In the biggest sales week of the year, six new albums moved more than 200,000 copies each. OutKast’s double-CD Speakerboxxx/The Love Below lead the pack with 510,000 copies, according to SoundScan. Dave Matthews’ solo debut Some Devil took second with 469,000 copies, followed by Limp Bizkit’s long-awaited Results May Vary (325,000, a substantial drop from the 1 million first-week figure Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water posted three years ago), R. Kelly’s hits collection The R in R&B (251,000), Eminem protege Obie Trice’s Cheers (226,000) and Canadian hard rockers Nickelback’s The Long Road (200,000).
And the hits kept coming: Murphy Lee’s Murphy’s Law was the seventh newcomer in the Top Ten, at Number Eight with 135,000 copies sold. Rob Zombie’s compilation Past, Present and Future just missed the Top Ten, at Number Eleven with 94,000 copies sold. Fuel’s Natural Selection (Number Fifteen, 71,000 copies sold), Pantera’s new best-of collection (Number Thirty-eight, 29,000), Elvis Costello’s North (Number Fifty-seven, 21,000), Emmylou Harris’ Stumble Into Grace (Number Fifty-eight, 21,000) and Rufus Wainwright’s Want One (Number Sixty, 20,700) were also among the albums posting strong debuts.
Overall sales for the Top 200 records spiked from 4 million last week to 5.8 million this week, easily the biggest sales week of 2003. But good sales years aren’t built on a single week, and even during the current two-year sales slump, there have been strong one-week performers. What the industry has been lacking are records with legs, and this year, 50 Cent’s Get Rich or Die Tryin’ has been one of the few records to post strong sales over an extended period of time. This week’s chart offers a host of potential blockbusters, but if these strong debuts sustain the typical fifty-percent Week Two drop like 2003 releases by Staind, the Deftones and others, there won’t be much to cheer about at year’s end.
This week’s Top Ten: Outkast’s Speakerboxxx/The Love Below; Dave Matthews’ Some Devil; Limp Bizkit’s Results May Vary; R. Kelly’s The R in R&B Collection: Vol. 1; Obie Trice’s Cheers; Nickelback’s The Long Road; DMX’s Grand Champ; Murphy Lee’s Murphy’s Law; John Mayer’s Heavier Things; and Hilary Duff’s Metamorphosis.