Des Visages Et Des Figures, released in 2001, is the last album out of six from the most cult band of all-time in France, Noir Désir. The band is one of the few acts that increased its profile from album to album, until breaking underground limits to go mainstream with 1996 666,667 Club album. Was that unique trajectory going to continue with their last LP?
When such a pure rock act enters at #3 on a teen-oriented single chart, you can expect massive sales from the album. That’s exactly what happened with lead single Le Vent Nous Portera. The track, on which Manu Chao participated, is the most iconic rock song ever in France, as shown by the 7 million plus streams reached as a catalog song on Spotify, an insane amount considering Deezer is largely dominant in this country.
Album Des Visages Et Des Figures instantly benefited from this smash hit, debuting with the highest recorded first week ever at the time with 122,000 retail sales. Thanks to an incredible first month, sitting five weeks at 1, the album ended 2001 with 800,000 copies shipped. Obviously, all copies weren’t sold – by ending at #8 in year end chart behind Les Enfoirés yearly album it sold an estimated 700,000 copies in 2001.
Although the album run has been a continuous decrease in charts this fall was very slow. In fact, the album remained more than half of 2002 into the Top 50 and only left charts in its 2-years eligibility period because of midprice pushing it into the catalog chart, which was mixing at the time midprice and catalog items. After the promotional campaign, the album never stopped selling, turning into the band bestseller and as so continuing the trend we mentioned earlier by increasing again Noir Désir profile. Estimated yearly sales stand as below:
- 2001: 700,000
- 2002: 220,000
- 2003: 80,000
- 2004: 20,000
- 2005: 40,000
- 2006: 30,000
- 2007: 30,000
- 2008: 10,000
- 2009: 15,000
- 2010: 10,000
- 2011: 15,000
- 2012-2015: 40,000
- 2/3CD boxes: 20,000
Net shipment as of the end of 2015 is estimated at 1,230,000 copies.
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Sources: SNEP, IFOP, Le Parisien, L’Express.