B.I.G. Still Reigning Atop Charts With ‘Life’


“Life After Death,” the posthumous double CD by the Notorious B.I.G. continues its reign atop the pop sales charts after selling approximately 197,000 copies last week, according to SoundScan.

That total brings the album’s three-week sales to an estimated 1.2 million copies. The week’s highest charting debut was the Chemical Brothers’ “Dig Your Own Hole,” which entered the charts at No. 14 with 48,000 copies sold. The collection is notable because it’s the first album from the hard-core English techno/dance field to enter the pop charts in the Top 20.

The best-selling singles are Bad Boy Entertainment head Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs’ “Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down” and B.I.G.’s “Hypnotize,” a rare occasion where the head of a record company (Combs) and his best-selling artist share the top slots of the same chart.



What’s Hot

Here are some recent releases that are generating critical or commercial attention:

Aerosmith’s “Nine Lives” (Columbia). At a time when rock questions its future, this veteran, high-energy quintet still comes straight at you with solidly entertaining, Top-40-minded music.

The Notorious B.I.G.’s “Life After Death” (Bad Boy/Arista). Rarely has a rapper attempted to please so many different audiences--and done it so brilliantly.

Depeche Mode’s “Ultra” (Mute/Reprise). Unsteady, it’s lyrically weak but occasionally interesting. Still, “Ultra” won’t woo any fans grooving on electronica’s latest wave.

Freedy Johnston’s “Never Home” (Elektra). On Johnston’s fifth album, there’s poetry in his aching, melodic probings into the X-files of the heart and wandering souls, but the production touches fail to add distinction.

Alison Krauss & Union Station’s “So Long So Wrong” (Rounder). When Krauss sings about happiness on her fine new album, it’s to warn that you can’t always trust it.

Diane Schuur’s “Blues for Schuur” (GRP). Pianist-vocalist Schuur belts jazz and blues, as always, in dynamic fashion.


INXS’ “Elegantly Wasted” (Mercury). INXS almost wins your heart again--no kidding--with this totally imperfect yet rousing album.

U2’s “Pop” (Island). Engrossing mix of the energy of the dance music scene with songs that explore questions of personal and spiritual ideals and doubts.

What’s New

Depeche Mode’s “Ultra,” Artifact’s “That’s Them,” Lisa Stansfield’s “Lisa Stansfield,” the Jerry Garcia Band’s “How Sweet It Is,” Adriana Evans’ “Adriana Evans.”

What’s Coming

Tuesday: Mary J. Blige’s “Share My World” (MCA), Robert Cray’s “Sweet Potato Pie” (Mercury), Zhane’s “Saturday Night” (Motown), Ani DiFranco’s “Living In Clip” (Righteous Babe).

April 29: KRS-One’s “I Got Next” (Jive), Various Artists’ “Sprung” soundtrack (Qwest/Warner Bros.), Indigo Girl’s “Shaming of the Sun” (Epic), Cheap Trick’s “Cheap Trick” (Red Ant).