So what do you do when one of the biggest selling "singles" of the week doesn't appear on the chart at all. The record in question is Who The F**k Are The Arctic Monkeys by the self-same phenomenon which although it was released this week fails to qualify for the singles chart by virtue of being marketed as a five track EP. Despite the onset of the online era, we still have to play by the physical rules which state that a CD single must contain no more than three tracks - otherwise it is an album. Really it is a daft state of affairs, as by no stretch of the imagination is a set of five four minute tracks an album. Ever since the "3 tracks max" rule was imposed in the late 90s, I've always argued that exception should be made for an old fashioned "extended play" single to be part of the marketing ammunition for a band, and as long as it is sold at a suitable premium to account for the extra tracks then really the singles chart should make room for it. In any event, if the Arctic Monkeys really wanted another Number One single they could have simply released two CD singles with one track in common and the remaining four tracks divided amongst each format. With dedicated fans needing to buy both formats to complete the set so to speak, they would have been guaranteed another chart-topper. Given that they didn't do this, you have to conclude that further chart domination just wasn't on the agenda here, but it just seems a shame that the biggest new release of the week doesn't actually show up on the singles chart.
Thus the door is left open for Crazy to notch up a fifth week at the top of the charts. Despite the arrival in the shops of their debut album, Gnarls Barkley find that their hit single remains a phenomenon, shifting another 70,000 copies this week to maintain a comfortable lead at the front. Those of us who heard the single when it first came out were in no doubt just how awesome it was, from these continuing high sales it seems that even the casual record buyers of the nation are still coming to the same conclusion over a month later.
Honours for the highest new entry of the week go to one of the most sought-after singles of the year. Despite their denials, the Raconteurs are something of a US alt-rock supergroup, headed up by Jack White and Brendan Benson with Greenhornes members Jack Lawrence and Patrick Keeler making up the numbers. Their debut single Steady As She Goes first appeared on these shores back in January as a strictly limited edition run of 1000 7-inch singles. If you missed any of those you either had to travel to the States for a similar 1000 copy run that came out in March or take your chances on eBay for what was rapidly becoming a collector's item. The track arrives on the charts this week at Number 4 after finally being given a full release, and although one of the full release formats is also on an old fashioned 7-inch single the artwork is a mirror image of the original print run - thus nicely ensuring that the copies of the original limited edition should retain at least something of their value.
Also new-ish at Number 5 this week is Bang Bang You're Dead from the Dirty Pretty Things which makes a massive 40 place leap after charting on online sales last week. Once again the band are a new outfit for a familiar name, in this case, Carl Barat who on the strength of this record deserves to have his past association with the Worthless Junkie and the Libertines wiped from our collective memories. Bang Bang You're Dead is more than worthy of its Top 5 status with a guitar line and a melody which reaches back to the 60s and the golden age of the Kinks for inspiration. The single is also neatly packaged with an array of live versions recorded in places as diverse as Stoke, Sheffield, Leeds and Portsmouth.
There are more boys with guitars at Number 7 this week as Snow Patrol leap 30-7 with the shop release of brand new single All I Have. The single appears in advance of new album Eyes Open which hits the shops this week and is something of an eye opener for those who classified them as melancholy dreamers on the strength of their most famous hit Run. Indeed by crashing the Top 10 it becomes their second biggest hit to date (Run made Number 5 in February 2004). Their debut two years ago kind of became overshadowed by the fuss over rivals such as Franz Ferdinand. This time the way seems clear for Snow Patrol to receive their fair share of mainstream attention [just wait until their next single, eh kids?].
