EXCITED

Hi Keith,

We love your column up here in Canada every week.

I have a question about Janet Jackson. I am surprised that her CD is getting horrible reviews and that her latest single, "So Excited," is also being bashed by critics. I personally think the song is great and there are a few others on the CD like "Get It Out Me" and "This Body" that are superb.

However, one song that I heard and love is called "Weekend," but I cannot find it on either the regular or deluxe version of the CD. I think this is her best song to date. Is it an old one? Why can't I find it? Also, is there any word on what her next single will be?

Speaking of divas, what are the chances of Madonna's "Jump" entering the Hot 100?

Thanks so much!

Ryan Gibson
Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Hi Ryan,

Janet Jackson's "Weekend," as far as I'm aware, was only given away free via her Web site as a special treat for fans. After it's initial release, it was swiftly removed from her site. No word of if it will materialize as on official release in the future.

"Weekend" is a cover of Debbie Deb's classic 1985 hit "Lookout Weekend." Both versions are certainly worth a listen.

I'm unsure what Jackson's next single will be. I'd imagine the focus is on "So Excited" right now, since it just moved into the top 40 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. It's her 39th top 40 hit on that tally.

As for Madonna, "Jump" has a good chance of jumping onto The Billboard Hot 100. It's radio audience is still growing and it's moving up the charts. This week it goes 27-25 on AC/Adult Contemporary and is on the verge of debuting on the Hot AC/Adult Top 40 chart. The physical CD maxi-single drops on Nov. 7 while remixes will make their way to iTunes and other digital retailers around the same time.



'RUDE' AMERICANS

Hi Keith,

I have a question regarding the criminally-ignored-by-America Robbie Williams. His new album "Rudebox" is slated for release in Britain on October 23. Do you know if there are plans to release it in the 'States? I believe his last album, "Intensive Care," was, shamefully, not released in the States. Luckily, there is iTunes.

Also, can you list how Robbie's American releases have fared sales-wise, and is it possible to compare his American sales figures to foreign sales figures? Thanks!

Joe Rauschenberger
Jackson, Miss.


Hello Joe,

While "Rudebox" will not see a release in the U.S. as a physical CD, it will be available through the Apple iTunes Music Store. This is much like how "Intensive Care" was only available in America via iTunes. As a digital album, the latter has sold 7,000.

Because we do not track international sales, I cannot compare Williams' U.S. sales to his non-U.S. sales.

Williams' biggest selling American release is "The Ego Has Landed," which has moved 598,000.



HELPINGS OF MEAT LOAF

Hi Keith,

While awaiting the forthcoming third volume of Meat Loaf's "Bat out of Hell" series I was wondering how well Meat's previous albums have sold according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Surely the first two "Bat" albums top the list, although the first one was released about 14 years prior to when Soundscan began tracking sales. how well has his catalog sold since Soundscan began?

Furthermore, does SoundScan reflect sales since January 1991 or May 1991 (when Billboard started to use it for the charts)?

Thanks a lot in advance!

With Regards,

Thomas Christiansen
Copenhagen, Denmark


Hi Thomas,

Since SoundScan started tracking sales -- in early 1991 -- the first two "Bat Out Of Hell" albums have sold a combined 9.2 million copies in the U.S. according to Nielsen SoundScan. The first album, released in 1977, has sold 4.5 million in the SoundScan era. Since much of the set's sales occurred before SoundScan started, it's worth noting that the Recording Industry Association of America has certified the album as having shipped 14 million copies.

The sequel, "Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell," has shifted 4.7 million since it bowed in late 1993.

The latter album debuted at No. 3 on The Billboard 200 and rose to No. 1 four weeks later. It spawned the massive hit single "I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)," which spent five weeks at No. 1 on The Billboard Hot 100. Two more hits from the album -- "Rock And Roll Dreams Come Through" and "Objects In The Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are" -- also reached the top 40.

"I'd Do Anything For Love" garnered Meat Loaf the 1993 Grammy award for best male rock vocal performance.

Meat Loaf's new album, "Bat Out Of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose," will debut -- naturally -- on Oct. 31.