For the fifth time in six weeks, the biggest single of the year to date sits proudly at the top of the charts, Gotye and Kimbra extending their current consecutive run at Number One to four weeks. One more week at the summit will be enough to ensure that Somebody That I Used To Know equals Rihanna's We Found Love as the longest running Number One single of the last four years.
The unlucky Number 2 hit of the week is not Emeli Sande this time around as she dips to Number 4 for the moment. Instead Nicki Minaj's Starships climbs a place to establish itself unequivocally as her biggest ever UK chart hit. Perhaps even more impressively, with nobody other than herself credited on the single she is now the highest charting solo female rapper in British chart history, surpassing past hits by the likes of . Whilst Lil' Kim and Missy Elliott have had Number One singles in the past, it has only been in collaboration with other artists. The only other female rap stars to compare are gender pioneers Salt N' Pepa who were technically a trio and who hit Number 2 twice, with Push It in 1988 and Let's Talk About Sex in 1991.
The biggest selling single of the week is Elephant which might not have made quite the debut expected of it but still easily becomes the sixth Top 10 hit for X Factor 2008 winner Alexandra Burke. The star milked her debut album Overcome for no less than six Top 20 hits between 2009 and 2010 and this new Erick Morillo-produced track marks the first released from what is set to become her second. As you might expect from a track produced and co-credited to Morillo, Elephant is a radical departure from some of Burke's past work, a thundering club track which raised its fair share of eyebrows when first aired a few weeks ago. However you view the track, it has clearly worked. Alexandra Burke maintains her status as the second biggest selling X Factor winner whilst Morillo lands his own highest charting UK hit ever, surpassing the Number 5 he scaled as part of Reel 2 Real on I Like To Move It back in 1994.
In a Top 10 utterly dominated by thrown together pairings of recording artists (only Emeli Sande has a genuinely solo hit single), another duo arrives to add to the mix. Despite hitting Number 3 when released in August last year, the celebrated Watch The Throne collaboration of Jay-Z and Kanye West has until now failed to produce a major hit single, with lead release Otis having limped to Number 28 to coincide with the release of the album. All that has changed with the tenderly titled N****s in Paris which has been climbing the listings ever since February. The track jumps 18-10 this week to further add to the Top 10 tallies of both men, Jay-Z there for the 10th time and Kanye for the 16th.
Continuing the animalistic theme of the week, Number 13 sees a new entry for the Swedish House Mafia with Greyhound. It duly becomes the fifth hit single for the production collective, albeit the slowest starting one to date. Their only other release to debut outside the Top 10 was 2011 hit Save The World which opened at Number 11 in May last year, rising to a peak of Number 10 a week later. Greyhound is the product of a collaboration between the team and Absolut Vodka who have made the track the soundtrack to their latest advertising campaign, the video essentially doubling up as the TV and cinema commercials for the drink.
Jason Mraz first made his UK chart debut in early 2009 with I'm Yours, a single whose longevity has belied its rather stuttering chart form. The track peaked no higher than Number 11 that year but since then the slow drip-drip of download sales has ensured it is actually one of the most successful singles of the decade so far, having sold almost 600,000 copies and with 56 weeks on the Top 75 chart so far is the most charted single never to have made the Top 10. Three years only he finally lands a second chart hit as the aptly titled I Won't Give Up lands at Number 16.
The lead-up to Mothering Sunday always gives album sales a small boost as the prospect of an easy and pleasing gift leads retailers to direct marketing in the direction of the CD stands. This is undoubtedly a factor in the rise to Number One of the Military Wives choir's album In My Dreams which is rewarded for its patience after debuting at Number 2 a week ago. As we noted last week, the album is home to the Christmas Number One single Wherever You Are which defied initial expectations that it would be a short-lived novelty track and continued to sell well into February. It's presence on the artist album chart continues to be something of a curiosity given that the album technically features performances from five different choir assemblies, the uniting presence of choirmaster Gareth Malone presumably the factor which has prevented it being relegated to the compilations table.
The biggest selling new album of the week is Home Again, the debut album from much hyped new artist Michael Kiwanuka which enters at Number 4. He has fared slightly better on the album chart than he has with singles so far, the title track from the collection having stalled at Number 29 back in January. Three places behind is X Factor runner up Marcus Collins who lands at Number 7 with his self-titled debut, home to last week's Top 10 hit Seven Nation Army.