14 years after they made their chart debut and a mere nine since they moved into the rarefied circles of being true rock megastars, Coldplay maintain their perfect chart record as their sixth album Ghost Stories duly becomes their sixth Number One album on the Official UK Charts. Naturally enough the album debuts at the top with what is a refreshingly (by modern standards) strong sale, its total of 168,000 units easily the biggest single week sale for an artist album so far this year. Mind you, even one of the biggest bands on the planet is still not immune from the precipitous decline of the long player album as a commercial product - back in 2005 their third release X&Y sold a massive 465,000 copies in its first week alone.
Still, Coldplay at least can still manage to sell singles, the introductory hit from Ghost Stories being Magic which still registers a place on the singles chart at Number 24 after 12 weeks on sale. It is finally joined in the Top 40 by big selling track A Sky Full Of Stars which has been as high as Top 3 on the iTunes live charts in recent weeks but which has been debarred from the singles chart itself under instant gratification rules. Finally freed from those strictures the track debuts at Number 15 this week, along with fellow instant grat release Midnight at Number 48 and album cut Another's Arms at Number 70 to give Chris Martin et al a grand total of four Top 75 chart hits this week.
The biggest album releases of the week are all by veteran acts of one flavour of another. Landing at Number 3 is Paul Heaton whose chart career dates back to the release of the first Housemartins singles back in 1985. His new album What Have We Become marks his on-record reunion with his former Beautiful South bandmate Jacqui Abbott, the record making a strong arrival at Number 3 despite the disappointing failure of quirky lead single DIY to progress beyond the Number 75 it scaled on the singles chart last week.
Flying the flag for 90s debutants after a fashion are the long-defunct Oasis who nonetheless re-enter the charts at Number 5 with a 20th-anniversary edition of their debut album Definitely Maybe, now in a special three-disc edition featuring demo tracks and b-sides. The album hasn't been this high in the charts since 1996.
The ranks of acts to have topped the Official UK Singles charts twice in 2014 are swelled this week with the arrival at Number One of Stay With Me by Sam Smith, 13 weeks after his last single Money On My Mind landed neatly at the summit. The single is his third Number One in all, arriving exactly a year to the week since his collaboration with Naughty Boy on La La La also debuted at Number One. Last week's Number One by Rita Ora proves to be a one week wonder in more ways than one with a 1-4 tumble, leaving the runners-up slot to be occupied by a still tenacious Waves by Mr Probz, the single now spending its fifth week as a Top 2 hit single.
Rapper Fuse ODG lands his fourth hit single and biggest to date with Dangerous Love debuting at Number 3, beating by two places the peak of Million Pound Girl (Badder Than Bad) which charted in January. The single brings along Jamaican star Sean Paul for the ride, his first hit single of 2014 and his highest charting contribution since he helped propel What About Us by The Saturdays to Number One in March last year.
Clean Bandit's Rather Be spent four weeks at Number One at the start of 2014, is the second biggest seller of the year to date and indeed is still selling, sitting pretty at Number 21 this week. The classical-dance fusion group land their first hit single since this week as new track Extraordinary lands at Number 5, two weeks ahead of their long-awaited debut album New Eyes which is set to drop on June 2nd. As a group with no permanent lead singer (Sharna Bass provides the guest shouting on this new single) is is becoming ever more entertaining to watch the attempts to give the group a proper public image, the video for Extraordinary notably taking great pains to thrust Cellist Grace Chatto front and centre of the action even when she's not actually playing her instrument. [That's not a bad thing, incidentally].
Other new arrivals this week include Ten Feet Tall by Afrojack at Number 20 and Pills N' Potions by Nicki Minaj at Number 38. Meanwhile, the wait for another two-week Number One hit goes on, Sam Smith at first light appearing set to be outsold by I Wanna Feel by Secondcity on next week's chart. It continues…