Contraband's big debut suggests that Velvet Revolver could be a viable band rather than an amalgam of rock-star parts that fail to inspire a new set of fans. By comparison, Audioslave -- similarly pieced together from remnants of Soundgarden and Rage Against the Machine -- sold 162,000 copies of their self-titled debut, which debuted Number Seven in 1992. And if there is any lingering competition between Axl Rose and guitarist Slash, bassist Duff McKagan and drummer Matt Sorum, well, since the last set of new Guns studio material, Axl's former bandmates have now managed to sell exactly 256,000 more records of new songs than the entity known as Guns n' Roses. That said, the Gn'R brand still carries some weight, if only Rose would get around to making some new music. In addition to Revolver's tally, the three-month-old Gn'R compilation Greatest Hits remains in the Top Twenty, selling 38,000 copies last week.
It was a fairly hard-rocking week for new releases, even beyond Revolver's first shot. Punk rockers 311 broke in at Number Seven with Greatest Hits: '93-'03, which sold 63,000 copies, just 3,000 more than the 2004 Warped Tour compilation at Number Eight. PJ Harvey and Bad Religion also posted strong first-week sales with Uh Huh Her and Empire Strikes First, respectively. The former sold 34,000 copies at Number Twenty-nine, the latter 27,000 copies at Number Forty. Sonic Youth brought the noise rock selling 17,000 copies of Sonic Nurse at Number Seventy. Less rawkous albums like country girl group SheDaisy's Sweet Right Here (Number Sixteen, 42,000 copies sold) and the recently-wed Marc Anthony's Amar Sin Mentiras (Number Twenty-six, 35,000) also made solid showings in their first week.
Next week doesn't offer much in the way of mystery for a Number One bid. The Beastie Boys proved a chart titan with their previous album, Hello Nasty, which sold almost 700,000 copies in its first week. With a six-year lag between that record and the new, old-school To the Five Boroughs, it's safe to say enough fans will check it out to put the Beasties back at Number One.
This week's Top Ten: Velvet Revolver's Contraband; Usher's Confessions; Avril Lavigne's Under My Skin; Gretchen Wilson's Here for the Party; Prince's Musicology; Hoobastank's The Reason; 311's Greatest Hits: '93-'03; 2004 Warped Tour; D12's D12 World; and Slipknot's Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses.