International charts analysis: Ariana Grande off to strong start with Thank U, Next

International charts analysis: Ariana Grande off to strong start with Thank U, Next

Ariana Grande’s fifth studio album Thank U, Next dropped on Friday (February 8) and immediately scuttled to the top of most of the national iTunes rankings, just as the single of the same name did last November. We’ll have to wait another week, in some cases two, to see how those iTunes openings translate into success on official chart rankings, but it’s fair to say that expectations are high for what is undoubtedly the highest profile new album of 2019 to date.

It’s a sobering thought that Grande was born in Florida in June 1993, a month after a new boy band had made their maiden live appearance in the same state. That band was Backstreet Boys, whose success continues, with their ninth studio album, DNA, which opened at No.2 in Flanders, Germany and Japan, No.4 in the Netherlands, No.7 in the UK, No.13 in Wallonia, No.14 in Italy, No.25 in Ireland, No.28 in Sweden and No.40 on Norway last week. It is in rapid decline in most of those territories this week – most notably in the UK, where it crashes to No.108 – but now opens at No.1 in the USA, becoming their third chart-topper on home soil more than 18 years after their second. It also tops the chart in Austria, Canada and Switzerland, and opens at No.2 in Portugal, No.4 in Spain, No.5 in Australia, No.20 in Poland, No.26 in Finland, No.31 in Denmark, No.47 in The Czech Republic, No.49 in France and No.57 in Slovakia.

After providing their first No.1 in the UK last week, when it also opened its account in nine other territories as itemized here, Yorkshire rock quintet Bring Me The Horizon secure their fourth straight No.1 in Australia with the set. It also adds debuts at No.5 in Austria, No.6 in The Czech Republic and Switzerland, No.7 in Finland, No.8 in Portugal, No.12 in Canada and Slovakia, No.14 in the USA, No.17 in Poland, No.19 in Spain, No.28 in Japan – where it becomes their highest-charting album to date - and No.49 in France.    

Dutch symphonic rock band Within Temptation’s seventh studio album, Resist, unexpectedly fails to deliver their fourth No.1 in their homeland, where it opens at No.2, with 8% fewer sales than Koud, which holds at No.1 for Rotterdam rapper Hef. It does, however, open atop the chart in Germany, where it earns the band its first No.1 and continues what has been a musically varied series of chart-toppers already in 2019, which has seen rock (Udo Lindenberg), industrial metal (Oomph!) schlager (Daniela Alfinito) and hip-hop (Dendemann) acts occupy pole position. Resist also debuts at No.2 in Flanders, No.5 in Wallonia, No.11 in Sweden and No.15 in the UK.

There are five new entries to the Top 10 in the UK, all by homegrown acts of varying vintage, with The Specials securing their first ever No.1 with Encore, while Busted – who have never topped the chart – have their third No.2 with Half Way There. Stone Roses front man Ian Brown’s Ripples opens at No.4, rapper Fredo’s Third Avenue starts at No.5 and Steps star Claire Richards’ My Wildest Dreams begins at No.9.

All have a very limited first week slate overseas, with The Specials at No.10 in Ireland, No.20 in Germany and No.154 in Flanders; Busted at No.45 in Ireland; Brown at No.14 in Ireland; Fredo at No.28 in Ireland and No.59 in The Netherlands; and Richards missing out altogether.  

In soundtrack news, Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody slips 1-2 in Argentina and 1-3 in Australia but continues atop the Czech chart; Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper’s A Star Is Born continues atop the Danish and New Zealand charts while bouncing 3-1 in Poland; and The Greatest Showman remains at No.1 in Ireland.

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