For the second week running the anticipated invasion of big new hits failed to materialise at the very top of the Official UK Singles chart - and you know exactly what that means. In fairness a lack of strong competition had very little to do with Meghan Trainor spending a third consecutive week at Number One with All About That Bass for the single this week continued its domination of the market, clocking up a chart 'sale' of over 100,000 copies for the third week running and establishing itself firmly as one of the most significant pop records for months.
To put this in perspective, All About That Bass is only the second single this year to spend as many as three straight weeks at the top of the charts, making it the longest-running Number One since the four week run of Rather Be back in January/February. The star is the first female singer to have three weeks at the top of the charts since Ellie Goulding did so with Burn in August last year and more extraordinarily the first American female to manage such a run since Lady Gaga had a three week chart-topping run with Poker Face in the spring of 2009. Put simply she is on a roll and one which shows little sign of stopping.
All of this as well without any promotional activity on these shores. Unlike, say, Taylor Swift who spent last week doing the rounds of chat shows and high profile TV slots (Graham Norton, X Factor) and is rewarded with a further leap for Shake It Off which climbs 4-2 to occupy the highest chart placing of its nine-week sales career. Still without a Number One single to her name, Swift can now boast a trio of Number 2 singles, this track following I Knew You Were Trouble and her career-opener Love Story.
A brand new One Direction single is inevitably something of an event, but of course such is the group's tightly focused appeal that it is only really an event for those who care about a new One Direction single. On current evidence, this group is shrinking. Yes, they were never going to topple Meghan Trainor but not for the first time their opening week sales ended up being so front-loaded that a Number 2 midweek position has turned into a Number 3 entry, with the single sinking fast on live charts even as I speak. Steal My Girl is the track in question, a hitherto unheard piece which serves as the opening gambit from what will be their fourth(!) album. The single becomes the boy band's ninth Top 3 hit single, but let's judge it properly based on where it is charting in two weeks' time, particularly as its video has still not premiered and won’t be available to view until Friday.
Also reaching a brand new peak this week is Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran, now officially promoted to become the third single release from the all-conquering X album. The track jumps 10-4 in what is now its 17th straight week as a Top 30 hit and a full eight weeks after it appeared to have originally peaked as it hauled its way up the singles chart in sympathy with Sheeran's last single Don't.
The Vamps land their fifth Top 10 hit single in a row this week as Oh Cecilia (Breaking My Heart) makes a flying leap from 46 up to 9. As the title suggests, this is their take on the Simon and Garfunkel track Cecilia, essentially putting a new lyric to the original melody whilst retaining its chorus. Originally appearing on their debut album Meet The Vamps, the track had been charting for the past two weeks in its original form, but this spike in sales is thanks to the release of a new recording which adds a vocal contribution from Canadian singer Shawn Mendes and presumably preparing the groundwork for a full British release of his American hit single Life Of The Party. Something for us all to look forward to there.
A new Eminem single debuting as low as Number 10? Yes, it is possible. Not even the co-vocals of the currently white-hot Sia can help Guts Over Fear make a rather understated chart debut. Perhaps the single has little more than novelty value, it being the token new Eminem track to appear on the compilation album Shady XV which will feature the many acts to have appeared on his own Shady Records imprint since its inception 15 years ago.
Even the demand for hot European club hits appears to have died down compared to the success such tracks were achieving in the summer. French DJ and producer Watermät landed a huge hit in Belgium with the track Bullitt and whilst its British release has lifted it to a creditable Number 15 it is unlikely to proceed further.
Absent from the singles chart since his abortive attempt at a solo career in 2011, R&B singer Talay Riley now finds himself the guest star on two chart hits in as many weeks. Hard on the heels of his turn on Luvbug's Resonance (which takes an unseemly 13-48 dive this week) he also features on the new Wilkinson track Dirty Love which charts at Number 20. Also making a guest starring appearance on a hit single is Melissa Steel who supplies the vocals for Krishane's Drunk And Incapable which lands at Number 27. It is her third chart appearance of the year, following her guest appearance on Kove's Way We Are in July and her own solo debut Kisses For Breakfast which was a Top 10 hit in August.
All change at the top end of the album chart as Ella Henderson emerges victorious in another frantically busy week to debut at the top with Chapter One. Amusingly the album's two hit singles to date sit side by side in the Top 20 with her latest release Glow outsold by a whisker by its predecessor Ghost, charting at 17 to the latter's 16.
Also new is Jessie J, with her third album Sweet Talker at 5, the album of course home to recent Number One hit Bang Bang. Of particular curiosity though is the Number 6 debut of Songs Of Innocence by U2, this as a result of its full commercial release and physical availability, some weeks after it was controversially foisted upon active iTunes account holders in a unique worldwide promotion. These columns and podcasts have noted for some time the continuing failure of the album market to convert from a physical to a digital proposition, the U2 album almost certainly unique of late in having charted thanks to a near 100% sale on CD.
Down at the bottom of the Top 40, the year's second-biggest seller Rather Be finally bows out with a dip to Number 43 but Happy continues its role as the single that Will Not Go Away, rising 40-37 in its 47th week as a Top 75 chart single and the 46th straight as a Top 40 hit. My noting of record-breaking Top 40 runs last week failed to take into account the 45 week stretch of Stranger On The Shore by Acker Bilk during 1962, one which Happy does indeed now sail past to officially be the most enduring Top 40 hit in British chart history. [Ironically the single which will eventually overtake even this record is already on the charts, thinking its way out loud to Number One].