This week's Official UK Singles Chart
A brand new Number One single. A good feeling isn't it? Not that having a different song at the top is all that much of a novelty of course (this is after all the third different single to top the charts in as many weeks). No, what makes McFly's Obviously so refreshing is that it is the first single by a British act to hit the top since April. In fact, the last UK act to hit the top were McFly themselves with their debut single 5 Colours In Her Hair. Since then we have seen Eamon, Frankee, Mario Winans and Britney Spears all takes turns at the top, just keep it warm it seems for the impressively talented boy band who make it two chart-toppers out of two to kick start their career in the best way possible. Just like their first single, Obviously is quite the reverse of what you would expect from a pop band, a sing-along track that has shades of Oasis, or at least shades of what Oasis would sound if the Gallagher brothers had taken an overdose of Prozac. In short, it is a worthy Number One hit and in truth, the biggest tragedy waiting to happen is if the boys are stuck with the label of being nothing more than a teen band. [Another example of just how good McFly really were. Just that their misfortune was to be famous at precisely the moment music sales had fallen off a cliff].
It is a busy week for new entries overall, no less than five new hits crashing straight in to the Top 10. The second biggest new hit of the week is that of Outkast who charge in at Number 4 with Roses. This is, of course, the follow-up to The Way You Move and at a stroke, it beats the Number 7 peak of that single to return Big Boi and Andre 3000 to the Top 5. In all honesty I suspect the track has got this high simply as a result of the group being so white hot at the moment rather than because of any widespread appeal as Roses is possibly the least mainstream (and by definition the most old skool Outkast) single to come from the Speakerboxxx/The Love Below album. As if to hammer home this point the track is one of the few from the album that sees the pair appear alongside each other - just like in the old days. The single is still their third biggest to date, only 2001's Ms Jackson and Hey Ya having charted higher.
At Number 6 is a very deserving new entry in the shape of Jay Sean's Eyes On You. The young Asian star first appeared on the chart in September last year when he appeared on the Rishi Rich Project's Dance With You. For his second release, the credits are reversed and the producers are reduced to a supporting role, Jay Sean fulfilling the predictions of stardom that were made for him last year. Eyes On You beats the peak of his first single by six places to give him a very welcome Top 10 hit.
There are three cover versions charting inside the Top 20 this week but to the relief of many, the single at Number 9 isn't one of them. Despite sharing its title with an old Nirvana track, Beverley Knight's Come As You Are is in fact a brand new track and the first hit for the singer in over two years. Never one to go down the predictable R&B route, for this track Beverley Knight has chosen a track that mixes in a tantalising taste of rock although the track remains just as danceable as some of her earlier hits. Despite having had hits on and off since 1995 her only Top 10 hit to date was 2002's Shoulda Woulda Coulda but this single eases past the Number 10 peak of that track to give her her biggest hit to date. I've overused the word "deserved" already this week so let's settle for describing the success of this single as "appropriate".
Time then to bring on the cover versions and leading the way are the Girls of FHM with a rather clunking version of one of Rod Stewart's most famous hits. Promoted by the famous men's magazine to celebrate 10 years of its 100 Sexiest Women poll, the track comes complete with a video featuring the likes of Naomi Campbell, Myleene Klass, the girls from Liberty X, Liz of Atomic Kitten, Tina from S-Club as well as glamour girls Jakki Degg, Jodie Marsh and Michelle Marsh and Z-listers such as Big Brother's Nush, Lady Isabella Hervey and Sophie Anderton. The list is endless. Happily, none of them feature on the record itself although if they did it would probably be an improvement on this rather anodyne disco production that does the original no favours at all. The one redeeming feature of the track is that proceeds from it go to breast cancer charities - a move that echoes Rod Stewart's own donation of the royalties from his original version of the track (a Number One hit in 1978) to UNICEF.
