Robbie Williams’ “Intensive Care” (Chrysalis) starts 2006 as it ended 2005, at No. 1 on Billboard’s pan-European Top 100 Albums survey. That’s the sixth aggregate week atop the chart for Williams’ sixth studio album, which holds at No. 1 in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The album also stays at No. 2 in Holland and climbs 3-2 in Italy and 7-5 in Portugal.
In the United Kingdom, the album slides 3-8 on the first chart of the new year. However, Williams’ “Greatest Hits” set, which was the No. 5 album of 2005 on the year-end pan-European compilation, makes a big comeback there. After heavy discounting in retailers’ post-Christmas U.K. sales, the retrospective rebounds 68-5 in its 31st U.K. chart week, prompting a 65-11 improvement on Top 100 Albums. Total U.K. sales of the set are now 1.8 million units, according to compilers the Official U.K. Charts Co.
Madonna’s “Confessions on a Dance Floor” (Warner Bros.) holds at No. 2 on Top 100 Albums, its highest individual ranking No. 2 in Switzerland. James Blunt’s “Back To Bedlam” (Atlantic) is No. 3 again overall, and holds at No. 2 in the United Kingdom, where it yields another top ten hit as “Goodbye My Lover” climbs 11-9. “Goodbye” climbs 32-9 on Eurochart Hot 100 Singles.
Moving forcefully into the upper echelon of the aggregate album survey, 17-8, is Kelly Clarkson’s “Breakaway” (RCA). That’s the first time the album has reached the top ten, having previously spent two weeks at No. 14 in November. In the United Kingdom, “Breakaway” is up from No. 8 to a new peak of No. 3 in its 24th chart week. It climbs 3-2 in Ireland.
Also figuring in the higher reaches of Top 100 Albums for the first time after renewed success in the United Kingdom is “Stars of CCTV” (Necessary/Atlantic) by London rock band Hard-Fi, which debuts at No. 15 overall. “Stars” benefits fromm a 33-4 rise in Britain. Again, the improvement is brought about by heavy discounting at retail, and a further boost from the release of another single from the album, “Cash Machine,” which hits the U.K. chart at No. 14.
Madonna’s “Hung Up” moves into its eighth week at the helm of the Eurochart. It’s still No. 1 in Germany and Italy and now adds two more European titles, rising 16-1 in France and 3-1 in Spain. “Sorry” is planned as the follow-up single from the “Confessions” album.
Black Eyed Peas enjoy a strong week in Europe, in the wake of the band’s live dates in the region. The single “My Humps” (A&M/Interscope) is up 6-2 on the Eurochart, matching its late November peak; the track is No. 2 in both Ireland and Switzerland, jumps 9-6 in Germany and moves back into the U.K. top ten, 13-7. The album “Monkey Business,” which has IFPI Platinum Europe certification for region-wide shipments of one million copies, is back up 18-13 on Top 100 Albums.
Amid a number of other established singles enjoying new sales hikes at the turn of the year, the emerging contender for the Eurochart chart crown is Mattafix’ “Big City Life” (Buddhist Punk). The two members of the group hail from London but have an international heritage including India, St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The track has been building steadily around Europe since November and now climbs 10-5 on the Eurochart. It rises 2-1 in Austria and Switzerland, 5-4 in Germany and holds at No. 2 in Italy.