It seems almost wrong for a record to make headlines for what it is not selling rather than how much, but such is the fate which befalls the UK's Number One album this week.
Topping the bestsellers list this week is Talk That Talk by Rihanna which vaults 7-1 in a rather curious out of nowhere move, regaining the Number One position it last held on the chart of December 3rd last year in its first week on release. Back then the album did an impressive 164,000 copies to top the pile. This week Rihanna makes Number One with a sale only a touch over 9,500. Regular readers of these pages will be aware that we've noted the weak-kneed sales of chart albums at the present time but it still comes as a surprise that this is nothing less than a brand new low, the smallest sale for a Number One album since fully accurate statistics became available back in 1994. A sales promotion, reducing the cost of the album to as little as £3 in some stores can be credited with giving the long player the surge it needed to return to the top. One can only wonder just what the market would have looked like had even this discount not been applied.
Still, onward and upward and whilst the top end of the singles market shows a decline from the six figure sales of both of last weeks Top 2 records, both tracks put in similarly healthy numbers to continue their two-way duel for a second week. The result remains the same however, as Wiley lands himself a second week at the top with Heatwave, leaving eternal bridesmaid Calvin Harris to hoover up the chart crumbs with We'll Be Coming Back.
As if to show how things move at dramatically different speeds for different acts, 10 weeks ago both Lawson and Rudimental scored their first ever Top 10 hits together in the same week. Whilst Rudimental's Feel The Love has remained a strong seller ever since and is still a Top 10 hit single, remaining static at Number 7 for the fifth week in a row, Lawson's When She Was Mine had a rather briefer chart career and exited the Top 4 after just three weeks. Hence this week they turn a new page and chart with their second hit single, an energetic and breezy pop record entitled Taking Over Me which beats the chart peak of its predecessor by a place to land at Number 3. A far better record than their debut, it theoretically deserves rather more attention paid to it.
Also new to the Top 10 this week is the rather more challenging sound of dubstep artist Redlight whose Wikipedia page reliably informs us is "navigating the unnamed airspace between house, bass and beyond". Bless him. His first chart single Get Out Of My Head reached a none too shabby Number 18 back in February and he follows that up with the rather more in demand Lost In Your Love which is a new entry at Number 5. We await news of an album to enter his airspace with bated breath.
We have to peer as low as Number 22 for the next big new hit of the week, Scream by Dizzee Rascal featuring Pepper. His first release as lead artist on a track since the chart-topping Dirtee Disco back in 2010, the rather lowly entry point for this new single means he is in severe danger of spoiling a near-perfect run of Top 10 singles featuring him as either lead or guest artist, one which dates back to the chart entry of Dance Wiv Me in 2008, the single which propelled him from niche interest to mainstream star. In a rather fun coincidence, the second single from that run, the similarly chart-topping Bonkers makes a Top 40 reappearance at Number 31 this week, boosted by a 59p promotion on iTunes and his brief performance of the track at the Olympic games opening ceremony two weeks ago.
A fun and rather pleasing curiosity appears at Number 28 as Little Talks by Of Monsters And Men makes its UK chart debut, a full year after its release in many other territories and its brief appearance on the US charts. The band hail from Iceland, making them the first such nationals to make a British chart breakthrough since Sigur Ros back in 2005. The most successful Icelandic star on the British charts to date is naturally Bjork who made Number 17 as lead singer of the Sugarcubes with Hit back in 1992 and subsequently had several Top 10 hits during the mid-1990s.
Whilst the Olympic games might be over and those of us in London can have our trains back, the music-heavy nature of the closing ceremony at the weekend seems set to have a dramatic effect on the singles chart next week. A forever underperforming classic from a quintessential British band finally becoming a major hit single? It could well happen and when it does I will be singing my joy from these virtual rooftops.