After a three-week layoff, Outkast will resume their position at the top of the Billboard albums chart.
The hip-hop duo's Speakerboxxx / The Love Below sold more than 141,000 copies last week to pull just slightly ahead of Rod Stewart's As Time Goes By ... The Great American Songbook, Volume II in the weekly sales race. Just 500 albums sold separate the two, according to SoundScan figures released Wednesday (November 5).
Outkast had held the #1 spot for two straight weeks after releasing their double LP in late September.
The two albums that temporarily kept the throne at the top warm for Big Boi and Andre 3000, Ludacris' Chicken-N-Beer and Clay Aiken's Measure of a Man, aren't too far behind the leaders. Four weeks after its release, Chicken-N-Beer will hold its position at #5, having sold more than 102,000 copies; while the "American Idol" runner-up's debut will slip to #3 with more than 140,000 copies sold, to forfeit its two-week grip on the #1 spot.
The Strokes' Room on Fire lived up to its rep as one of the most anticipated albums of the fall. More than 126,000 copies of the New York quintet's second album were scooped up by hipsters and those who just look like them in its first week out. Two years ago, the band's debut, Is This It, placed at #74 with only 16,000 in first-week sales. It may be too early to tell, but it seems that Room on Fire will have no trouble eclipsing the total sales of its predecessor, which stands at just more than 909,000 copies.
R.E.M. will also make an impressive splash on next week's chart. Had the alternative pioneers' greatest-hits set, The Best of R.E.M.: In Time 1988-2003, been issued only in one format, it might have bested the Strokes' position. Two separate packages, however, fall at #8 and #16. Proof of their dedication to the band, fans bought more than 75,000 copies of the deluxe set, which includes a CD of bonus material, while the single-disc album moved 51,000 copies.
Having made steady chart progress for more than four months, 3 Doors Down deserve some kind of medal for outstanding achievement. Since the end of June, when the then 7-month-old Away From the Sun stood at #80, it's been quietly advancing up the chart. The band's second album has re-entered the top 10, for the first time since it debuted at #8 last year, at #10, by selling more than 62,000 copies last week. Sustained success of singles "When I'm Gone," "The Road I'm On" and their latest, "Here Without You," has helped the band move more than 1.8 million copies of the follow-up to 2000's The Better Life.
The rest of next week's top 10 will find soul singer Gerald Levert's Stroke of Genius debuting at #6 (97,000); The Very Best of the Eagles falling from #3 to #7 (77,000); and Dido's Life for Rent slipping two spots to #9 (68,000).
Next week's only other notable chart debut is Hatebreed's fourth album, Rise of Brutality. The metal band's follow-up to last year's Perseverance sold more than 32,000 copies to land at #30.