‘Black’ music tops chart; femmes follow

The soundtrack to Columbia Pictures’ “Men in Black” logged its second week as the bestselling album in the nation. At 169,000 copies, it outpaced the eagerly awaited sophomore disc from Sarah McLachlan and the heavily promoted bow from Missy Elliot, which nabbed the Nos. 2 and 3 spots, respectively.

But the disc from the country’s No. 1 film will likely see its fortunes fade next week as the highly awaited disc from Sean (Puffy) Combs is expected to top the charts with the year’s biggest first-week tally. Retailers are reporting brisk action in the disc’s first two days of release and are predicting sales north of 600,000 copies.

McLachlan’s Arista Records disc “Surfacing” checked in with 161,000 copies for the seven-day period ending July 20, while Elliot’s Elektra Records “Supa Dupa Fly” disc moved 130,000 copies.

McLachlan, who is spearheading the Lilith Fair tour, is also benefiting from a three-year absence of new product. Her last disc, “Fumbling Toward Ecstasy,” bowed in 1994 at No. 109 and was supported by constant touring.

Elliot’s disc boasts a hip-hop who’s who and is backed with heavy MTV and the Box promotion to go along with a hit track “The Rain.”

The two new entries pushed the Spice Girls’ Virgin Records debut “Spice” into the chart’s fourth spot on sales of 125,000 copies. The tally was still enough to top the former No. 1 disc from Prodigy, “Fat of the Land,” which nabbed the fifth slot on 110,000 copies of the Maverick Records disc.

The debut from Mercury Records trio Hanson may have dropped two notches to No. 6, but it sold more records during this period than last. The disc, “Middle of Nowhere,” went home with more than 104,000 fans, and was one of just three albums in the top 10 to post an increase.

Rounding out the top 10 were B’Rite/Interscope Records’ “God’s Property” from Kirk Franklin’s Nu Nation, which hit No. 7 on sales of 70,000; Tim McGraw’s Curb offering “Everywhere” (67,000 copies); the Wallflowers’ Interscope Records debut “Bringing Down the Horse” (66,000 copies); and Jewel’s Atlantic Records bow “Pieces of You” (63,000 copies).

Other notable climbs include the soundtrack to “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” which jumped two slots to No. 14 on sales of 57,000 copies and gave Sony Music Soundtracks bragging rights to owning the two top-selling soundtracks in the nation.

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