For only the second time since the start of February, an album other than 21 sits at the very top of the long players chart. With a sale of steamroller-like proportions, Born This Way from Lady Gaga outsells the rest of the Top 10 put together with the highest first week sale of the year of no less than 210,000 copies to ensure the result of the chart race was never in any doubt. Born This Way has a far stronger opening week than her debut release The Fame which sold a comparatively lowly 25,000 copies in January 2009 to debut at Number 3, the long player not actually reaching Number One until April when it had been on sale for nearly three months. Since then it has managed to catch up nicely, its British sale now standing at a healthy 2.5 million copies.
Much of the talk about the album during the week centred on the huge promotional push it was being given by Amazon who had discounted the collection to a mere £3.99 on these shores and perhaps even more controversially a minimalistic 99 cents in America, thus reducing the biggest release of quarter 2 to a wholesale loss leader given that both prices are below the minimum dealer price needed for an album to be chart eligible. For those who didn't shop around it was full price on iTunes, and curiously the album appeared to be immune to wholesale cherrypicking with its release even having a deleterious effect on sales of the four tracks already available.
Whilst Gaga still has three singles inside the Top 20, only Judas remains a Top 10 single at Number 9. Born This Way and the much raved about Edge Of Glory sit at 17 and 18 respectively whilst the final promotional track that preceded the album release Hair takes a dramatic tumble, scarcely retaining a Top 75 placing at Number 68.
The top of the singles chart remains more or less static this week as Pitbull and his cast of thousands cling on for a second week at Number One with Give Me Everything, leaving Bruno Mars stranded once again at Number 2 with former chart-topper The Lazy Song. Competition in the next few days is most likely to come from either Aloe Blacc who climbs into the Top 3 with I Need A Dollar or better still Alexandra Stan who races 14-5 with the alarmingly catchy Mr Saxobeat. Who on earth decided to make the "UK Radio Edit" of her song a mere two and a half minutes long though?
Now it is odd really, with Adele and Tinie Tempah currently leading a miniature British invasion in the States, back home the best sellers lists are dominated by overseas acts. The one and only totally UK based performers in the Top 10 are The Saturdays who land themselves the highest new entry at Number 8 with brand new single Notorious. The first single from their as yet untitled forthcoming new album, it may not be the biggest hit single ever for the five piece girl group but it still gives them the ninth Top 10 hit of their now three year old career. I'm forever being cynical about the group and their seemingly doomed attempts to fly the flag for manufactured pop music in a world which has moved on from it, but there is no denying that they have their fair share of rather brilliantly crafted hit singles. Notorious is one such record, a production which has evoked comparisons with the likes of the Black Eyed Peas due to the way it plugs in to the current fad of switching to an entirely different melody part way through the track. Regrettably early signs are that it will be a one week wonder and a mere footnote to their chart story overall, but even if they weren't the only British act in the Top 10, Notorious would still rank as one of the more diverting singles of the week.
Down in the Top 20 the story is that of a succession of high profile female singers making steady upward progress with their new singles. Leading the charge is Jennifer Lopez who has back to back hits on the chart, slipping to Number 12 with On The Floor whilst follow-up single I'm Into You climbs eight places to Number 13. Nicole Scherzinger, in the news this weekend for stepping in to an X Factor USA judging role after the rather amusing Cheryl Cole debacle, rises 12 places with her new single Right There whilst bringing up the rear is Rihanna who charges 36-20 with California King Bed, the latest single release from her Loud album and the follow-up to S&M which peaked at Number 3 back in March. That's before we've mentioned Beyonce's Run The World (Girls) which had dropped out of the Top 40 altogether last week after initially peaking at Number 11 in early May but which now gets something of a second wind, rocketing back to Number 22 to claim its highest chart placing for three weeks.
The only other band new entry of the week is a single with a rather wonderful story behind it, a track which was in danger of becoming overwhelmingly popular without anyone knowing exactly who was behind it. It all started with a TV commercial for KFC which has been airing since the start of April and which features as its soundtrack a rather haunting female-led rendition of One Big Family, originally a Number 21 hit for Embrace back in 1997 and which featured on their debut album The Good Will Out the following year. The identity of the performer of the song remained a mystery, with many theories being put forward that it was in fact Paloma Faith whose voice could be heard on the advert.
In actual fact the singer of One Big Family is a hitherto unknown session star called Hannah Symons who was contracted by music consultancy Hear No Evil to perform the track when they were commissioned by the agency to supply the music. Unlike previous ad-inspired hit records such as Ellie Goulding's Your Song or Fyfe Dangerfield's She's Always A Woman, its producers claim there was never a pre-planned agenda to turn the song into a hit, but the overwhelming public demand meant it seemed almost rude not to. Hence the hit single, credited to Templecloud, which lands on the chart at Number 24, its potential held back slightly by the fact that it did not appear in the shops online until mid-Tuesday afternoon. In a year which has already seen Britain seduced by one big voiced female singer, it seems only appropriate that the latest spontaneous hit single should be a record in a similarly soulful vein.