'8 Mile' Back Atop The Billboard 200

The Eminem-led soundtrack to "8 Mile" (Shady/Interscope) returns to the top of The Billboard 200 for a third, non-consecutive week. Sales of "8 Mile" were down 23% from the previous week to 313,000 co

The Eminem-led soundtrack to "8 Mile" (Shady/Interscope) returns to the top of The Billboard 200 for a third, non-consecutive week. The move once again gives the rapper command of Billboard's biggest charts. His soundtrack single "Lose Yourself" tops the Hot 100 for a 10th-straight week.

With overall sales suffering a post-holiday hangover, "8 Mile" regains the No. 1 slot after taking a lesser retail tumble than Shania Twain's "Up!" (Mercury Nashville), which falls from the top for the first time in its six weeks of release. Sales of "8 Mile" were down 23% from the previous week to 313,000 copies, while "Up!" took 42% hit to 263,000 copies. Nonetheless, Twain's set remained strong enough to maintain its lead on Billboard's Top Country Albums tally.

Overall, U.S. album sales during the last full chart week of 2002 were down 21.4% from the previous week to 25 million units. The good news is that total was 4.8% higher than the comparable week of a year ago. It wasn't enough to change 2002's overall trend, though, as the year's final sales total of 681 million units was 10.7% behind 2001's 763 million.

Back on The Billboard 200, Avril Lavigne's Arista smash "Let Go" is up one position to No. 3 despite a 28% sales slip to 263,000 units. Lavigne's debut effort has racked up U.S. sales of 4.1 million copies in 30 weeks of release. Her latest single, "I'm With You," holds at No. 12 on the Hot 100.

Sales of the Dixie Chicks' "Home" (Monument/Columbia) slipped 35% to 260,000 copies, and the album falls to No. 4 on The Billboard 200, while Jennifer Lopez's "This is Me... Then" (Epic) holds fast at No. 5 after suffering a 32% sales drop to 233,000 units. Justin Timberlake's "Justified" jumps 8-6 despite a 25% drop in sales to 223,000 copies.

Norah Jones' "Come Away With Me" (Blue Note/Capitol) rises 11-7 after a relatively tame 15% sales dip to 281,000 units. The jazz vocalist's album was one of 2002's bigger success stories, having now sold nearly 3 million units.

Christina Aguilera's "Stripped" (RCA) gains two slots to No. 8 even though the set suffered a 22% sales hit to 208,000 copies. Country artist Tim McGraw's latest, "Tim McGraw and the Dancehall Doctors" (Curb) falls three positions to No. 9 after taking a hefty 40% hit to 196,000 copies.

Aaliyah's posthumous effort "I Care 4 U" (Blackground/Universal) endured a 15% hit to 188,000 units and rounds out the top-10 of The Billboard 200. "I Care for You" is the top-seller in urban markets, and has control of Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums tally for a second-straight week.

Following a traditionally slow week for new releases, The Billboard 200's top debuts are the Fox/Jive/Zomba soundtrack to "Drumline" at No. 164 and nascent New York rapper 50 Cent's "Guess Who's Back?" (Full Clip) at No. 165. Additionally, 50 Cent's "In Da Club" is the top debut on the Hot 100, arriving at No. 67, while his "Wanksta," featured on the "8 Mile" soundtrack, is up this week 42-32. The latter has already become a smash in urban markets, and reaches a new peak position of No. 12 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart, while his "Realest Niggaz" featuring the Notorious B.I.G. jumps to No. 44.

Erykah Badu's "Love of My Life (An Ode to Hip-Hop)" remains the No. 1 title on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart for a third week, once again fending off Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott's "Work It."

Over on Billboard's rock airplay charts, the Foo Fighters' "All My Life" leads the Mainstream Rock Tracks tally for an eighth-straight week, while 3 Doors Down's "When I'm Gone" maintains its grip on the top of the Mainstream Rock Tracks for a seventh week in a row.