What once was extraordinary and noteworthy is now commonplace. We've seen this over the last month or so on the Official UK Singles chart, four out of the last five Number One singles having climbed to the top of the charts from the depths of the Top 75 (or even beyond). This week it is the turn of Justin Bieber to perform the still comparatively rare chart feat of returning to the summit after previously having been deposed. Just a week after he surrendered the top slot to Easy Love by Sigala, the post-teen star climbs back to the top to give What Do You Mean a second week at Number One.
As these columns are very fond of noting, this was once something that happened the other side of never. Between January 1969 and December 1993, not one single pulled off the trick. However by returning to the top of the charts this week Justin Bieber ensures that 2015 is the seventh year in a row that at least one single has repeated at the top (although technically speaking this has already happened thanks to Uptown Funk having an extended run at the top in January after also hitting Number One in December 2014). Leading by just a few hundred copies midweek, the Bieber track extended its lead as the days rolled on and it is once more the most streamed track in the nation by a country mile, clocking up 3.62 million plays in the last seven days. [And another reminder - two years later the Number One single would in an average week be streamed 6 million times].
An otherwise becalmed Top 10 sees just one single breach its borders, and this too is a single that has been there before. Intoxicated by Martin Solveig and GTA jumps 11-9 to arrest the decline it suffered last week. Brighter things are in prospect next week with exciting new singles from the likes of Ellie Goulding and Naughty Boy but both face a herculean struggle to overcome the Justin Bieber bandwagon it appears.
The single chart's highest climber this week is, as expected Locked Away by R City featuring Adam Levine which flies 39-16 as the nation gradually becomes seduced by the autumn's first worldwide smash hit. Top 5 next week seems a strong probability.
The highest new entry of the week lands at Number 18 as 23-year-old grime rapper Stormzy makes his Top 40 debut. Real name Michael Omari, the star was mentioned in dispatches when the Sound Of 2015 shortlist was compiled at the start of the year and he followed this with his first ever chart single Know Me From which made Number 49 back in March. His mainstream breakthrough comes with Wickedskengman 4, the numerical suffix indicating it is based on the fourth of a series of freestyle raps which he's been drip feeding onto YouTube for the last few months. The single manages the neat trick of charting what in old-fashioned terms would be its a-side and b-side simultaneously as the second track from the digital bundle Shut Up also lands enough sales and plays to register at Number 59.
From grime we move to dubstep and the long-awaited chart return of Nero. The trio are best known for the string of singles taken from their debut album Welcome Reality and in particular Promises which topped the charts in the summer of that year and which would subsequently win them a Grammy. Their first Top 40 hit in almost four years is Two Minds, effectively the third single from their forthcoming album Between II Worlds which has suffered interminable delays after having first been promised for release in the first half of 2014. The long gap between releases may well have taken some of the lustre off their appeal, the single creeping to Number 27 although it would be foolish to write it off just yet. The effortless commercial sound that they perfected first time around coupled with the distinctive vocals of singer Alana Watson make this a very welcome return indeed.
If the singles chart remains slow moving and entrenched, then at least there is the album market which has a combination of its usual wild fluctuations plus the imminent arrival of the final quarter of the year giving it the air of a rollercoaster. No less than nine new albums land inside the Top 20 with the Top 3 made up entirely of new releases. In reverse order they are Anthems For Doomed Youth from the reunited Libertines at 3, That's The Spirit by Bring Me The Horizon at 2 and Keep The Village Alive from The Stereophonics at the top. The ninth studio album from the Welsh band, it is their sixth Number One album and their best chart showing since Pull The Pin reached the summit back in 2007. As is so often the case, they are a rock band who can top the charts without the need for an attendant hit single, the album's lead cut C'est La Vie having limped to Number 73 in May.
The most fascinating story of the week, however, belongs to a veteran star who makes a startling sales comeback. James Corden's 'Late Late Show' isn't shown on any TV channels in Britain but the YouTube videos of its most memorable moments go viral in a short space of time thanks to his well-established celebrity in his home country. Last week it was the edition of Carpool Karaoke featuring Stevie Wonder which was shared endlessly across social media and this had the extraordinary effect of spiking the soul legend's sales. Several of the songs he performed lodged themselves in the live iTunes chart, leading to Superstition charting at Number 84. Meanwhile his 2002 compilation The Definitive Collection charges to Number 19 on the album chart, its highest chart placing since July 2010 and just a few places short of the Number 11 peak it scaled seven years ago this week.