10 new entries, 4 climbers and 2 non-movers is the tale of the tape this week, but this is a fun singles chart we have on our hands - one which is more or less equally balanced between "stuff happening this week" and "stuff set to happen next week". All will become clear.
First, the non-movers which see My Chemical Romance and Razorlight immobile at 1 and 2 respectively. It means Welcome To The Black Parade consolidates the Number One position it ascended to last week, maybe to the surprise of some more cynical observers who viewed the track as a cult single got lucky. This clearly isn't the case, and topping the singles chart has given the group some much deserved mainstream publicity and drawn attention to the impact the Black Parade album is set to have when it finally hits the shops this week.
So that is a "this week" story, how about one for "next week". The biggest challenge to the Number One position looks set to come from Girls Aloud who land themselves a sensational Number 5 new entry with the digital sales of new single Something Kinda Ooh [you can start to see a pattern developing here as to the identity of the acts who could pop a chart position on downloads alone. Proof, just like in the streaming era, that it is the younger music fans who are the earliest adopters of the new technology]. Four years after they debuted the girls have clocked up enough singles for a Greatest Hits collection The Sound Of Girls Aloud, set for release next week. Something Kinda Ooh is one of a handful of new tracks included on the collection and well, you can see the rest for yourselves. Appropriately enough the track is a musical throwback to their very first hit, a sparkling synths and guitars workout that wouldn't sound out of place on a Pink album. It is their 13th hit and continues their 100% strike rate of Top 10 singles and their first Top 5 hit in three releases. They haven't hit the Top 3 since I'll Stand By You topped the chart at the back end of 2004 but on the strength of this debut it will be a huge shock if they don't correct that next week when the physical release gives Something Kinda Ooh the traditional sales boost.
Back to "this week" then and a single from a man who can be forgiven for Girls Aloud stealing his thunder for the biggest new hit of the week. Meat Loaf's near thirty-year chart career can be traced in a series of ups and downs and most die-hard fans will concur that the ups generally tend to coincide with the periods when he works closely with producer and writer Jim Steinman. Whilst each man can point to successes in collaboration with others, the two Bat Out Of Hell albums stand testament to the fact that each is the yin to the others yang. It makes it all the more frustrating that the pair just don't seem able to get along for more than short periods at a time. [Meat always framed this as "my manager hates his manager"].
Thus it is that the announcement a couple of years ago that the pair were collaborating on a new Bat Out Of Hell album was tempered by the subsequent breakdown in relations that resulted in lawsuits flying and the bizarre settlement which means that Meat Loaf has the right to the Bat Out Of Hell concept for one album only, during which time Steinman is not allowed to make any derogative remarks about the project. It also, of course, means that while the album will contain some Steinman songs, his production genius will be missing. Thank goodness then that the first single is one of the Steinman songs that has survived the fallout.
It's All Coming Back To Me Now has a similarly complicated story behind it. The song was originally penned for Pandora's Box, an all-girl group Steinman put together using his favourite session singers for the concept album Original Sin, released in 1990. Although it is the work the producer to this considers to be his masterpiece, the whole project was a resounding flop and remains one of the great lost rock albums. Despite a lavish and erotically charged Ken Russell video the single release of It's All Coming Back To Me Now made a miserable Number 59 here in October 1989, my 16-year-old self being one of the few people to purchase a copy. Bizarrely it was left to Celine Dion to turn it into a hit, her version reaching Number 3 here in 1996 despite being a pale shadow of the original. Indeed pre-Titanic it was her biggest selling single worldwide and remains to this day one of her most famous performances.
So it is that ten years later the song surfaces again as Meat Loaf's first single from The Monster Is Loose and you know what, it was well worth the wait. Reimagined as a boy-girl duet, the song retains its power to move and inspire even if the production is a pale shadow of the one its writer would have lavished on it. Needless to say, this is the shot in the arm Meat Loaf's chart career needed and the single becomes his first Top 10 hit for over 10 years and his biggest single since I'd Lie For You And That's The Truth hit Number 2 in October 1995. The first single from the second "Bat" album was I'd Do Anything For Love which famously hit Number One and was the biggest selling single of 1993 and whilst it would be nice if this new single did the same, I suspect it is something of a pipe dream - and at 59 he would be one of the oldest men ever to top the charts.
