HITS Daily Double


Country Duel Leads Mighty Pack of New Releases into Post-Turkey Sellathon
Before we say anything: This weekend, of all weekends, is the wildcard for retail. We’re talking, of course, about the annual post-Thanksgiving shopping frenzy. The Friday after the Big Meal is traditionally second only to Christmas Eve in terms of sales power, and this year, both Wal-Mart and Best Buy are leading the charge by opening at 5am and 6am, repectively, with huge discounts on music. And toasters. And refrigerators. And big-screen television sets. And...

However, the big weekend coming up is also, as we said, a wildcard. Anything can happen. And when anything can happen, it usually does—which means we can predict and prognosticate ’til the cows come home, but anything we say here can change dramatically by the time it’s all over. In other words, don’t count on us for accuracy now any more than you usually would.

That said, weeeeeeeeeeeee-doggggggggies, cowboys ’n’ cowgals!!!!! We got us a big ole rodeo of a contest for #1 on next week’s chart, according to early reports from national accounts. Shania Twain’s UP! (Mercury/IDJ), which bowed with a whopping 861k this week, will have to fend off Tim McGraw’s Tim McGraw and the Dancehall Doctors (Curb), which appears (repeat: appears) likely (repeat: (likely) to do over 500k in its first week, with a chance at 600k.

That means if Shania experiences the usual second-week dip, she could be ousted from the top of the chart by Mr. Faith Hill. Notice how we said “could” there? As in maybe?

Perhaps as surprising is rap icon Tupac Shakur’s latest posthumous release, Better Dayz (Amaru/Tha Row/Interscope), which at this point looks like it’ll do about 400k, depending on whether stock issues can be sorted out. As one can imagine, this isn’t the easiest week to deal with a stock problem, but word is ’Pac will be taken care of.

Jennifer Lopez, meanwhile, stops rubbing up on sexy-guy hubby Ben Affleck for long enough to see her This Is Me... Then (Epic) rack up, in all likelihood, more than 300k in its first week. Not bad for lil’ ol’ Jenny from the Block.

But wait, there’s more: Snoop Dogg’s Paid Tha Cost to Be Tha Boss (Priority/Capitol) is on track to do as much as 250k, putting some ill bite in the dee-oh-double-gee’s bark.

And then we have Sir Paul McCartney, whose document of his acclaimed tour of the States, Back in the U.S. Live 2002 (Capitol), appears headed for a 200k-plus first week, driven by a big upper-demo direct-response TV campaign.

You say you want more? You got it. System of a Down’s new one, Steal This Album (Columbia), with the help of a big weekend, could approach 200k. Dru Hill’s Dru World Order (Def Soul/IDJ) should come in at around 125k to 150k. Baby of the Big Tymers (Cash Money/Universal) and The RootsPhrenology (MCA) should both over 100k. And Busta RhymesIt Ain’t Safe No More (J Records) should come in near 100k.

There you have it: 10 titles likely to do around 100k or better, making Thanksgiving the biggest week for new releases of the year—though as we said, we can’t really be sure.

What else you want for the holidays?