Nothing new to report at the top of the single chart this week. Madonna and Justin Timberlake go physical with 4 Minutes and so remain locked at Number One for a second week. Two weeks at the top is something of a new experience for pubehead whose previous chart-topping singles SexyBack and Give It To Me could only manage a solitary seven days at the summit. Madonna will I'm sure have half an eye on the trend this year for long-running Number One hits. In her long career her biggest run to date has been four weeks, a total achieved by Into The Groove in 1985 and Vogue in 1990. Activities below, however, suggest she may have something of a fight on her hands to get beyond three this time around.
The highest new entry on the singles chart this week is a track that will raise more than its fair share of eyebrows. Storming to Number 4 on the strength of its download sales alone is the charming grime ditty Wearing My Rolex as performed by Wiley. The 29-year-old Londoner may not be a familiar name to most, but he is far from a stranger to the charts. Under his own name he had a brace of hits in 2004, hitting Number 31 in April that year with Wot Do U Call It? but his greatest successes came as a member of the Roll Deep crew who had two hits the following year - Avenue and Shake A Leg which made Number 11 and 24 respectively.
His chart comeback marks the end of a period of self-imposed retirement, one which looks to have recharged his batteries sufficiently to land himself the biggest ever grimecore hit the singles chart has ever seen. Better yet, Wearing My Rolex has another story behind it as the backing track is quite famous in its own way as well. The music he is rapping to is, in fact, a 17-year-old club track called What Would We Do. It has long been regarded as one of the great lost dance records, having caused a sensation when it first emerged into clubland in the summer of 1991 but which has until now never been a hit single. Its first commercial release came in August of that same year when it could only stagger to Number 46. The track re-emerged six years later and looked set to finally become a hit only for the Industry Standard remix to stall at Number 55 just before Christmas 1997. Wiley's single uses the beats of the original more or less untouched and over the top spells out a tale of the all too possessive girlfriend who he finds to his dismay is borrowing his bling barely days into the relationship. It is a scenario we can all relate to I'm sure.
Wiley's single hits the stores for real on May 5 and as long as this rather spectacular first-week performance doesn't turn out to be a flash in the pan, it raises the spectacle of the British MC being the strongest challenger to Madonna's Number One crown.
Two more hits invade the Top 10 this week, the first of these being will.i.am's Heartbreaker which smoothly moves 18-8. As we discussed last week, the song is rather bizarrely becoming a hit in its album version rather than the newly mixed single version that features Cheryl Cole and which is the one being played on TV and radio in heavy rotation as we speak. The possibility has to be considered that the song is just so strong (and Cole's contribution so minor) that people simply aren't bothered by minor issues of single v album version and are snapping it up regardless. It does, of course, raise the spectacle that there are plenty of people willing to buy it all over again when the "proper" mix finally hits the stores a week on Monday.
Also entering the Top 10 are Scouting For Girls who have made a pleasingly old school trip up the charts with Heartbeat, the single having been available physically since the start of April. It arrives in the Top 10 in its sixth week on the chart, moving 64-40-27-19-14-10 in the process. The breezy track thus becomes their third straight Top 10 single, hard on the heels of She's So Lovely and Elvis Ain't Dead both of which remain consistent sellers and have a Top 75 birth of their own still. Their self-titled debut album is also reaping the benefits, solidly resident well inside the Top 10 of the OCCs albums chart.
Brand new inside the Top 20 are Pendulum who rocket to Number 16 with new single Propane Nightmares, the single gaining its chart placing on downloads one week ahead of physical release. Needless to say, it is far and away the biggest hit to date for the band, knocking out the park the Number 29 peak of Granite, their last single released in November last year. It all bodes well for the second album from the British-based Aussies, In Silico set for release on May 12. [This is oddly enough one of those singles which is so musically distinctive that everyone recognises it but practically nobody can name].
The final Top 20 new entry of the week is a classic example of how album-friendly acts can struggle as singles artists, regardless of the impact they first made. Chasing Pavements was, of course, the track that made Adele into a star, unlucky to peak at Number 2 at the end of January but enough to ensure that her hype as the next big thing of 2008 was justified and send her debut album 19 flying out of the shops. Like so many female stars before her from Kate Nash to Sandi Thom, the challenge of managing a followup single that is as big seems way beyond her or the talents of her promoters. So it is that her second single proper Cold Shoulder can do little more than limp to Number 18 following its physical release last week. As ever there is actually very little wrong with the track, like its predecessor it is a moody jazz-pop track that shows off her distinctive smoky tones to awesome effect. It hardly matters that she won't have another big hit given the amount of albums she has shifted so far and will continue to do so for most of the rest of the year. Nonetheless, if we define a "pop star" as someone who can sell track as pop singles, then Adele is in sore danger of being a classic one-hit wonder. [Before any more eyebrows hit the ceiling, be assured that this was a reasonably accurate assessment of Adele's career so far. The hyped up next big thing had done OK but had been utterly blown out of the water by Duffy who followed in her wake. True superstardom would not come calling for her for another three years and a second album that was naturally so much better. And bigger].
As so increasingly seems to be the case, the list of physical singles that have become hits is far outnumbered by those that have underperformed somewhat. Cahill's Trippin On You gets a respectable enough Number 25 but below them are rather surprise shocks such as Cops And Robbers from The Hoosiers (Number 35), Backfire At The Disco from The Wombats (Number 40) and perhaps most startlingly of all The Feeling who, lest we forget, were one of the most charted acts of 2006 but who can only limp to Number 53 with new single Without You.
Better things are in store for future hits hanging around as downloads such as Party People from Nelly featuring Fergie which is at Number 26 ahead of a May 19 release and Who's That Girl from Robyn which enters the Top 40 at Number 38, her single hitting the shops for real this week (April 28).
Finally, for this week, we should pay some attention to the almost totally unpredictable performance of Sweet About Me from Gabriella Cilmi which sits this week at Number 27. The debut hit from the Australian singer-songwriter has been floating around the chart since it first became available online at the start of March. In its third week it entered the Top 40 for the first time at Number 38 but subsequently sunk back down and had been hovering just outside the main countdown ever since. The track finally went physical two weeks ago and this was enough to push it to Number 34 last week. Relentless promotion and a widespread online fanbase which has been vocal in shouting its merits has helped the track still further and it now becomes a Top 30 hit in its eighth week around. In truth, the single is far too good to be a forgotten near miss, but if it does eventually turn into a major hit it will be thanks to a trend-busting climb of Rockstar-like proportions. [Seems to be on the cards... just watch].