It was beyond a shadow of a doubt the biggest and most significant musical release of the week, at least in a pure commercial sense anyway, and so with a sense of grim inevitability Mind Of Mine by ZAYN storms to the top of the Official UK Albums Chart. The first ever solo release from a former One Direction star duly becomes only the fifth album (and the fourth artist) since November last year to oust Adele from the top of the pile. By an odd coincidence the last Number One album in the pre-25 era was One Direction's own Made In The A.M. although Zayn Malik did not participate in the recording, having left the group earlier in the year. Rather fascinatingly Mind Of Mine becomes only the second album to top the charts thanks to the boost it was given from streaming points (The Best Of Bowie was the first). On pure sales alone the Adele album still has the edge. And of course you cannot stream her, aside from the two singles.
The Official UK Singles chart meanwhile remains, if not completely stagnant, at the very least sluggish. Not one new single manages to penetrate the Top 10 this week, the incumbents all engaging in a friendly reshuffle for the most part. The most direct result of that is a third week at Number One for Mike Posner and I Took A Pill In Ibiza, the track this week reclaiming the sales crown it surrendered to Sigala last week and retaining a commanding lead on audio streams, making this oddly enough the first time it has topped both 'halves' of the chart survey simultaneously.
Work From Home meanwhile becomes Fifth Harmony's highest charting single to date with a one place rise into the runners up slot. However the strongest contender to be the next Number One single appears for the moment to be Sia's Cheap Thrills which has the greatest momentum within the Top 10, rising four places to Number 4. Until now the track has been at a relative disadvantage as its streaming totals were taking time to build, but with an 11-6 leap on that particular chart this week it now clearly has the wind at its back and should at the very least be a Top 3 single next time around. Cheap Thrills is now far and away Sia's biggest hit single as a solo artist, eclipsed only by her vocal contribution to David Guetta's now-classic Titanium which topped the charts at the start of 2012 and her guest role on Flo Rida's Wild Ones which also made Number 4 later that same year.
As an odd aside the hit version of Cheap Thrills is technically not a solo record anyway as the overwhelming majority of the track's sales are of the single remix which features a guest role for Sean Paul, but he receives no chart credit and even the track's video uses the album mix featuring Sia's vocals alone. Odd.
Also on the rise: Faded by Alan Walker which fails by a whisker to make the Top 10 with an 18-11 rise. The 18 year old producer is technically British by birth but who has grown up in Norway having lived there since the age of 2. The track began life as an instrumental "Fade" and was distributed free of copyright on YouTube. The hit version is a vocal remake, adding the tones of female singer Iselin Solheim to create what has already become one of the biggest Europe-wide smashes of 2016 so far. Britain is finally catching up it seems.
In the "still making progress" pile we can put DNCE's Cake By The Ocean lifting 21-17 and Chainsmokers' Roses which shifts 33-26. The highest and indeed only 'new' Top 40 entry of the week is No from Meghan Trainor which moves 42-30 to nudge its way into the upper end of the chart after four weeks on release. A less immediate track than anything from her first album, its change in style the inevitable result of the do-wop revivalism of her debut record having a necessarily short shelf life. The jury is out as to whether this has now resulted in her losing the one thing that made her unique.
Other than that this has been a quiet week. The one consequence in the shift in chart compilation dates which occurred last summer is that the start of this sales week just happened to be Good Friday and inevitably the desire of any major label to push new product onto the streets at the start of a four day weekend was limited to say the least. The ZAYN album sold itself so that was a natural choice for an Easter release. Everyone else elected to stay at home. Hence the emptiest springtime singles chart I can ever remember.