No Strings Attached by 'N Sync didn't just break the record for the most album sales in one week its tally of 2,415,859 copies shattered it.
The pop quintet's third album more than doubled the previous record set in May by fellow boy band the Backstreet Boys' Millennium, which sold 1.13 million copies in its first week of release.
To put the sales record in context, consider that No Strings Attached, which will debut at #1 on this week's Billboard 200 albums chart, outsold the #2 record, Santana's Supernatural, by nearly 2.2 million copies. Supernatural had spent six straight weeks at #1 and has sold almost 2 million copies in five weeks in the wake of its nine-Grammy performance.
No Strings Attached features the dance-pop single "Bye Bye Bye" (RealAudio excerpt) and "Space Cowboy (Yippie-Yi-Yay)," which includes rapping by Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes of TLC.
The rest of the top 10 will include rapper Ice Cube's War & Peace Vol. 2 (The Peace Disc) at #3; heavy-metal band Pantera's Reinventing the Steel at #4; Dru Hill singer Sisqo's Unleash the Dragon at #5; rapper/producer Dr. Dre's Dr. Dre 2001 at #6; soul singer Macy Gray's On How Life Is at #7; the hip-hop-meets-wrestling compilation WWF Aggression at #8; R&B quartet Destiny's Child's The Writing's on the Wall at #9; and Kid Rock's Devil Without a Cause at #10.
The Ice Cube and Pantera albums and the WWF compilation also are debuts. Carl "Chucky" Thompson, famous for his work with the Notorious B.I.G., produced several songs on The Peace Disc, and the Los Angeles veteran reunites with N.W.A partners M.C. Ren and Dr. Dre on "Hello." Last week, Ice Cube called the album a vast improvement over 1998's War & Peace Vol. 1 (The War Disc).
"With the last record, I didn't focus as much, because I was working on movies," Ice Cube said as he lounged at the Virgin Megastore in New York's Times Square before an in-store appearance. "[The last album] was [mostly] songs I had accumulated. So it was a little strange," he said.
Pantera gained a measure of acclaim in the mid-'90s with the sludge-infused rocker "I'm Broken" and their cover of Black Sabbath's "Planet Caravan." Reinventing the Steel pours on more of the rock, as on the first single, "Revolution Is My Name" (RealAudio excerpt).
"The underground is always rising in this day and age, radio is happy to hear good heavy music. It's just taken the rest of the world a while to catch on," Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell said earlier this month.
WWF Aggression finds Snoop Dogg , Method Man and others performing hip-hop versions of wrestlers' theme music. Method Man, for instance, serenades the Rock. The album also features the loony duo of Ol' Dirty Bastard and Kool Keith, who meet to serenade wrestler Mankind.
The rest of the chart will be littered with high-profile chart debuts. Irv Gotti Presents the Murderers, on which producer Irv Gotti unleashes beats for Ja Rule and five other rappers signed to Gotti's Murder Inc. label, comes in at #15. Sexually explicit female rapper Trina's Da Baddest Bitch will appear at #33.
Behind them, the Led Zeppelin retrospective Latter Days: The Best of Led Zeppelin Vol. 2 will enter the chart at #81; "Barbie Girl" creators Aqua's Aquarius will come in at #82; Joni Mitchell's standards album, Both Sides Now, will find itself at #89; '70s punk icon Patti Smith's Gung Ho will creep in at #178; and Fatboy Slim's album of funk and hip-hop remixes, The Fatboy Slim/Norman Cook Collection, is at #195.