A word too about Marion Raven, the co-credited star of the single. She hails from Norway and although a relative unknown on these shores she is a huge star in Scandinavia. Her only other chart exposure to date came back in 2000 when as one-half of duo M2M she scored a Top 20 hit with Don't Say You Love Me.
[The official video is oddly missing from YouTube, something which may well be connected with the strange legal status of the Bat III project. But they did perform on Strictly to promote it, so let's go with that instead].
The other two big Top 10 movers are new entries from last week who get a boost from combined sales. James Morrison moves 20-8 with Wonderful World to land a satisfying Top 10 follow-up to his debut hit You Give Me Something which made Number 5 in July. It is, however, an even bigger climb for the Ordinary Boys who soar 36-10 with Lonely At The Top. I can't work out whether the Ordinary Boys would have been better or worse off if lead singer Preston hadn't suddenly become a Heat regular thanks to Celebrity Big Brother and the "Prestelle" frenzy which followed. On the one hand they are now a far bigger prospect than they ever were before, on the other hand, their lead singer is really only famous for his celebrity wife rather than the music he makes. Still, let's not grumble. Lonely At The Top gives the ska revivalists their third Top 10 single of the year, this brand new track taken from their third album How To Get Everything You Wanted In Ten Easy Steps which also hits the shops this week.
The next new hit to chart is a single which leaps 47-13 on combined sales - If You Got The Money from Jamie T. The singer songwriter from Wimbledon has struggled for exposure thus far, despite heavy Radio One support and a knack for writing quirky ragga tunes which make him the nearest thing we have to a male Lily Allen (or is Lily the female Jamie T?). His last single Sheila crept almost unnoticed [by you, anyway] to Number 22 back in July and so the performance of this latest hit is a genuine step in the right direction.
Now back to "next week" as the second highest new entry lands at Number 14 for Beyonce. The follow-up to the Number One smash Deja Vu, new single Irreplaceable is actually a single with a far wider appeal, a mid-tempo R&B ballad which allows her to hit high notes with a huge smile, accompanied by a delicious acoustic backing track. To tell you the truth it is one of her best singles for a long time and a rise to the Top 5 next week is more or less a certainty.
[And now for what is not technically a debut but which does mark the rise to proper fame of one of the more tragic music superstars of her age]. Also making a digital splash this week is the pleasant surprise that is Amy Winehouse and her brand new single Rehab. Whilst the likes of Katie Melua and KT Tunstall became stars, Amy Winehouse has languished in semi obscurity for the past few years. Her debut album Frank had awards and praise showered upon it when it came out in 2003 but four successive singles failed even to make the Top 50. All looks set to change with her second album as suddenly her nonconformist attitude and take no prisoners interview style has started to count in her favour. Appearing hammered on the Charlotte Church show a few weeks back didn't hurt either, after all why should a lady who sings feminist jazz really care what anyone else thinks? 'Rehab' is hardly your average chart hit which makes its appearance at Number 19 such a joy. If it goes Top 10 next week I'll be singing it from the rafters, just you watch.
New in at Number 23 is the belated third single from the Pet Shop Boys' album Fundamental. Numb is a curious release as although it is taken from their previous studio album it actually serves as the promotion for new live album Concrete which comes out this week. Perhaps rather disappointingly it once again hammers home how this great British band are selling to just their own hardcore of fans and hardly anyone else. Following the Number 19 peak of last single Minimal this new hit limps in to the chart to rank as their second smallest chart hit ever, with only 1991 hit Was It Worth It ranking lower by peaking at Number 24 (we're ignoring the remix of DJ Culture and it's Number 40 peak here as that was simply due to a quirk of the chart rules in force at the time). What does make the single interesting is that it is the first non-cover the Pet Shop Boys have released to not feature a writing credit by Tennant and Lowe. Instead, the track is written by songwriting legend Diane Warren who thus scores her first chart single since Daniel Bedingfield's Nothing Hurts Like Love which charted in October 2004.
At the very tail end of the Top 40 there are a few quirks. I've run out of room to be annoyed at Rogue Traders' Watching You making a suspiciously crap Number 33 but there is at least space to note the appearance of Cassie's Long Way 2 Go at Number 38 on downloads, just a few places behind her last hit Me & U which is still meandering its way down the charts. And as tentatively predicted last week the Goo Goo Dolls creep up to Number 39 with Stay With You/Iris which sadly means their greatest ever track still hasn't given them a huge UK hit.