This week's Official UK Singles Chart
It's a new Number One. One that wasn't totally unexpected either for a whole variety of reasons. You see there are different breeds of club tracks. Some are plainly awful, never deserving to see the light of day. Some have an underground hardcore appeal which eventually translates itself into respectable sales. Others are inspired works of genius which take the genre to new heights and clock up huge sales along the way. Then there are the apparently daft ideas which take a simple premise and turn it into a cast iron smash hit. It is into this latter category that Eric Prydz's Call On Me lands nicely.
The track is inspired by well-regarded pop rock single Valerie, originally recorded in 1982 by Steve Winwood (famous for having a Number One single in his teens on the Spencer Davis Group's Keep On Running, founding Traffic and for briefly being the lead singer of supergroup Blind Faith). Valerie charted twice in this country, first time around making a lowly Number 51 in 1982 but then hitting Number 19 five years later when the production of the track was revisited by Tom Lord-Alge. This also turned the track into a US Top 10 hit. The original version of Prydz's track sampled the original recording but upon being asked to give his stamp of approval to its release, Winwood reportedly offered to re-sing the vocals to fit the track better - and this is the record that has been all over the radio for what seems like the past month and now sits proudly at the top of the singles chart.
Mention, of course, should also be made of the eye-popping video for the track which follows in the noble footsteps of singles such as Tim Deluxe's It Just Won't Do and Narcotic Thrust's I Like It. Whoever decided that the single was best represented by a room full of leotard clad lovelies doing pelvic thrusts in a variety of different positions deserves a knighthood frankly.
[You might want to watch that one a few times. Don't worry, I'll wait].
Time to wipe our fevered brows and honour the second biggest hit of the week, the third Top 10 new entry of the week and the sixth successive Top 3 hit for Girls Aloud. Their last single The Show demonstrated that they were determined to take chances with their sound and so it proves with Love Machine sounding quite unlike anything they have released before. Not that it is a totally original concept of course as the half spoken rockabilly pop track would not sound out of place on the uptempo section of a Shania Twain album - but here it is being performed with a cheeky grin by the sexiest pop act around. Love Machine should by rights be a bit naff but I can't help but admit to finding it addictive. The track duly becomes their fourth Number 2 hit, a run that would be frustrating but for the fact that their debut Sound Of The Underground managed to go all the way. Still, how much longer can they go on just missing out?
The parade of Top 3 new entries continues with a triumphant chart return for Green Day. It was August 1994 that the band first made the UK charts with the original (flop) release of now acknowledged classic Basket Case. At the time the US charts were buzzing with bands who had broken out of the college rock circuit to go mainstream but the likes of Hootie and the Blowfish (at least at the time) and Toad The Wet Sprocket had failed to make an impact here. Green Day were arguably the first post-grunge US rock act to crack the UK charts. In doing so they bridged the gap nicely between college rock and the more extreme skate rock acts that would follow - and somehow managed to survive the endlessly mutating trends of music to become consistent hitmakers over the decade that followed. American Idiot arrives at the same time as a brand new album which is being widely praised from all sides, despite the rather tedious political posturing they have brought to the party. The single storms the chart to astoundingly become only their second ever Top 10 single in this country and beating the peak of the aforementioned Basket Case (Number 7 second time around in January 1995) to wind up as their biggest hit single ever. Is it just me though or do they sound disturbingly like Status Quo here?
Actually, that is a spooky connection, for reasons which will become clear in a moment. First to the Number 9 position and a third chart single for teen prodigy Joss Stone. Her first two hit singles were both taken from her acclaimed 'Soul Sessions' album which saw the starlet perform new versions of classic songs in her own inimitable style. Spookily both Fell In Love With A Boy and Super Duper Love both hit Number 18 but now it appears she is ready to move into the big time. The occasion is the release of her second album and the first to feature totally original material. Sad to say that Stone is no songwriter herself and the album has been assembled by a collection of musical veterans who seem determined to force her down a path of sheer blandness. Happily, You Had Me is a musical highlight although even at that it sounds like nothing more than an Anastacia b-side. Let's celebrate the fact that Joss Stone deservedly has a Top 10 hit at last but feel somewhat disappointed that she hasn't a greater degree of quality control over her material.
On to the Top 20 now and yes, spookily enough here are Status Quo themselves. Defying what must now be close to 20 years of critical sniping that they stopped being relevant in the 1970s and surely 15 years since they had a mainstream pop hit of any kind, the veteran rock act (first hit single 1968) here storm the singles chart with their first new material for two years. Funnily enough it was two years ago that we last had cause to marvel at their staying power, 2002 single Jam Side Down making an unexpected debut at Number 17 and so it proves with You'll Come Round which defies the critics and their sheer lack of coolness to land nicely on the chart and in the process give the group their biggest hit since The Anniversary Waltz became their last Top 10 hit in November 1990.
Do you think the Corrs are suffering from a syndrome? Said syndrome is of course "one big hit" syndrome. Once they were guaranteed Top 10 hitmakers but they are now discovering that mining albums for a succession of big charting hits is harder than it used to be. Their first single release this year Summer Sunshine saw the family group make a celebrated return to the Top 10 after four long years but now despite a starring appearance at the Proms In The Park concert last weekend, the group can only hit mid table with Angel. What is the betting that their next release is timed for Christmas - and struggles to hit the Top 20?
A third hit single for Razorlight is the result of our next new entry, the band of course on a roll after their last hit Golden Touch slammed in at Number 9. Vice is every bit as good of course but cannot quite live up to the expectations raised by that last single and must settle for this mid table position. Could be far worse of course. Just ask Bryan Adams.
Yes Bryan Adams, the undisputed King of FM rock radio in the 80s, turned staggeringly successful slushy balladeer in the 90s and the all time record holder for most weeks at Number One (16 weeks for Everything I Do (I Do It For You) back in 1991 lest we forget). Now it seems he must reinvent himself again. Although his last Top 10 hit was no more than two years ago (Here I Am hitting Number 5 in July 2002) this brand new single has attracted little more than indifference. Not so long ago a brand new Bryan Adams track was a very big deal indeed. The fact that it can only make Number 21 and is his smallest hit for seven years is not a good sign for his chart career at all.
Just below at Number 24 is the prophetically titled Get No Better from Cassidy. His first single Hotel featured R Kelly and made Number 3, this new one features the unknown Mashonda and limps into the Top 30. You figure it out. One place below is the far more appealing prospect of Annie with novelty ditty Chewing Gum. Chances are you have already picked this up aurally at least once. Richard X handled the production and to all intents and purposes, it sounded like a hit in waiting. Sadly it isn't.
Finally this week we could do some hand-wringing over Dido and the presence of Sand In My Shoes at Number 29, her smallest hit single ever, charting even lower down than Don't Leave Home which was a hit back in April. As before, anyone who really cares has the album... or maybe they've just downloaded it. Well no actually, it doesn't feature in the Top 20 although the Razorlight single sneaks into the Top 3 in the d/l chart - just above the Green Day track which hit the listings three weeks ago, a full fortnight before its proper commercial release. Sooner or later this baby will settle down so we can make sense of it..