This week on the UK charts it is all about a pair of aphorisms.
First of all how about "fortune favours the brave" for it is indeed a brave act who chooses the dead week spanning the new year holiday to unleash a brand new single upon the public. Of the precisely three new singles which land on the Official UK Singles chart this week, the biggest of all is Timber by Pitbull featuring Ke$ha which lands cleanly at Number One with what is actually a phenomenally large sale for the start of January - selling over 138,000 copies
One of the undisputed kings of commercial pop-rap, Pitbull's career to date has seen him notch up a string of hit singles of his own as well as numerous successful collaborations with artists as diverse as Enrique Iglesias, Alexandra Burke and most notably Jennifer Lopez with whom he has had no less than three hit singles. His partner of choice on Timber however is a new name for his address book, this marking the first time he has appeared alongside Ke$ha on a hit single, even if she was apparently a late replacement for Rihanna who was the originally planned guest star.
Already a huge Top 3 hit single in America, Timber is the third UK Number One for both featured acts. Both of Pitbull's previous chart-toppers came within a few weeks of each other in 2011, his turn on Jennifer Lopez' On The Floor swiftly followed by his turn as lead artist on the four-way dance Give Me Everything which also featured vocal turns from Ne-Yo, Afrojack and Nayer. Despite three Top 10 hit singles in the two and a half years since this track marks Pitbull's highest charting single since that 2011 brace. For Ke$ha too this marks something of a return to form, her own biggest hit single since she also was last at Number One with We R Who We R back in February 2011. Her only other chart-topping single was her chart debut and by a strange coincidence also a guest role alongside the other pop-rap superstar of note, Flo Rida and his single Right Round which debuted at Number One in March 2009.
I guess the second aphorism of the week is "all good things come to those who wait". Ellie Goulding's second album Halcyon was released in October 2012 but at the time it was denied the chance to duplicate the success of her 2010 predecessor Lights in debuting at Number One, contenting itself instead with the runners-up slot. In the 65 weeks since then it has never been out of the charts, spawning hit singles along the way and last August being re-issued in a new special edition entitled Halcyon Nights which saw the now obligatory addition of some brand new tracks. Over the holiday period the talented singer-songwriter has kept a high profile, not least of which her appearance back in December on the X Factor final when she duetted with eventual third place act Luke Friend on her own Anything Could Happen. With the single How Long Will I Love You proving to have a shelf life far beyond the charity event for which it was first released and with the album heavily discounted in some places, her reward is to finally see Halcyon leap five places to become the first brand new Number One album of 2014.
Halcyon's 65 week wait for its moment of glory is long, but by no means unprecedented. The last album to top the charts for the first time over a year after its release was David Gray's White Ladder which first charted on May 13th 2000 (that date itself well over a year after it was first released ) and finally made Number One on August 11th 2001 - after 66 weeks of continuous charting (and 128 after it first hit the shops).
I mentioned there were two other new single releases this week, and it is probably no coincidence that they are an urban and a club track respectively. Leading the way is British Afrobeat star Fuse ODG, the creator of two Top 40 hit singles in 2013 and who now lands his third as Million Pound Girl (Badder Than Bad) lands at Number 14, seven places short of the peak of his debut Antenna which remains for now his only Top 10 hit to date. It seems safe to assume that his debut album will follow in short order sometime in the first half of the year.
Four places below are Matrix & Futurebound who also land their third hit single as collaborators, the follow-up to 2012 hit All I Know and 2013 release Magnetic Eyes which reached Number 24 almost exactly a year ago. New single Control becomes their biggest chart success so far, propelling them and vocalist Max Marshall into the Top 20 for the very first time ever.
Four singles ended 2013 with a sale of over one million copies, and there is no more obvious evidence of music's long tail that all four still occupy prominent places in this first Top 40 chart of the new year. Biggest seller Blurred Lines is at Number 28, Get Lucky at Number 39, Wake Me Up at Number 15 whilst fourth place single Let Her Go by Passenger can count itself unlucky not to also register a Top 40 place, rising three places to sit this week at Number 41.