At Number 12 is another cover version and a single release that has made some headlines of its own this week for all the wrong reasons. After failing to quite make the splash they wanted with some 80s-style hits, Phixx have decided to go the whole hog and cover a famous 80s track, in this case, a startlingly faithful rendition of Duran Duran's 1984 Number 2 hit Wild Boys. What they didn't count on was a slight record company cockup which led to the 2-track CD version of the single falling foul of the chart rules which state that such releases must be no more than 10 minutes in length. Exactly what negotiations took place during the week to rectify this situation are unclear (and the Official Charts Company appears to have stopped updating their website in October last year) but the net result of some behind the scenes wrangling has led to the offending single being considered eligible for the chart after all, hence Wild Boys charting as high as Number 12 when early midweek predictions placed it much lower down. Most strangely of all this bending of the rules comes just a couple of weeks after Pop's Heaven and Earth was removed from the chart after just one week after it was discovered that it too broke the rules on playing length. Go figure.
Moving away from the cover versions for the moment, arriving at Number 16 is Twista with the follow-up to the massive hit single Slow Jamz which was a Number 3 hit back in April. Once again the almost ubiquitous Kanye West is on mixing and co-vocal duties as the track bubbles along at an almost frantic pace, as befits a man who once held the record for the fastest ever rapping. Overnight Celebrity lacks just a little of the cute catchiness that made his first hit so memorable and the fact that this has charted just that little bit lower is not inappropriate.
Still, at least it is his second original hit single, unlike that of Angel City who chart at Number 18 this week with their second successive remake of an almost forgotten pop hit from a decade ago. Once again featuring Lara McAllen on lead vocals, Touch Me is an updated remake of a track first taken to Number 5 by none other than Cathy Dennis back in 1991 - yes, the same Cathy Dennis who has written some of S Club's best songs as well as Kylie's Can't Get You Out Of My Head. Touch Me is the follow-up to November's Love Me Right which hit Number 11 and which was a lyrically tweaked remake of Ready For The World's US Number One hit Oh Sheila.
At Number 20 are Belle and Sebastian who are still limping along with a series of mid-table hit singles from the marvellous Dear Catastrophe Waitress album. Single number 3 appears on the chart as Books [it was an EP release] but is in fact a double a-side of Your Cover's Blown and Wrapped Up In Books, the latter track having landed the group in some minor hot water after it was shown to have copied from the old Cliff Richard track Out In The Country, thus forcing the band to hand over 20% of the royalties. At Number 20 it doesn't quite match the career-best peak of their last single I'm A Cuckoo which hit Number 14 back in February but does at least become only their third ever Top 20 hit.
Inside the Top 30 but outside the Top 30 are three new entries of wildly varying styles. The biggest of these is the Number 22 debut of 19 year old Jentina, a new discovery who was widely expected to make a slightly bigger splash with Bad Ass Strippa. She describes herself as a 'teenage witch' except that whatever spell she was trying to work on the charts has not quite had the desired effect.
Number 24 is the rather disappointing entry point for Blink 182 who are following up the sublime I Miss You which gave them their second biggest hit ever when it peaked at Number 8 back in March. If anything this is the biggest tragedy of the week as Down is far and away the most mature and, dare I say it, heartfelt track they have ever recorded. If one track should be in the Top 10 this week it is this one.
Number 26 is a new entry for Junior Jack and despite the copious exposure for the irritatingly catchy Stupidisco it doesn't become the massive hit that was expected and instead falls one place short of the peak scaled by his last hit, the Robert Smith featuring Da Hype.
Finally then, seeing as how we have already made one reference to chart rules this week, Number 39 sees the return of Scottish girl group Lemonescent with their third Top 40 hit single. Although popular in their native country they have yet to break through on a national level and the poor performance of this single fails to break their record of never having had a Top 30 hit single. That said, they were due a Top 20 entry last September with the single Unconditional Love but some irregular buying patterns led to its disqualification from the chart - something which you suspect was something of a hammer blow to them given that a Top 20 single would have given them the kind of exposure they are desperately lacking at the moment. How they must be cursing the luck of Phixxx right now...