Chartwatch – Lady Gaga Goes Up Against Kate Bush

Weekly chart analysis from the Official Charts Company

We all know that this year has been Adele’s year. But, over the next couple of weeks, her position of dominance will be challenged by two other female artists, who both represent pop music from two very different decades – the Seventies and Noughties.

This week, Kate Bush’s new album ‘Director’s Cut’ is released. Her first album since Aerial in 2005, it is sure to rival Adele at the top, for one week at least. And, of course, Lady Gaga returns next week with her second album ‘Born This Way’.

While Bush (whose first album ‘The Kick Inside’ was released in 1978) has long since ceased to be a serious competitor in the singles market, Gaga remains one of the biggest singles artists of recent times. Unusually, while Gaga has released three singles in advance of this new album, all three have fallen short of the Number One spot.

The latest one, ‘The Edge Of Glory’, was released without any fanfare halfway through last week and became the highest entry to the Official Singles Chart on Sunday. It is expected to further climb the chart this week – ahead of her big album release next week, when it should rival Adele’s dominance – and should be joined by another, Hair.

The Official Singles chart has seen some changes already this year. The decision by Sony and Universal to move to an “On Air, On Sale” model has resulted in fewer Top 10 new entries, as singles tend to enter low and move up the chart.

Bruno Mars’ ‘The Lazy Song’ reached Number One on Sunday after four weeks on the chart, climbing 15-2-2-1. So far in 2011, there have been nine Number One singles, and Mars is now the only act to have claimed two of them (Grenade was the other), as well as a Number One album, in ‘Doo-Wops & Hooligans’
In claiming the top spot, Mars knocked a four-week Number One from the summit, in the form of ‘Party Rock Anthem’ by LMFAO Ft Lauren Bennett & Goonrock. Such multi-name artist credits are a true phenomenon of the Noughties and Teens and this week’s chart is a perfect example of this phenomenon. In fact, no fewer than 13 acts share credits across the Top Five – Mars, LMFAO, Bennett, Goonrock, David Guetta, Flo Rida, Nicki Minaj, Pitbull, Nayer, Afrojack, Ne-Yo, Chris Brown and Benny Benassi.

The Official Albums market is more sedate, the highest new entry being the blues album ‘Let Them All Talk’ by Hugh Laurie, separating Adele at 1 and 3. Adele has made it a good year for independent labels and two hotly anticipated releases by indies also make an impact on Official Albums Chart, with Domino’s Wild Beasts entering at 17 and Adele’s XL stablemate Tyler The Creator arriving at 21 with ‘Goblin’.

Otherwise, the week’s biggest new entries are the latest Glee Cast album, ‘The Warblers’, which enters at 7, Sade’s ‘Ultimate Collection’, which arrives at 8, and newcomer Miles Kane’s ‘Colour Of The Trap’, which enters at 11.

The Official Singles Chart is unveiled every Sunday on BBC Radio 1’s The Chart Show with Reggie Yates, from 4pm to 7pm; the half-time positions are rundown on The Official Chart Rundown with Greg James, from 3.30pm to 4pm each Wednesday on BBC Radio 1.

In turn, Jo Whiley provides a weekly summary of the Official Albums Chart every Monday between 8pm and 9pm on her BBC Radio 2 show.