Manson Golden at Number One

Shock rocker holds off 50 Cent

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Marilyn Manson's The Golden Age of Grotesque sold a modest 118,000 copies last week, according to SoundScan, but it was enough to give the shock rocker his first Number One album in five years.

Manson's tally is the sixth-lowest Number One sales figure of 2003, and is the lowest of any album that debuted in the top spot this year. It's easy to say that his 1998 excursion into glam rock (Mechanical Animals) was a jumping of the shark, but a closer look at Manson's sales suggest that his bark (a rallying cry for disenfranchised youth seven years ago) has always a bit worse than his bite, at least from the standpoint of mass appeal. Grotesque's first-week sales topped those of his last album, 2000's Holy Wood: In the Valley of the Shadow of Death (which debuted Number Thirteen), by 1,000. But even at his peak, between 1996's Antichrist Superstar and Mechanical Animals, Manson's highest first-week figure was the latter, which sold 223,000 (Antichrist scanned 132,000 in its first week). Those are the only Manson albums to have even reached 1 million sales, and neither has topped 2 million.

Golden Age edged 50 Cent's Get Rich or Die Tryin', which sold 106,000 copies at Number Two, itself barely topping Floridian new-metalheads Cold, who moved 101,000 units of their latest, Year of the Spider, at Number Three. Most of the rest of the chart featured minor shuffling. Two other debuts broke into the Top Fifty: Third Eye Blind's Out of the Vein (Number Twelve, 63,000 copies sold) and Alkaline Trio's Good Mourning (Number Twenty, 40,000).

Manson's reign looks to be short-lived, as Staind's 14 Shades of Grey arrived in record stores this week. Even if the album falls far short of the 716,000 copies that the band's last, Break the Cycle, sold in its first week two years ago, Grey should have a lock on Number One.

This week's Top Ten: Marilyn Manson's The Golden Age of Grotesque; 50 Cent's Get Rich or Die Tryin'; Cold's Year of the Spider; Evanescence's Fallen; the Matrix: Reloaded soundtrack; Norah Jones' Come Away With Me; Kelly Clarkson's Thankful; the Lizzie McGuire Movie soundtrack; Cher's The Very Best of Cher; and the Isley Brothers' Body Kiss.