One week after making the Top 10 of the singles chart for the very first time, singer-songwriter Tom Odell makes the best possible debut on the Official UK Albums chart as his debut long player Long Way Down storms to Number One. The album arrives on the back of an enormously entertaining public spat all thanks to the artist's father who engaged in a war of words with music magazine NME after they dared to give the album a zero stars review and suggested that nobody buy it, a call which it seems enough people have failed to heed.
What is rather notable about the UK album chart at the moment is its testosterone-heavy nature. The Top 6 of the chart is made up in its entirety by male soloists - Odell, Stewart, Passenger, Buble, Bugg and West - whilst the rest of the Top 10 is made up of albums by Daft Punk, Olly Murs, Bruno Mars and Kodaline, none of whom feature a female amongst them. Not until the Number 11 album by Rudimental does a female voice feature.
Things are slightly different over on the Official UK Singles chart as after a four week run Robin Thicke finally surrenders the Number One slot to what is easily the biggest pop hit on the continent at the moment as I Love It by Icona Pop featuring Charli XCX storms to the very top of the charts. The Swedish made single has been a long time coming, freely available all over Europe but with its British licensees electing to delay the release of the single as long as possible to build up a suitable head of steam, all the while commercials for Samsung mobile phones which feature the track as a soundtrack serving to build up an insatiable demand. Needless to say, this has been to the detriment of both label and artist as it has allowed a veritable flood of copycat cover versions to enter the market and steal sales away. Two differently credited covers made the Top 75 last week and one more by the New Music Masters sits at Number 61 this time around. It may come as no surprise that the Icona Pop original wasn't even supposed to be released for another seven days, but it became impossible to hold back the tide any longer and this week's Number One is the result.
It is pleasing to once more be able to report a massive Number One sale, with I Love It despite the cover version competition selling almost 125,000 copies. For those keeping count, this is now the 11th week in a row that we've seen 100k+ sales for the top-selling single of the week, the longest such run since the opening months of 1998 when megahits from the likes of Oasis, Celine Dion and Run DMC saw a 13 week spell of six-figure sales. Honourable mention must go to Blurred Lines which also sold over 110,000 copies for its fifth week in a row above 100K. That takes the total for Robin Thicke's single to 829,000 copies which means it is well on track to top a million within short order - hard on the heels of Daft Punk's Get Lucky which became the first 2013 release to hit the magic number during the course of last week.
As anticipated will.i.am's new single Bang Bang continues the upward momentum it demonstrated last week, charging 42-3 to give the Voice UK coach his third Top 3 hit of the year and the fourth from his current album #willpower. Oddly enough he cannot manage quite the same magic as a guest star, his collaboration with Ke$ha on Crazy Kids locked firm at Number 35.
Will.i.am does at least deny a Top 3 entry for a single which had been the subject of intense social media promotion by the army of followers of The Wanted, all of whom were desperate to see their idols' new single top the charts in its first week on release. In truth Walks Like Rihanna had everything going for it, from pre-order availability to front-load its first chart week sales to the fact that the breezy Dr Luke-penned track is easily one of the best things they have put their name to so far, a joyful anthemic pop record which actually would have been proud to grace the top end of the singles chart, screaming girls factor or not. Bizarrely for now, however, it is their first Top 10 hit to date not to reach the Top 3 in its first week on release, meanwhile you will note it is now a year since the release of Chasing The Sun, the introductory single from what was supposed to be their third album, a work which was initially set for a late 2012, then February 2013 and now we are told a September release - although it still hasn't officially been given a title. All very odd.
Two more brand new releases make the Top 40 this week, Lost & Not Found giving Chase & Status a satisfying hit at Number 15, their biggest chart hit since Blind Faith made Top 5 way back in February 2011. Meanwhile down at Number 37 one of the 'stars' of TV series The Valleys, Leeroy makes his recording debut with Can't Get Enough. That's one place lower than The Only Way Is Essex 'star' Jessica Wright managed with her similarly TV promoted single Dance All Night in September last year.
The Voice UK winner Andrea Begley makes her Top 40 debut as her rendition of My Immortal moves 75-30, this week managing to outsell by some distance the Evanescence original which moves 74-40. Dating from 2003, it is far and away the oldest recording on the Top 75 this week, although David Bowie's Life On Mars sits at Number 89 this week, beating even that single by the small matter of three decades.