Rock 'n' roll is expected to return to the top of the Billboard 200 albums chart this week after approximately nine months of exile.
When last week's sales figures are released Wednesday (June 30), the
band's Significant Other will unseat the Backstreet Boys'
Millennium as the chart's #1 album, said Eric Hunter, a
spokesperson at Flip Records, thrash-rap band Limp Bizkit's label.
The record, which includes the manic first single "Nookie" (RealAudio excerpt), has sold 700,000-750,000 copies. That is the second-highest weekly total this year. The biggest is Millennium's 1.13 million copies sold during the week ending May 23, according to sales tracker SoundScan.
The Backstreet Boys' album has sold nearly 3 million records during its five-week run at #1. It has been certified quintuple-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.
The expected Limp Bizkit total surpasses what representatives of Flip Records and Interscope Records, which distributes the band's albums, were expecting. By one estimate, Interscope's expectation was closer to 400,000.
This will mark the first time a rock 'n' roll artist has scaled the top of the charts since mid-November, when Canadian singer/songwriter Alanis Morissette's Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie spent two weeks there. Korn's Follow the Leader and Marilyn Manson's Mechanical Animals also debuted at #1 last year, according to SoundScan.
Since Morissette fell from the top spot, albums from rappers (DMX's Flesh of My Flesh Blood of My Blood, Silkk The Shocker's Made Man, Foxy Brown's Chyna Doll, Nas' I Am and the Ruff Ryders compilation Ruff Ryders: Ryde or Die Vol. 1), pop singers (Britney Spears'
The program director for WBCN-FM in Boston, who goes only by his on-air handle, Oedipus, said the time is right for rock to re-emerge as a top-seller and, in his opinion, Limp Bizkit and their excitable frontman, Fred Durst, 29, are what his audience was seeking.
"Fred's a rock star and we need more rock stars," Oedipus said. The station is playing "Nookie" around 40 times a week, making the song its most popular record.
Hunter said Significant Other's debut is the culmination of a steadily growing enthusiasm for the band.
Though Limp Bizkit's 1997 debut Three Dollar Bill Y'all$ has never risen higher than #22 on the albums chart, it has sold consistently for nearly two years and last week finished at #67. The album's driving cover of the 1988 George Michael hit "Faith" remains in rotation on modern-rock radio. The band was among the high-profile acts on last year's inaugural Family Values Tour and will headline this year's version later in the summer. The compilation Family Values: The Biggest Show of Stars for '98 debuted at #7 earlier this year.
"Nookie," with lyrics lamenting a romantic breakup, is now #8 on the Billboard modern rock chart. The band promoted the album earlier this month in part by embarking of a brief "guerrilla" tour of rooftops in New York, Detroit and other cities events often greeted by police.
"They've spent their last two-and-a-half years making a connection with all these kids at a grass-roots level," Hunter said. "And they ... pride themselves on never becoming too big. They don't want to alienate their fans."
The group Durst, guitarist Wes Borland, bassist Sam Rivers, drummer John Otto formed in 1994 in Jacksonville, Fla. Former House of Pain turntablist DJ Lethal joined in 1996 after the demise of House of Pain.
Limp Bizkit are among a number of bands including Korn and Rage Against the Machine that use hip-hop as a foundation, with rhymes and simulated scratches and hip-hop drum breaks.
The new album contains a collaboration with Wu-Tang Clan member Method Man, "N 2 Gether Now" (RealAudio excerpt). Stone Temple Pilots singer Scott Weiland and Korn vocalist Jonathan Davis also make guest appearances. Significant Other was co-produced by former Soundgarden boardsman Terry Date.
Durst said in February that the record was a melodic improvement over the band's earlier work.
"Musically, the band's a lot tighter, a lot better," he said then. "Vocally, I've really expanded. The hip-hop's more hip-hop and the melodies are more melodic."
(Contributing Editor Teri vanHorn contributed to this report.)