The zenith of boring-but-inexplicably-popular albums: James Blunt’s debut LP ‘Back To Bedlam’ was a chart-clogging phenomenon and the highest-selling album of 2005 after shifting 2.4 million copies in the UK. It’s 10 years since its release, so what other dreary albums far outstayed their welcome in the charts? Turns out, plenty…
James Blunt – ‘Back To Bedlam’ (2004). The zenith of boring-but-inexplicably-popular albums: Captain Blunt’s debut LP was a chart-clogging phenomenon and the highest-selling album of 2005 after shifting 2.4 million copies in the UK. It’s 10 years since its release, so what other dreary albums far outstayed their welcome in the charts? Turns out, plenty…
Emeli Sande – ‘Our Version Of Events’ (2012). It’s impossible, now, to remember a time BES (before Emeli Sande): a hazy memory, a mythological past in which ‘Our Version Of Events’ wasn’t a dour chart monolith. Now, it’s synonymous with ubiquity; it was the best-selling album of 2012 and spent 66 consecutive weeks in the Top 10.
Duffy – ‘Rockferry’ (2008). It came, it saw, it was impossibly naff and yet it still conquered: Duffy’s ‘Rockferry’, with its android-like take on blue-eyed soul, spent 25 consecutive weeks in the top four positions of the UK Album Charts. Ye Gods.
Dido – ‘Life For Rent’ (2003). Let us be frank: Dido’s debut, ‘No Angel’, wasn’t much cop either. But it was superior to follow-up ‘Life For Rent’, which sold over 12 million copies worldwide and was the seventh best-selling album of the 2000’s in the UK. Remember, there is a reason that Eminem chose not sample the chorus from ‘White Flag’.
Snow Patrol – ‘Eyes Open’ (2006). In some ways, Snow Patrol are a sort-of heartwarming success story: a band who toiled for two albums with no real return, and then hit the big time five years later. But then you listen to the soporific snooze-fest that is ‘Eyes Open’, and all sentiment of good cheer vanishes. It’s the 15th best-selling album of the 2000’s in the UK.
Paul Potts – ‘One Chance’ (2007). Carphone Warehouse-worked turned Britain’s Got Talent-winning opera singer, Paul Potts’ ‘One Chance’ spent six weeks in a row at Number One and stuck around in the Top 40 for 23 weeks. Success comes at a price, though: he’s since been the subject of a biopic, where he was portrayed by James Corden. Poor chap.
Norah Jones – ‘Come Away With Me’ (2002). Also known as ‘that dull jazzy pop album your parents put on when they’re having a dinner party’, Jones – the daughter of Ravi Shankar – has sold more than 26 million copies of her debut LP worldwide and it’s gone platinum a whopping eight times in the UK alone.
Athlete – ‘Vehicles & Animals’ (2003). One of the many polite-indie bands who snuck up on the chart in the aftermath of Coldplay, Athlete’s ‘Vehicles & Animals’ sold over 300,000 copies in the UK.
The Feeling – ‘Twelve Stops And Home’ (2006). Just think: La Roux revealed earlier this week that her excellent ‘Trouble In Paradise’ album hasn’t made her any money. And yet back in 2006, The Feeling were chart-hogging monsters, selling nearly 730,000 copies in the UK. There is no justice. There are no words.
Jack Johnson – ‘In Between Dreams’ (2005). Singer. Surfer. Really, really boring. These are the fundamental characteristics of Jack Johnson, who sold 1.6 million copies of his insomniacs-lifeline album ‘In Between Dreams’.
Maroon 5 – ‘Songs About Jane’ (2011). Long before ‘Moves Like Jagger’, Maroon 5 became chart-mainstays with the sop of ‘Songs About Jane’: a sleeper hit at first, it went on to go platinum six times in the UK and sold 1.8 million copies. Poor Jane, who must feel wretched knowing she inspired this.
Katie Melua – ‘Call Off The Search’ (2003). Dramatica label boss Mike Batt wanted to find a new, young voice capable of “performing jazz and blues in an interesting way”. Instead, he found Katie Melua, and her debut LP sold over 1 million copies just five months after its release. If only the search had kept on going, eh?
Michael Bublé – ‘Michael Bublé’ (2003). Mum-friendly crooner Michael Bublé has built a whole career of making pleasant, wishy-washy records that fly off the shelves. It started with his major label debut, which sold over 600,000 copies in the UK.
David Gray – ‘White Ladder’ (1998). Technically, wobbly-headed David released the relentless ‘White Ladder’ in the 90s, but it became such a hit that it was the fifth best-selling album of the 00s. It spent 151 weeks on the UK Albums Chart. What a long, long three years that must have been.
Moby – ‘Play’ (1999). Another 90s album that went on to be huge in the following millennium, ‘Play’ was the biggest-selling independent album of 2000 – a testament to a time when no dishwasher tablet, fabric conditioner or family car could be advertised on TV without some of Moby’s polite electronica noodling away in the background.
Il Divo – ‘Il Divo’ (2004). The bland, operatic version of the Avengers: a group of men assembled by Simon Cowell to conquer the charts with opera-pop that’s sold more than a million copies in the UK.
Black Eyed Peas – ‘Elephunk’ (2003). Fergie joined the Black Eyed Peas and they went massive. ‘Elephunk”s formula of irritating pop, honed in ‘Shut Up’ and ‘Let’s Get Retarded’, found fans in nine million fans worldwide.
James Morrison – ‘Undiscovered’ (2006). If only you had remained undiscovered, James. But alas, your pop-soul from the nice-boy-next-door helped shift nearly 850,000 UK copies in less than six months.
Daniel Beddingfield – ‘Gotta Get Thru This’ (2002). And finally, it’s the helium-voiced Daniel Beddingfield, who rode squeaky roughshod over the charts of 2002 with the risible ‘Gotta Get Thru This’, which sold 1.5 million copies in the UK alone. Daniel was recently seen as a judge on the New Zealand version of X Factor.