Experts answer your questions. For April 05, 2006,
FUGEE-LA?

Hi Keith!

I'm wondering about the status of the supposed Fugees reunion album and also the status of another solo project from Lauryn Hill. It seem like they have both been in production forever.

I was very disappointed that the new Fugees single "Take It Easy" didn't get much attention last fall and the reunion has seemed to be in limbo ever since then. Did Lauryn decide to go back to work on her solo project? Any info you have would be appreciated!

Sincerely,

Brian Davis
Chicago

Hi Brian,

The official word is that the Fugees -- Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean and Pras -- are still at work on recording their reunion album. No release date is known, unfortunately.

Wyclef has been busy as of late, working the promotion circuit with Shakira. Their hit collaboration, "Hips Don't Lie," is climbing the charts and was stripped onto a new version of Shakira's "Oral Fixation, Vol. 2" album, which was reissued March 27 by Epic.

The Fugees' single "Take It Easy," peaked at No. 40 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart last October. It was the first entry on that list for the trio since 1997, when they were the guest stars on Bounty Killa's "Hip Hopera."

The Fugees' last studio album, "The Score," spent four weeks at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 and has sold 5.8 million units in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Additionally, it was the third best-selling album in America in 1996, with only Alanis Morissette's "Jagged Little Pill" and Celine Dion's "Falling Into You" ahead of it.



NEW DEPECHE ORDER MODE

Hullo Keith,

I'd like to ask you for some information on some real survivors of the past few decades: Depeche Mode and New Order.

Both bands are acknowledged as incredibly influential -- in electronic, goth and even mainstream pop. And both have lasted to not only continue releasing music for over 25 years, but also some of their best material ever with their most recent albums -- Depeche Mode's "Playing the Angel" and New Order's "Waiting for the Sirens Call."

But as often happens, releasing great music doesn't always translate to great sales, with "Waiting" and especially "Playing" diving down The Billboard 200 within weeks, and in Depeche Mode's case, despite a major touring push to support it.

So, finally, my question! As their '80s stuff is well documented on the RIAA site, could you provide SoundScan sales figures for these bands, just for their 90's-to-present day album releases?

Thanks Keith!

Ed Tyler
Sydney

Hi Ed,

Depeche Mode's "Playing the Angel" slipped off The Billboard 200 after 16 weeks. However, New Order's "Waiting for the Sirens' Call" dropped like a rock and only spent four weeks on the tally, after debuting and peaking at No. 46.

"Playing the Angel" bowed at No. 7 and has sold 371,000 in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. On the other hand, "Waiting for the Sirens' Call" has shifted only 84,000.

Here is a rundown of the sales for Depeche Mode's U.S. album releases since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking sales data in 1991:

"Songs of Faith and Devotion" (1993; 919,000)
"Songs of Faith and Devotion - Live" (1993; 114,000)
"Ultra" (1997; 584,000)
"The Singles 86>98" (1998; 562,000)
"The Singles 81>85" (1999; 283,000)
"Exciter" (2001; 426,000)
"Singles Box 1" (2004; 2,000)
"Singles Box 2" (2004; 2,000)
"Singles Box 3" (2004; 2,000)
"Singles Box 4" (2004; 5,000)
"Singles Box 5" (2004; 4,000)
"Singles Box 6" (2004; 4,000)
"Remixes 81-04" (2004; 89,000 - all versions combined)
"Playing the Angel" (2005; 371,000)

Additionally, since 1991, when SoundScan set up shop, 1990's "Violator" has moved 1.5 million U.S. copies.

In other Depeche Mode news, three of the bands albums -- "Speak and Spell," "Music for the Masses" and "Violator" -- will see an April 25 U.S. reissue in deluxe editions. They will include all sorts of bonus tracks and video footage, along with remastered sound and expanded packaging. For further information, visit Depeche Mode's official Web site at depechemode.com or the band's remasters mini-site at remasters.depechemode.com.

Depeche Mode's "Touring the Angel" concert trek is on a short break until it April 27 in Mountain View, Calif. After that, the band heads to the Coachella Music and Arts Festival in Indio, Calif. on April 29.

Now, on to New Order!

Like the list for Depeche Mode's titles, this tally only reflects U.S. sales for the band's American releases since 1991:

"Republic" (1993; 382,000)
"(The Best) of New Order" (1999; 428,000)
"Get Ready" (2001; 153,000)
"Retro" (2003; 9,000)
"International: The Best of New Order" (2003; 62,000)
"Waiting for the Sirens' Call" (2005; 84,000)
"Best Remixes" (2005; 2,000 - digital-only album)
"Singles" (2005; 13,000)

You can catch New Order this summer playing a few concert dates. They'll perform at Greece's Ejekt Festival in Athens on June 3 and Ireland's Electric Picnic in Stradbally Estate, County Laois (Sept. 1-3).



THE DIGITAL DIVIDE

Hi Keith,

I'm an avid reader of your column online and this question has been bugging me for a few weeks now: What's the difference between the Hot Digital Songs chart and the Hot Digital Tracks chart?

I thought that perhaps "Songs" were officially released singles, while "Tracks" were any song -- until I saw Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" at No. 47 on the Songs chart. I doubt that Columbia has re-released that song as a single, so that shoots my theory down.

Any insight greatly appreciated!

Rich Cole
West Hollywood, Calif.

Hi Rich,

Billboard's Hot Digital Songs chart combines all of the various versions of a digitally available title into one ranking.

What that means is that if, for example, Kelly Clarkson's "Walk Away" is available in six different dance remixes, an acoustic version, the album version and a rap remix featuring T.I., then the sales of all of the various versions will be combined into one total to determine it's ranking on the Hot Digital Songs chart.

On the other hand, the Hot Digital Tracks list keeps various versions separate.

That's why you'll sometimes see the rankings vary between the charts.


Keith Caulfield manages four Billboard charts (Pop Catalog, Soundtracks, Compilations, Digital Albums), is the Editor of Billboard Chart Alert (www.billboardchartalert.com) and contributes singles and album reviews. He holds a bachelor of arts degree in print journalism from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California.

Keith Caulfield fields questions from Billboard.com readers via email at askbb@billboard.com. Letters must include first and last name; please include first and last name and location (city, state/territory and country, if appropriate).

Note: Questions regarding the Recording Industry Association of America's gold and platinum certification program can be answered by visiting RIAA.com.

Got an in-depth question to ask Billboard? For a reasonable fee, Billboard Research Services will explore the Billboard archives for you.
 



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