After four weeks of tumbling records and brand new chart benchmarks being set it almost feels odd to announce that the status quo on top of both parts of the Official UK Charts this week.
The Official UK Singles chart sees Justin Bieber reign supreme once more as Love Yourself spends a second week at the top of the charts. Its immediate predecessor at the top Sorry also holds firm at Number 2 making this now the third week running that the Canadian star has commanded the Top 2 singles of the week for himself. The only cloud on the horizon I guess is the slippage of What Do You Mean to Number 6, ending for now his three fifths ownership of the Top 5. Music Week notes this week that this is Justin Bieber's ninth week at Number One in 2015, the most clocked up by a single artist in a calendar year since Rihanna and Jay-Z managed 10 (all with the same track Umbrella as it so happens) back in 2007.
The only single to even approach the sales and streams domination of the Bieber singles is Sweet Lovin', the second chart single this year for Bruce "Sigala" Fielder following on from the chart-topping Easy Love. Whereas his first single was based on sampled Jackson 5 vocals this new tropical house single features a brand new vocal track, provided here by Birmingham soul singer Bryn Christopher. Christopher currently plies his trade as the singer with I See Monstas although he is perhaps better known for his solo work during the last decade, this track his biggest chart hit since Smilin' reached Number 31 in 2008. In a similar fashion to its predecessor which also began its chart life at the lower end of the published chart, the Sigala single charted at Number 68 last week on streams alone and rockets to sit comfortably at Number 3 with downloaded sales combined.
Over on the Official UK Albums chart there was the potential for a more dramatic change. Despite my bold statements that Adele's 25 album had the Number One position locked down from now until the new year, early sales flashes in the week suggested that Coldplay's new album A Head Full Of Dreams actually had the edge - but only just. Come Friday lunchtime however and equilibrium had been restored. Chris Martin and crew enter at Number 2 this week, making this extraordinarily their first studio album ever not to enter the charts at Number One, denying them the chance to equal a seven-in-a-row record currently held by Oasis.
By way of some consolation the album's first single demonstrates once more that Coldplay singles simply do not follow the normal rules of engagement. Having debuted at Number 14 five weeks ago Adventure Of A Lifetime this week rides the coat-tails of its parent album with an upward sales and streams trajectory and leaps six places to Number 9, the 16th Top 10 single of their fifteen year chart career.
With just two weeks now to go until Christmas and the present-buying season in full flow we are now at the tail end of the frantic Q4 release schedule. Aside from Coldplay the only major artist to release their album this week was Fleur East, yet despite the continuing Top 10 success of her first single Sax her debut album Love Sax And Flashbacks can only land at Number 14.
The rapid approach of Christmas also means the chart placings of the perennial holiday favourites start to rise, speculation rife that the dramatic expansion of the streaming market since last year will mean the golden oldies will gain their best placings for many years. All I Want For Christmas Is You is already Number 13 on the chart, its highest for two years and quite possibly set for its first appearance in the Top 10 since 2007. Close behind is Fairytale Of New York at Number 20, here making the Top 20 for the 11th year in a row (this thanks to a 2005 re-release which meant its digital sales were still eligible for the singles chart under the old rules in 2006). The only other Christmas song in the Top 40 so far is Last Christmas by Wham! which comes to rest for now at Number 27, it's best showing since 2011 when it reached Number 26. Its highest chart placing in the digital era is Number 14, also achieved naturally enough for Christmas 2007.
The 2015 series of X Factor reaches its climax this coming weekend with the winner's single being released immediately following the broadcast of Sunday's live final - this year the first time the show hasn't coincided with the start of the chart week. All eyes will be on whether the as-yet unknown winner will be able to overcome the handicap of giving the rest of the market a three-day start and grab at least a week at Number One. This should end up as one of the most fascinating chart races for some time.