Ja Rule has full command of this week’s charts, soaring, as expected, to No. 1 on The Billboard 200 and Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums tally with “Pain Is Love” (Murder Inc./Def Jam). The set sells 361,000 units in the U.S., according to SoundScan, a nice increase over the 276,000 first-week numbers for last year’s “Rule 3:36.” His is the only top-10 debut on The Billboard 200, and pushes Jay-Z’s “The Blueprint” (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam) down to No. 2 after a three-week reign at the top.
Ja Rule’s influence also stretches to the singles charts. On The Billboard Hot 100, the rapper’s remix collaboration with Jennifer Lopez on “I’m Real” rules the chart for a fourth non-consecutive week. His “Livin It Up” featuring Case is also performing well, cruising 19-14. The cut fares even better in pure R&B markets, moving up one slot to No. 4 on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart. Meanwhile, his “Rule 3:36” is still on The Billboard 200 at No. 142, having sold 3 million units since its debut 52 weeks ago.
Two high-profile acts debut in the top-15 on The Billboard 200. Electronic rock outfit Garbage arrives at No. 13 with “BeautifulGarbage” (Almo Sounds/Interscope), while rock legend Elton John lands at No. 15 with “Songs From the West Coast” (Rocket/Universal). For Garbage, this ties the chart entry of its last set, 1998’s “Version 2.0.” “BeautifulGarbage” also lands at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Electronic Albums chart.
The John set comes up about 22,000 copies short of the first-week totals compiled by his last effort, “The Big Picture,” which debuted at No. 9 in October of 1997 with 101,000 units sold. Of course, “The Big Picture” was released after John scored the biggest hit of his career, the Princess Diana tribute “Candle in the Wind.”
Other noteworthy debuts on The Billboard 200 include the Billy Joel collection “The Essential Billy Joel” (Columbia) at No. 29, Gary Allan’s “Alright Guy” (MCA Nashville) at No. 39, and “The Grand Pecking Order” from Oysterhead, featuring Trey Anastasio (Phish), Les Claypool (Primus), and Stewart Copeland (the Police), at No. 48.
Enya continues to surpass all expectations and set new career highs. The Reprise artist’s “A Day Without Rain” posts a 13% sales gain and jumps 4-3 on The Billboard 200, a new chart peak. The set has now sold 2.8 million units in its 46 weeks on the chart. Her single “Only Time,” which garnered attention after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, holds steady at No. 16 on the Hot 100.
“Only Time” isn’t the only cut that was impacted by the Sept. 11 events. Whitney Houston’s rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” roars 72-13 up the Hot 100, making it this week’s greatest-gainer at retail. The track also moves 48-30 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks tally, where it didn’t even chart upon its original release back in 1991.
Signs of patriotism also show with the all-star benefit cover of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On,” which is at No. 30 in its third week on the Hot 100, while Aaron Tippin’s “Where the Stars and Stripes and Eagles Fly” achieves a No. 66 debut.
The Hot 100’s greatest-gainer at radio is Enrique Iglesias’ “Hero,” bullying up the chart 22-12. The top debut on the Hot 100 is the Backstreet Boys’ “Drowning,” which surfaces at No. 54. Other notable debuts include Britney Spears’ “I’m a Slave 4 U” at No. 68, Nelly’s “#1” at No. 75, Staind’s “Fade” at No. 76, and Trace Adkins’ “I’m Tryin'” at No. 77.
Allan’s “Alright Guy” enters Billboard’s Top Country Albums tally at No. 4, where Martina McBride maintains her hold on No. 1 with her RCA “Greatest Hits” collection. Alan Jackson’s “Where I Come From” is the top single on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart for a second-straight week.
Nickelback maintains its stranglehold on Billboard’s rock airplay charts. The band’s “How You Remind Me” has spent five-straight weeks atop the Modern Rock Tracks tally and six at No. 1 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. The group’s “Silver Side Up” (Roadrunner) album sells 115,000 this week, a 4% increase, in holding at No. 5 on The Billboard 200.