In a week that will see more than two dozen new releases enter the Billboard albums chart, eight of them in the top 10, Outkast were able to outwit, outplay and outsell every other artist to place at #1.
The Atlanta duo moved more than 509,000 copies of their double album, Speakerboxxx/ The Love Below, according to SoundScan, to best the closest competition, Dave Matthews' Some Devil, by 40,000 copies.
Results May Vary proved an appropriate title for Limp Bizkit, whose latest album will be their first not to land at #1 since their debut, Three Dollar Bill, Yall$, was released in 1997. Instead, Fred Durst and company's fourth studio album sold more than 325,000 in its first week to come in at #3.
Slick R&B wonder R. Kelly will take the #4 spot with his modestly titled greatest-hits set, The R. in R&B Collection Vol. 1. The 23-track LP, featuring the current hit single "Thoia Thoing" and remixes of previous singles "Ignition" and "Fiesta," sold over a quarter-of-a-million copies.
Whether folks relate to his dental homage "Got Some Teeth" or they're just hoping to score one of those "golden tickets" packaged inside the album that permits a visit to Eminem's studio, Obie Trice doesn't mind. Either way, the Detroit rapper can raise a glass to the fact that Cheers sold more than 225,000 copies to take the #5 spot.
The Long Road is also an apt description for Nickelback's latest as it tries to measure up to the Vancouver band's previous album, Silver Side Up, which sold more than 4.7 million. Judging by their fourth album's first-week sales of 200,000, the Kroeger brothers' band seems to be driving in the fast lane toward that mark.
Capping off next week's top 10 debuts is St. Lunatic Murphy Lee's solo debut, Murphy's Law. Boasting contributions from Lunatics ringleader Nelly, Jazze Pha, Lil Jon and Jermaine Dupri, as well as a reprise of "Shake Ya Tailfeather," Lee's collaboration with Nelly and P. Diddy, the LP will lay down the law at #8, having sold more than 134,000 copies.
There has yet to be a week this year to pack such a powerful top-10 punch. The last album to bust the half-million mark was Linkin Park's Meteora in March, which sold more than 810,000 then. Every album currently in the top bracket sold in the six figures, and the top four alone sold more than 1.5 million copies. While that is impressive by today's standards, each artist's first-week total falls short of figures in years past.
Outkast's last album, 2000's Stankonia, sold more than 557,000 its first week out. Given some allowance that Some Devil is a Matthews solo affair, the last Dave Matthews Band album, 2002's Busted Stuff, moved more than 621,000 copies. Limp Bizkit get credited with the biggest drop-off; their 2000 LP, Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water sold over a million copies the week it was released. And R. Kelly's Chocolate Factory, released in February, sold more than double the copies of this greatest-hits set.
Burning, downloading, exorbitant pricing, a lack of quality ... whatever the cause, the effect of the music industry's slumping sales has never been more evident.
The remainder of next week's top 10 finds last week's #1 album, DMX's Grand Champ, falling six spots to #7 (150,000); John Mayer's Heavier Things slipping five spots to #9 (122,000) after three weeks; and Hilary Duff's Metamorphosis dropping five places to #10 (117,000).
Rob Zombie's best-of collection, Past, Present & Future, which compiles faves from ex-group White Zombie and his solo days, sold more than 94,000 copies to place at #11. Four spots later, Fuel's Natural Selection, the band's follow-up to 2000's Something Like Human, comes in after selling more than 70,000 copies.
Other notable debuts on next week's chart include R&B crooner Anthony Hamilton's Comin' From Where I'm From at #33; The Best of Pantera - Far Beyond the Great Southern Cowboys' Vulgar Hits at #38; Baby Bash's Tha Smokin' Nephew at #48; Elvis Costello's classically influenced 20th album, North, at #57; Rufus Wainwright's Want One at #60; Vertical Horizon's fourth album, Go, at #61; Meat Loaf's first studio album in eight years, Couldn't Have Said It Better, at #85; Def Jux rapper Aesop Rock's Bazooka Tooth at #112; jam band the String Cheese Incident's Untying the Not at #157; and the self-titled debut by the Fire Theft, composed of former members of Sunny Day Real Estate, at #198.