The story of the singles chart race this week was that of yet another runaway leader, one which may have flagged slightly as the weekend came around but which was otherwise never in any danger of being overtaken at the top.
So it is that B.o.B.'s run at Number One is restricted to a single week as the American rapper is replaced by the finest example of his British equivalent. Step forward Dizzee Rascal who with his first solo release of 2010 soars to the top of the charts once more with new single Dirtee Disco. The single is his fourth Number One single in this country and heralds the release of a new deluxe edition (*sigh*) of his album Tongue N Cheek, the original version home already to his three previous Number One singles. As the title suggests it is a hit rooted in the disco sounds of the 70s, and maybe it is my nostalgic tastes colouring my view here, but the exciting floor filling nature of the track makes it far and away one of the best releases of his career to date. Just try and stay seated while it is on - I dare you. Once again you have to marvel at the way the man who began his musical career making award-winning singles about teenage pregnancies and other such pressing social matters is now making mindless frantic pop records, but when they all sound as good as this, is anyone really keeping score?
Dizzee presides over an unusually busy Top 10, Dirtee Disco being one of no less than four brand new entries which arrive between positions 1 and 6, new hits which all help one particular style of music to a complete domination of the upper reaches of the chart - as will become clear as we go through it.
The second biggest new hit of the week is Solo from Iyaz which flies in to Number 3. The single is the follow-up to the Number One hit Replay which charted back in January. The track is based heavily around the sampled melody from an old single - Solo borrowing its main riff from Janet Jackson's 1993 single Again to give the track a kind of bittersweet familiarity. Derivative it may be but the track tugs at the heartstrings in much the same manner as its predecessor and as a hit single it could hardly fail to impress. I'm kind of conflicted about showering it with too much praise - a serious music critic could come up with a whole string of reasons why the track is utter pish and lacking in many important elements of artistry - but to hell with it, Solo is sweet and funny and rather cute for all that. Does that make it necessarily a bad record? Those hankering for a full album of his work don't have too long to wait - Iyaz' debut album - also called Replay - is set for release in just a couple of weeks time.
Next up at Number 5 is our third new entry, Not Afraid from a returning Eminem. His first Top 10 single since We Made You hit Number 4 in April 2009, the track has already been an instant Hot 100 Number One single and now storms the UK charts in a similarly strident fashion. Not Afraid is the first track to be released from what will be Eminem's seventh studio album Recovery which will hit the stores on June 21st on these shores. The track represents something of a departure for the marketing of Eminem singles, being as it is from the rather darker and more profound end of his musical output as Marshall Mathers spits a frantic and frustrated stream of consciousness, all but offering the entire universe outside for a fight. Compare that to the lead single from just about every one of his previous albums and you will note that the usual tactic for marketing an Eminem album is to release one of his more lighthearted comedy numbers - singles such as My Name Is and Without Me. Maybe none of that was ever necessary, at one stroke the rather dark and intense Not Afraid has landed a place amongst his biggest British hit singles.
Lest you think that Dizzee Rascal is the only British urban talent making a stand this week, there is more homegrown new music thanks to a new entry at Number 6 for N-Dubz featuring Bodyrox with We Dance On. The single is the signature track from the hot new film Street Dance 3D which cashes in on the current craze for such moves by bringing together the likes of George Sampson, Diversity and Flawless in one of the most impressive visual spectacles you will see at the cinema this half term. The popularity of the film has rebounded neatly on its tie-in single landing N-Dubz one of their biggest hit singles to date. Indeed after struggling to progress further than the Top 20 with their last two singles Playing With Fire and Say Its Over, the trio will welcome this return to the Top 10, We Dance On essentially their second biggest hit to date after the Number 5 peak of I Need You from November last year. I say "essentially" as they technically have a Number One hit to their name as well, thanks to their guest role on Tinchy Stryder's single Number 1 which was at the top of the charts just over a year ago.
The production on 'We Dance On' is in itself quite intriguing, borrowing from classical motifs in the shape of the chord progression from Pachelbel's Canon In D Major, if my memory is correct the first chart single to explicitly do so since Coolio's C U When You Get There which was a hit in 1997. Unless you know better of course.
There is one more Top 10 new arrival this week, a climber in the shape of Eenie Meenie from Sean Kingston and Justin Bieber which moves 17-10 and in the process completes a rather startling set. This week every single one of the Top 10 singles in the UK is either an R&B track, a rap track or a fusion of both. Indeed the further down the list you travel, the more the domination grows with Fyfe Dangerfield's She's Always A Woman sitting tidy as the biggest selling non-urban single of the week way down at Number 14. It is a quite astounding genre domination - reflecting either the musical direction which all the best pop singles are taking at the moment or simply the preferences of the current singles buying generation.
