This week’s Album Chart is dominated by key pre-Christmas new releases – 6 in the Top10 – but it’s Westlife who win the battle of the Big Guns, selling more copies of ‘The Love Album’ than U2’s ‘U218’ and The Beatles’ ‘Love’ combined (No2 and No3 respectively).
Westlife have now released one album a year for eight years: six of the eight have debuted at No1, one made it to No1 after 4 weeks at No2 (‘Unbreakable’) and one peaked at No2 (‘Allow Us To be Frank’). This year’s album, however, is not only the fastest-selling of their career, but is also the fastest-selling album in Ireland since U2’s ‘How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb’ 2 years ago. In the face of the Westlife juggernaut, U2 have to settle for a No2 debut for their singles compilation ‘U218’ (their first album of recent years not to debut at No1) and The Beatles make do with a No3 debut for ‘Love’ (their previous compilation ‘1’ spent 10 weeks at No1 in 2000/2001). Oasis enter the chart at No5 with their first greatest hits set ‘Stop The Clocks’, marginally handicapped by a later official release (Monday) compared to chart competitors (Friday). Dublin 98FM’s ‘The Toll Trolls’ come in at No7 with their second comedy collection and finally Garth Brooks completes the pack of new entries in the Top 10 with his box set ‘The Limited Series’ at No9. In contrast to the Album Chart, there are no newcomers in this week’s Singles Chart Top 10, but there’s a new No1 – Akon (featuring Eminem) with ‘Smack That’ climbing 2 places from No3. It’s Akon’s second Irish No1, following ‘Lonely’ which spent 4 weeks at the Top in May 2005. Take That climb 10 places to No2 with ‘Patience’ after debuting at No12 last week on downloads, just ahead of Westlife who slip to No3 after a week at No1 with ‘The Rose’. Beyoncé and Justin Timberlake are both non-movers at No4 and No5 with ‘Irreplaceable’ and ‘My Love’, followed at No6 by U2 and Green Day’s ‘The Saints Are Coming’, down from No2.