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FOURTH & GOALS TO GO
Is Q4 Coming Early This Year?
The Q4 slate of new releases is here to drag you out of the doldrums. Or at least out from under your desk.

Even though the fourth quarter doesn’t technically start until Oct. 1, Sept. 23 is the kickoff. That’s the day five albums that could break the 300k mark come out, topped by Limp Bizkit (Flip/Interscope), Dave Matthews (RCA), Nickelback (RoadRunner/IDJ), Obie Trice from the Eminem/50 Cent/Dr. Dre camp (Shady/Aftermath/Interscope) and Outkast (Arista). Following close behind is R. Kelly’s greatest hits package (Jive), which looks headed for 200k, along with Murphy Lee (Universal) and Fuel (Epic), each of which could do 100k-150k out of the box.

As for the rest of the danged ol’ Q4, there’s a gang of sophomore records from acts that broke through in the past couple of years, providing a glimmer of hope that new superstars are born and made. Quintuple Grammy-winner Alicia Keys (J) is slated for Nov. 18, but label sources now have it coming out in December. Breakthrough PoMo act The Strokes (RCA) come back Oct. 21, hot on the success of new single, “12:51.” Puddle of Mudd (Flip/Geffen) gets dirty on Nov. 11. Meanwhile, a very pregnant Nelly Furtado (DreamWorks) delivers her bouncing CD the following week. Also, promising Columbia newcomers Wilshire hit with their debut Oct. 7.

In the perfect gift category, there are live sets from Luther Vandross (J), Sade (Columbia/CRG), Coldplay (Capitol) and Rage Against the Machine (Epic). There’s also a slew of greatest hits packages from the likes of Elvis (BMG Heritage), R.E.M. (Warner Bros.), Robert Plant (Atlantic/Atl. G), Sheryl Crow (A&M/Interscope), TLC (Arista), Stone Temple Pilots (Atlantic/Atl. G), and Tori Amos (Atlantic/Atl. G.). And Now Vol. 14 (Columbia) streets Nov. 4.

As is the holiday custom, December will see a host of hip-hop releases, including titles from Westside Connection (Capitol) on Dec. 9, Clipse (Arista) and Nas (Columbia/CRG) on Dec. 16, and Juvenile (Cash Money/Universal) on Dec. 23. Jay-Z (Roc-A-Fella/IDJ) gets a jump on the Christmas shopping season by releasing Black Friday on Black Friday (Nov. 28). Now get back to setting these records up.

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