Charts analysis: Six of the best for Arctic Monkeys
by Alan Jones
Six albums, six instant number ones – that’s the proud record of Arctic Monkeys, whose first album in nearly five years, Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino, storms to a No.1 debut, while spinning off three simultaneous Top 40 singles chart entries.
Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino is the first album ever to sell upwards of 20,000 copies on CD, download and vinyl in the same week. It sold 86,359 copies last week, made up of 27,681 CDs, 15,679 paid-for downloads, 24,478 vinyl albums and 505 cassettes, with the remainder of its consumption (18,016 sales) generated by sales-equivalent streams. Tranquility Base accounted for 31.05% of vinyl album sales and 73.40% of cassette sales in the week.
It is the vinyl portion of those sales that is most remarkable – although the band’s last album, AM, is the 2010s fifth biggest vinyl seller, with a to-date tally of 75,875 in the format, only 5,170 of those were first week sales. Tranquility Base’s opening vinyl tally is nearly five times that, and by far the biggest weekly sale of any vinyl album in the last 25 years, surpassing the previous record holder, Liam Gallagher’s As You Were, which chalked up 16,164 sales on debut last October.
The best opening tally of any artist album thus far in 2018, it means the album ranks fifth in the Sheffield band’s own list of fastest starts: First album Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not (2006) sold 363,735 copies on the first of its four weeks at No.1; second album Favourite Worst Nightmare (2007) sold 227,922 copies on the first of its three weeks at No.1; third album Humbug (2009) sold 96,313 copies on the first of its two weeks at No.1; fourth album Suck It And See (2011) sold 82,424 copies on its only week at No.1; and fifth album AM (2013) sold 157,329 copies on the first of its two weeks at No.1. The albums' to-date sales, also in chronological release order, and including sales-equivalent streams: Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not (1,753,987), Favourite Worst Nightmare (966,821), Humbug (379,695), Suck It And See (368,561) and AM (1,096,397). The latter set jumps 40-11 (3,832 sales) this week to secure its highest chart position for 207 weeks, while Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not dashes 50-18 (3,144 sales), with Favourite Worst Nightmare also back in the Top 75, jumping 111-45 (1,923 sales). Both achieve 254-week highs.
Arctic Monkeys are only the fourth band to reach No.1 with their first six studio albums, following The Beatles, Oasis and Coldplay. The only acts to have had more No.1 albums in the 21st century are Robbie Williams (10), Eminem (nine), Coldplay and Westlife (seven apiece). Madonna and Bruce Springsteen have also had six. Robbie Williams’ tally rises to 11 if we include Take That Reunion album Progress, and Noel Gallagher has had eight if we add together Oasis (five) and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds (three). Arctic Monkeys’ lead vocalist and principal songwriter Alex Turner has also had eight, if you count The Age Of The Understatement (2008) and Everything You’ve Come To Expect, which were No.1 albums for the occasional supergroup The Last Shadow Puppets, whom he also fronts.
The only acts to have had more than six number one albums in a row are Abba, Led Zeppelin and Eminem (all eight) and The Beatles (seven). Of these acts, however, only The Beatles' run started – like Arctic Monkeys' – with their first album.
Home to the singles Attention and How Long – both of which peaked at No.9 – Charlie Puth’s second album, Voicenotes, opens at No.4 on sales of 11,376 copies. His first album, Nine Track Mind, debuted and peaked at No.6 on sales of 20,590 copies in 2016 and has thus far sold 222,610 copies.
Guitar virtuoso Ry Cooder returns to his roots with The Prodigal Son and is rewarded with the first Top 10 album of his career. Combining his passion for slide guitar and religion, it opens at No.10 (3,954 sales) to become his 10th chart album, surpassing his previous best of No.18 set in 1982 by The Slide Area. Cooder famously produced the Buena Vista Social Club album, and has scored many films, most notably Paris, Texas.
Dethroned for the fourth time, despite increasing sales 19.24% week-on-week, the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack of The Greatest Showman makes its customary retreat to No.2, selling a further 33,603 copies.
The rest of the Top 10: Beerbongs & Bentleys (2-3, 19,115 sales), Staying At Tamara’s (4-5, 10,228 sales) by George Ezra, Divide (6-6, 8,790 sales) by Ed Sheeran, Speak Your Mind (7-7, 6,857 sales) by Anne-Marie, Dua Lipa (10-8, 4,958 sales) and Invasion Of Privacy (11-9, 4,233 sales) by Cardi B.
Excusing themselves from the Top 10 are: Heaven Before All Hell Breaks Loose (5-20, 3,050 sales) by Plan B, Be More Kind (3-37, 2,152 sales) by Frank Turner, Singularity (9-44, 1,947 sales) by Jon Hopkins and Attention Attention (8-65, 1,484 sales) by Shinedown.
Baltimore indie band Beach House failed to dent the Top 75 with their first three albums but scored back-to-back Top 20 entries with Bloom (No.15, 2012) and Depression Cherry (No.17, 2015). The latter release was followed only seven weeks later by Thank Your Lucky Stars – but it was too soon, and the album peaked at a desultory No.114. New album 7 sees Beach House return to chart form, however, debuting at No.16 (3,191 sales). Their third album, Teen Dream from 2010, is their biggest seller, with a to-date tally of 45,658, although it never managed to climb higher than No.78 in the chart.
With guest appearances from Nicki Minaj, Travi$ Scott, Lil Uzi Vert and Skepta, 21-year-old rapper PlayboiCarti’s first album, Die Lit, debuts at No.27. All but 139 of its 2,645 sales are from sales-equivalent streams.
After her appearance on the Graham Norton Show (BBC One, May 11) impressed many, Joan Armatrading’s 19th studio album, Not Too Far Away, debuts at No.30 (2,471 sales). Consisting entirely of new songs written and produced by the 67-year-old singer/songwriter, it is her first album of new material to make the Top 75 since 1995, when What’s Inside reached No.48, although a 2003 compilation Love & Affection: Classics reached No.24. Not Too Far Away is her 16th chart album since her eponymous third release broke her duck in 1976, and her highest studio charting set since Hearts & Flowers reached No.29 in 1990.
US hard rock quintet Bad Wolves debut album Disobey consists entirely of new material penned by the band apart from a cover of The Cranberries’ Zombie, which was praised by the latter band’s Dolores O’Riordan just before her death earlier this year, and consequently went on to sell 33,398 copies, although it failed to chart. Disobey sold 1,791 copies last week, and debuts at No.51.
The Magic Numbers’ eponymous 2005 debut spawned four Top 25 singles and reached No.7 on the chart, eventually selling 676,244 copies. Although second album Those The Brokes reached No.11 and spawned another hit, their stock slumped with their next two albums – The Runaway (No.46, 2010) and Alias (No.57, 2014). They achieve a slight upturn in fortunes with fifth album, Outsiders, debuting this week at No.55 (1,699 sales).
80s Soul Jams defends its position atop the compilation chart, selling 13,816 copies on its second week at the summit.
Overall album sales are down 0.57% week-on-week at 1,723,133, 1.31% above same week 2017 sales of 1,700,920. Streaming accounted for 985,585 sales – 57.20% of the total. Sales of paid-for albums are up 3.28% week-on-week at 737,548, 21.31% below same week 2017 sales of 937,302.
© Music Week