It has been a wild crazy week. Songs that you would have expected to be contenders only did so briefly, new and unexpected songs arrived late to the party and from one day to the next it was possible to learn that everything you previously knew was wrong. It therefore somehow seems reassuring that amidst all the chaos, All About That Bass by Meghan Trainor remains supreme at the top of the Official UK Singles Chart for a second straight week, clocking up her second 100,000+ plus sale in the process. As I have commented so many times before, during this mad, crazy year, a parade of one week wonders at the top of the charts inevitably undermines the significance of reaching the summit and requires other measures to truly note the cultural impact of a piece of music. The fact that All About That Bass appears more or less immovable for the moment automatically elevates it to being one of the most significant releases of the moment.
Two weeks ago when Nicki Minaj appeared on Bang Bang I noted that the single marked her 25th Top 75 hit single in a little over four years. This week she manages the extraordinary feat of notching up both her 26th and 27th simultaneously with two of the bigger new entries of the week. Leading the way is a rare solo offering, the now notorious Anaconda whose typically jaw-dropping video became one of the most viewed clips online when it first became available during the summer. Its inevitably delayed British release means the track only now finally charts, and despite holding its own during most of the week is actually only able to register a Number 3 entry, outsold at the death by the aforementioned Bang Bang which retains its place at Number 2. This is still enough to ensure it is the female hip-hop star's second biggest hit to date as a lead artist, second only to Starships which landed in second place back in 2012, but it does, for now, mean that once more she is denied a place in history as the first ever solo female rap star to top the British charts. Much of the sell of Anaconda has been based not just on the booty-shaking video but also its call back to another famous rap track in celebration of big bottoms. Baby Got Back by Sir Mix-A-Lot is one of those singles which is known more by notoriety than popularity in Britain, the track a notorious flop on these shores, limping to a mere Number 56 in August 1992.
Oh yes, the second Minaj entry of the week? Her role as guest star on the Usher single She Came To Give It To You which enters at Number 16, although in this mad crazy week it is only enough to make it the fifth highest new entry.
Hence we have to deal with the others, the first of which is Don't Tell 'Em which charts at Number 5 to grant Jeremih his biggest British hit single to date. The American R&B star's chart career has to date been to say the least stuttering and sporadic. Until today he has only managed two previous chart singles, both some distance apart from each other. Birthday Sex was the first, hitting Number 15 in August 2009 with the Number 30 hit Down On Me following some 16 months later in February 2011. The new track samples extensively from the Snap! hit Rhythm Is A Dancer, which was also referenced by Bastille in Of The Night at the end of last year. [Another one of those hits which was never granted a proper video].
Ella Henderson is one of the select handful of acts to have had a Number One single last more than a week at the top this year, her debut single Ghost managing a fortnight at the summit in June, going on to become one of the more enduring hits of the year with an 11 week run in the Top 10 and a chart life which continues right up to the present moment, the single slipping to Number 22 this week in its 18th week on sale. In the week that X Factor begins its live shows finally, it seems only appropriate that one of the series' alumni should have a new single out and so the 2009 finalist can this week boast a second chart hit with Glow charting at Number 7
There is an X Factor connection with the fourth highest new hit of the week, even if that may not be immediately obvious from the artist credit. LuvBug is the alias of a trio of dance producers who just happen to feature amongst their number Marvin Humes, formerly one of the members JLS whose brightly burning career was kickstarted by their appearance on the show during the fifth series in 2008. The first ever LuvBug hit single is Resonance which charts this week at Number 13 and which grants a chart return for Talay Riley whose own solo career stalled in 2011, shortly after he first featured on the Chipmunk track Look For Me which made Number 7 in the early weeks of 2010.
Back in 1997, the BBC secured the co-operation of a mouthwatering array of talent to record an all-star rendition of the old Lou Reed track Perfect Day, a record that not only served as a promotional trail for their musical output but which was also made available as a charity release. An easy Number One on two occasions at the end of that year, it remains justifiably one of the more famous British music moments of that decade. So who then could blame the BBC for wanting to try the same trick again. 14 years later another promotional track was unveiled last week. Dubbed 'The Impossible Orchestra' the promotional trail once more sees a series of renowned international stars each taking on a line of the Beach Boys song God Only Knows, with Brian Wilson himself featuring prominently to give the recording a formal seal of approval. Unveiled to much fanfare last week, the single was made available for download on Tuesday evening but despite near saturation coverage in the media and multiple plays for its video on various BBC channels the single makes a rather lowly entry at Number 20. Yes, the midweek release did not help but it is also hard to ignore the fact that whilst Perfect Day was a veritable tour de force and just seemed to work despite the line by line nature of its recording, God Only Knows is a rather clunking mess - not helped by the fact that the song seems to run out after just a minute and the remainder of the track is a relentless parade of musical names yowling the title over and over again. Clearly this is a record that will eventually take on a life of its own, and as the official Children In Need single is destined for plenty of mainstream exposure over the next month or so, but for now the act who for some reason are credited as Brian Wilson and Various Artists have some way to go to recreate the success of their predecessors from a decade and a half ago.
Rather Be by Clean Bandit this week celebrates its 38th week on the chart, and retains by a whisker its Top 40 status by dipping to Number 39. This means it has now equalled what used to be the record for the longest continuous Top 40 run, jointly held by Relax by Frankie Goes To Hollywood and Rockstar by Nickelback. Sadly for all three acts, that particular benchmark was smashed a little while back by Happy which this week extends its run - just - to 45 weeks. Dropping to Number 40 this week you might reasonably expect this week to be its last appearance, although the use of the song by an X Factor performance last week, plus Pharrell's own results show appearance at the weekend may well extend its life a little further. The song continues its relentless march up the bestsellers list, a place in the Top 10 of all time still quite possibly within reach.
For Max Alexander James Masterton - born 7.30pm, October 8th 2014 [So yeah, happy birthday son, when you eventually get to read this].