Four years, four albums. That's the measure of the consistency of One Direction, the group's near-relentless and naturally cleverly timed release schedule has meant that for every Christmas since they first emerged as part of the 2010 X Factor series they have had a new album in the shops for Christmas. This year then is no exception and hard on the heel's of 2013's biggest seller Midnight Memories comes their fourth offering Four and one which naturally storms to the very top of the charts without even breaking a sweat.
Not that they have topped the charts in quite the emphatic manner of the past, their sale of just under 142,000 falling short of the totals managed by Ed Sheeran and Coldplay in their first weeks on sale earlier this year, but it is still enough for their victory margin according to Music Week to be a massive 163% over their nearest rival.
In any ordinary week, this would be the biggest story going, but One Direction have fallen foul to circumstances that nobody could have predicted, the arrival of the Band Aid 30 single at the top of the singles chart rendering just about every other musical story this week irrelevant. For more details on that record you can read elsewhere on this site, so let us here deal with the remainder of the forgotten new songs of the week.
Still the second biggest seller of the year, Rather Be by Clean Bandit featuring Jess Glynne remains one of the musical highlights of 2014 and a track that seems set to become a genuine and enduring classic. Since that single however Clean Bandit have struggled to live up to the expectations thrust upon them. Whilst Clean Bandit's follow-up single Extraordinary made a respectable enough Number 5 its chart life was vanishingly brief, and their third release Come Over limped to Number 45 in August. Meanwhile, their album New Eyes failed to sell in the expected numbers and although Jess Glynne's own solo single Right Here reached a respectable enough Number 6 it too was something of a disappointment musically. In this writer's humble opinion anyway.
Hence it made sense for group and singer to reunite, recording a new track for a special edition re-release of New Eyes, this time with Glynne as a co-star rather than guest singer - an important and significant distinction. Whilst it is still no Rather Be the new single is arresting and most crucially melodic enough to rate as the best Clean Bandit single since, another glimpse of the potential the innovative group always had in them and surely for those reasons the second biggest hit single of their career. Real Love charges to Number 2, the biggest selling single this week not called Do They Know It's Christmas and thus in the eyes of many, if not history, a moral chart-topper.
Rather curiously Clean Bandit perform on Do They Know It's Christmas as well, the group thus duplicating the fate that befell Wham! in December 1984 when their own festive classic Last Christmas found itself stranded at Number 2 behind the original Band Aid recording - on which George Michael also had a prominent starring role.
Mind you, such is the array of British talent assembled for the charity record this time around that there are no less than five acts on this week's Top 10 who also sing on Do They Know It's Christmas. One of those just happens to be Olly Murs who completes the first all-new Top 3 for a year with the lead single from his own fourth album Never Been Better. The new single Wrapped Up is chirpy enough although suffers slightly from sounding along similar early 80s funk pop lines to that of the last Bruno Mars album a year ago. Guest star on the single is Travie McCoy who makes what is only his third chart appearance, his second as a guest on someone else's single. His only hit as a lead artist remains 2010 smash Billionaire, with guest vocals there provided in a strange coincidence by Bruno Mars.
In this world of ever-rotating guest singers, David Guetta, by contrast, shows an unusual level of consistency, charting two singles in a row with the same man on lead vocals. Following the chart-topping Lovers On The Sun back in August the Frenchman is once again accompanied by Sam Martin on new single Dangerous which charts at Number 5, this single the final teaser for his new album Listen which was released this week.
Absent from the charts since the middle of last year, Wretch 32 makes a strong comeback with new single 6 Words which lands at Number 8, the rapper having the curious distinction of being the only British act on the Top 10 this week NOT to feature on the Band Aid single.
Also new this week, pop rock band Rixton with a rather understated entry for second single Wait On Me, the track landing at Number 12 as the limp follow-up to Number One smash Me And My Broken Heart. After debuting as the next big thing in the summer they appear to have dropped rather dramatically off the radar for some reason.
Liam Gallagher's recent announcement that his group Beady Eye were no more set tongues wagging than an Oasis reunion may be on the cards. If so, it seems it will have to wait as his big brother still has his own music to make first. Three years after he made his 'solo' chart bow as Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, the elder Gallagher brother is back once more with new single In The Heat Of The Moment which lands at Number 26. Those hankering for days gone by will be pleased at the sound of this new single, a deliberate throwback to the 1990s peak of his old band, the single duly becoming his third Top 40 hit single.
With both Happy and Rather Be now deep in freefall, the flag for 2014's ever-presents is being flown once more byIdinaa Menzel's rendition of Let It Go. Although the single had dipped to a low of Number 60 eight weeks ago it has since been on the rebound and now appears to have had a new lease of life. In the past three weeks the track has jumped 42-28-19 to now sit at the chart position it last occupied 23 weeks ago - June 21st to be precise. The "Frozen" track's epic chart run has yet to see it breach the Top 10 with what is to date a Number 11 peak - but could it be that it is set to end an extraordinary year breaking into the upper reaches after the slowest climb in history? [Alas no, never happened, but its sales over the course of the year turned out to be enough to make Let It Go far and away the biggest-selling single never to reach the Top 10].