Eminem's The Eminem Show looks to be a single hurdle away from tying the eight weeks that the rapper's last album, 2000's The Marshall Mathers LP, spent on top. After fending off Korn's Untouchables, The Eminem Show sold 381,000 copies in its fifth week of release, according to SoundScan, nearly tripling the next highest competitor, Papa Roach's Lovehatetragedy, which managed sales of 136,000. Should Nelly's Nellyville, released yesterday, prove vulnerable to this year's sales slump, then Mr. Mathers just might go uncontested through the rest of summer.
While Eminem's latest has easily shot past 3 million copies sold in five weeks, the summer's other saviors are coming up short, and presumably pre-release piracy isn't to blame. While some albums have been rushed into stores this year, Lovehatetragedy was successfully kept off the Internet prior to its release. The band's debut album, Infest, behaved in a manner befitting its title, released in April 2000 and reaching 1 million copies sold later that summer, gradually spreading into more than 3 million stereos over the next two years. While the group's new first-week tally tops their last one, it still doesn't speak of an intense hunger among fans during the two-year layoff between recordings. Worse off are Korn. Untouchables only fell to Number Three, but the 132,000 copies the album sold in its second week give it a total of 566,000 units moved to date. That's only 36,000 more than the band's previous album sold in its first week alone.
These signals of doom aside, there was plenty of action on the charts. Wyclef Jean's The Masquerade sold 81,000 for a Number Six debut, and an eye-popping 67,000 cared enough about Our Lady Peace to fork over greenbacks for Gravity (Number Nine). Paulina Rubio's Border Girl just missed the Top Ten (Number Eleven, with sales of 56,000), while Anastacia's Freak of Nature (Number Twenty-seven, 37,000), Jerry Cantrell's Degredation Trip (Number Thirty-three, 32,000) and the A-Teens' Pop 'Til You Drop (Number Forty-five, 25,000), also made strong showings.
And, speaking of infestations, the Hives' Veni Vidi Vicious continues to buzz closer to the top, moving up to Number Sixty-three with sales of 20,000. With The Eminem Show, the charts have a strong leader, but the album seems to be leading only itself. The door is wide open for a Nevermind-type bellwether, and the brash Hives are delightfully free of the indie purism that can deep-six a promising path to the mainstream.
This week's Top Ten: Eminem's The Eminem Show; Papa Roach's Lovehatetragedy; Korn's Untouchables; Totally Hits 2; Avril Lavigne's Let Go; Wyclef Jean's The Masquerade; Ashanti's Ashanti; P. Diddy's We Invented the Remix; Our Lady Peace's Gravity; and Pink's Missundaztood.