It would be hard to argue against the notion that Jess Glynne was one of the breakout stars of 2014, even if the end of year awards somehow found it all too easy to overlook her. She topped the British charts in conjunction with not one but two acts, first as the singer on Clean Bandit's acknowledged classic Rather Be" and then in short order as the featured singer of Route 94's My Love. She was unlucky not to add a third to that total, her reunion with Clean Bandit on Real Love having the misfortune to be released in the same week as the Band Aid 30 single last November and so stalling at Number 2. The flame-haired singer actually launched her solo career last summer with the single Right Here which charted at Number 6 in July, although I for one was vocal in my disappointment at how underwhelming a track it actually was.This week, however, there is better news as the British singer now finds herself at the top of the charts for the third time in just over a year, all thanks to a much better solo single Hold My Hand which easily sweeps aside the competition to debut at the very top of the Official UK Singles chart. The retro-house sound of her first solo hit is in evidence here too, but the single almost certainly benefits from the magic touch of the co-writing and production skills of Jack Patterson - better known as Mr Clean Bandit himself.
Sam Smith's hopes of continuing his spell of topping the album chart in alternate weeks are dashed this week, In The Lonely Hour reduced instead to a second week at Number 2. In 'his' place at Number One instead is the celebrated new talent of James Bay whose debut album Chaos And Calm makes an assured debut at the top of the charts. The album in the process drags a number of its tracks onto the singles chart through a combination of streams and cherry-picked sales but none benefits more than his already long in the tooth debut single Hold Back The River. The single, first released in November last year, this week climbs to a brand new peak of Number 2 after no less than 18 weeks on sale. Every single one of those has been as a Top 100 hit although the single did dip out of the published charts for a fortnight over the new year, meaning that it can boast a 16 week Top 75 chart stay from two separate runs. The single's progress to this high point has been slow and steady since its chart return, with a fortnight at Number 16, a fortnight locked at Number 8 and even two separate falls down the chart forming part of its sales history.
Mind you, not every slow burner does so from the depths. Take for example FourFiveSeconds from Rihanna, Kanye West and Paul McCartney. Never once climbing higher than Number 3, the all-star single this week celebrates its ninth straight week as a Top 5 hit single with a one place fall to Number 4.
Rihanna also has the second highest new entry of the week with her new track Bitch Better Have My Money landing at what at first sight appears to be a lowly Number 29. Naturally the single would be higher had it benefited from a full week of chart sales, its Thursday appearance means it does so on the basis of just two and a half days of availability. The music industry as a whole has tired of such release date randomness and is taking action of its own, of which more in a moment.
The highest new entry of the week is a collaboration between two well-established acts. Sigma landed themselves a brace of Number One hits in 2014 with both Nobody To Love and Changing reaching the top of the charts. They are denied a chance of three in a row this week with the Number 12 debut of new single Higher but they nonetheless add to their collection of all-star pairings thanks to the presence of Labrinth on guest vocals, this single the singer-songwriter's first hit of 2015 and his first chart record since his own Jealous made Number 7 in December.
Just one more single makes a British Top 40 debut this week, Lamborghini by KSI featuring P Money making a debut at Number 30. Real name Olajide Olatunji, KSI made his name as a YouTuber, initially as a video game reviewer before branching out as a social commentator and turning his hand to rapping. The single is a fun nod to his notorious obsession with the luxury cars although his screeched and aggressive MC-ing grates rather compared to the smoother and rather more competent tones of P Money who interjects at periodic intervals.
Those of you attuned to reading these words at the start of the week now have three months to get ready for a change of routine - as indeed we all. As a direct consequence of the record industry's move to a Global Release Day which will see all new music released worldwide on Fridays no matter what territory it is in, the UK charts are also set to shift their date of publication for the first time in 28 years. As of July, the British charts will track music sales Friday-Thursday with the new singles chart being unveiled to prime time radio audiences on Friday evenings. Some of us just won't know what to do with our Sunday afternoons.