Doing the double - topping both singles and albums charts simultaneously - is a feat we don't give the credit it deserves here at times, so when it does happen it is worth celebrating. Lily Allen was the first to manage the trick earlier this year, It's Not Me It's You storming to the top back in February whilst its lead single was also at the head of the table. This week it is the turn of Lady Gaga for as Poker Face spends a third week as the best selling single in the nation, its parent album The Fame ascends to the top of the album chart. It is the first time the album has climbed higher than Number 3, a peak it scaled during its first week on sale and then again last week as the halo effect of the ever-growing popularity of Poker Face did its job to perfection. Lady Gaga is the first solo American female to hit the top since Pink's Funhouse landed at the summit in November last year.
The reason for lavishing this attention on it? Well, to be honest, the arrival of a three-month-old album at the top of the charts is as close as we get to something interesting happening near the top this week. Existing hits all consolidate their deserved popularity with few new singles able to penetrate the upper reaches for now. Not that there is an air of same old, same old, about the singles chart - far from it. The other two singles in the Top 3 are hits just a couple of weeks old each, The Noisettes hanging on in second place with Don't Upset The Rhythm (Go Baby Go) and AR Rahman and the Pussycat Dolls rising two to Number 3 with Jai Ho (You Are My Destiny), the single now the sixth Top 3 hit for Nicole and the other ones.
Believing that all good things come to those who wait has paid off for La Roux who after a fortnight locked at Number 11 finally penetrate the Top 10, rising to Number 7 to become the only act to enter the upper reaches this week. The debate rages as to whether it is correct to refer to La Roux as "her" or "they". The name comes from singer Elly's flame-red hair, yet she is always at pains to insist that she and co-producer Ben are very much equal partners in the act. Despite that, the blogs on their official website are written in the first person by Elly herself and signed off as "La Roux" each time.
Yes, its quiet this week. Why do you ask?
Ah, here's a new hit. Charging to Number 17 is Just Jack with brand new single Embers. Best known for his 2007 Number 2 hit Stars In Their Eyes, he found a follow-up hit rather harder to come by. Immediate follow-up Glory Days could only limp to Number 32 and the next two singles released from major label debut Overtones struggled to even find a chart toehold. Hence it is good to see him back at the more respectable end of the singles chart. Embers charted last week lower down the Top 200 thanks to a one-day distribution leak but is to all other intents and purposes the biggest new hit of the week. Third album All Night Cinema is pencilled in for a June release.
Also flying the flag for the male end of the British singer-songwriter market is the returning Jack Penate who lands at Number 23 with brand new single Tonight's Today. Like his semi-namesake Mr Alsopp above him, the Londoner is best known for one hit single in particular in 2007 and his failure to capitalise on that in the expected manner. Penate's hit was Torn On The Platform which had a cup of coffee at Number 7 during the summer two years ago and which subsequently helped his debut album Matinee to a Top 10 placing. His follow-up single Second, Minute Or Hour was less enthusiastically received (although it did go Top 20) and by Christmas third single Have I Been A Fool was largely ignored by everyone. At the risk of punning, I'm actually torn by this new single. On the one hand it is like welcoming back an old friend, his distinctive high pitched vocals and guitar lines are a welcome reminder of just why Torn On The Platform was such a joy two years ago, but at the same time the rather stodgy production and general lack of sparkle kind of suggests that he's the one Jack this week who will find it hardest to shake off the one-hit wonder tag, however undeserved.
The parade of returning British stars continues at Number 28 with Doves grabbing themselves a new entry with the title track from their forthcoming fourth album. It is the first chart single for the group since 2005 and heralds the release of their first album since the middle of the decade, new release Kingdom Of Rust having been subject to an intense advertising campaign ahead of its release this week. The new single is as comfortingly familiar as it is epic, instantly recognisable as a Doves single and sounding pleasingly like nothing else around it. Nonetheless, this rather understated chart entry is something of a disappointment, given that the lead singles from their last two albums (There Goes The Fear and Black And White Town) were both instant Top 10 hits upon release. Could it possibly be that their long gap between releases has meant they have fallen victim to the digital divide which has seen "old school" acts whose fame was established before the download era struggle to attract the new generation of singles purchasers. Whatever the size of this hit, expect the album to get a good reception next week. Strange but true - it is 16 years to the month since the Williams brothers had their first chart hit as Sub Sub with Ain't No Love (Ain't No Use).
Down the bottom end of the Top 40, Pink grabs another chart hit with Please Don't Leave Me, the third single to be taken from her album Funhouse. Hoping to follow predecessors So What and Sober into the Top 10, the single is for the moment her 18th solo hit since her debut in June 2000.
With his second album ROOTS grabbing a Top 5 place upon its release this week, rapper Flo Rida traces a rather curious pattern on the singles chart. Lead single Right Round continues to make the running, as although its week of glory at Number One was brief, it has been a consistent seller ever since. The track dips a place to Number 4 this week, the first time it has been out of the Top 3 since its release. Although not formally a single, the track Be On You was made available on iTunes as a teaser a week ago but that track could only limp to Number 51 last week, dipping three places on this weeks chart. Instead, it is outsold by what is, for now, the album cut of Sugar which lands at Number 35 many weeks ahead of what is intended to be its promotion as the second single proper from the album. The appeal of the track is hard to miss, taking as its base the 1999 Number One hit Blue (Da Be Dee) by Eiffel 65 although like Right Round the track recreates the melody rather than simply sampling the original. If anything an even more immediate and catchy pop record than its predecessor, of all the new hits this week this is probably the one above all others you can expect to see propping up the Top 5 before the month is out.
Those of you getting withdrawal symptoms from a lack of singles sampling or referencing the 1980s can be reassured that your fix has arrived, thanks to the Top 40 appearance of Lady Sovereign. The closest thing we have to grime superstar, Lady Sov kind of fell victim to what is best described as the Monie Love dilemma, spiriting her talent away to an American scene entranced by her skills and in the process losing touch with the very reason she made such waves on her own manor in the first place. Never has the need to "keep it real" seemed so appropriate. The chirpy knowingness of early releases such as 9 To 5 and Hoodie was replaced the soulless Americanisation of Love Me Or Hate Me and Those Were The Days and after her album Public Warning failed to capture the imagination of many on either side of the Atlantic her much-vaunted deal with Def Jam records was torn up and she found herself scratching around for a label prepared to release her latest recordings.
So after all that, I can't be the only one glad to see the "real" Lady Sovereign back. So Human sits her distinctive tones on a backing track based on the synthesiser melody from Close To Me by The Cure, the single cheekily borrowing lyrics from the original to hammer the point home. This itself has caused some minor muttering in some quarters with soul singer Thomas Jules claiming he was intending to base a track around the song and had obtained clearance for the sample first, only to find some of his thunder now stolen by the grime MC. The failure of Lady Sovereign to turn underground buzz into sustained commercial success so far is something of a frustration to longterm fans of her work. Cross your fingers that Number 38 isn't as far as 'So Human' climbs.