They couldn't be more different, but hard rockers Limp Bizkit and squeaky-clean pop singers Backstreet Boys remain locked in an odd two-step atop the nation's album sales charts. For four straight weeks, they've been No. 1 and No. 2, respectively. Last week though, the Backstreet Boys jumped in the lead. The Boys' Millennium sold 271,000 copies for the week ending July 18, according to SoundScan. Limp Bizkit's Significant Other dropped to No. 2 selling 238,000 copies.
The week's lone Top Ten debut belongs to Atlanta-via-Oakland rapper Too Short. His Can't Stay Away bowed at No. 5. Also debuting with decent sales numbers was the soundtrack to The Wood. Featuring Blackstreet, DMX and the Roots, it came in at No. 16.
At a time when major labels worry about new superstar albums falling down the charts too quickly, two recent releases are showing signs of real staying power. Sarah McLachlan's live album Mirrorball came in at No. 7, her fifth straight week in the Top 10. No doubt it's been driven by the success of her single "I Will Remember You," as well as the fact that the singer/songwriter is out headlining her Lilith Fair summer festival. Nonetheless, the achievement is remarkable considering how poorly live albums have done in recent years. In fact, the recently released live Lilth albums, Vol. 2 and 3, only managed to chart on the Billboard 200 for two weeks each.
Meanwhile, Californication by the Red Hot Chili Peppers came in at No. 8, logging its fourth Top 10 week out of six tries. After debuting impressively at No. 3 and then dropping to No. 12 in just two weeks, it looked as though the Peppers' return run was going to be a short one. But with a No. 1 hit ("Scar Tissue") at both mainstream and modern rock radio, the album has found its legs.
From the top, it was the Backstreet Boys' Millennium, followed by Limp Bizkit's Significant Other; Ricky Martin (selling 197,000 copies); Britney Spears' Baby One More Time... (145,000); Too Short's Can't Stay Away (144,000); the soundtrack to Wild Wild West (110,000); Sarah McLachlan's Mirrorball (103,000); the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Californication (99,000); the soundtrack to Tarzan (98,000); and Smash Mouth's Astro Lounge (95,000).