At this time of year, the charts operate in a rarified atmosphere with each week bringing a new No.1... at least that is the way it used to be.
In the absence of any international blockbuster to compete since its release, however, Taylor Swift's sixth album Reputation remains the one to beat on iTunes. No.1 on the Apple seller's sales rankings in 97 countries on the date it was released, Reputation was still No.1 in 61 territories last week and remains at the summit even now in 23 of them.
Reputation debuted at No.1 in Ireland, Flanders, The Netherlands, New Zealand and The UK, No.2 in Germany and Sweden, No.3 in Italy and Japan and No.9 in Wallonia last week. It remains at No.1 in New Zealand but is off, in some cases heavily, elsewhere with dips including 1-8 in The UK, 2-10 in Germany and 2-36 in Sweden. It more than offsets this by debuting at No.1 in Austria, Australia, Canada, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland and The USA, at No.2 in The Czech Republic, No.3 in Denmark and Spain, No.4 in Slovakia, No.5 in Finland, No.6 in Poland, No.8 in Hungary and No.16 in France.
In the last fortnight we have plotted the success of Sam Smith's second album, The Thrill Of It All, as it debuted at No.1 in eight countries, and made the Top 40 in a further 14. Still No.1 in Denmark, and climbing 18-15 to reach a new peak in The Czech Republic, it now debuts in Croatia (No.10), South Africa (No.18) and Greece (No.43). It also remains in the Top 10 in The UK (2-2), Norway (1-2), Sweden (1-2), The USA (1-2), Australia (2-4), Ireland (2-4), Canada (1-4), New Zealand (4-6), Netherlands (5-7) Flanders (4-8) and Finland (10-10).
New Elton John compilation, Diamonds, opened at No.5 in The UK, at No.10 in Ireland, No.52 in Germany, No.76 in Flanders and No.94 in Wallonia last week. It now debuts in The USA (No.23), Australia (No.33), Switzerland (No.39), Spain (No.50), Austria (No.53), Canada (No.63) and France (No.149).
Seal's new album Standards also gains some second week adds, these being Portugal (No.9), The Czech Republic (No.14), France (No.18), Poland (No.22), Switzerland (No.32), Austria (No.36) and Spain (No.48).
Live albums generally fare less well than studio efforts but concert recordings by three veteran British acts acquit themselves well this week. Iron Maiden's The Book Of Souls: Live Chapter commemorates their lengthy world tour in support of their massively successful 2015 album The Book Of Souls, and debuts at No.5 in Germany, No.8 in Sweden, No.17 in Italy and The UK, No.21 in Flanders, No.23 in The Netherlands, No.32 in Wallonia, No.36 in Japan and No.46 in Ireland. The End is an album of recordings from Black Sabbath's final concert in their home city of Birmingham, which makes a generally lesser impact, opening at No.18 in Sweden, No.27 in Wallonia, No.30 in Flanders, No.68 in The UK, No.72 in Italy and No.79 in The Netherlands - but is huge in Germany, where it debuts at No.2. The last of the trio is The Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), whose Wembley Or Bust - a recording of the band's 24 July concert at England's national football stadium - opens at No.9 in The UK, No.12 in Germany, No.17 in The Netherlands, No.20 in Ireland, No.21 in Sweden, No.34 in Flanders and No.66 in Wallonia.
Finally, former Smiths curmudgeon Morrissey's 11th album in a solo career spanning nearly 30 years, Low In High School debuts at No.5 in The UK, No.8 in Ireland, No.15 in Germany, No.19 in Flanders, No.26 in Italy, No.29 in Sweden, No.36 in Italy, No.40 in The Netherlands and No.67 in Wallonia.