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Beasties Hold Tight; Barenaked Ladies Bust A Move

August 6, 1998 12:00 AM ET

A bubble gum battle royal is shaping up on the music sales charts between Florida's Backstreet Boys and Florida's 'N Sync boys. 'N Sync's self-titled release crashes the Top 10 this week, landing right behind the perennial Top 10 (and self-titled) smash from the Backstreet Boys. |

'N Sync (that'd be Justin, JC, Lance, Joey and Chris) are riding the success of their second Top 40 hit, "Tearin' Up My Heart." But they still have a ways to go before catching BSB (Howie D., Kevin, A.J., Nick and Brian, of course.) That act's record has already sold three million copies this year, making it the third-biggest seller of '98.

Meanwhile, three boys from New York City boasting a different flavor -- the Beasties -- hang on to the No. 1 album in the country for the third week in a row. Hello Nasty sold 243,000 copies for the week ending August 2, according to SoundScan. Not one new record debuted in the Top 20 for the week. (Mary J. Blige's live release, Tour, came closest, bowing at No. 21.)

One Top 10 act pulled off a rare accomplishment this week: actually boosting sales over the previous week. In today's increasingly crowded marketplace, records often debut with huge sales and then slowly taper off week-by-week as consumers lose interest. (For instance since Maxwell's Embrya debuted at No. 3 five weeks ago, the album has quietly slid to No. 27.) But the Barenaked Ladies, powered by their single "One Week" and a headlining slot on the summer H.O.R.D.E. tour, watched album sales for their Stunt make a chart U-turn. The record debuted at No. 3 one month ago and this week climbs back up from No. 10 to No. 6; a strong sign that the band may have some lasting power.

From the top, it was Hello Nasty, followed by the soundtrack to Armageddon (selling 219,000 copies); the soundtrack to City of Angels (119,000); JD's Life in 1472 (105,000); the soundtrack to Dr. Dolittle (104,000); the Barenaked Ladies' Stunt (103,000); Brandy's Never Say Never (92,000); Backstreet Boys (90,000); 'N Sync (86,000); and Will Smith's Big Willie Style (78,000).

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Song Stories

“Santa Monica”

Everclear | 1996

After his brother and girlfriend both died of drug overdoses, Art Alexakis -- depressed and hooked on drugs himself -- jumped off the Santa Monica Pier in California, determined to die. "It was really stupid," said the Everclear frontman, who would further explore his personal emotional journey in the song "Father of Mine." "I went under the water. Then I said, 'I don't wanna die.'" The song, declaring "Let's swim out past the breakers/and watch the world die," was intended as a manifesto for change, Alexakis said. "Let the world do what it's gonna do and just live on our own."

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