This week's Official UK Singles Chart

This week's Official UK Albums Chart


Well, the David Bowie fuss didn't last long, did it? One week in the Top 10 and straight out of the Top 40 a week later. Why did we even bother worrying?

Instead, the focus this week on the Official UK Singles Chart was a rather intriguing three-way battle which ensued for Number One. Two major new releases by some returning heavyweight stars nabbed the headlines this week, only for the title to be stolen at the death rather unexpectedly by the incumbent.

The margin of victory was narrow - something of the order of 1,400 copies or so - but it was still enough to ensure that Scream and Shout by and Britney Spears tops the singles chart for a second week, although as you might expect from a single which is a new year hangover, it does so with a total sale which is its lowest to date. Scream and Shout has so far sold just short of half a million copies in its six weeks on sale.

Rapper 50 Cent hasn't had a hit as lead artist since 2009, indicating during the promotion for his fourth album Before I Self Destruct that it would be his last for the time being. In the intervening four years however talk of a brand new album never really went away and so after a huge buildup, it was inevitable that his brand new single My Life would make a strong chart impact. Early sales flashes suggested it would be an easy Number One but its sales slackened during the week, leaving the single to peak narrowly at Number 2 this week. That is still enough to match the peak of his biggest chart hit to date, Ayo Technology having climbed to the runners-up slot in October 2007. The new single features guest contributions from Eminem (the third time the pair have appeared together on a chart single although with 50 Cent as lead artist for the very first time) and also Maroon 5's Adam Levine who is charting for the third time outside of his group after previously featuring on singles by Kanye West and Gym Class Heroes in 2005 and 2011 respectively. In total My Life is 50 Cent's 13th Top 10 hit single in this country and comes just a few weeks shy of the 10th anniversary of his chart debut.

In one of those lovely coincidences which the singles chart throws up from time to time, the guest star on 50 Cent's only other Number 2 hit Ayo Technology was a certain Justin Timberlake and after a long chart absence he also debuts on the singles chart this week, new single Suit & Tie debuting at Number 3. Marking his own return to music for the first time in over six years, Timberlake's single was briefly the biggest seller of the moment during the week but having been released on Monday and thus a day after the 50 Cent single it was always destined to be playing catchup. The track sees the star crank up his naturally high pitched voice into a falsetto squeak in a manner oddly reminiscent of 1970s disco star Sylvester. Assuming it climbs no further the single will bizarrely be his first solo hit to peak at Number 3 with no less than six of his previous chart hits having stalled at Number 2 - including the aforementioned Ayo Technology. Timberlake can be forgiven for being slightly frustrated at not topping the charts, his only solo Number One hit to date coming with SexyBack, the opening single from his last album Futuresex/Lovesounds back in 2006. Guest star on Suit & Tie is Jay-Z who thus has his biggest chart hit since Empire State Of Mind peaked at Number 2 in 2009 and who also ensures that this week's Top 3 is bizarrely entirely made up of one-off American vocalist/rapper duets.

In a Top 10 badly in need of new blood, the only other new arrival is One Direction's Kiss You which climbs to a brand new peak of Number 9. The intoxicating and uplifting pop record charted briefly just before Christmas thanks to an X Factor performance by the group before spending the holiday period floating around the Top 30. Now promoted properly to full single status the track duly becomes their seventh Top 10 hit single.

Her album may well have surrendered the Number One crown for the moment, but Emeli Sande is still able to mine it for hit singles. The latest of these is the powerful and moving ballad Clown which is unlucky to miss out for now on becoming her ninth Top 10 hit single with a 23-11 move.

Biffy Clyro haven't been seen on the charts since 2010 when the use of their track Many Of Horror as X Factor winner Matt Cardle's debut single caused them to shift uncomfortably whilst cashing the royalty cheques. After a two and a half year break, they are finally ready to try to capitalise on that brief notoriety and land at Number 14 this week with brand new single Black Chandelier. Taken from their forthcoming sixth studio album Opposites, the single is their seventh to climb as high as the Top 20.

Over on the album chart, the talk is all about the Motion Picture Cast Recording of Les Miserables which made Number 5 last week on a couple of days of download sales alone and which now climbs effortlessly to Number One. As I noted last week, it is the first cast recording of a musical film to top the charts since the Madonna-fronted Evita soundtrack hit the top in the early weeks of 1997. As you might expect the popularity of the musical film of Victor Hugo's celebrated 1980s musical has had a similarly beneficial effect on some of its individual tracks. Leading the way inevitably is Anne Hathaway's performance of I Dreamed A Dream which shoots to Number 22 as the biggest of the four chart versions of the song to have appeared to date. Just outside the Top 40 at Number 43 is On My Own by Samantha Barks which too is the highest charting version of another of the musical's signature tracks. The only other act to have placed a version of the song in the Top 75 are curiously the Glee Cast whose rendition hit Number 73 in the same week that their take on I Dreamed A Dream made Number 36. The other 'Les Mis' track to appear on the chart this week is the full cast rendition of One Day More which sits at Number 66.

We should also take time to acknowledge Top 10 new entries for Everything Everything at Number 5 with Arc (beating the Number 17 peak of their 2010 debut Man Alive) and "LongLiveA$AP" which gives American rapper and director A$AP Rocky a Number 7 hit album. Two of its tracks sit side by side on the singles chart this week, the previously available F**kin' Problems which climbs to a new peak of Number 50 after 12 weeks on release and Wild For The Night which is brand new at Number 49.