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[The Decemberists'] The King Is Dead is looking at a first-week projection between 65-70k, putting it in the early lead for #1 on next week’s chart.
THE DECEMBERISTS
STRIKE IN JANUARY
Look for Four Debuts in Top 10 Next Week, With Kidz Bop, The Script, Social D Also on Tap
Well, it’s a start anyway. After a January that so far has set records for lowest-ever sales of a chart-topper, next week’s HITS Album sales tally at least offers a shred of hope, with a possible total of four debut albums in the Top 10.

That’s based on one-day reports from those music retailers who haven’t blamed “Blood Libel” for disastrous 2011 record sales.

Capitol/EMI’s Alternative standbys The Decemberists follow up their critically successful medieval concept album The Hazards of Love with the more up-do-date country-folk stylings of The King Is Dead, which is looking at a first-week projection between 65-70k, putting it in the early lead for #1 on next week’s chart.

Its chief challenger will be Razor & Tie’s long-running Kidz Bop series, now in its 19th incarnation, with a first-week bow of between 55-60k, putting it in the running for the top spot, according to our in-house retail pundits when they finished throwing darts at the wall of their office.

Epic’s Dublin popsters The Script return with a sophomore effort, Science & Faith, the follow-up to their 2008 debut as they aim straight for the heart of Hot Adult, and a first-week sales total of between 37-42k.

SoCal country-punk icons Social Distortion are back with Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes, their first studio album since 2004's Sex, Love and Rock 'n' Roll, and debut for L.A. indie stalwart Epitaph Records, which eyes a Top 10 bow with an estimated 35-40k.

Rock legend Gregg Allman is up next with his comeback album, and Rounder Records debut, Low Country Blues, his first solo effort since 1997’s Searching for Simplicity, and first since his heart transplant seven months ago. Look for sales in the 25-30k area.

Finally, Custard/Atlantic heartthrob crooner James Blunt returns with his third album, Some Kind of Trouble, which should do between 18-23k.

The market was down 11% vs. last week, down 15% vs. same week last year and now down 11% year to date (after only two weeks). Ouch.

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