Well we can consider that mission accomplished. After years of frantic head scratching about how to "slow the charts down", the download revolution has finally made it happen. We have a multi-month Number One, a Top 10 invaded by records climbing from the lower reaches and the highest new entry from a record that is actually available in the shops is outside the Top 20. What entertains me the most though is that after years of dealing with old timers whining about the trends for high new entries and few climbers, a generation of addicts who know nothing else are starting to complain that this old fashioned look to the singles chart is boring.
Of course, if you weren't that er, Crazy about Gnarls Barkley in the first place then you kind of have a point. The track is Number One once again, making this eight weeks at the top. That's now enough to give the record the longest run at Number One since Love Is All Around by Wet Wet Wet had a 14 week run in the summer of 1994. Only 19 other singles have ever spent this amount of time at the top of the charts and it is only the 4th single in the last 20 years to top seven weeks. Crazy is musical royalty indeed.
What is interesting is that the last three 8 week plus singles all came in a three year period between 1991 and 1994 when sales of individual singles were hovering around similar levels to now. Even after eight weeks on top, Crazy has "only" sold 600,000 copies. Enough to make it far and away the biggest seller of the year so far, sure, but this is a total that the big sellers of the late 90s were managing in a third of the time. Crazy may be the first 8 week Number One single for a decade but something tells me we are not going to have to wait as long for the next.
At Number 2 this week the impressive chart run of Infernal's From Paris To Berlin continues. After six weeks on the chart, the single reaches its highest peak to date after a run that has seen it move 34-4-3-4-3-2.
As expected the best performing "new" single of the week is Christian Milian's Say I which races 18-4 with its physical release. Number 2 remains its target, for now, to match the peak of 2004's Dip It Low as her biggest hit to date.
Busta Rhymes also makes a flying leap, soaring 23-6 with the newly released Touch It. Technically he's following up a Number One single as his last Top 40 appearance was as featured rapper on the Pussycat Dolls' Don't Cha in September last year. His last Top 10 appearance as a lead artist was as long ago as June 2003 when his duet with Mariah Carey on I Know What You Want headed to Number 3.
Also making a big splash in the Top 10 is Sunblock's second hit First Time which flattered to deceive with a download-only Number 48 placing last week but which now races to Number 9. After hitting Number 4 at the start of the year with the Baywatch theme-sampling I'll Be Ready, the group now turn their attention to a famous old coke advert. Soft rock love song First Time featured heavily in Coca-Cola advertising in the summer of 1988 and became an unexpected hit single towards the end of that year thanks to some relentless plugging by Radio One. The track shot to Number One and made a one-hit wonder out of diminutive American singer Robin Beck who failed to follow it up despite several valiant attempts. Well now she is back, contributing a brand new vocal to this looping house remake which makes the Top 10 on the strength of not only being a rather infectious dance single but which also provokes a nostalgic smile from those of us who were 14 years old when the track was a hit For The Very First Time. Mention, of course, has to be made of the video which once again features the gaggle of blonde lovelies who starred in the clip for I'll Be Ready. It comes in two flavours, the most popular online apparently being the version in which the climactic pillow fight is performed by the girls with less than the regulation amount of clothing. [The uncensored version is on Dailymotion for those with time on their hands].
So of all the singles to hit the shops this week, the most surprising underperformer is Bright Idea from Orson. It looked to have started strongly after charting at Number 28 on downloads alone last week but the physical release has failed to help the catchy follow-up to their Number One hit No Tomorrow into the Top 10, never mind the Top 3.
So to Daz Sampson who has taken his Eurovision defeat on the chin with a consolidated chart position, Teenage Life rising one place to reach Number 12 this week. For what it's worth I actually thought his performance on the night was awesome. Like it or not he took his duties as Britain's Eurovision representative very seriously and with a great deal of pride. Our final position of 19th out of 24 in the final voting was still only a minor improvement on last year of course and it suggests that we've still got some work to do in working out just how to make the whole of the continent find our offerings appealing. Given the nature of the song which eventually won, we were at the very least along the right lines in submitting an entry that was quite bizarre. Sadly for Daz, he just wasn't bizarre enough in the end, but at the very least this Number 12 chart position gives him the biggest Eurovision-related hit since 1999.
So we finally come to the highest new entry of the week at a comparatively low-key Number 15. Don't be fooled though for this is the single which has a better chance than any others of late of knocking Crazy off the top of the chart. Sandi Thom is a name you may recognise as the young lady who decided to eschew the tedious business of travelling the country to play gigs, instead performing live on a webcam from her London home. After the virtual "world tour" became a net-wide phenomenon with wildly exaggerated numbers flying around about just how big her audience was, she was snapped up by a major label and is now set for the big time. The sparkling I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker (With Flowers In My Hair) would quite possibly have been a hit without any hype, but with her unconventional rise to fame still fresh in people's minds, it is inevitable that a smash hit is going to follow.
The other big single to make a Top 20 splash this week is The Adventure from US rock band Angels and Airwaves. At the heart of the group is Blink-182s Tom DeLonge who formed the group whilst his bandmates took a break. This isn't the first time he's had a side project on the go, forming Box Car Racer in similar circumstances a few years ago. Angels And Airwaves, however, have the potential to be as massive as his day job on the strength of their first single. It's the kind of sun drenched Californian rock music that was supposed to have gone out of fashion years ago, dripping with layered guitars and sounding for all the world like it has walked off the Wayne's World soundtrack in 1992. For fans of nostalgia, it is possibly the greatest record you've heard all year.
Just two more tracks to check out this week. Latest release from Michael Jackson's fast-fading DualDisc programme is Jam, the schedule having mysteriously skipped past the rock-flavoured Who Is It in favour of this release, I suspect due to its celebrity-packed video. Jam was the track which kicked off the Dangerous album and once again is one of the tracks with which Teddy Riley ruined Michael Jackson. When the album was first released the Q reviewer openly wondered how a track which dispensed with all notion of form and melody managed to end up with so many writing credits. This is the record where Michael Jackson discovered he didn't have to sing anymore, just utter a few yelps and whoops over a breakbeat, Heavy D's rap winding up as the most coherent lyric on the track. Yes, this is Jacko's creative nadir, the single making a lowly Number 13 when first released in the summer of 1992 and now hitting Number 22 to match Remember The Time as the lowest charting of these re-releases so far.
One place below is Primal Scream's Country Girl which lands at Number 23 on downloads alone. It is set to soar into the Top 10 with ease next week which makes it more appropriate to wait until then for analysis. Can I recommend that if you only buy one single this week you make it this one. It is the most exciting single of the year after all.... [the payoff to four weeks of teasing, and it was extraordinary and one which I loved, for reasons I'll go into in the next column].