Florence + The Machine’s third album - How Big, How Bold, How Beautiful – debuted at No.1 in eight countries in 2015. Eagerly-awaited follow-up, High As Hope, was released this week and quickly moved to pole position on iTunes rankings in 28 countries – but its lead in most of them was short-lived as Canadian rapper Drake’s fifth album, Scorpion, which dropped a little later in the day, immediately roared into the lead in 60 countries, elbowing Florence aside in almost all of the countries where she had been ahead.
We’ll have to wait a week, and in some cases two weeks, to see how those iTunes advantages translate into official chart rankings but whichever album wins the tussle, the other is likely to follow close behind.
The sixth studio album to be credited to Panic! At The Disco but the first in which the former group has morphed into a solo vehicle for Brendon Urie, Pray For The Wicked had more paid-for sales than any other album in The UK last week, but fails to deliver PATD’s first No.1, as its streaming superiority secured a 21st week at the summit for The Greatest Showman cast album. Pray For The Wicked settles for a No.2 debut, and also opens its campaign with debuts at No.2 in New Zealand, No.6 in The Netherlands, No.7 in Ireland, No.8 in Germany, No.10 in Flanders, No.14 in Norway, No.27 in Sweden, No.35 in Italy and No.39 in Wallonia.
The week’s other biggest new arrival is saxophonist Kamasi Washington’s latest release, Heaven & Earth, which debuts at No.4 in Germany, No.11 in Flanders, No.13 in The UK, No.15 in The Netherlands, No.33 in Japan, No.43 in Ireland, No.61 in Italy and No.62 in Wallonia, to become his highest charting album in each of the territories.
No.1 in Argentina, No.2 in The Netherlands and New Zealand, No.3 in Flanders, Ireland and The UK, No.4 in Mexico, No.5 in Italy, No.6 in Germany and Norway, No.14 in Wallonia and No.15 in Sweden last week, pop punk band 5 Seconds Of Summer’s third album, Youngblood, now debuts at No.1 in their native Australia. It also topped in The USA, and hit No.2 in Spain, No.3 in Canada, No.5 in Austria, No.6 in Portugal, No.7 in Denmark, No.8 in Finland and Switzerland, No.37 in Japan, No.46 in France and No.79 in Slovakia.
By the same token, husband and wife team Beyoncéé & Jay-Z’s Everything Is Love album, credited to The Carters, follows its slate of 10 Top 20 debuts – four of them in the Top 10 – as reported last week, with further incursions at No.2 in The USA, No.4 in Canada, No.5 in Switzerland, No.6 in Australia, No.11 in Denmark, No.17 in Slovakia, No.21 in Austria, No.25 in Spain, No.30 in The Czech Republic, No.33 in Hungary, No.34 in Portugal and No.44 in France. It climbs to new peaks in Sweden (14-7) and New Zealand (12-11).
Rapper Xxxtentacion’s most recent album, ?, advances 22-1 in Canada, 7-1 in Denmark, 4-1 in Sweden, 3-1 in New Zealand, 2-1 in Norway, 5-2 in Ireland, 69-3 in France, 24-3 in The USA, 8-3 in Wallonia, 6-3 in Flanders, 9-4 in The UK, 26-5 in Australia, 44-7 in Finland and 9-8 in Italy. It re-entered at No.3 in The Czech Republic and Slovakia, No.6 in Switzerland and No.10 in Austria, while easing 1-2 in The Netherlands and 13-14 in Germany. Its coronation in Norway puts it at the top of the first all-rap top five. Xxxtentacion’s 2017 debut album 17 makes similar but slightly less steep ascents in all of the above nations too.