Carey rises, registers ring

It was another joyous week for the nation’s music retailers, as holiday shoppers, reflecting a modest upturn in consumer confidence, pushed sales to their highest levels of the year.

Mariah Carey’s current release finally hit the top spot on the album sales chart, based on SoundScan figures obtained by a record industry source, ending rapper Snoop Doggy Dogg’s run at No. 1. Carey’s Columbia-issued “Music Box” played for more than 295,000 buyers, placing it at the top after 15 weeks of release. Her “Hero” is in the top three of the singles chart.

Snoop’s Death Row/Interscope debut, “Doggystyle,” saw sales fall to 259,000 copies, leaving it at No. 2. His first single, “What’s My Name?” is one of the fastest selling songs in the country.

Other than two Geffen albums, “The Beavis & Butt-Head Experience” and Guns N’ Roses “The Spaghetti Incident?,” all of the titles in the top 40 saw significant sales increases over last week’s figures. Greatest gainer was Janet Jackson’s Virgin album “janet.,” which held at No. 8 but ballooned to 199,000 from 152,000.

The latest album from L.A.-based, hard-core rapper Ice Cube, “Lethal Injection” (Priority), entered the chart at No. 5, moving more than 215,000 pieces. Last year, Cube’s “The Predator” sold 193,000 in its first week, which, at the time, was good enough for a No. 1 debut.

Two new titles from artists whose last releases saw platinum-plus sales (more than 1 million copies) had modest premieres this week. “Songs of Faith & Devotion — Live” (Reprise), recorded during Depeche Mode’s recent world tour, bowed in the No. 193 position, while “What’s the 411? Remix,” from Uptown/MCA singer Mary J. Blige, debuted at No. 194.

The two bestselling holiday albums this week both come from American Grammaphone’s Mannheim Steamroller. “A Fresh Aire Christmas,” first released in 1988, sold nearly 109,000 copies, while 1984’s “Christmas” sold 96,000.

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