With new entries from Norah Jones, The Klaxons, Jamie T, Just Jack and Madonna providing an unseasonable five debuts to the Top 10, and new releases from The Shins, Josh Groban, Doris Day, Little Man Tate, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and The Alkaline Trio invading the lower reached of the artist album chart, overall album sales improved by 7% last week to 2,469,839, writes Alan Jones.
While The Klaxons made a lot of noise early in the week, with their Myths Of The Near Future topping midweek sales flashes, it was Norah Jones who eventually rang the bell of more buyers to emerge with her third number one album in a row - and the UK's 800th number one album -with Not Too Late.
First single Thinking About You peaked at number 89, but Not Too Late sold 60,500 copies, to secure the 27 year-old New Yorker her latest chart topper. Jones' 2002 debut album Come Away With Me wasn't so fast off the mark - it didn't top the chart until its 44th week on the Top 75, though it has sold a massive 2,387,000 copies to date. 2004 follow-up Feels Like Home did open at number one, and much bigger than Not Too Late, with first week sales of 236,000, on its way to sales to date of 1,119,000. Jones is also a member of The Little Willies, whose self-titled 2003 album peaked at number 41 and has thus far sold only 19,000 copies.
Despite an attractive price point (less than £7 in some shops) helping to generate excellent sales of 57,500, and several TV appearances, The Klaxons' Myths Of The Near Future had to settle for second place. Heroes of the rising "new rave" movement, The Klaxons remain in the Top 10 with their second hit single Golden Skans, which retreats 7-8 on sales of 10,000, while album track It's Not Over Yet (a cover of the Grace hit) debuts at number 195 on sales of nearly 650 downloads.
With an ever-improving singles chart profile to his credit - first hit Sheila got to number 22, If You Got Money reached number 13, and most recently Calm Down Dearest peaked at number nine - Jamie T's debut album Panic Prevention beats them all, debuting at number four on sales of 42,000. The genre-defying 21 year old from Wimbledon (full name: Jamie Treays) provides Virgin with its highest charting debut by a new act since 2003, when So Much For The City, Irish band The Thrills' first release, debuted at number three.
Like fellow London genre-hopper Jamie T, Camden-born Jack Allsopp - aka Just Jack - makes his first album chart appearance this week, entering at number six with his Mercury label debut Overtones on sales of 25,000. Just Jack's only previous album release, 2003's The Outer Marker, was critically acclaimed but commercially unsuccessful, with sales to date of fewer than 2,600 copies. Overtones' success coincides with Just Jack's debut hit single Starz In Their Eyes , which has moved 4-2-2-3 so far, with sales of 93,500, including 24,000 last week.
Madonna secures her 18th chart album with The Confessions Tour, a combined CD/DVD package which debuts at number seven on sales of 22,000. I'm Going To Tell You A Secret, a similar CD/DVD souvenir of her 2004 Re-Invention tour, which was belatedly released last June peaked at number 18. It has sold only 39,000 copies, making it the lowest selling Madonna album thus far. The Confessions Tour consists primarily of versions of songs from Madonna's latest studio set, Confessions On A Dance Floor, which has sold 1,236,000 since its November 2005 release.
While there are no British acts in the Top 10 of the US album chart, the success of Madonna and Norah Jones this week means America restores a presence in the UK Top 10. Last week's chart was the first ever in which the entire Top 10 comprised exclusively of UK acts - and the whole Top 15 were UK signed, with the only overseas act, The Scissor Sisters pacted to Polydor UK.
The View, who led the UK domination last week, with their debut album Hats Off To The Buskers, dip to number three this week on sales of 48,500, while The Good, The Bad & The Queen, who were their runners-up slide to number 11 on sales of 14,500.
Despite falling 5-7, Amy Winehouse's Back To Black album increased its sales by 6.8% week-on-week to 40,000. Snow Patrol's Eyes Open and Keane's Under The Iron Sea suffered similarly mixed fortunes, descending 6-8 and 8-10 respectively, while increasing sales 8.3% and 5.5% at 18,000 and 14,500.
The only Top 10 title not mentioned elsewhere, James Morrison's Undiscovered, falls 4-9 with a 10% dip in sales to 16,000.
There's no change at the top of the compilation chart, even though several Valentine's Day themed albums are beginning to flex their muscles. Its sales declining by a mere 4.1% to 16,000 on its 16th week in the chart, Radio One's Live Lounge has never dipped below number four, and is number one for the fifth week in a row, and seventh week in all, as its cumulative sales rise to 677,000.
There's no change either at the top of the singles chart, where turnover has been unusually low recently, with consecutive four week toppers from Take That and Leona Lewis, and the prospect of a third on the bounce if Mika can stay top again next week, with Grace Kelly.
After a fortnight at number one on download, Grace Kelly surges further ahead of the chasing pack, having finally been released physically. Its sales more than doubled last week to 77,500, giving it a handsome lead of 160% over Fall Out Boy's This Ain't A Scene, It's An Arms Race, which jumps 6-2 on sales of 30,000, to match its placing in the US Hot 100, where it is has been runner-up to Beyonce's nine week topper Irreplaceable for a fortnight. While remaining at number one on the download chart, Grace Kelly debuts at number one on CD, number three on 7-inch and number six on 12-inch format charts.
Akon secures his fifth Top 10 hit and Snoop Dogg his sixth as the pair's I Wanna Love You collaboration climbs for the fourth week in a row. A US number one last year, it sold 10,000 copies last week and has climbed 56-35-16-11-9 here on download, ahead of physical release next Monday (February 12). Set for physical release a fortnight later, Gwen Stefani's new hit The Sweet Escape also features Akon, and climbs 43-23 this week on sales of 5,000. Akon's album Konvicted climbed for three weeks in a row (40-35-19-16) but slips back this week to number 18 despite a 29% increase in sales to 10,500. Akon's single swaps places with the similarly titled Ordinary Boys single I Luv U.
Love Me Or Hate Me provided London's grime queen Lady Sovereign with her debut US hit single last year, rising to number 45 on the Hot 100 - a fairly poor reward for sales to date of 266,000 downloads - and scuttles 46-26 here this week on sales of 4,500, following its physical release. The success of Love Me Or Hate Me helped Lady Sovereign's Public Warning album - which is released here tomorrow (February 5) - to reach number 48 in America, with sales topping 100,000.
In the shops on February 26, Shine is the second single from Take That's Beautiful World album, and is set the daunting task of following up the triumphant, chart-topping first single Patience, which has sold 336,500 copies to date, and holds at number 15 this week. Shine rockets 83-30 this week on sales up 177.8% at 4,000. Despite the attention now being given to Shine, Beautiful World bows to the pressure of a big intake of new albums, and slips 11-15, the lowest placing of its 10-week career, though a further 12,000 sales lift its overall tally to 1,207,000.
Meanwhile, Bloc Party secure their highest charting single to date, as The Prayer jumps 13-4 on sales of 18,500, beating the number five peak scaled by So Here We Are exactly two years ago. The Prayer is Bloc Party's seventh hit single in all, and the first to be taken from their new album, A Weekend In The City, which is released tomorrow (February 5).
Finally, a combination of physical and download sales help Kasabian to secure the week's highest singles chart debut, at number 22, with Me Plus One. The third single from the band's Empire album, following the title track (number nine) and Shoot The Runner (number 17), it sold 5,000 copies last week, and its release coincides with an 12-21 dip in the fortunes of the album, which sold 9,500 copies last week to lift its cumulative sales to 465,000.