At Number 8 this week there is a welcome return to the chart for both a famous artist alongside a slightly less legendary but also well-known producer. Let's start first of all with Nick Bracegirdle, aka Chicane who first hit the chart back in 1996 with the instrumental hit Offshore but who has since gone on to create some very memorable dance singles. His most famous collaboration came at the turn of the decade when he remixed Bryan Adam's Cloud No.9 single into a club hit and then had a Number One hit with Don't Give Up on which a vocoder-ed Adams provided vocals. He hasn't been seen in the Top 40 since 2003 when Love On The Run (featuring former D:Ream star Peter Cunnagh on vocals) hit Number 33 but now lands his biggest hit since Don't Give Up thanks to his latest superstar collaborator - Tom Jones. The legendary entertainer has always kept an open mind about working with modern day stars, having had hits in the past with the Art Of Noise (Kiss) and of course in 1999 he recorded an entire album of duets with modern day stars which led to hits alongside the Stereophonics, The Cardigans and Mousse T. Nonetheless Number 8 single Stoned In Love is his most radical outing to date, a high tempo high energy club track in which his vocals are buried deep in the mix almost as if they are part of the instrumentation. What has fascinated many people is that he has enthusiastically toured TV shows to perform the track live and thus given away that his vocals on the record have been processed into a much higher register than his usual singing voice.
Also new at Number 11 is Will Young whose latest single Who Am I soars up the chart from an entry point of Number 47. The third single from his current album Keep On, it is the follow-up to January's All Time Love which made Number 3. As Radio 2 friendly as it is, the track isn't exactly the best release ever from the original Pop Idol winner and as it stands at present is set to become his first ever single to miss the Top 5 - never mind the Top 10.
One of the biggest new album releases of the spring is almost certainly going to be that of the Red Hot Chili Peppers who, 2003's Greatest Hits collection notwithstanding, have the ominous task of following up 2002's By The Way which saw their 15-year journey to superstardom finally come to fruition. That anticipation for their new material is high is shown by the performance of first single Dani California which lands at Number 12 this week on the strength of downloads alone. It bodes well - not just for its physical release next week which may well see it challenging for the Number One slot, but also for the release of the album Stadium Arcadium next week. I'll be first in the queue.
The parade of big new releases continues with the arrival in the Top 40 at Number 13 of Yo (Excuse Me Miss) from Chris Brown. It is the second hit single for the worryingly young R&B star but he can be excused for being slightly disappointed by the track's rather lowly chart placing given that debut hit Run It was a Number 2 smash hit back in February.
To round off this week, just for a change we have two Michael Jackson-related singles. The first is the latest DualDisc release as we finally move beyond the Bad years and head for Dangerous territory. Latest release Black Or White was released in late 1991 after months of anticipation. It's release marked a new phase in Jackson's solo career as he split from producer Quincy Jones in search of a different sound. At the very least Black Or White was worth the wait, featuring an insistent guitar riff from Slash (he of Guns N' Roses) and one of Jacko's most sing-along choruses to date. To the surprise of many the track also featured a rap break from the mysterious LTB, this despite Jacko having in the past denounced rap as the one genre he would never touch. Just as eye opening was the video for the track which starred George Wendt and Macaulay Culkin as a warring father and son, a cast of hundreds of tribal dancers and of course the multicultural stars whose faces were all morphed into each other at the end of the song. More notorious was the post-song sequence which saw Michael Jackson smash windows, dance on cars, rub himself and finally turn into a panther - footage which the star himself excised from future airings after many complaints. When originally released the track gave him his first Number One single since I Just Can't Stop Loving You four years earlier but this week creeps to a mere Number 18.
Three places below is Somebody's Watching Me by Dutch mixers Beatfreakz. Their hit single is a looping house version of an almost forgotten track that Rockwell took to Number 6 in February 1984 on the Motown records label. Although all claims of nepotism were denied, the artist was actually Kenneth William Gordy, son of Motown supremo Berry Gordy and the track is these days perhaps more famous for the fact that Jermaine and Michael Jackson provided backing vocals (Michael especially in evidence on the chorus). Ignored for ages, the track gains a new lease of life this week and topically enough takes the Jackson connection to a new level in the video - just check out the midget re-enactment of Thriller.
On that note, I'm out of here - and remember there are just three weeks to go until the most exciting single release of the year.