Funny isn't it how Adele has somehow changed our whole perception of what counts as "normal". Under any other circumstances the fact that a major new album from a big name such as Lady Gaga is spending its second week at Number One this week would be something to merely note in passing. Such are the events of 2011 thus far however that the continuing presence of Born This Way at the top of the album chart is a noteworthy happening in itself - being as this is the first time that Adele's now-legendary 21 album has spent longer than a week away from the top of the charts since its release.
Not that she isn't doggedly hanging on in there mind, with 21 and 19 still immovable from their occupation of the rest of the Top 3 - helped along not a little by the presence of at least a couple of their songs in the repertoire of the contestants of a certain TV talent show which reached its climax this week - more of which to come later.
The highest new entry on the album chart at Number 4 is something of an unexpected curiosity, as You And I, the fourth album from the hitherto unheralded American folk rock duo The Pierces blasts its way past all other competition in the market. The album is their first to be properly promoted on these shores, but whilst the tracks You'll Be Mine and Glorious were promoted as singles in the months prior to its release, only the former came anywhere near to tickling the charts themselves, creeping to Number 46 in March. Not that this didn't stop their label pulling out all the stops into making its release sound like a big deal and so one high profile radio advertising campaign and a few choice TV appearances later, the two sisters from Alabama suddenly have themselves the biggest new release of the week, even if virtually nobody in the UK would recognise them if they fell over them in the street.
Over on the singles chart, there is nothing it seems that is going to shift the Pitbull/Ne-Yo/Afrojack/Nayer squadron from the very top with Give Me Everything remaining glued to the summit for the third straight week. The single has now sold close to 350,000 copies which isn't quite enough to lift it into the year to date Top 10, but given its current momentum it is surely only a matter of time.
As expected, Pitbull's nearest challenge came from Aloe Blacc who moves up one place with I Need A Dollar. Now in its ninth week on the chart, its rise to prominence has been a delight to anyone who first spotted its potential over two months ago. The much belated hit single for the star has traced a graceful upward path ever since it was released, moving 54-49-29-15-10-8-4-3-2 in a manner which should give hope to everyone who has ever seen their single arrive down at the bottom end of the chart. Proof positive perhaps that a good song will always win through given enough time and airplay?
The highest new entry of the week arrives at Number 6 for the trans-continental pairing of Alex Gaudino and Kelly Rowland with What A Feeling. Italian DJ and producer Gaudino is best known on these shores for his 2007 hit Destination Calabria which mashed up an old Crystal Waters track with an instrumental by Rune to produce a smash Number 4 hit. Since then his chart appearances have been sporadic, although he did return to the Top 10 last year with I'm In Love (I Wanna Do It) which had a brief cup of coffee at Number 10 back in October. For the second biggest chart hit of his career he has enlisted the services of the former Destiny's Child singer who has now swapped a Frenchman for an Italian as her dancefloor collaborator following two successful singles with David Guetta at the helm in 2009 and 2010. What A Feeling is now her 8th Top 10 hit single away from her old group and is shaping up nicely to become the first big club anthem of the new summer season. Whisper it carefully, but this actually eclipses When Love Takes Over as the best club track she has ever been a part of.
Two other big transatlantic names climb into the Top 10 this week with their own tracks, the charge maybe inevitably by Rihanna who moves 20-8 with California King Bed, now the fourth straight Top 10 single from her current album 'Loud'. Two steps behind is Jennifer Lopez who now confirms that her Number One comeback was no fluke, as her second single of the year I'm Into You advances in its own right into the Top 10.
With the Saturdays' new entry from last week proving predictably enough to be a one week wonder (Notorious collapses to Number 21) the Top 10 reverts once again to the notable situation of a fortnight ago where it is entirely bereft of UK talent, save for the presence of Lauren Bennett on guest vocals on the LMFAO track clinging on at Number 4. In the near 60 year history of the UK charts this is the closest we have ever come to a Top 10 without a single homegrown act and the present lack of British stars amongst the bestsellers has predictably enough prompted some industry-wide navel gazing as to just why this should be. Everything, from the lack of good old fashioned guitar groups, the economic recession meaning labels are working with a far smaller selection of acts at present, to the way pop music has mutated into a hybrid of R&B and rap which inevitably favours American based stars has been blamed, but in truth the current situation is, like all others, a passing moment in music history overall. Only those with a goldfish like attention span will have forgotten that we began the year with British stars like Adele and Jessie J selling singles in enormous numbers (Miss J herself at Number 11 this week with a single which if had only sold a little more would have rendered this entire paragraph redundant). As recently as 2009 we were in the middle of a UK-originated maelstrom of exciting young talent as the likes of Pixie Lott, JLS, Chipmunk. Taio Cruz, Dizee Rascal, Tinchy Stryder and Calvin Harris all swept to the Top 10 of the singles chart. British pop music is far from dead, but all the same we'd much rather it wasn't resting for too much longer.
In an otherwise quiet week for major chart activity, we can amuse ourselves by noting the effect had on music sales by the live finals week of Britain's Got Talent which oh so conveniently placed high quality renditions of a number of popular songs in front of a large viewing audience. Hence the sudden surge in sales once again for Tracy Chapman's Fast Car which had sunk as low as Number 40 but which now rebounds to Number 28 after finalist Michael Collings broke out his party piece once again on Saturday's final show. Blow me if the 23 year old song isn't at the time of writing back in the iTunes Top 10 as well, so expect it to rise even further by next weekend.
Undoubtedly the most talked about act of the week (not always for the best of reasons either) was early favourite Ronan Parke who on Monday night brought the house down with his take on Make You Feel My Love….
You're way ahead of me aren't you?
Amazingly, extraordinarily, phenomenally, there were still ITV1 viewers who had not previously been inspired to buy a copy of the song following at least five million other renditions of the piece over the last 18 months or so. So it's back in the Top 40 at Number 34 for Adele for the first time since April, this the fourth separate occasion the single has entered the upper end of the singles chart. In the final Ronan's song of choice was Kelly Clarkson's Because Of You which should make some kind of chart appearance next week.
The ultimate winner of the show was Scottish singer Jai McDowell whose midweek performance has thus pushed the 2003 Number One single Bring Me To Life by Evanescence back to Number 62 this week. His winning song was a rendering of To Where You Are by Josh Groban - once again a more or less nailed on his single next week.
Finally there is a BGT factor behind the return of Vanessa Carlton's rather lovely A Thousand Miles at Number 55 after it featured heavily in a piano medley by performer Paul Gbegbaje whilst most bizarrely of all the work of comedy dancer Steven Hall has propelled Shakira's World Cup anthem Waka Waka (This Time For Africa) back to Number 64.
For those who are still beating themselves up about the whole British Top 10 thing and those who find the rise of old songs thanks to TV shows incredibly frustrating, just brace yourselves for next week. New, exciting and crucially British singles from Example, Coldplay and, if you must, Nicola Roberts hit the streets this week. Things just got a little more interesting.