This week's Official UK Singles Chart

This week's Official UK Albums Chart

I did warn you that Usher has only ever had one Number 2 single.

The story of the singles chart this week was that of a closely fought three way battle with the margins between each track small enough to make the ultimate outcome of the chart race almost impossible to predict with any certainty - just the way we like it in fact.

As it turned out, Scouting For Girls simply did not have the legs to hold off Usher and will.i.am, despite having a small lead at the start of the week. It means last weeks chart-topper slips to Number 2, leaving the way clear for the two American stars to climb a place and putting OMG at the summit at the end of a four week climb.

It means the UK is actually in a rather unusual position in being one step ahead of the States, OMG only Number 10 on the Hot 100 at the time of writing and still very much climbing the rankings. Over here the single duly becomes Usher's fourth Number One hit single, his first since Burn hit the top in July 2004. Usher is furthermore now elevated into that elite band of acts who have had Number One hits in three different decades, in the process becoming the first act ever to top the charts in the 90s, 00s and 10s thanks to the presence of You Make Me Wanna in his discography back in 1998. Such a feat is as you might expect quite hard to achieve, one that is generally assisted by starting your chart career at the end of the first of your three decades. Just four acts joined the ranks during the 00s: Kylie Minogue, Madonna, U2 and Elton John whilst Queen notably added themselves to the even more elite list of four decades of Number One hits thanks to some assistance from Five in 2000. As for the next act who might conceivably notch up Number One hits across three different decades, there are actually many potential candidates. Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, Westlife, Robbie Williams, Mariah Carey and even Armand Van Helden are all still active chart acts with every chance of writing themselves into chart legend in the way Usher has this week.

Now no sniggering, but Scouting For Girls manage the fun feat of being a double Number 2, with both the single This Ain't A Love Song dipping a place and its parent album Everybody Wants To Be On TV entering the album chart at that very same position. They miss out on the chance of a Number One album thanks to the superior sales strength of Plan B who shoots to Number One with The Defamation Of Strickland Banks. The album is home to both his current hit single She Said which dips to Number 4 this week as well as its predecessor Stay Too Long which in sympathy with the album's release surges back up to Number 42 and narrowly misses out on a Top 40 reappearance.

Indeed this week I think we can safely say that the recent becalming of both charts is well and truly over. Not only do three new albums of original material enter the album chart Top 10 (MGMT's Congratulations at Number 4 is the third) but the singles chart also explodes in a flurry of new activity. No less than three brand new singles all storm the Top 10 and several more new entries pepper the remainder of the Top 40 with the biggest of these a record that can consider itself unfortunate not to have made it to the very top in the face of some stiff competition.

I Need You Tonight is one of those ideas that is so blindingly obvious you wonder why nobody has done it before. The debut single from rapper Professor Green takes as its base the insistent rhythm and guitar line from the famous INXS track Need You Tonight, the track originally a Number 2 hit in the closing weeks of 1988. The result is that goldmine of a rap single, one that works as much as an incredibly appealing pop record as it does as a lyrical message. Professor Green himself is 23 year old Stephen Manderson from east London and this hit single marks the culmination of several years of hard work on the mixtape scene and a huge personal triumph after he sustained serious injuries in a stabbing incident last May.

Second in the queue of new entries is a returning Kelis at Number 5 with Acapella. The single marks the first chart appearance for the American star since the romantic and long lived Little Star made Number 3 in early 2007. Acapella is her first single to enter the Top 10 immediately upon release since 2004, the year she was arguably at the height of her fame with a back to back series of Top 10 hits. For all her success in a chart career dating back to February 2000, Kelis has thus far never topped the UK charts, her best showing being a brace of Number 2 hits for Milkshake and Trick Me six years ago. The new single Acapella is taken from her forthcoming new album Flesh Tone and marks something of a departure for her musically, David Guetta's production taking her in a more electronic dance direction than ever before. Longtime fans will be quick to point out that she has always been something of a musical chameleon - Trick Me was itself a ska track and a world away from her usual R&B roots. Chalk this one up as another smash, her ninth Top 10 single on these shores and a welcome joy to see her back.

