The Chart

Alicia Unleashed

Yes, Virginia, there is still a music industry, despite all the gloomy prognosticators. The week before Christmas, the top five CDs all sold more than 300,000 units, which bodes well for the future. Santa's elves did their part, snapping up 370,000 copies of Alicia Keys' latest. Hot on Keys' well-turned heels came Toby Keith, the new NOW comp, and OutKast. Elsewhere, American Idol's Ruben Studdard slid from No. 1 to No. 8, while Rod Stewart's second set of covers dipped three spots to No. 10. Maybe he should've included a Christmas chestnut or two?

POP ALBUMS

LAST WEEKS WEEK ON CHART

1 2 ALICIA KEYS The Diary of Alicia Keys, J 3 2 4 TOBY KEITH Shock'n Y'all, DreamWorks 7 3 3 VARIOUS ARTISTS NOW That's What I Call...Vol. 14, Columbia 7 4 6 OUTKAST Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, Arista 13 5 5 JOSH GROBAN Closer, Reprise 6 6 8 HILARY DUFF Metamorphosis, Buena Vista 17 7 9 SHERYL CROW The Very Best of Sheryl Crow, A&M/Interscope 7 8 1 RUBEN STUDDARD Soulful, J 2 9 12 NO DOUBT The Singles 1992 -- 2003, Interscope 4 10 7 ROD STEWART As Time Goes By..., J 9 11 11 CLAY AIKEN Measure of a Man, 19/RCA 10 12 14 SARAH MCLACHLAN Afterglow, Arista 7 13 10 BRITNEY SPEARS In the Zone, Jive 5 14 15 ALAN JACKSON Greatest Hits Volume II, Arista Nashville 19 15 24 G-UNIT Beg for Mercy, Interscope 6

(c)2004 VNU BUSINESS MEDIA, INC./NIELSEN SOUNDSCAN. USED WITH PERMISSION FROM BILLBOARD, JAN. 3, 2004.

IN STORES JANUARY 13

YOUNG GUNZ Tough Luv (Roc-A-Fella) The debut by Philly-bred rappers Young Chris and Neef, who got some buzz going with 2003's ''Can't Stop, Won't Stop.''

SHANE NICHOLSON It's a Movie (Virt/Warner) The troubadour's solo effort features a guest appearance by critically acclaimed troubadette (and fellow Aussie) Kasey Chambers, whose brother Nash produced the disc.

LOU REED Bataclan 72 (Pilot) Picture it: the Bataclan Club in Paris, 1972. Reed reunites with ex-Velvets John Cale and Nico. They do classics like ''I'll Be Your Mirror.'' Two more reasons to check it out: exclusive rehearsal versions of ''Candy Says'' and ''Pale Blue Eyes.''

BRUCE HORNSBY Greatest Radio Hits (RCA) Besides the hits, the piano man throws in two previously unreleased live cuts. That's just the way it is, people.

IN THE STUDIO

Brazil's BEBEL GILBERTO, in London and New York, with Marius DeVries (Rufus Wainwright, Bjork), polishing the follow-up to her sublime neo -- bossa nova 2000 debut, Tanto Tempo. Look for it in the spring.

Reggae legend TOOTS, recording Toots and Friends (due April 6) -- his friends include No Doubt, Keith Richards, the Roots, and Ryan Adams -- in myriad locales from London to L.A.

Indie rockers SAHARA HOTNIGHTS, in Stockholm, with producer Pele Gunnerfelt (the Hives), working on their third disc. It's set for a summer release.

Originally posted Jan 09, 2004 Published in issue #745 Jan 09, 2004 Order article reprints