Charts analysis: Ariana Grande debuts at singles summit with Positions

Her very name is a superlative, so it is entirely appropriate that it is a brand new single by Ariana Grande, which arrives and obliterates the competition in a manner which no other release has for months. A week ahead ...

Charts analysis: Bruce Springsteen leads big sales week for albums

It took The Boss almost nine years from his British chart debut to finally achieve a No.1 album. Now at the age of 71, Bruce Springsteen notches up his 12th as Letter To You becomes far and away the biggest new release of the week. The veteran rocker's 20th studio album is his first in six years with the E Street Band in tow, something you suspect is part of its appeal. His 20th Top 5 album, it debuts at the top with an enormous sale of 51,761, just shy of becoming the fastest-selling record of the year so far, Lady Gaga's Chromatica having edged it with a sale of almost 53,000. But it is still more than the rest of the Top 6 albums combined. For the second time in the space of a month there are no fewer than seven new entries in the Top 10. The biggest of the rest is Song Machine Season One - Strange Timez, the seventh album from Gorillaz and as the title suggests the first in a series of soundtrack albums from their web-based Song Machine project. No.2 with 15,543 sales, it is their fifth Top 3 album.  Moral Panic becomes the third straight Top 10 album for Nothing But Thieves, the follow-up to their 2017 release Broken Machine whose No.2 entry it just fails to match. Instead the album is a still impressive No.3 with 11,789 sales to its name, a figure which means every one of this week's Top 3 albums have breached the 10,000 sales barrier. Chart-toppers once already in 2020 with their Foolish Loving Spaces album, Blossoms return to the Top 10 with In Isolation/Live From The Plaza Theatre. As the title suggests this is a double album, the first disc featuring songs they recorded with celebrity friends for their online Isolation Sessions back in the spring with the second devoted to a recording of their concert in Stockport back in February – a date which genuinely feels like a lifetime ago. They are this week's No.5 album with 7,477 sales.  Faithless' first studio album in ten years, All Blessed, debuts at No.6 with 7,067 sales, the album notable for being their first not to feature the distinctive tones of Maxi Jazz. It duly becomes their seventh Top 10 record, effectively their second in a row following the chart-topping run of remix album Faithless 2.0 back in 2015. Joe Bonamassa's 21st chart entry becomes only his fifth Top 10 record on these shores, the bluesman's 13th studio album Royal Tea charging straight in at No.7 with 6,295 sales. The "20" in the title of Russell Watson's new album refers to the anniversary which it marks, the debut release from the affable opera performer having first hit the charts back in October 2000. His 17th chart album, it is No.10 with 4,890 sales. It is Watson's 9th Top 10 record and following a brace of releases alongside Aled Jones his first true solo work since 2016's True Stories. Clinging on at No.8 adding a further 5,106 sales to its career tally, Lewis Capaldi's Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent spends its 76th consecutive week in the Top 10, thus matching the all-time record for an artist album previously set by Ed Sheeran's Divide. All things being equal it should beat that benchmark next week. One other chart record set this week is an unwanted one. Those searching for last week's No.1 album Cherry Blossom by The Vamps will be required to look almost to the very end of the table. Its sales are off 88.5% selling a mere 1,552 copies second week out and the resulting 1-72 drop is far and away the biggest fall from No.1 in chart history. The band have now beaten a benchmark they themselves set, the 1-35 reverse suffered by their 2017 album Night & Day the previous record fall.  The fifth album for Kate Stables and This Is The Kit, Off Off On is the biggest of the remaining chart entries, debuting at No.21 with 3,122 sales. Those in the mood for a Nolans hits collection paid attention to Gold whose tracklisting gets the chemistry right to entice 2,975 sales and a No.25 entry, three places shy of the peak of their last chart entry, 2009's I'm In The Mood Again. Another band inspired by lockdown to record their second album of the year, The Slow Readers Club follow up March's Top 10 album The Joy Of The Return with 91 Days In Isolation, an album entirely composed over the internet as the band were forced apart from each other, its eventual recording marking the symbolic moment they could all reconvene. It is No.33 this week with 2,424 sales.  If we are approaching Christmas we must be due a new Kidz Bop Kids album, and bang on cue the young performers are back once again. Kidz Bop 2021 is the seventh album of chirpy pop covers to chart since 2017, albeit their second in a row to miss the Top 10 as it debuts at No.36 with 2,339 sales. The fourth chart album from jazz singer Melody Gardot is Sunset In The Blue and lands at No.40 (2,226 sales). One of the hottest new country stars of his generation, Luke Combs has been a near constant presence on the Billboard C&W charts with songs from his first two albums. The second of these What You See Is What You Get reached No.27 upon first release in November last year but returns this week in a newly expanded edition and re-charts at No.47 (1,997 sales).  Arriving a month later than originally billed, Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes are at No.56 (1,750 sales) with a deluxe re-issue of their debut album Blossom, this new 25-track edition featured some unreleased recordings dating from the original 2015 sessions along with a series of live tracks. Originally No.18 upon first release the album has now accumulated 24,357 sales to date. Bringing up the rear are Featuring Ty Dolla $ign, the rapper's third studio album and this week's No.66 (1,6210 sales), while box set of the week is Rock Legends from Thin Lizzy, a lovingly curated collection of remastered, live, and previously unreleased tracks spread across six CDs and which creeps in at No.71 (1,567 sales). Album sales are up 5.61% to 1,869,541. The latest Record Store Day drop may not have generated any chart entries of note, but it still helped physical sales to soar 23.45% week on week to 458,536 and a total market share of 23.45%. Every one of these numbers are the highest they have been since the first sales week of 2020. For all the latest charts, subscribers can click here.

