The prefab, Florida-bred teen sensations sold 272,000 units for the week ended July 17, beating out a spirited and rare three-week run at the top by a rock band, Limp Bizkit. That group's Significant Other found another 238,000 rap-rock lovers.
The biggest debut of the week was a No. 5 showing for the comeback album from 16-year West Coast rap veteran Too $hort. He quit the recording game three years ago after his 10th album to become a producer and form his own label. Yet, like the title of his new album says, he Can't Stay Away. The rapper says he has "too many stories to tell to remain in retirement." His disc sold 144,000 units in its first week.
Teen pop music continues its unusually strong run elsewhere in the charts as Ricky Martin holds on to No. 3 with sales of 197,000 and Britney Spears stays at No. 4 with ?Baby One More Time at 145,000 for the week.
The Wild Wild West soundtrack continues to head south, dropping to No. 6 as star Will Smith's title song drops in the single charts. Following at No. 7 is Sarah McLachlan's Mirrorball, the live album being driven by the final Lilith Fair tour.
Limp Bizkit isn't the only rock group in the Top 10 as the Red Hot Chili Peppers heated up, rising to No. 8 with sales of 99,000, while Smash Mouth packed in 95,000 at the Astro Lounge to score the No. 10 slot.
It was a relatively slow week for soundtracks, usually a mainstay of the summer charts. Aside from the sliding Wild Wild West, Tarzan hung on to No. 9, the The Wood rapped on a solid No. 16 debut, but Eyes Wide Shut opened way down at No. 176.
Hip-hopper Lil' Cease's Wonderful World of Cease a Leo bowed at 26. Chris Rock thing found things "Bigger and Blacker" at No. 48 and Faith No More singer Mike Patton's latest Mr. Bungle project, California, entered at No. 144.
Finally, Elvis Presley's Artist of the Century box set bowed at No. 163. The title is apt as the RIAA just issued the King another 18 gold (500,000 units) and platinum awards (1 million), bringing his record-setting totals to 80 gold and 43 platinum.