Continuing low sales on the UK album market leave the door open once again for unusual things to happen and the countdown this week catches the eye once again as for only the second time in history every single one of the Top 5 is a brand new entry.
The release which wins the mini-battle could hardly be more appropriate as the celebratory Queen's Jubilee release Sing, credited to Gary Barlow and the Commonwealth Band storms to the top of the charts, just in time for Britain's celebratory four-day weekend. It is all the more intriguing given that the collection barely qualifies as an album at all. With a total running time of just 24 minutes, the disc could theoretically have made the singles chart as an EP, but for the fact that it consists of seven different tracks, thus ensuring it could only make the long players countdown. It is far and away the shortest duration Number One album in modern day chart history. I stress the modern day part, as in 1958 the Record Mirror Top 5 album chart listed Tommy Steele's The Duke Wore Jeans at Number One, with a duration of just 19 minutes. Opinion is divided as to just exactly how canon that tiny chart should be, but you will find it listed in many reference books so we should at least acknowledge it.
The rest of the all-new Top 5 sees entries for Paloma Faith, Rumer, Scissor Sisters and Russell Watson whilst Sigur Ros ensure that there are six new entries inside the Top 10, debuting at Number 8 with Valtari. Needless to say none sold in what would be considered large numbers, the Gary Barlow album shifting a mere 40,000 copies. Two tracks from the Number One album also creep onto the singles chart, the specially-written title track lands at Number 11 whilst Barlow's cover of the Beatles' Here Comes The Sun, as currently heard in TV commercials for M&S hits Number 59.
For the second week in a row we have a brand new Number One on the UK Singles chart, although despite early week expectations it has nothing to do with the Eurovision Song Contest. Instead congratulations to four piece drum and bass act Rudimental who storm to the top of the charts with their debut single Feel The Love, a track which has been showered with praise from all directions since it premiered on the radio earlier this year and which has been propelled to the top by a genuine groundswell of public demand. Musically the single is intriguing, meshing R&B vocals with hardcore beats in a quite distinctive manner - as if Cee-Lo Green had recruited DJ Fresh as a producer.
In the long history of the Eurovision song contest, just four winning singles from overseas have gone on to top the UK charts - Dana in 1970, Abba in 1974, Johnny Logan in 1980 and Nicole in 1982. We came close to adding a fifth this week with Swedish winner Loreen charging to the top of early sales flashes with last weekend's runaway winner Euphoria. In the end the single faded badly and has to be content with an entry at Number 3, still far and away the best chart performance by a Eurovision winner for some considerable time. The last time a contest winner made the Top 3 was back in 1997 when British entry Love Shine A Light by Katrina and the Waves also made Number 3 whilst the last foreign winning entry to make the UK Top 3 was Johnny Logan's victorious 1987 song Hold Me Now" which peaked at Number 2. Meanwhile we still await another Number One single of any kind by a Eurovision song contest entry - Britain's 1996 offering Ooh Ah Just A Little Bit by Gina G the last to manage the trick.
Also making a singles chart splash at Number 4 are new pop-rock group Lawson who immediately payoff the faith that was placed in them with a smash hit for their debut release When She Was Mine. Much has been written at the absence of high profile boys with guitars groups from the best sellers lists of late, and the instant success of Lawson will hopefully prove to be the seed for a rather neglected pop genre to experience a long overdue resurgence.
Meanwhile as one generation fades in, so others have to fade out. Sorry Kylie fans, the Number 31 entry last week of your idol's new single Timebomb cannot be entirely attributed to its late-week release. With a full seven days on sale to contribute to the countdown, the track holds steady at its initial entry point and is shaping up to be yet another flop for the previously unassailable chart star. Not that she is the only big name struggling this week, oh no. Her last single Elephant may have made a non too shabby Number 3 back in March but its chart career was to say the least short and sweet, leaving question marks hovering over the future of Alexandra Burke's future chart prospects. A lack of airplay for the follow-up single Let It Go has hurt it badly and with too few people even being aware it is available it limps in this week at Number 33, far and away her lowest charting hit to date.
Meanwhile teen idol Justin Bieber's chart fortunes continue to be erratic to say the least. The Number 39 peak of his last single Turn To You could at least have been attributed to its status as a novelty release for Mothers Day in the US, but his latest "gift" to his fans, the new track Die In Your Arms suffers a similar fate with a rather miserable Number 34 chart entry following a Tuesday release. Granted, it isn't actually a "proper" single, just an i-Tunes exclusive pre-promotion for the album with a second promo track All Around The World set to follow this week as well. Once again though, given his status as apparently the hottest act around, are his fans really content to sit back and wait for the album proper to come out later this month rather than hoover up the singles? It all seems very odd.