[A quite notorious column at the time this one, where in full on snark mode I take a joke and hammer it into the ground. Yet for some reason it never stops being funny. Poor Paris].
You know I am a positive thinker. I'm not the kind of person to wallow in the dark side of things, nor am I a "cup empty" kind of guy. The best way to achieve this I find is to imagine the worst thing that could possibly happen and feel very good about the fact that it hasn't. Instant positivity and optimism is therefore yours. Hence for this week we shall focus on one very important fact. Paris Hilton does not have the biggest selling single in the country.
The lady who does is of course Shakira whose summertime stranglehold on the singles chart shows no signs of letting up. Hips Don't Lie spends its third consecutive week and fourth in total at Number One, heading up what remains a pretty stagnant Top 10. The one remaining curiosity is the way the single has so far failed to ignite in any spectacular way the sales of its parent album Oral Fixation Vol.2. I say "parent" album as of course the single didn't originally feature on the long player when it first hit the shops back in November last year. The UK re-release finally hit the album charts at the start of July, since when it has moved 14-17-12-14-16-19-14-15 in an interesting albeit unimpressive show of consistency. In a way this may account for the similarly consistent sales of the single which has continued to attract purchases from people who for whatever reason haven't felt compelled to fork out for the other 12 tracks. Never mind, just remember that Paris Hilton isn't Number One.
The only significant mover in the Top 5 is Cascada's Everytime We Touch which may well be enjoying a surge of popularity from people for whom it has been the soundtrack to their European holidays. Either that or the mysterious appeal that caused the single to rise high in the R&B dominated US charts is working similar magic over here. I can't say I personally derive too much pleasure from a single that conjures up still painful memories of the Vengaboys nor do I experience much joy from seeing it move up to Number 2, but I'm reminded that despite this, Paris Hilton isn't Number One.
Another single that has been on the rise lately is Snow Patrol's Chasing Cars. Since first hitting the chart on download sales alone, the single has risen 25-15-13 and now this week leaps a further 3 places to breach the Top 10. When it first hit the shops and landed in the Top 20 I stated confidently that it was not going to come close to the Number 7 peak of their last single You're All I Have and give them a third Top 10 hit. This, of course, proves that ultimately I know nothing and should not waste my time making idle predictions. Paris Hilton does not have the biggest selling single in the country.
For the first time in four weeks, the biggest Top 40 new entry has to settle for a place outside the Top 10. The weeks second most impressive chart climb is the 58-12 leap experienced by Michael Gray with Borderline. Nothing to do with the famous Madonna hit, the track is in fact a catchy piece of mutant disco, in a similar vein to Gray's last hit single The Weekend which made Number 7 in March 2004. The female singer on the track is Shelly Poole, no stranger herself to the charts as one half of Alisha's Attic whose three albums produced eight Top 40 hits between 1996 and 2001. In one of those bizarre coincidences that the charts sometimes throw up, Alisha's Attic actually never had a Top 10 hit, instead landing themselves three Number 12 hits in a row with Alisha Rules The World, Indestructible and Air We Breathe - the same position you will not which Borderline occupies this week. I would speculate that this rather strange jinx is going to persist but the Snow Patrol thing has made me rather wary of making bold predictions. Anyway, just in case it wasn't made clear, the single itself is rather fabulous and well worthy of being the biggest new single of a very quiet week. So good in fact there is no need for the Paris Hilton thing.
Those in search of new-slash-real music will welcome the similarly huge chart climb experienced by The View with their debut single Wasted Little DJs which makes a massive 73-15 leap this week. Their journey to fame allegedly began when they blagged their way into an impromptu performance as support act to Babyshambles at a gig in Dundee (presumably one that the group actually made it to in the first place) and from there their career has snowballed to the point where this single has become one of the most eagerly anticipated releases of a barren August. It is not hard to see why, an energetic four minutes of what I'm going to nick from another website [Popjustice probably] and call "teenage rock and roll". It is a hear it once and love it forever kind of track which makes this chart placing actually rather a waste.
For me the most entertaining new single of the week arrives at Number 17 after entering at Number 42 on downloads last week and indeed Horny As A Dandy is quite possibly unique for making Mousse T the first producer ever to mash up one of his own records. The track began life in the mid-90s as a brass-heavy instrumental which he called Horny. Something was missing however and the track did not become a Europe-wide hit until a vocal track was added - Horny 98 duly shot up the charts and made Number 2. The female singers on the track were credited as Hot N Juicy and although record company blurb at the time identified them as "Nadine Richardson and Emma Southam", history has since recorded that the pair were, in fact, Emma Lanford (who went on to sing on several other Mousse T tracks) and Inaya Day [It was even more complicated than that, the full truth buried in a comment on a blog post I'd written about a year before this]. Quibbles about the singers aside, Horny was an instant classic and almost certainly the first single ever to make references to bounced emails.
Part II of the story comes from Oregon rock band the Dandy Warhols and in particular their most famous hit single Bohemian Like You. Although it missed the Top 40 when first released in 2000, its use in a Vodaphone TV commercial propelled it to Number 5 in 2001 and it too is now considered something of a 21st century classic. For Mousse T it also turned out to be the basis for a brand new interpretation of his most famous hit single. With Hot N' Juicy's vocals now mashed up with the guitar line (and the "woo hoo hoo"s) from the Dandy Warhols track, the song is given a whole new lease of life. Still eminently danceable and yet at the same time somehow far more credible than before it is a mash up with a level of inspiration that puts Richard X to shame. Once again though we have to look at the chart placing and wonder what the hell is going on. Horny As A Dandy blows just about every other club track of the moment out of the water and yet here it is stuck in mid-chart hell.
Still, if you are looking for some Top 10 action next week then I'd suggest that the Number 19 single is well primed to make an assault on the upper reaches in seven days time. Charting for now on downloads alone, Ridin is the debut UK single for rapper Chamillionaire whose USP is not so much his vocal style or his lyrics but the fact that rather than hailing from the east or west coast he grew up in the deep south as a native of Houston, Texas. Rap singles such as this one are always awkward to review especially as I'm far too old and white to relate to the lyrics in any way but there are times when the technical ability and sheer style of a performer just leaps out of the speakers and commands your attention. That is where Chamillionaire's strength lies and trust me, I'm cheering this all the way to the Top 10 next week.
Also worth watching out for next week when it hits the shops is Me & U, the debut single from US singer Cassie which lands at Number 23 on downloads. Hailed as the new J-Lo, she hits the ground running with a radio friendly R&B track that is almost as sexy as she appears in her promo material. The song has already caused a minor internet stir thanks to the appearance on YouTube of an early video for the song that was "apparently" supposed to have been suppressed in favour of the more toned down shoot that is in heavy rotation on a video channel near you. Damn you America and your prudishness, at least the first one puts the song in its proper context. [And it is the 'rude' version embedded below].