A shakeup of a kind characterises the very top end of the singles charts this week although you almost certainly could not wish for a more diverse pair of hits.
Topping the pile and bringing Busted's reign at the top to an end is one of those rare beasts - a hit almost from nowhere. The annoyingly catchy Baby Cakes is the debut single for Miz Tipzta, Devine and Marky P, aka 3 Of A Kind who have simultaneously managed to set pop radio and the odd club alight with their debut single. How to describe the track? Well, it is kind of hip-hop cum garage cum bit of cheeky fun really, not exactly a blow away pop stormer but at the same time the kind of track that is hard to ignore the first time you hear it. It could either be the start of a whole new musical trend or a brief flash in the pan, but for 3 Of A Kind, it is the kind of chart debut that everyone dreams of. Funny to think that once upon a time, a totally unknown act topping the charts in their first week was totally unheard of. So far this year Michelle, LMC, Sam & Mark, McFly, Eamon, Frankee and the Shapeshifters have all hit paydirt on their first week out.
At Number 2 is something that is either a cause for celebration or a huge tragedy in the making, depending on your point of view. A British music industry looking for the next big sensation rubbed its hands with glee at the debut album from the Libertines when it came out in 2002. Here at long last was a band with the potential to be worthy successors to the throne of best act in the land that Oasis had by and large been occupying by default rather than on merit for most of the last few years. Up The Bracket was stuffed with musicianship, attitude and above all tunes, thanks to the charismatic force of frontman Pete Doherty. The promotion of the album climaxed with the Number 11 hit Don't Look Back Into The Sun last August and the stage was set for the Libertines to take things to the next level.
Then Pete Doherty went away to spend time with his best friend. The needle. A self-confessed smack addict, the lead singer of the group has spent the last few months falling apart in quite spectacular style, diving in and out of rehab, in and out of the newspapers and behaving in a manner that has made many people genuinely very scared for his future well-being. Somehow amongst all of that, he kept on working - assisting Wolfman on the Top 10 hit For Lovers and sneaking a Top 40 entry with his own solo Babyshambles single. He also wrote and recorded a new Libertines album but just after it was completed he went off the rails once too often and with a deep breath the band sacked him and elected to call it a day.
Which is where we are now. First single Can't Stand Me Now is everything that it was expected to be, the next stage in what was set to be the transformation of the Libertines into superstars. A massive Number 2 smash (and very nearly a Number One) it stands now as a towering monument to what might have been. Of course, it could still be. Those with long memories will recall we have kind of been here before, 1995 witnessing The Verve releasing a "swansong" album after Richard Ashcroft pissed his bandmates off one time too many. Two years later they were back with a new album which quickly became their masterpiece. Don't write the future of the Libertines off altogether - all it will take is for their frontman to confront his own demons.
Onto brighter things now and the second chart hit single for V, the boy rock band from the Busted and McFly stable. First single Blood Sweat And Tears hit Number 6 back in June, vanishing down the chart in fairly short order afterwards. I suspect the same fate will befall Hip To Hip somehow. My inner 13-year-old has more taste.
The fourth Top 10 new entry is a deserved step upwards for Kasabian, hard on the heels of their chart debut Club Foot which made Number 19 in May and on the back of some extremely well-received festival appearances. The Brit-rockers have had to sit frustrated whilst the world queued up to pay homage to the likes of Keane and Franz Ferdinand but with a Top 10 hit under their belts at last, it may be time for Kasabian to point out that they have been here all along as well and damn well deserve some attention too. Hope I've done my bit. [And the track which I conspicuously fail to name here? Only their defining moment on record...]
Moving outside the Top 10 now we hit upon the self-styled 'King Of The Dancefloor' Beenie Man, this single the follow-up to Dude which hit Number 7 back in March. I'd be tempted to say more but the rather contemptible way the record label chose to promote the single by littering every lamp post in the East End of London with stickers advertising its release actually renders it unworthy of further consideration. [Genuinly did not see that coming. Easy tiger].
At Number 15 are The Rasmus, following up the massive Top 3 smash In The Shadows which landed itself a seven week Top 10 run to become one of the biggest hits of the year so far. Second single Guilty is every bit as marvellous but charts rather lower. I suspect the single is, er, guilty of simply being rather too similar to its predecessor to stand out as a hit in its own right.
Just a place below is Javine who frustratingly seems stuck in the Top 20 twilight zone, this now her third single in a row to have peaked between 15 and 18. The song Don't Walk Away has a chart pedigree of its own, having first been a Number 7 hit back in 1993 for Jade, a US girl group who were effectively the missing link between En Vogue and Destiny's Child in the evolution of US girl groups. They never quite managed a hit to live up to that debut, finally splitting in 1995. Javine's cover is that rare beast - a version of someone else's song that manages to add something to the original. Given the raw talent she demonstrated on the Popstars - The Rivals show back in 2002 this is hardly a surprise but with the performance of this latest single there must be a fair few people tearing their hair out at exactly how on earth to give her a big pop hit.
Just sneaking inside the Top 20 is Lloyd Banks, better known as one of the leading lights of G Unit but now with a solo career of his own and a Number 19 hit in the shape of On Fire. Isn't it curious that G Unit's own hits are rather naff and that they can only really hit the heights in conjunction with others and yet when one of their number makes his own record it ends up sounding great?
Sophomore album time for Biffy Clyro, just a year after the group first hit the charts with their debut The Vertigo Of Bliss. This new single is their second Top 40 hit, a direct follow up effectively to Questions And Answers which made Number 26 in June last year. A bit of elementary maths will prove that Glitter And Trauma is thus their biggest hit ever. Quite right too.
The single at Number 23 has been a long time coming as far as the charts are concerned. First appearing in the clubs at the end of last summer, Scent's Up And Down finally makes it as far as a commercial release. Shamefully it will wind up becoming one of those club records that underperforms in the shops as the track is something of a minor gem, a cheeky pop track that puts many of its more mainstream peers to shame. The producers behind the track actually have something of a pedigree for amongst their number is one Daniele Divoli, best known as the brains behind Black Box - this single coming on the 15th anniversary of their most famous hit Ride On Time. [The very definition of a lost classic this one].
At the very bottom of the Top 30 is another minor gem, a new entry from the Finn brothers. Since the demise of Crowded House, the two New Zealanders have both pursued musical careers that appear to alternately diverge and intersect. Won't Give In is taken from their first album together in almost a decade. Not since 1995 have the pair charted together, hitting Number 29 in October that year with the single Suffer Never. Of the duo, it is Neil who has had the most successful solo career (in this country at least). His last hits came in 2001 when the album One Nil spawned two chart singles, the biggest of which was the Number 32 track Wherever You Are. Tim has to date only had one run of solo success, that coming back in 1993 although he has yet to have a solo Top 40 hit.