Charts analysis: The Vamps score second No.1 album

Their hitmaking days may be long beyond them (All Night from 2016 was their last Top 40 hit record) but The Vamps continue to command a fan loyalty that is second to none. If we count the two versions of Night & Day as separate releases (their label does, even if OCC records don't) then Cherry Blossom is their fifth studio album and, in a week free of any other big name releases, becomes their second No.1 album with some considerable ease. It posts 13,476 chart sales, a massive 11,768 of them physical discs. And all without the benefit of any hit singles this time around. Time to tick another one off the list, Daniel O'Donnell arrives back into our lives with his 46th chart record. 2020 is now the 33rd year in a row that he has charted at least one new album, an unbroken run without precedent in chart history. Pitched, as most of them are, just nicely for the holiday season, his latest album Daniel lands with a splash at No.3 with 7,769 sales, his first Top 3 record since The Jukebox Years also lurched to third place in 2004.  A big press campaign to flag up the release of Katie Melua's literally titled Album No.8 means her record makes a suitably high-profile splash upon its chart debut. No.7 with 5,214 sales, it thus maintains the singer-songwriter's 100% record of Top 10 albums, with every one of her studio recordings having charted in the upper reaches. Star of Powfu’s smash hit single Death Bed (based around her 2017 track Coffee) Beatrice "Beabadoobee" Laus takes a huge step into the limelight with the arrival of her first full-length album Fake It Flowers. Leaving her lo-fi past behind (at least for now), the album of guitar-led alternative pop is the fourth highest new entry of the week at No.8 (5,073 sales).  One act who have never been this high are Derbyshire rockers The Struts, their chart history to date confined to the No.52 peak of their debut Everybody Wants in 2014. Boasting a guest appearance from Robbie Williams on the title track, their third album Strange Days flies to No.11 (4,262 sales). Wildflowers was Tom Petty's second post-Heartbreakers solo album. First released in 1994, it has sold 62,604 copies to date. But it appeared in truncated form, the singer's original vision of a 25-track double album rejected by the label. Three years on from his death, Petty's family and friends have sponsored the release of the complete album sessions complete with a box set of demos and live tracks. Entitled Wildflowers & All The Rest, the immeasurably collectible set debuts at No.19 with 3,255 sales. As lead singer of The National, Matt Berninger has to date enjoyed four Top 10 albums, most recently 2019’s I Am Easy To Find, which reached No.2. This week, Serpentine Prison sees him debut on the charts as a solo artist for the first time as the album enters at No.21 with 3,233 sales.  Their first release of any kind to feature new singers Deacon Frey and Vince Gill following the passing of Glen Frey, Live From The Forum MMXVIII by The Eagles features material recorded over three nights at the titular venue in California back in September 2018. The first live Eagles album since 1994's Hell Freezes Over, it charts at No.26 (2,909 sales). No less than the 14th studio album by electronic music duo Autechre, their history of releases stretching back to their 1993 formation, Sign this week does something unprecedented in their 27-year career and actually registers a chart entry. Their first ever Top 75 chart record lands at No.41, posting 2,156 sales. The Who become the latest beneficiaries of a three-volume Essential hits release with the added novelty of the third disc being a collection of live recordings. The set is No.49 with 1,925 sales, the 39th chart album of their career.  Hawkwind's 26th chart album might be one of the most curious ever, even by their own standards. Carnivorous was originally planned as a solo project by ever-present member Dave Brock but, with additional contributions from two of his bandmates, it was deemed more appropriate to credit it to the group - or at least some of them. Hence a unique Hawkwind Light Orchestra branding, although it is still a part of the space rock legends' discography, charting at No.61 with 1,682 sales. Addict is the ninth album from Dub Pistols but, just like Autechre above them, it becomes their first release of any kind to reach the published charts, its 1,509 sales allowing it to sneak in at No.70. There's also room for the sisters of the Sussex-based Poor Clares Of Arundel to land a chart record as their album of original chants set to newly composed music, Light For The World, posts 1,501 sales to register at No.72. Amen to that. Albums sales dip to 1,770,252, down 2.86% week on week. A week lacking in numerous big name releases means physical sales dip a little further, down 5.11% to stand at 371,422 with a 20.98% market share. Subscribers can access all the latest charts here.

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