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Vandross’ Dance with My Father and Monica’s After the Storm (her first album in five years) are running neck and neck as the chart begins to take shape.

WEEK IN PREVIEW: MONICA, LUTHER DEAD HEAT!

Pardon the Expression, but It’s a Good, Old-Fashioned R&B Battle for the Top of the Chart
The kids gotta rock, it’s true. But some kids (and their parents) gotta groove.

Case in point: This week’s chart will feature both current #1 Luther Vandross and a returning Monica—both R&B luminaries, both on J Records—in the top two positions. The question is, who’ll end up on top?

According to our best retail "intelligence," Vandross’ Dance with My Father and Monica’s After the Storm (her first album in five years) are running neck and neck as the chart begins to take shape. Each appears to be on track to have sold about 170k by the time the counting’s done.

One factor that could give Vandross the edge is weekend sales. Dance, being the upper-demo type of record that usually sees more action on the weekend (when those upper-demo people prefer to shop) than in the week-middle, may have trended up over Saturday and Sunday, if the numbers bear out the theory. If they do, Vandross could spend a second week at #1.

Back on the rock tip, meanwhile, both Metallica’s St. Anger (Elektra) and Radiohead’s Hail to the Thief (Capitol) are expected to show sales of about 50% less than the previous week, likely putting them in the #3 and #4 positions nevertheless.

The two biggest albums among a slew of releases hitting the street tomorrow (6/24) are Beyonce’s Dangerously in Love (Columbia), which expecters are expecting to move easily over 300k first-week, and Michelle Branch’s Hotel Paper (Maverick), which many of the same expecters are expecting to sell upwards of 150k in its first chart cycle.

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