The Backstreet Boys enter the Billboard album chart at No. 1 this week by selling nearly 1.6 million copies of ”Black & Blue,” featuring the hit ”Shape of My Heart.” While this bests the 1.1 million units their last CD, ”Millennium,” sold in its first week, it’s far short of rivals ‘N Sync’s all time record of 2.4 million for ”No Strings Attached,” which was released in March.
This news may come as a bracing bitch slap to the Boys, who had recently expressed very ambitious goals. ”I bet we can break ‘N Sync’s record and our record combined the first week out,” boasted member A.J. McLean to Teen People. Not quite, dude. According to Jeff Dodes, veep of New Media at Jive (the label for both bands), the momentum wasn’t behind ”Black & Blue” the way it had been for ”No Strings Attached.” ”There was a lot going on with the ‘N Sync project,” Dodes tells EW.com, citing the smash success of the single ”Bye Bye Bye” (which to date has outperformed ”Shape” at pop radio) and the group’s legal troubles, which delayed the album, thereby increasing anticipation for it. ”It created a sensation. I mean, ‘N Sync would have sold a ton of records even without all these other things going on. But I think that sort of fueled it.”
Following the Backstreeters on the album chart this week are that other boy band the Beatles’ ”1” (No. 2), the ”NOW!?5” compilation (No. 3), Faith Hill’s hubby, Tim McGraw, debuting with his ”Greatest Hits” (No. 4), and rappers the Wu-Tang Clan, whose ”The W” enters the charts at No. 5, having sold 302,000 copies. This showing marks a relative chart disappointment given that the Clan’s last album, the ‘97 double disc ”Forever,” debuted at No. 1 and sold 612,000 units in its first week.
Sultry chanteuse Sade, who pleasantly surprised many observers last week with the No. 3 debut of her comeback ”Lovers Rock,” slips to a still healthy No. 6, with R. Kelly (No. 7), Outkast (No. 8), Limp Bizkit (No. 9), and Ricky Martin (No. 10) following on her chic high heels. But another R&B diva isn’t so lucky. Erykah Badu’s much anticipated sophomore set, ”Mama’s Gun,” sold only 191,000 copies to debut at No. 11, even though the album contains the former top 10 single ”Bag Lady.” Here’s one time it’s not all in the bag.