[And so begins the about.com era of Chart Watch UK. During the hiatus following the closure of Yahoo! Music I was approached by the editor/curator of the 'top40' section of the site about writing weekly for them. I was in two minds about it, worrying that it wasn't exactly a brand with a great deal of visibility in the UK, but conceding it was better than nothing elected to give it a go. For a while though the quality and length of these pieces dipped as the money I was being paid for them had reduced considerably and the constraints of the site meant I couldn't quite be as free form as before. Before too long however I'd hit a new groove and stopped worrying about such details. This might have diminished my own personal brand as I sculled around in the backwaters of the internet. But it was better than nothing after all].
Two (or should that be four?) of Britain's hottest urban talents slugged it out for singles chart supremacy this week, the battle resulting in the Top 2 singles both selling over 100,000 copies each for the first time in a year..
Leading the charge was Read All About It from Professor Green featuring Emeli Sande which debuts comfortably at Number One on the UK singles chart, bring Rihanna's three week reign with We Found Love to a close. Rapper Professor Green (real name Stephen Manderson) is celebrating his first ever Number One single, the track arriving at the top of the charts a little over 18 months since he made his chart debut with the Number 3 hit I Need You Tonight. Guest star Emeli Sande has had a slightly longer wait for her first chart-topper, having debuted back in the summer of 2009 on Chipmunk's Number 6 hit Diamond Rings. She narrowly missed out having a solo Number One hit earlier this summer when her own track Heaven peaked at Number 2.
Read All About It sold an impressive 153,000 copies last week, not quite the biggest single week sale of any track so far this year, but agonisingly close to it. The track's popular appeal was almost certainly boosted by a performance on the X Factor results show last weekend.
Sympathies then to Labrinth and Tinie Tempah who have to content themselves with a Number 2 debut for their own single Earthquake, this despite the track also selling well in excess of six figures - a total which would almost certainly guarantee them a place at the top of the charts in any ordinary week. In the event the single can merely duplicate the chart placing from the first time the two men collaborated with each other - this back in June 2010 when Labrinth made his chart debut on Tempah's hit single Frisky. Their sale of 115,000 is the highest for a Number 2 single since Only Girl (In The World) by Rihanna sold 126,000 copies exactly one year ago this week.
There is a further new entry inside the Top 10 at Number 8 for Rizzle Kicks with their second single When I Was A Youngster, the follow-up to their debut single Down With The Trumpets and a track which neatly heralds the release of their debut album Stereo Typical which hits the stores this week.
This week saw new album releases from Kelly Clarkson (Stronger at Number 5) and Michael Buble (Christmas at Number 3) but top honours inevitably go to Coldplay who debut with some ease at Number One with new album 'Mylo Xyloto'. Reviewers cannot seem to agree on its merits with some awarding the collection top marks whilst others are more measured in their praise. The record buying public appear not to care however and the album continues Coldplay's 100% strike rate of Number Ones with each of their five studio albums to date.
The release of Mylo Xyloto finally frees up its second single Paradise to chart, the track having been ineligible until now as it was also available as an "instant grat" download to pre-purchasers of the album. Freed from this restriction, the single charts at Number 14 . Coldplay have a second Top 40 hit this week with the album cut Princess Of China, thanks you suspect in part to the presence of Rihanna on guest vocals. Not for the first time this year the Bajan star is somewhat ubiquitous on the UK Top 40 with Princess Of China joining her own We Found Love at Number 3, her guest vocals on the Nicki Minaj track Fly at Number 25 and her previous release Cheers (Drink To That) at Number 40 to ensure she features on no less than four current hit singles.