It is hard to imagine a more appropriate Number One single for this week in particular. Ending 2009 pretty much just as she began it, Lady Gaga ascends as gracefully and as dignified as she knows how to the very top of the singles chart with latest single Bad Romance. It is her third Number One of the year, a total that ensures she sits alongside the Black Eyed Peas as one of the two most successful chart acts of the year.
Bad Romance also provides a useful boost to the already impressive sales of her album The Fame. Thanks now to the addition of the Fame Monster mini special edition, the album rises in tandem to Number 2 this week, its highest chart placing since May 16th when it was also Number 2, not long after its triumphant four week run at the top in April. This boost has now lifted sales of The Fame overall above the 1 million mark, enough to make it for now the biggest seller of the year, although there is a certain Scottish lady who will have something to say about that I'm sure.
Mention must also be made of the work of Lady Gaga's producer RedOne whose trademark sound has very much defined every one of her singles releases. Indeed it is the New York based Swede's work on not only the Lady Gaga project but also smash singles such as Fire Burning, Remedy, Takin' Back My Love and About A Girl that has helped his style become one of the defining sounds of 2009. Given that Alexandra Burke's next single Broken Heels is also one of his productions, the chances are that he will begin 2010 in pretty much the same manner that he finished it.
The rise of Bad Romance to the top after a seven week climb to the top comes following her X Factor performance of the track a week ago, and thus restores the show's credentials as a guarantor of Number One hits, something that both the presence of the Children In Need single and the lacklustre sales of some recent guest stars has prevented over the last few weeks. That said, in contrast to Lady Gaga's success, fellow X Factor performer last week Janet Jackson can only sit and watch as her new single Make Me makes a limp debut at Number 73.
The top of the album chart is less of a story naturally, as Susan Boyle remains locked in place as befits her status as a sales juggernaut in an attractive brown cardigan. I Dreamed A Dream sold a further quarter of a million copies last week to take its three week sales tally to around 989,000 copies. It is more or less inevitable that the final few weeks of the year will lift her into seven figures and confirm her as the biggest selling album act of 2010.
Elsewhere the singles chart has an eerily quiet look to it. Given that this is after all the penultimate chart before the official Christmas one (even though next week's chart itself will actually only feature sales from 13-19 December and miss Christmas week itself) anyone releasing records this week isn't really trying to make a holiday impact and is just along for the ride. It does mean however that at least one annual tradition is maintained - that of the token club track sitting incongruously amongst the more traditional holiday fare in the Top 10. Step forward then Let The Bass Kick In Miami Girl by Chuckie & LMFAO which debuts at Number 9 as the highest new entry of the week. The track is actually a mashup of two separate records, Let The Bass Kick by Chuckie and I'm In Miami Bitch by rappers LMFAO which originally featured on their album 'Party Rock' earlier this year and which charted in its own right last week at Number 86 ahead of this hit remix.
Meanwhile most of the other chart movement this week concerns singles which are destined to be minor players on the Christmas chart itself but which are primed to rise to prominence once the silly season is over. Leading the charge are Chipmink and Talay Riley with Look For Me at Number 10, Cheryl Cole and will.i.am with 3 Words at Number 14 (one place below Fight For This Love to give the X Factor judge back to back chart singles) and Playing With Fire by N-Dubz and Mr Hudson which rises to Number 23. Whilst most of the X Factor attention next week will inevitably focus on the success of winner Joe McElderry and his version of The Climb, it will be worth noting the progress of You Know Me by Robbie Williams which the star performed on Saturday's performance show in his second visit of the series. The single rests at Number 15 this week but is more or less guaranteed to go Top 5 seven days hence.
Peter Kay's Children In Need single may have been deposed from Number One but the charity enjoys the benefit of a second chart single this week thanks to the arrival at Number 27 of the second annual Bandaged single. Having teamed up last year for a duet on Little Drummer Boy, Terry Wogan and Aled Jones make their second pilgrimage to the singles chart with the double sided single Silver Bells/Me And My Teddy Bear. Although as terrible as last year's offering was, the single is worth a mild curiosity as it marks the first ever chart version of the famous Christmas standard, originally penned by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans for the movie 'The Lemon Drop Kid' in 1950. Countless artists have recorded the song since, with everyone from Elvis Presley to Martina McBride and even Bill Idol having had a go, but Wogan and Jones are the first to ever take the song into the charts. This may be some small consolation to them given that the Number 27 chart position of this single compares poorly to the Top 3 success of Little Drummer Boy 12 months ago.
Speaking of Christmas hits, they continue their triffid-like advance on the singles chart with no less than six classics now occupying places in the Top 50. Most unusually All I Want For Christmas Is You is not the biggest selling holiday song of the week. The Mariah Carey single sits at Number 19 this week, one place below Fairytale Of New York which neatly leapfrogs it into Number 18. Some bookmakers have been known to take bets on what the highest charting Christmas classic will be on the Christmas chart, and this particular move may have blown that particular race wide open.
Essentially then, that is it for the last "normal" chart of the year as for the next couple of weeks things go just a little bit bizarre as all manner of novelties and one-offs storm the rankings for the festive season. Whilst as usual the Christmas Number One next week is more or less guaranteed to be Joe McElderry, a great deal of interest surrounds the identity of the single that will slot alongside him in the runners-up slot. Whilst existing stars such as Lady Gaga and even Robbie Williams are neatly placed for this, the presence on the market of other one-shot releases such as the Muppets' rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody cannot be ruled out. This year a small spanner in the works has been thrown as well by the bizarre bandwagon of people gleefully downloading 1993 thrash metal hit Killing In The Name by Rage Against The Machine in a drive by hijacking of the race, although unlike the spontaneous surge in support for Jeff Buckley's Hallelujah last year which ultimately saw it land at Number 2 behind the Alexandra Burke version, the RATM campaign has quite rightly attracted its fair share of sneering and noting that those who flock to buy a single about rebellion just because a friend of theirs has told them to are clearly not all that clued up on the concept of irony. Whilst the presence of the single at the top of the iTunes chart as I speak indicates that the single will make its chart presence felt next week (it sits just outside the Top 75 on this week's chart) I'm kind of hoping that this is a temporary state of affairs caused by the sheep doing as they are told at the first opportunity and leaving cooler heads to prevail later in the week. Once again, if you really have to make a point by gatecrashing the chart with something random, why not do it with a new act who probably could do with the publicity rather than a 17 year old record from a group who actually made much better songs later in their career.
Call me Mr Scrooge.. See you next week for the Christmas countdown. [I can't bloody wait].