We are presently in an age of transition as far as much consumption is concerned. Not so much with singles which have by and large overcome the digital hump and with the mp3 download now firmly established as a mass market consumer project, but the concept of the album is still some way behind the digital curve - sales of digital album bundles are growing but slowly leaving the continuing decline of the high street record shop a matter of some concern for the industry.
One fun consequence of this is the way the depressed album market is prone to random swings of musical style as practitioners of rather niche styles find their core sales are enough to propel them to unheard of chart heights. This week on the Official UK Albums chart we see some fun examples of this - none more so at the very top as Dutch jazz singer Caro Emerald debuts at Number One with her album The Shocking Miss Emerald. She's by no means a stranger to the upper end of the charts, her record-breaking debut Deleted Scenes From The Cutting Room Floor having reached Number 4 here in late 2010 off the back of Adele-levels of chart domination back in her homeland. Miss Emerald has yet to land herself a proper chart single in this country, coming closest with Tangled Up, the lead single from her new album which reached Number 77.
There is also a brand entry this week for actor and comedian Hugh Lawrie whose latest album Didn't It Rain lands at Number 3, one place behind the peak of his musical debut Let Them Talk from 2011. Meanwhile, 80s veteran Alison Moyet makes a sensational return at Number 5 with The Minutes, her first album since 2007 and extraordinarily her highest charting since 1987 release Raindancing which peaked at Number 2.
On the Official UK Singles chart Daft Punk are still dominant as although Get Lucky dips in sales for the first time since its release, the track still shifts another 123,000 copies to be Number One for the third week running. For those keeping score this is the third week in a row sales of the single have topped six figures, the second single in the last few months to do this (James Arthur pulled off the trick with Impossible at Christmas) but crucially only the third in the last ten years. The track is now just short of half a million sales and is well on course to become the biggest seller of 2013 so far within the next few weeks.
Unlucky to be up against such strong competition, American club DJ Chris Malinchak makes a storming debut with the enormously popular So Good To Me which enters the chart at Number 2. Flagged up as a smash hit by just about everyone who heard it ahead of release, the gorgeous club track is one of those singles which has the potential to be as much of a sensation as the record above it. Warm and mellow, it is the musical equivalent of a massive comforting hug and more than deserves its status as one of the biggest selling singles of the moment.
With a Dutchwoman at the top of the album chart it would be remiss if the singles chart did not play host to one of her countrymen and Armin Van Buuren duly obliges with a new entry at Number 6 for This Is What It Feels Like, ensuring the Top 10 singles chart is swamped with club tracks in what is a startling reversal of the genre's recent form. It is far and away the biggest chart success to date for the DJ and producer, finally giving him a second Top 40 hit over 13 years after his early classic Communication peaked at Number 18.
Just one other new single of note makes the charts this week, Panic Cord entering at Number 19 to give Gabrielle Aplin her third chart single just three months after her last Please Don't Say You Love Me peaked at Number 6.
The new singles 'of note' should theoretically have included Mariah Carey's well-received return to the recording studio Beautiful following its worldwide release last Tuesday. British audiences appear unimpressed so far, and the single makes a rather derisory Number 39, not quite her lowest chart performance ever but a throwback to the early days in her career when her initial American success could not be replicated here for love nor money. This is the second time in the past year that a major American superstar has seen their big comeback release stall badly in the UK, with memories of Madonna's flop Gimmie All Your Luvin' still fresh in the memory.