Despite all indications to the contrary back in the 1980s, the number of albums which spawn as many as six 'official' hit singles are few and far between. Rarer still are those which see their sixth single end up being the biggest hit of all, yet this week we have that exact scenario at the very top of the UK singles chart.
The album in question is Electronic Earth by Labrinth which has to date already produced five different Top 75 singles, the most recent of which was the comparative flop Treatment which limped to Number 55 back in September. Until today the singer/rapper/producer could count on a brace of Number 2 singles as his best chart performances, the Tinie Tempah track Frisky which introduced him to the world in 2010 and Earthquake which featured Tempah taking his turn as a guest star which charted exactly a year ago this week.
Now he takes his turn at Number One for the first time ever as the achingly beautiful ballad Beneath Your Beautiful storms to the top of the charts following a show-stealing performance by the singer and guest star Emeli Sande on the X Factor show the weekend before last. Hardly a new song to any of his fans, it has been present on his album since its release back in April, the single nonetheless sells over 100,000 copies this week and I would submit pushes awareness of his music to a mainstream audience for the very first time.
As for the album itself, Electronic Earth rockets up the charts to Number 12 this week, aided not only by the single but also due to the addition of a second Special Edition CD which adds a handful of new tracks and some brand new remixes.
Guest start Emeli Sande has been at Number One before of course, but an extraordinary set of circumstances means that this is also one of her most successful chart weeks to date. Her own album Our Version Of Events also hit the shops in a newly expanded special edition this week, the addition of a handful of new songs pushing the collection back up to Number 2. Beneath Your Beautiful is handily one of them, as is the Naughty Boy track Wonderful on which she contributes guest vocals and which debuts on the singles chart this week at Number 10 - thus giving Sande a guest role on two of the biggest new releases of the week.
Not every X Factor show performance guarantees instant success for the act in question, and so despite their willingness to make a seemingly annual pilgrimage back to the stage which first thrust them to fame, JLS have to be content with a Number 6 entry for their new single Hottest Girl In The World. Their first release since the Sport Relief single Proud also hit Number 6 back in March, the track is a brand new recording to be featured on will impressively be their fourth studio album Evolution. As the title suggests, the plan is to take their music down a harder edged R&B path and away from the pure pop of their early work. Such a retreat from commercialism is a bold move, but one which suggests it might be some time before they return to the Top 5 with a single release.
Bubbling outside the Top 10 at Number 12 are garage-house duo Disclosure with their first ever commercial single Latch. Its third week on the chart takes it to its highest position to date. Meanwhile the next highest charting new entry is Flaws from London-based group Bastille, giving them their first ever chart single. And the nu-folk chart invasion continues apace with the appearance of Ho-Hey by The Lumineers at Number 23, its popularity aided not a little by its use in a current TV advertising campaign for E.On energy.
Having spent the last month peppering the charts with teaser single releases from her new album, it would have been a major shock if Taylor Swift had not stormed to Number One on the album chart with Red, which it duly does this week, giving the singer her highest charting album to date. She has made the Top 10 twice before, hitting Number 5 with Fearless in 2009 and Number 6 with Speak Now in 2010. Her one relative failure is her self-titled debut which made a belated chart appearance here in 2009, creeping to Number 81 three years after it was first released in America.
Another typically busy end of year week for new album releases means Swift is one of four acts to debut inside the Top 10, with Lawson landing at Number 4 with Chapman Square, Dappy at Number 6 with Bad Intentions whilst at Number 7 is Irish balladeer Daniel O'Donnell with Songs From The Movies And More. It is no less than his 33rd chart album since he made his debut back in 1988 and matches the peak of his 2011 offering The Ultimate Collection. In all he has had 14 Top 10 albums but his only single to climb that high to date is 1998 charity release Give A Little Love which reached Number 7 in April that year.