My word it is a barren, featureless desert out there isn't it? The tale of the music charts in the UK this week is basically one of the industry taking the week off as far as singles are concerned, concentrating instead of two high profile album releases, neither of which were able to unseat the present incumbent.
At the top of the charts it is still all about Adele, as for the third week running she has two singles and two albums in the Top 5 with both Someone Like You and 21 holding firm at the top of each listing respectively. Rare is it that a week goes by without the lady from Tottenham shattering some new benchmark and this week the story is the rapid rise in sales of the album 21, the long player soaring past the one million mark in total sales after just six weeks on release. This is impressive enough on its own, but what has excited so many people is that she has done this in the first quarter of the year. The first quarter is traditionally the industry's "down" period, when it is both taking stock of how it did in the Christmas rush and looking ahead to the summer to release the highest priority new product. With high street stores traditionally seeing lower than usual levels of footfall, it is more or less taken as read that sales of all product during this period will be at their flattest all year. Not so this year it seems. For a first quarter release to race to a million sales in just six weeks is totally unprecedented. Sales for Adele's 21 have quickly exceeded all expectations and the fact that this week the album has smashed its way to the top of the US charts is simply the icing on a very very large cake.
Not that we should overlook the significance of Adele remaining at the top of the singles chart either, for Someone Like You increases its sales yet again to sell 116,000 copies in its third week at the summit. Adele is now the first act to top both charts simultaneously for longer than a fortnight since Leona Lewis pulled off the feat in late 2007. Her continuing stranglehold on the Number One position is to the detriment of Jessie J who remains frustrated at Number 2 with Price Tag. Since being deposed from Number One three weeks ago she has continued to sell in numbers that would ordinarily have secured her a continuing berth at the top of the charts. Her only misfortune is to have run into a seemingly unstoppable force.
Indeed there is an oddly symmetrical look to both charts this week as Jessie J also has the Number 2 album behind Adele, her debut offering Who You Are outselling the competition to become the highest new entry of the week. One place behind at Number 3 is the "debut" set from Beady Eye as the actformerlyknownasOasis hit the charts with their much commented upon new release Different Gear Still Speeding. The album sells strongly despite the failure of its introductory single The Roller to peak higher than Number 31.
Having said that, Beady Eye are a rock act after all, a genre which continues to be under-represented in the singles market. A small step forward is made this week by the Foo Fighters who have the highest new entry of the week at Number 22 with Rope, a small fall from the Top 20 placing they were expected to land after midweek flashes. The single is the first publicly available track taken from what will be the group's seventh studio album Wasting Light which is flagged up for an April release.
For other chart stories we simply have to note the forward progress of a handful of existing hits. Making the biggest impact of the week is the Tiesto vs Diplo and Busta Rhymes track C'mon (Catch 'Em By Surprise) which vaults 36-13 this week. This move is more significant than you might think for at a stroke it gives the famous Dutch DJ and producer his first ever Top 20 single in the UK, easing past the Number 22 peak of 2001 hit Urban Train which was hitherto his best ever chart performance under how own name. His only other experience of a Top 20 hit until today was as one half of Gouryella alongside Ferry Corsten, their eponymously named debut single having reached Number 15 in July 1999.
Also shoulderbarging its way to a new peak after several weeks around is the Dr Dre/Eminem single I Need A Doctor which jumps 24-15 after seemingly first peaking at Number 21 for a fortnight when first released. The single ensures that Skylar Grey now has two singles in the Top 20 as the Diddy Dirty Money single Coming Home on which she also features clings on at Number 20. Jessie J incidentally becomes the latest member of the "3 hits at once" club after the release of her album has propelled Who You Are To Number 40 to sit alongside Price Tag and Do It Like A Dude.
Just as notable appears to be the rather less inspiring chart performance of the Take That single Kidz which languishes at Number 30 after a two place fall. Its failure to chart any higher than this is rather puzzling given the carefully constructed manner of its promotion, the single having been performed by the group on the Brit Awards ceremony three weeks ago, having been granted a physical release the week before last and now in this week just gone theoretically benefitting from its video being released to TV channels. Airplay for the single (in truth a far more inspiring offering than the big reunion hit The Flood from the end of last year) remains healthy and growing, yet at this rate the single is in danger of becoming their lowest charting single since Once You've Tasted Love made a mere Number 47 back in February 1992.
Keep an eye out incidentally for the chart fortunes of the Britney Spears track Till The World Ends which made a totally unplanned worldwide debut at the end of last week thanks to its leak to a German website and the decision of her label to just assume that the lid was off the box and release it way ahead of schedule. Its sales debut came too late to register all that strongly on the chart this week, leaving it languishing at Number 55, but you can expect a slightly better showing next time around. It is a far better pop record than the underperforming Hold It Against Me after all.