For the first time in his career, Justin Bieber has the Number One single on the Official UK Singles chart, and the funny thing is I'm surprisingly OK with it.
This is actually down to what has been a masterful transformation of both the image and musical focus of the former heartthrob star, rescuing him from what appeared to be the career-ending nadir of his petulant concert performances and repeated felonies a couple of years back. A series of guest vocal appearances alongside credible dance acts such as Far*East Movement and will.i.am culminated earlier this summer with his role on Skrillex and Diplo's Where Are U Now, a record bought by people who would generally have run a mile from anything with 'Bieber' in the credits.
Indeed the most notable thing about the star's new solo single What Do You Mean is just how much like its predecessor it sounds, the biggest surprise of all being that Sonny 'Skrillex' Moore has no role in producing the track. After a careful teaser campaign culminating in it "leaking" a day before release last week, the single flies to the top of the charts at something of a stroll. After two Number 2 singles earlier in his career, the Canadian singer finally lands the big one in the UK.
What Do You Mean also lands at the top as a record breaker. Just a few weeks ago we were marvelling at the ability of One Direction to land 2.03million streams of Drag Me Down in its first week. Now Justin Bieber sets a brand new benchmark with a phenomenal 3.2million plays over the last seven days.
It is a unique Canadian double-top this week as well as Bieber's countryman The Weeknd storms to the top of the Official UK Album chart with his debut release Beauty Behind The Madness. Home to his current chart single Can't Feel My Face (which jumps 3 places to reclaim its singles chart peak of Number 3), the album also becomes the first new release in some time to spray many of its individual tracks across the singles chart. The promotional track The Hills climbs to Number 29 this week, whilst the singer also has chart singles at 72, 74, 75, 78, 90, 91 and 99 on the Top 100.
Another former teenage star enjoying a personal transformation is Demi Lovato, the last two years having seen her land her biggest hit ever with Top 3 single Skyscraper and a memorable duet with Britain's Olly Murs on one of 2014's best pop singles Up. After a low key streaming start last week her new single Cool For The Summer storms to Number 7 to become the fourth Top 10 hit single of her career. Complete with a raunchy video which seeks to bury her 'Camp Rock' past once and for all, the single heralds the release of what will be her fifth album Confident next month.
The release of a physical EP of the 5 Seconds Of Summer track She's Kinda Hot has had a dramatic effect on its sales and chart performance. Having originally peaked at Number 18 upon release back in July, the single had dipped as low as Number 66 three weeks ago, having spent just one week as a Top 50, never mind Top 40, hit single. All that changes this week as the track rebounds 61-14 to beat its original chart placing and set a new high water mark. The point still stands however that they are a group selling solely and exclusively to a dedicated online following, attracting little interest beyond that core market. But properly leveraged it is clear they are prepared to buy anything.
It may be showing signs of tiredness and no longer the ratings juggernaut it has been in the past, but the return of X Factor to TV screens last weekend has demonstrated it still has the power to bring hitherto forgotten hits to the attention of a mass casual audience. The first recipient of an X Factor surge this year is Labrinth who sees his December 2014 Number 7 hit Jealous rocket back into the singles chart at Number 25 - it was Top 3 on iTunes in the 24 hours immediately following the airing of the first audition show. Plenty more of these to come between now and Christmas be assured of that.
Little Mix's last hit single, Number One smash Black Magic had been preceded by plenty of pre-release airplay and promotional attention. By contrast last week they dropped a new track Hair on an On Air On Sale basis, available as an instant grat for pre-orders of a new album Get Weird but also available for streaming and purchase in its own right. Well after a strong start the single faded badly and limps into the chart at a mere Number 35. In truth, though it is there as an album teaser, in the same way The Weeknd's The Hills was. A big hit would be a bonus, but its mere presence means it serves its purpose nicely, and it is going to hang around for a bit at least until the album finally hits stores in November.