No change at the top again this week, albeit partly due to a lack of strong competition. Nelly Furtado's Maneater clings on for a third week at Number One in a week which saw overall sales slip to alarmingly low levels. Whilst this raises the possibility of a spectacular debut at the top for a new single next week, for the moment it means Nelly remains supreme as chart queen.
Her nearest challenger came from Shakira as Hips Don't Lie continued its rise moving 3-2 to become her joint biggest hit single to date. Having heard the song on the radio a few times this past week I'm not entirely convinced its overall appeal is unconnected to the visually striking video but it remains an arresting and quite extraordinary record [that for me sums it up totally. It is an utterly extraordinary record and justifiably famous for that reason alone], I guess thus justifying its continued presence near the top of the chart.
With Sandi Thom doggedly clinging on at Number 3 this week, it is only the presence of Wyclef Jean on the Shakira track that prevents solo females from a total domination of the Top 3 singles. With Pink still at Number 10 and with singles from Sergio Mendes and Infernal featuring female lead vocals, the fairer sex take the lead on six out of the Top 10 this week.
The six-year chart career of Devon trio Muse moves up into an impressive new gear this week as their brand new single Supermassive Black Hole soars 46-4 upon physical release to become the biggest new hit of the week. Their first hit since late 2004, the track raised more than a few eyebrows when first debuted thanks to the way it signalled their departure from the melancholy Radiohead-esque alternative rock that has been their trademark for years. Instead, the track veers alarmingly towards the 70s, sounding at times like Jeff Lynne in one of his more experimental moods. Still, once you get used to it, the track is nothing less than impressive and a big debut was more or less assured. Prior to today Muse's one and only Top 10 hit single was 2003s Time Is Running Out, but even that Number 8 peak is blown out of the water. The group are set to be a smash hit in the summer festivals - new album Black Holes And Revelations hits the shops next week.
Now for a fun oddity that of course just happens to have a sideways World Cup link. Brazilian jazzman Sergio Mendes had a string of hit singles in the United States in the late 60s and early 70s but for a long time remained largely unknown in this country, a solitary 1983 chart entry with Never Gonna Let You Go being his only brush with the mainstream. His career was given an unlikely boost in the late 90s when his theme song - his version of Jorge Ben Jor's Mas Que Nada was used briefly on the soundtrack of the first Austin Powers movie.
The bossa nova rhythm also featured on the soundtrack of the infamous 1998 Nike TV commercial which saw the Brazilian football team causing havoc (with enormous skill of course) with a football in an airport departure lounge. Whilst the Tamba Trio recording of Mas Que Nada used in the commercial crept into the bottom end of the Top 40 that summer, a string of dance versions also swiftly appeared, Echobeatz winning that particular battle and scoring a Number 10 hit eight summers ago.
Fast forward to 2006 and Nike have once again turned to the song to soundtrack the exploits of the Brazilians in the TV commercial. This time it is the man himself performing the track in an upbeat new version which calls on the services of the Black Eyed Peas for the vocals. Needless to say the single is a smash hit, charging into the Top 10 at Number 6 after charting on downloads inside the Top 30 last week. It seems somehow appropriate that the man who popularised the song all those years ago is finally rewarded with the biggest ever hit version. Incidentally, the Timeless album from which it is taken sees Mendes team up with a galaxy of soul and hip-hop acts, with speculation being that it will relaunch his career in the same way that 'Supernatural' did for Santana at the turn of the decade.
Another acclaimed British act making a much-anticipated return this week are Lostprophets who this month will unveil their first album for two years. Lead single Rooftops (A Liberation Broadcast) bodes well for it, a suitably anthemic rock single which OK may not rank as their greatest work but serves as a useful reminder of just why they achieved the popularity they did last time around. The single neatly soars to Number 8, matching the peak of the lead single from their last album Last Train Home which charted back in February 2004.
They will be hoping that they manage the consistency of the next chart act, as the Zutons build on the success of last single Why Won't You Give Me Your Love with their second straight Number 9 hit single. The second track from the Tired Of Hanging Around album, Valerie appears to have been all over the radio for the past few weeks and finds the band in a reflective mood, David McCabe's vocal style at times aping Bob Geldof at his most impassioned. Pop may be dead and buried it seems but with the Top 10 playing host to three new entries from three great British rock bands there isn't really the time or the need to mourn it. [A great rock single which would be surpassed a year later by a most unlikely cover version].
Evidence both of the new shape of the market and indeed the rather low level of sales at the moment comes in the shape of the two biggest "new" hits of the week which are both much anticipated new singles arriving in download form only. First up are the Pussycat Dolls whose fourth single Buttons lands at Number 11 in advance of what is certain to be a strong physical debut next week. The single takes on an Arabic flavour for the melody but their usual harmonies and the obligatory rap guest star (Snoop Dogg in this case) are all present and correct. Their first three singles have all been Top 10 hits, two have been Number Ones and it is a foolish person who anticipates anything less than Top 5 for the track next week.
The same goes for the Kooks who are almost certainly set for their biggest ever hit single when the summery She Moves In Her Own Way hits the shops for real this week. Based on downloads alone the single has landed at Number 14, riding the wave of their last single Naive which hit Number 5 back in April and which is still selling, the single lifting 32-26 this week as if in sympathy. It is all the more impressive when you consider that She Moves... will end up as the fifth single from their enormously listenable Inside In/Inside Out album. I can all but guarantee it will spend next week as the biggest hit by far.
One single which sadly looks to be peaking where it is for the moment is the new entry at Number 18, Dirty Little Secret from the All-American Rejects. The group are best known for their 2003 single Swing Swing which reached Number 13 over here three years ago. The memorable pop tune has wound up becoming something of a millstone around the neck of the band with radio stations back home seemingly uninterested in any of their other recordings in favour of their catchy debut. Happily for them all that changed at the end of last year when Dirty Little Secret was premiered to stateside audiences. The single shot to the Top 10 over the pond to finally give them a smash hit single and shake off once and for all the one hit wonder status. It has taken a while for the marketing to get round to this country and so it is only now that the track escapes to the market over here. It is a shame that the single can do nothing more than creep into the Top 20 but for the moment we have our own exciting set of British groups to focus on - bubblegum American power pop just isn't going to get a look in for the moment it seems.
Number 21 sees Ne-Yo slide into the chart with Sexy Love. It's the follow-up to the Number One hit So Sick and arrives on download sales only, so expect that too to go Top 10 next week. Just below is the clearest indication yet that this has been a poor sales week, Michael Jackson's Stranger In Moscow becomes the highest charting DualDisc single for five weeks.
Finally, for this week the most notable thing about the Top 40 is the records that are missing from the upper reaches - the World Cup songs. England may still be in the competition and football is still wall to wall on television, but the popular appeal of the football songs appears to by and large have fallen off a cliff. Sham 69 tumble 10-31, Crazy Frog falls 15-34 and Stan Boardman crashes 17-37. Even the official England track from Embrace is not immune, dropping 8-17 to leave the honour of the highest charting football track of the week to an old favourite. 3 Lions is also on the slide, but not by much, settling at Number 15.