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TAY VS. TOOL? WE HANDICAP LOVER 'S SECOND-WEEK BOUT

There will be no chart battle this week—Taylor Swift’s massive #1 is a done deal, and her first-week number will very likely be greater than the rest of the Top 50’s totals combined. But in her second week, Tay’s Lover (Republic) could face an unlikely challenger for the top spot: Volcano/RCA rock veterans Tool.

The Maynard Keenan-fronted band’s proggy new set, Fear Inoculum, is their first fresh album drop since 2006, and coincides with the long-deferred digital release of their catalog. With Fear, the band has crafted some serious fan catnip in the form of a $45 physical package that is expected to disappear instantly upon arrival on store shelves this week. This lavish cabinet of wonders, advertised as an “immersive visual experience,” includes (among other features) a CD, an HD video screen with rechargeable speaker, a 36-page booklet, MP3s and a Wagyu-beef-and-ortolan sandwich.

OK, we made up the part about the sandwich. But given Tool’s rabid following, demand for this retail offering (which has been in pre-order for weeks) could outpace supply substantially, and the extent to which that demand can be met is believed by biz nerds to be a key determinant of the group’s shot at #1. The other factor, of course, is the extent of Lover’s decay in week two, based on prior-release patterns. Will things be different for Tay this time? Will Tool exceed their already heady expectations? Stay tuned.

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