A brand new name arrives at Number 7 as Selena Gomez & The Scene land their first ever UK hit with Naturally. 17 year old Gomez is the latest in a long line of freshly scrubbed teen stars aiming for a Disney-inspired crossover between television and the pop charts, making her in effect the natural successor to the likes of Hilary Duff, Demi Lovato and Miley Cyrus. The star of the Disney Channel series The Wizards Of Waverley Place (no, me neither) always insisted that her future musical endeavours would be as part of a group and she is as good as her word, personally auditioning the musicians who make up "The Scene". Naturally is everything you might expect given its origins, a breezy and almost too polished pop-rock track. I hate to say this about a Number 7 hit record, but the track is just so plastic and obviously manufactured that it is hard to see past its origins and appreciate its charm. Still whatever, it clearly works and there should always be room in the market for safe inoffensive music that can prep young ears to be ready to appreciate grown up bands, but having for years resisted the highly stylised charms of Disney-pop, this hit suggests that the iTunes generation of the UK may finally be about to succumb.

Shall we talk about a glass ceiling? Joshua Radin remains frustratingly just short of a Top 10 place as I'd Rather Be With You stalls at Number 11 for a second week. His single is neither helped nor hindered it appears by the release of his album Simple Times which makes a chart debut of its own at Number 9. Meanwhile one place behind him on the singles chart Dirty Picture from Taio Cruz and Kesha makes a far bigger leap than anyone expected, vaulting 40-12 and on course for a comfortable Top 10 berth next week.

Now then do you remember what you were doing in the summer of 2007? Chances are you were merrily nodding your head to the bright melody of Foundations, the single with which Kate Nash made her name that year. The biting tale of a fractured and deteriorating relationship immediately put the singer songwriter on the map, the single a massive Number 2 and showing a fire and a cynicism way beyond her then 20 years on the planet. With such a massive single kicking her career off, finding a follow-up proved difficult and the equally quirky singles Mouthwash and Pumpkin Soup both stalled at Number 23.

Three years on from her debut Kate Nash this week makes her return with Do-Wah-Doo, the first single lifted from her second album My Best Friend Is You which boasts the talents of Bernard Butler on production duties. The delightful sixties soul air that he brought to Duffy's Rockferry album is much in evidence on this single as well, the track an intoxicating brass and choral wall of sound that is a world away from the stripped to the bone piano of Fingertips but which still allows Nash's biting and often deliciously profane lyrics to shine through. I'm tempted to suggest that a Number 15 entry for this single is far less than the track deserves. As Usher has shown us recently though, a soft landing in the Top 20 is not necessarily a barrier to success at present. Hear Do-Wah-Doo and love it.

Also making an entry at a position that rather belies the hype is hot new talent Eliza Doolitte, a 22 year old British singer songwriter who is effectively a third generation showbiz star. Having first come to attention at the back end of last year with a self-titled independently released EP she makes her mainstream chart breakthrough with Skinny Genes which lands at Number 22. Once again the production goes all retro with the track based around a sample of both the handclap rhythm and the whistling hook from the Andy Williams 1957 Number One hit Butterfly. Having already featured in a TV advert before release, Skinny Genes thus benefits from sounding instantly familiar and almost insanely catchy at the same time. Once more you have to note the chart position and wonder just what people were thinking by overlooking the track to such an extent when shopping this week. Check it out if you haven't already -and oh yes, her talented genes involve being the granddaughter of legendary theatre school impresario Sylvia Young and the daughter of stage actress and singer of Britain's 1994 Eurovision entry Frances Ruffelle.

Lest you think the chart this week is all about the new stars, there is room for the odd veteran as well. The legend that is Paul Weller lands his first in a year and a half with double sided offering No Tears To Cry/Wake Up The Nation, the second track sharing its title with his forthcoming new album set for release this week. The album marks his musical reunion with former Jam bandmate Bruce Foxton in what are their first collaborations since the group broke up in 1982. The single is notable for being a rare example of a release which has sold in significant quantities as a physical release and doing minimal business as an online download. Search for it in the iTunes Top 100 in vain, No Tears To Cry has made the Top 30 based mainly on CD and 7-inch vinyl sales.

Three more singles enter the Top 40 down at the very bottom, among them Heartbeat Song from The Futureheads at Number 34 (their first Top 40 single since The Beginning Of The Twist in 2008) and the new Jay-Z single On To The Next One at Number 38. Slotting neatly in between the pair is Set The Fire To The Third Bar from Snow Patrol and Martha Wainwright, the four year old track continuing its spontaneous comeback with a little help from a movie soundtrack.

More new stuff to come next week - brace yourselves UK as the Barefoot Barbie is set to storm the charts at last.


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