A rap record of a very different kind is the next new entry of the week, Wavin' Flag from K'Naan landing at Number 16. The Somali-born Canadian made his chart debut just a couple of weeks ago, featuring on the Keane single Stop For A Minute which crept to Number 40. His first hit single under his own steam is a track which has already been a hit twice over in his native country. Originally appearing on his album Troubadour, the single was a Canadian hit for K'Naan himself before being remade at the start of this year as an all-star charity record - their equivalent of our own Helping Haiti single. The version that charts here now in the UK is a slightly reworked one, billed as the "Celebration Mix" with a new vocal and a rather more upbeat theme than the one with which it was originally conceived. The track arrives thanks to some vigorous promotion by Coca-Cola who have chosen it as their promotional anthem for their World Cup advertising. Thus I guess you can count the track as a World Cup single and thus far the most successful one of all, outstripping the new version of 3 Lions which takes a tumble to Number 27.
The highest climber of the week is up at Number 18, Your Love Is My Drug from Ke$ha which rockets up from Number 34 last week. Always one of the more popular tracks from her album 'Animal', it first charted back in February down at Number 63 as one of the most popular amongst the cherrypickers. Now promoted to a single proper the track has already become her third solo Top 20 hit. After Blah Blah Blah stalled at Number 11 she surely has her sights set on another Top 10 single to match Tik Tok.
Turning to the album chart for the moment, the fuss over last week's Rolling Stones re-release was replaced this week by a three way battle amongst some new releases by some more up to date acts. Leading the charge are Australian group Pendulum who storm to Number One with their brand new album Immersion, two years after they peaked at Number 2 with their last studio album In Silico. The long player is home to their current single Watercolour which peaked at Number 4 three weeks ago and had been charging down the chart at a fairly rapid pace. In sympathy with the album the single rallies slightly, moving back up to Number 19.
Also new to the album chart at Number 3 is Glee - The Music Volume 3. Branded "showstoppers" it is as the title suggests the third full compilation of songs from the TV show soundtrack although it is actually the fourth Glee album to chart, thanks to the appearance at the start of May of the Power Of Madonna mini album. So far the only Glee Cast release to hit Number One was Volume 1 which was released back in January. Meanwhile their latest chart single is a showstopper of its own - their own version of I Dreamed A Dream as popularised by Susan Boyle a year ago. The Glee Cast version charts at Number 36, beating both Susan Boyle's own studio version which made Number 37 as an album track just before Christmas and the Number 45 scaled by Patti LuPone's original in April last year, right at the height of Boyle-mania.
TV is also responsible for some of the more surprising chart moves of the week. New at Number 29 on the singles chart is the hitherto unknown Danielle Hope who last weekend was crowned the winner of the BBC TV series "Over The Rainbow" and was thus cast as Dorothy in a forthcoming West End production of The Wizard Of Oz. Her most immediate reward was to see her version of the titular song released as a single - hence a brief flurry of online interest and a Top 30 new entry. Originally performed by Judy Garland in the 1939 film, the song had until 1980 never been a chart single but has since been a chart hit by a startling range of acts.
Rockabilly group Matchbox were the first to have a hit single with the song, hitting Number 15 in 1980 with their version. The late Eva Cassidy charted at Number 45 with her version in 2001, prompting Cliff Richard to record the track as his Christmas single that year, peaking at Number 11. More recently following several TV soundtrack uses, the similarly deceased Israel Kamakawiwo'Ole reached Number 46 in 2007.
Finally for this week we should note the apparently out of nowhere surge in support for Michael Buble records, one which is actually down to the airing of his "An Audience with Michael Buble" TV special the Sunday before last. Needless to say such an exposure has had an instantly beneficial effect on his record sales. Current album Crazy Love rockets back up the chart to Number 2 whilst his previous albums Call Me Irresponsible and 'It's Time' are at 31 and 33 respectively. Meanwhile he invades the lower end of the singles chart in a similarly strident fashion. Leading the way is Haven't Met You Yet which is back on the Top 40 at Number 38 whilst his second most famous track 'Home' lands at Number 61. Some of the other standards he performed on the TV show also chart: Cry Me A River at Number 68, Feeling Good at Number 69 and Everything at Number 74.