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MISSION: POSSIBLE
Metallica and Limp Bizkit Make Beautiful Music
As "M:I-2" Soundtrack Bows At #2
Mission accomplished, and then some.

Soundtrack albums are hot commodities these days, but this is ridiculous. Hollywood's "Mission: Impossible 2" roars onto the sales chart at an explosive # 2, which is not chopped liver (as verified by our deli-habitue Editor In Chief). But for this debut to sell nearly 144,000 units before the movie has even opened, now that's practically paranormal.

Of course, "M:I-2" is no ordinary soundtrack. The album is powered by a pair of heavy and controversial bands in Metallica and Limp Bizkit, and it's likely they'll be able to muscle the LP right through the film's May 24 opening.

"‘Mission: Impossible 2' is huge!" screamed Brant Berry of Fred Meyer…or is that Fred Meyer of Brant Berry (as if anyone cared)? "Any time a soundtrack debuts at #1 with us a week-and-a-half before the movie is out, you know that you have a runaway smash on your hands. The fan base for these acts speaks for itself."

Last week's nationally televised CMA Awards helped boost Monument's Dixie Chicks to #5 and WB's Faith Hill to #9. "It was nice to see both the Dixie Chicks and Faith Hill, who have already been doing great numbers here, get a big jump due to the Country Music Awards," Berry (or Meyer) added sotto voce.

By the same token, Monday night's Arista special should spike Santana, Toni Braxton and especially Whitney Houston's new greatest-hits package, despite the NBC special's low ratings. But how much will the prime-time TV exposure help? We'll find out next week, same time, same URL (so to speak).

The acts in #3-7 slots played musical chairs—it's the same five records, but none of them stayed in the same slot. Dragon/Def Soul/IDJ's Sisqo shows some legs beneath his "Thong" at #3, while Santana bumps up to #4, followed by Joe (Jive), Creed (Wind-Up) and Braxton.

In other debuts, IDJ's Hanson experienced some growing pains, but still managed to come in at #16, with the "reconfigured" Mandy Moore debuting (sorta) at #20.

Oh, by the way, the winner and still champion, for the eighth straight week, is NSYNC, but that oughta do it for the reigning boy band. It's a foregone conclusion that they'll be unseated next week by labelmate Britney Spears, with Eminem on tap a week later.

So it looks like the days of sugar and spice and everything nice are just about over—things are about to get as nasty at retail as they always are here in the virtual cesspool known as hitsdailydouble.com.

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