[I was both on holiday and violently ill for this piece, which as a result is the very definition of phoned in].
Both the Official UK SIngles chart and Official UK Album chart enter a holding pattern this week. Communion by Years & Years remains the biggest selling long player of the moment whilst Little Mix retain their singles crown with a second week at the top for Black Magic.
It is the latter point which gives us the more intriguing statistic of the week as Little Mix duly become the first all-female group to spend a second week at Number One for almost eight years. The last act to achieve the feat were the Sugababes whose hit About You Now had a four week run at the top in September 2007.
Little Mix's chart domination is aided in no small way by a dearth of hot new product to challenge them, not that it seemed at first, however, I shall explain in due course. The highest new entry of the week is Come And Get It by John Newman, a brand new single taken from his forthcoming second album Revolve which is due to drop in October. Based on past form one could be forgiven for viewing this strong but for all that lowly chart entry as something of a surprise, the British star having topped the charts three times in 2012 with what were at the time brand new tracks. Either the marketing misfired here or his aura is starting to wear off. a shame as this bright and breezy hit makes for the perfect summer party soundtrack and has dropped just as the holiday season begins for real.
By a strange coincidence the man with whom Newman had his last Number One single Blame last autumn is the man with the second highest new entry of the week. The new Calvin Harris track How Deep Is Your Love was released on July 17th with little pre-release fanfare other than a single airing during a DJ set at EDC and a series of teasers via his Snapchat channel and indeed at the time of writing doesn't even have a proper video available. The single co-credits producers Disciples whilst the uncredited female vocal is an all too rare step in front of the microphone for Norwegian star Ina Wrodlsen whose name has appeared in the writing credits of a large number of Europe-wide pop hits over the last six years, including many Saturdays hits and most recently Jess Glynne's Number One hit Hold My Hand.
But what about the big hit that wasn't James, I hear you cry. Tell all. Well if you had been listening last weekend to commercial radio's own syndicated Big Top 40 show (which has remained on Sunday evenings despite all the other changes) and which bases its Top 10 on the 'live' iTunes chart, you could have been forgive for expecting the new 5 Seconds Of Summer track She's Kinda Hot to be riding high on the Official Chart come Friday afternoon. It was after all Number One on early sales flashes. Yet the 'midweek' update on Monday pegged the single rather lower down the Top 10 and indeed the full chart grants the pop group nothing more than a Number 18 new entry.
The problem is that they have become the latest embodiment of the three-day wonder, their marketing and appeal so tightly focused on a dedicated hardcore of young girls that their every new release falls victim to an instant sales surge and a near total drop-off a few days later. Put simply they sell to their fans and quite literally nobody else. This is by no means a new or recent phenomenon, but it is now thrown into sharp relief by the new release schedule, with a single's sales debut also coinciding with the traditionally purchase-heavy weekend. The net result was a commanding lead for 5SOS by Sunday night followed by their sales shrinking to zero immediately afterwards.