By my reckoning this is way ahead of schedule. According to the usual way of things, pop music isn't supposed to get incredibly good until at least March or April. Yet here we are at the end of January and the UK singles chart is crammed with contenders for some of the best records of the year.
Jessie J leads the charge with Domino spending a comfortable second week at Number One, edging out Rizzle Kicks who squeeze up a place to Number 2. That is enough to match the two weeks Jessie J spent at the top of the charts in February last year, giving her an outside chance of Domino becoming in pure chart terms her biggest hit to date (although the close on one million copies sold by Price Tag means its status as her biggest seller is likely remain unchallenged for some time). The Top 3 is rounded off by David Guetta's Titanium which jumps five places this week to become his highest charting single since Number One track Gettin Over You charted in June 2010.
Those who prefer their music to have a slightly harder edge will welcome the arrival of the highest new entry of the week as Antidote is a new entry at Number 4 for Swedish House Mafia featuring Knifeparty. The infectious Eurohouse track gives the production trio their fourth straight UK Top 10 single, their first since Save The World reached Number 10 in June last year. It matches the Number 4 peak scaled by Miami 2 Ibiza in October 2010 to become their joint highest charting single to date. Guest vocals on the track are provided by Knifeparty, the side project formed by Rob Swire and Gareth McGrillen of Pendulum, continuing an association with the Swedish House Mafia which began when the pair remixed Save The World last year.
Despite fears last week that Pixie Lott was in danger of missing the Top 10 with Kiss The Stars, she demonstrates that the single was destined for better things as it rises 14-8 this week. Also making pleasing upward progress is Kelly Clarkson with Stronger which moves 21-11 and can consider itself unlucky not to give her a Top 10 hit to follow up Mr Know It All which made Number 4 in November last year. Working in her favour is her past chart form - she has never before had a single reach the Top 20 without going that one step further. All her chart hits to date have gone Top 10 or peaked no higher than Number 21.
Also making a strong move is International Love, the latest hit from Pitbull which moves 23-13. Another track from the big selling Planet Pit album, this latest cut features a guest vocal from Chris Brown and its current status as a Top 20 hit goes some way to make up for the failure of his last single Rain Over Me to progress beyond Number 28 at the end of last summer.
Worth keeping an eye on is the continuing progress of Somebody That I Used To Know, the first ever British hit for Belgian-born Australian multi-instrumentalist Gotye. After entering the Top 40 at Number 36 last week it is now sitting at Number 21 and knocking on the door of the Top 20. Britain has come rather late to the party where this track is concerned as it has already topped the charts in several European countries as well as in both Australia and New Zealand (the home country of guest star Zimba who shares vocals on the intriguing record).
We are used to singles from big name pop acts making an immediate impact upon their release, so there is cause to note with curiosity the slow stars made by two forthcoming singles from a pair of former X Factor discovered acts with an already impeccable chart pedigree. The tracks in question are One Thing by One Direction which sits at Number 28 this week as the latest hit from their album Up All Night. In a similar position is the third Cher Lloyd single Want U Back which is two places higher at Number 26. Both are in theory singles set to be "released" later in February but which are charting as album cuts now they both have videos available. Can they overcome first week inertia to climb, or are they set to be out of pattern minor hits for the two acts in question?
It seems the saddest of all coincidences that jazz great Etta James should have passed away this week, just a fortnight after her voice appeared at the top of the singles chart for the very first time - sampled as part of Flo Rida's Good Feeling (and naturally Avicii's Levels at the same time). News of her death broke too late in the week for it to have had a huge impact on the chart this week, but nonetheless what many see as her signature song At Last sneaks into the Top 40 at Number 39, 52 years after it was first recorded by the star. Before today her only previous chart single was oddly enough the track which featured on the b-side of the original American release of At Last - I Just Want To Make Love To You which was re-released after being used in a series of Diet Coke TV commercials, hitting Number 5 in early 1996.
Over on the album chart the parade of 2011 releases taking it in turns to have another go at topping the charts continues, this week with Adele celebrating the first anniversary of the release of 21 as it climbs back to the top in its 52nd week on sale. If you have lost count you are perfectly forgiven, this is the album's 20th week at Number One and the fifth time it reached the top of the charts. In the whole of its first year on sale it has spent just nine weeks out of the Top 5 and has never once dipped lower than Number 9, that particular nadir coming on December 3rd last year.
Commiserations must go to Enter Shikari who at one stage looked set for their first ever Number One album but who eventually faded as the week went on, although we are told just 1500 copies separates them at Number 4 and Adele at the top.. A Flash Flood Of Colour does at least match the opening week peak of their debut release Take To The Skies which also had a brief week of glory at Number 4 back in March 2007.