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"Staind is really taking advantage of a radio-based rollout, and the good news is that this record has a lot more singles on it."
——Music Millennium’s Terry Currier

ROCK AND A HARD PLACE

Staind and Deftones Score a One-Two Punch at Retail, Cranking Up Consumers
From the looks of this week’s HITS Top 50 Albums chart—topped by Flip/Elektra’s Staind, followed by Maverick/Reprise’s Deftones, Wind-up’s Evanescence and Maverick/Reprise’s Matrix Reloaded soundtrack—you might conclude that rock is back. You’d be wrong.

Rock never went away; it just takes good bands and strong records to activate the audience. Look at the excitement surrounding Elektra’s upcoming Metallica album as the label begins working the first track—and don’t try to tell us you haven’t attempted to scam copies of the live Led Zeppelin DVD and CD sets that came out Tuesday on Atlantic. Trust us, the roar will be deafening—as in turned up to 11—the next few weeks, especially at the hard-rocking, hot-selling Warner Music Group, which has three of the Top Five, along with Led Zep and Metallica ready to strike.

Music Millennium’s Terry Currier stopped throwing goat long enough to point out, in his best Robert Plant shriek: "Staind is really taking advantage of a radio-based rollout, and the good news is that this record has a lot more singles on it. The Deftones fan base has been anticipating their new release for a long time. The work that the label did on the last record really set the tone for this one. But it was really good to see these records come out, because it did drive the rock buyers into the stores, and once you have them here, records like Evanescence also experience big gains."

The rest of the Top 10 is wildly eclectic, with RCA popster Kelly Clarkson at #5, Shady/Aftermath/Interscope MC 50 Cent at #6, Blue Note throwback Norah Jones at #7, Disney’s teencentric Lizzie McGuire Movie ST at #8, WSM’s Cher best-of at #9 and David Banner, the first release from SRC, Steve Rifkind’s new Universal sublabel, bowing in the 10 spot.

In all, nine debuts landed in the Top 25, including Sony DiscosRicky Martin en espanol (#13), a best-of from Curb country thrush Jo Dee Messina (#14), Volcano’s "Weird Al" Yankovic (#16) Columbia/CRG’s DJ Kay Slay (#17), Geffen’s Powerman 5000 (#23) and MCA’s Live (#25).

And that’s not all, folks. Also debuting were Sanctuary’s Lynyrd Skynyrd at #33 and WB’s Less Than Jake at #45.

Next week will see the debuts of…hardly anything, as the majors went with their usual Memorial Day weekend ritual—they took a pass, with the historic exception of the aforementioned Led Zep triple-disc package, which should chart high despite its $26.98 list. Could it vie for the top? How can it miss, with a 25-minute version of "Dazed and Confused"?

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