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ONE-DAY SALES: MONICA MAGIC

Miss Thang’s Making a Splash as New Album Beats Expectations Out of the Box
You don’t mess with Miss Thang.

That’s what prognosticatin’ fools everywhere are saying right now, as Monica fades ’em right and left with her new album, After the Storm (J Records), released yesterday.

According to early reports from national accounts, Storm has come on strong and is on track to sell over 150k for the week, and could reach 170k before the counting’s done.

That’s good for a definite Top 5 chart debut and way ahead of expectations. But there’s a larger question: It is, of course, far too early to tell what will actually happen, but should this week’s #1, Luther Vandross Dance with My Father (also on J), Metallica’s St. Anger (Elektra) and Radiohead’s Hail to the Thief (Capitol) fall by more than 50%—which isn’t unthinkable the week after Father’s day, a known retail “hangover” week—a doorway to the top of the chart could open for the Atlanta songstress.

Could Monica be next week’s #1?

That’s that “larger question” we were talking about.

Interestingly, no deep discounts or rebates were offered on Storm, which sports an $18.98 list price, but for some reason, most of the big-box retailers are loss-leading the crap out of it. The album can be found for $9.99 at Target, Best Buy, K-mart and Circuit City. At this point, no one’s sure why.

But screw that, Monica’s return is yet another feather in the cap of Clive Davis, whose J/RCA domain has been on one crazy hot streak. Besides Luther and Monica, you got your Annie Lennox debuting Top 5 this week, as well as your Kelly Clarkson and Justin Guarini at #12 and #20, and then there’s the American Idol compilations and the huge new singles from Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken.

Would you like soy sauce and wasabi with that torrid roll, sir?
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