Black, Blue, and Double Platinum: Here's a little riddle: What's over-processed, meticulously groomed, and double platinum? If you guessed Christina Aguilera's hair, you're wrong. It's the Backstreet Boys' new Black & Blue, which remains the No. 1 album in the country, selling another 689,578 copies in its second week in stores and sailing past the 2 million sales mark.
Welcome Back: A trio of Top 10 vets that had fallen from that esteemed echelon returned to the inner circle this week. Now on the charts for 62 weeks, Creed's Human Clay jumps from No. 13 up to No. 4, moving more than 225,000 additional copies — that's almost a quarter of a million new copies sold of an album that came out more than a year ago!
Also regaining significant ground, Britney Spears' Oops! … I Did It Again bounces back from No. 15 to No. 8, selling almost 172,000 copies, while 'N Sync's No Strings Attached moves 165,500 copies to climb seven notches, to No. 10.
See Also: The No. 2 and No. 3 slots remain unchanged, with The Beatles' 1 and the hits compilation Now That's What I Call Music! Vol. 5 selling 607,000 and 376,000 units, respectively. Edged out by Creed, Tim McGraw's Greatest Hits, which moved 216,000 units, scoots down to No. 5. Sade's new Lovers Rock holds steady at No. 6 (190,000 copies), Limp Bizkit's Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water moves up two places to No. 7 (177,000), switching places with TP-2.com by R. Kelly, now at No. 9 (169,000).
What's New?: The window between Thanksgiving and Christmas is a notoriously slow time for new releases — nobody wants to see their title get swept away in the flood of holiday albums and big-ticket gift items. The only significant debuts this week both come from the realm of hip-hop. Master P's Ghetto Postage sells a modest 93,000 to be the top debut, at No. 26.
Lyricist Lounge Vol. 2, with contributors including Mos Def, Dilated Peoples, Macy Gray, Redman, and Q-Tip, bows at No. 33 (69,000), assisted no doubt by fans of the Notorious B.I.G. eager to get their mitts on the unreleased cut "16 Bars." And that's all, folks, for new titles — the next highest debut is All-Star Christmas, Epic Records' multiartist rehash of glitzy seasonal chestnuts, at No. 159.
Dropping Like Flies: Remember the Spice Girls? Well, you're in the minority. The unfortunately titled Forever (a name which didn't work any better for Puff Daddy, you'll recall) continues to plummet, sinking from No. 108 to No. 131, selling just 15,530 copies in its fourth week of release.
A little higher up the charts, gravity also took a toll on the Wu-Tang Clan's new The W, down from No. 5 to No. 19 (116,000 copies, a drop of more than 50 percent from last week's 302,000). Erykah Badu's Mama's Gun slips from No. 11 to No. 22 (102,000) in its third week on shelves, while Jay-Z's The Dynasty: Roc la Familia 2000 drops eight spots, from No. 16 to No. 24. (99,500).
'Tis the Season: Holiday titles make up 10 percent of the Top 100 best sellers this week. Leading the seasonal charge is Dream a Dream by Charlotte Church, sitting at No. 16 after selling an additional 124,000 copies. Other Christmas-related discs sitting in the Top 200 include: Christina Aguilera's My Kind of Christmas (No. 28), the star-studded Platinum Christmas compilation (No. 32), Rosie O'Donnell's Another Rosie Christmas (No. 45), the original motion picture soundtrack to Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas (No. 53), the Ally McBeal: A Very Ally Christmas soundtrack (No. 59), and A Brand New Year, from singing siblings SHeDAISY (No. 97).
Bottom Feeding: The Very Best of Cat Stevens sits on the bottom rung, nabbing the No. 200 spot by moving just 9,198 units. Hey, that's still not bad for a guy who hasn't had a Top 40 single since 1977 — the Bay City Rollers should be so lucky.