HITS Daily Double


Only One of Them Appears Butt-Naked on Rolling Stone Cover, However
Here’s something you might not have heard in a while: It’s a good day at retail.

Indeed, giving the nation’s purveyors of records a boost and letting a little sunshine in are Eminem’s 8 Mile soundtrack (Shady/Interscope), Nirvana’s “You Know You’re Right”-featuring Nirvana compilation (Geffen) and Christina Aguilera’s Stripped (RCA). In the early going, each is meeting or beating sales expectations, according to reports from national accounts.

The hotly anticipated 8 Mile, streeting a week and a half before the movie in which Eminem stars hits theaters, should sell at least 700k in its first week, with a shot at 800k, depending how it trends over the next few days. The question is whether it will develop like an Eminem title, with rampant early demand, or more like a typical soundtrack, with interest ramping up as the movie opening approaches. Only the next couple of days will tell.

The Eminem Show, by the way, is still in the Top 10 (selling 96k this week). That's where it's been since its late May release, and it's the biggest-selling record of the year to date. Many think 8 Mile will be the second-biggest selling record of the year.

Nirvana, meanwhile, appears to be on track to sell as much as 250k for the week, as the radio track continues to spark renewed interest in the grunge progenitors.

Aguilera’s Stripped, the concept for which she demonstrates amply on the cover of the current Drooling Stone, looks like it will move about 300k, possibly pushing to 325k by week’s end.

Epic has a pair of solid chart contenders in Tori Amos, looking in the 125k range for her label debut after coming over from Atlantic, and Cleveland gangsta rappers Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, whose latest Ruthless effort seems headed over 100k. Backstreet Boy Nick Carter, also streeting this week, appears to be on the way to a solid debut for his Now or Never (Jive) and could sell as much as 100k. The showing bodes well for fellow boy-band soloist Justin Timberlake.

And as if the above weren’t enough, a surprise sales story for the week has to be Lyric Street/Hollywood pickers Rascal Flats, whose second full-length is reportedly blowing up big time at the racks, which should lead to an impressive chart debut next week.

It’s now officially the time of year to think of others. Go hug a retailer.