Bob Carlisle’s “Butterfly Kisses” remains on top of the pop album sales charts--but just barely. Carlisle’s album sold 124,000 copies last week according to SoundScan, due largely to the widespread airplay of the title song, which traces a little girl’s progression from infancy to womanhood from her father’s perspective. The Spice Girls’ “Spice” finished second, just 2,000 albums behind. Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs’ duet with Faith Evans, “I’ll Be Missing You,” holds the No. 1 spot on the singles chart for the fourth week.
Here are some recent releases that are generating critical or commercial attention:
Tim McGraw’s “Everywhere” (Curb). As admirable as the construction of this album is, every element is as trite and anonymous as it is hummable.
Wu-Tang Clan’s “Wu-Tang Forever” (Loud). The overwhelming passion of the music and the relentless nature of the rhyming make the concept “Wu-Tang Forever” feel more like a reality than a folly.
Foo Fighters’ “The Colour and the Shape” (Roswell/Capitol). Hard and soft, erratic and edgy, packed with anger, fear and foreboding, “Colour” slips fresh air into its sound as guitarists Dave Grohl and Pat Smear duel with kidlike flair.
Neil Young & Crazy Horse’s “Year of the Horse” (Reprise). A strong, dynamic collection neatly capturing the reflective yet expansive tone of Young’s remarkable ‘90s studio albums--Young’s trademark guitar sculptures are as nakedly emotive as his words and voice.
Ron Sexsmith’s “Other Songs” (Interscope). There are enough highlights in this splendid, 14-song package to fill a healthy percentage of the selections of any “best-of” 1997 singer-songwriter showcases you could put together.
God’s Property From Kirk Franklin’s Nu Nation’s “God’s Property” (B-Rite Music). This is the kind of group it takes to reinvent the field of gospel music and make it palatable--and irresistible--to a whole new generation of fans. And Franklin has the goods to be this genre’s new leader.
Rome’s “Rome” (Grand Jury/RCA). While much of the music sounds like an R. Kelly tribute, his heartfelt singing shows this Los Angeles Lothario has a legitimate shot at the big time.
Ricky Lee Jones’ “Ghostyhead” (Reprise). Say hello to MC Rickie Lee. Pop’s neo-beat chanteuse has met the new beat as Jones plunges into the chatter and squeal of sampled rhythms and synthesized atmospheres. While digital in nature, the album is primal in feel, and Jones’ ethereal vocals always hold the center.
In stores now: Wyclef Jean’s “Wyclef Jean Presents the Carnival, Featuring Refugee Allstars” (Columbia), Motley Crue’s “Generation Swine” (Elektra), Lady of Rage’s “Necessary Roughness” (Death Row), Master P’s “Ghetto Dope” (No Limit/Priority), UB40’s “Guns in the Ghetto” (Six Degrees/Island), Crystal Waters’ “Crystal Waters” (Mercury), Brownstone’s “Still Climbing” (MJJ/WORK Group).
Tuesday: The Prodigy’s “The Fat of the Land” (Maverick/Warner Bros.).