So what do we call this week then? The Christmas chart that isn't? The Boxing Day chart? The last chart (technically) of 2010? In this crazy mixed up calendar world this barely noticed countdown is actually one of the more significant ones of the year, covering as it does the final shopping days in the run-up to the holiday itself and perhaps just as importantly sales on Christmas Day when a disproportionate number of iTunes vouchers are cashed in with a corresponding sales surge for all manner of songs both old and new.
At the top end of the singles chart there is naturally enough little change with Matt Cardle's When We Collide clocking up another huge three figure sale to spend a second week at Number One. As I mentioned last night, his total for the year is now just 100,000 short of that clocked up so far by the Eminem and Rihanna single Love The Way You Lie meaning that he is in an interesting race over the next few days to try to grab the honour of the biggest selling single of the year at the very last moment.
Speaking of Rihanna, she remains locked in place at Number 2 with What's My Name, the single not quite managing the six figure sale it managed last week but still comfortably selling enough to be guaranteed Number One in any ordinary week. When the story of 2010 comes to be written it will be her name that shines out above all others, her ability to shift product in significant numbers beyond all doubt. Her total single sales for the year across all the hits on which she has featured is now in excess of 3 million, whilst she has now sold over 800,000 copies of current album Loud plus a further 350,000 in 2010 for her previous album Rated R. Tot all that up and you will see that she is well on her way to having sold over 5 million records in the UK alone this year. Whichever way you spin it, that is superstar level of popularity.
Now the rule is generally that unless you are a charity record or an X Factor winner, you simply don't release a new single in Christmas week, for fear of simply being overlooked in the big sales surge. What is a rule though if not to be broken every once in a while? For Katy B the big gamble pays off as she storms the Top 5 with a new entry at Number 4 for Lights On. The track is her second big hit single in a row, the follow-up to Katy On A Mission which peaked at Number 5 back in September. Lights On also marks a dramatic return to the top end of the charts for guest rapper Ms Dynamite who receives a co-credit on the singles. Feted by anyone with a mind to put pen to paper back in 2002, she was showered with awards for her debut album A Little Deeper and charted two singles inside the Top 10. A three year break to have a baby kind of killed her momentum and after her second album Judgement Days was less well received she has been in a kind of career limbo ever since, surfacing once in a while to talk up a new album which for some reason never seems to materialise. Since then her only chart appearances have been as the guest on other people's records - she made her first Top 40 appearance in five years back in February on DJ Zinc's Number 38 hit Wile Out. Her guest role on Lights On actually ensures she now has her highest charting single ever, its Number 4 entry beating the Number 5 peak of her own single Dy-Na-Mi-Tee in September 2002.
With speculation now turning to what will become the first Number One single of 2011, new songs making waves are already ahead of the game. As well as the Katy B single watch out for Invincible from Tinie Tempah which rockets up the chart to Number 15 this week. Featuring the superstar touch of Kelly Rowland on guest vocals, the track first appeared on the chart back in October as one of the more popular selections from Tempah's album Disc-overy. Now promoted to full single status the track appears well positioned to at the very least be one of the first big hit singles of the new year.
Also on the way up is Cheryl Cole's next single The Flood, a track which confusingly shares its name with the current Take That single but which otherwise is no relation. The second single taken from her Messy Little Raindrops album, it too advances up the chart with purpose this week and sits comfortably at Number 26.
In past years the final sales weeks of the year have seen a mini chart invasion of classic Christmas hits, albeit with rather diminishing returns as time passes. The peak of this phenomenon came at the end of 2007, the first year of the digital era when the Christmas chart saw 15 different seasonal classics all occupying places in the Top 50. Something tells me digital ownership of the hardy perennials has now reached saturation point -even the high point of Christmas week could not help the chart fortunes of even the usual suspects. Fairytale Of New York limps to Number 17 whilst All I Want For Christmas Is You dips to Number 31. You cannot help but feel there will come a point when neither even makes the Top 40 at all for the holiday season.
Before we leave the singles chart we should pay credit where credit is due for one track which has flown in the face of all normal trends for the act in question and embarked on a sustained chart run. As several commenters have pointed out in recent weeks, the single in question is Shine A Light from McFly featuring Taio Cruz which sits at Number 21 this week on what is now its seventh week on the chart and after a run of form which saw it spend five straight weeks in the Top 20. To put this in some kind of context this is the first McFly single since All About You/You've Got A Friend to spend more than four weeks in the upper half of the Top 40. Poster children for chart uselessness they may well be, but it increasingly appears that their embracing of a whole new urban sound may have breathed some signs of new life in what until now was a rapidly sinking set of chart fortunes.
To the album chart now where, to be frank, nothing much is happening. Take That's Progress fends off the competition once again from (inevitably) Rihanna and Loud to top the chart for a sixth straight week. The collection is now the longest running Number One album since Michael Jackson's seven week stint at the top in 2009 with The Essential in the wake of his untimely demise. Taking into account the special circumstances behind that particular chart run, we can further note that the last "brand new" album to spend so long at the top was Spirit from Leona Lewis which had a seven week run of its own starting in November 2007.