Martin still in second; Ja Rule debuts strong

The Backstreet Boys’ “Millennium” was the bestselling album in the nation for the third consecutive week as more than 437,000 copies of the disc went home with fans, according to sales data released Wednesday.

The Jive Records ensemble’s sophomore disc, which has been snapped up by a whopping 2.2 million devotees since its recent bow, topped Ricky Martin’s self-titled disc by 125,000 copies.

Martin’s English-language bow for C2/Columbia Records nabbed the No. 2 spot and has been sold to nearly 2 million fans since its May 11 bow.

Industry sales were helped slightly by the extra shopping session of the Memorial Day holiday during the chart period ended June 6.

But the numbers have tapered off slightly from three weeks ago when “Millennium” logged its record-breaking bow and substantially goosed overall unit tallies.

At No. 3 was rapper Ja Rule, whose Murder Inc./Def Jam Records disc “Venni Vetti Vecci” went home with more than 184,000 fans.

The strong bow, and the latest from Def Jam, pushed the debut from teen queen Britney Spears down a slot.

More than 149,000 copies of Spears’ Jive Records disc were sold, representing a 4,000-unit slide from the previous chart. It ended her two-week lock on the chart’s show post.

The Priority Records bow from rapper Tru nabbed the No. 5 spot and topped the 112,000-unit take by TLC’s LaFace/Arista Records disc “Fan Mail” by more than 27,000 copies.

Shania Twain’s Mercury Nashville disc “Come on Over” slipped a slot to No. 7 on sales action of more than 111,000 copies.

The first-week sales tally of “On the 6,” the Work Group debut from Jennifer Lopez, missed toppling Twain by fewer than 500 copies. The eagerly awaited and heavily promoted disc from actress turned singer Lopez had been widely expected by industry insiders to top 150,000 copies in its first week and land among the top five albums.

“Enema of the State” from MCA Records act Blink 182 benefited from a well-executed setup by label execs and a leadoff track, “What’s My Age Again?” that is finding favor beyond the band’s core audience.

The sophomore disc landed at No. 9 on sales of more than 109,000 copies and topped the No. 10 disc, Kid Rock’s “Devil Without a Cause,” by nearly 10,000 copies.

New tracks from Madonna and Lenny Kravitz helped the Maverick Records soundtrack to the latest “Austin Powers” installment bow at No. 14 with an impressive 69,000 copies.

The Island Records disc to the film “Notting Hill” rose 36 slots, doubling its sales take over last week to more than 54,000 copies.

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