December is traditionally a month when few major albums are released, and this year is no exception, with earlier 2018 blockbusters and vintage seasonal releases dominating the charts globally.
Of the releases that reached the market last week, those that make the biggest first impressions are A Head Full Of Dreams: Live In Buenos Aires by Coldplay, Skins by Xxxtentacion and The Prophet Speaks by Van Morrison.
Coldplay’s album – which was recorded in the Province of Buenos Aires 60km from the city of the same name – has been given largely favourable reviews and finds the British band in awesome form.
Although failing to become their eighth Top 10 album in the band’s home territory – it debuts at No.15 in The UK – it has better luck in the country in which it was recorded, debuting at No.1 on the Argentinian chart.
It also debuts at No.2 in Flanders and The Netherlands, No.3 in Wallonia, No.5 in Germany, No.9 in Italy, No.15 in Ireland, No.21 in Norway, No.30 in New Zealand, No.33 in Sweden and No.47 in Japan.
Xxxtentacion’s posthumous third album Skins makes a significantly lesser impact than the two he released in life, partly because it is not available physically at a time of the year when physical sales make up an increasing proportion of the overall market, and partly because, with a playing time of less than 20 minutes from 10 tracks, it lacks heft. That said, it debuts at No.1 in Norway and Sweden, No.3 in The Netherlands, No.9 in Ireland and New Zealand, No.29 in The UK, No.42 in Italy and No.50 in Wallonia.
A prolific and productive singer/songwriter throughout his career, Van Morrison has released four albums in the last 15 months, the latest of which, The Prophet Speaks, earns the 73 year old from Belfast debuts at No.22 in Germany, No.29 in The Netherlands, No.35in Flanders, No.40 in Netherlands and The UK, No.50 in Ireland and No.68 in Italy.
Manchester band The 1975 enter the record books this week – but for the wrong reasons. Their latest album, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, was the 1,150th No.1 album in the UK last week but has now tumbled to No.33. It’s the second biggest fall from grace for a No.1 album in the 62-year history of the chart. The album is also in decline in the seven other territories in which it debuted last week – but now adds debuts at No.4 in Australia and The USA, No.15 in Canada, No.61 in Austria, No.62 in Spain, No.89 in Switzerland and No.177 in France.
British trio Clean Bandit’s second album, What Is Love? is similarly in decline in the seven territories in which it charted last week, but also enjoys a second wave of debuts, opening at No.9 in Finland, Hungary and Poland, No.48 in Australia, No.50 in Canada, No.58 in Switzerland, No.79 in Spain and No.141 in both France and The USA. Of the 15 territories in which it has therefore charted so far, it has achieved a lower position than their 2014 debut New Eyes in 12, but has improved in three with its No.29 slot on the Japanese chart last week besting New Eyes’ No.45 peak, while New Eyes’ complete failure to chart in Finland and Poland is obviously surpassed by What Is Love?’s No.9 placing in those countries.
Finally, despite indications to the contrary, the much-delayed US album chart for last week, still had Travis Scott at No.1 when it was finally published, denying 6ix9ine the No.1 slot that most considered was a shoe-in in his homeland with his debut full length release Dummy Boy. The album, which also opened at No.2 Canada and Sweden has, however, finally earned its first No.1 placing… in Finland.