Oh my this is a good feeling. Something new to talk about at the top at long, long last. Yes, I think we can say with some confidence that today marks the end of Shakira's long reign at the top as Hips Don't Lie is finally replaced by a brand new single.
Just over three years since she first topped the pile as a solo artist with Crazy In Love, Beyonce Knowles soars to the top of the UK charts once again with brand new single Deja Vu. Taken from her forthcoming and long awaited second solo album, the single shows that her formula and thus her ability to have transatlantic hits remains as strong as ever, the single being a sparky brass punctuated R&B workout, complete with the almost obligatory hip-hop guest star. Said guest star is none other than friend to the world Jay-Z who proves to be something of a talisman for Beyonce, having also provided guest vocals on Crazy In Love back in 2003 [I lose track of whether they were officially a couple at this point]. For Beyonce, this is effectively her fourth Number One single with her two solo hits sitting nicely alongside the Destiny's Child hits Independent Women Part 1 and Survivor which topped the chart in 2000 and 2001 respectively. This is actually the second week on the chart for Deja Vu, the single having entered last week at Number 21 on downloads. It thus becomes the second single since the rules were changed back in the spring to vault from outside the Top 10 to the Number One slot, and in the process becomes only the 8th single in chart history to climb to Number One from outside the Top 20. The 21-1 rise of the single is equal to that of Hey Jude by The Beatles and (Just Like) Starting Over by John Lennon.
The all-time record for leaps to Number One was set fairly early in the life of the chart, Elvis Presley soaring 27-1 with Surrender in 1961. The record stood until 1982 when Happy Talk by Captain Sensible leaped 33-1 and was further broken in 2001 when Hey Baby by DJ Otzi climbed 45-1. With current chart rules allowing the staggered release of singles formats to contribute to their chart behaviour, I wouldn't be too surprised if it turns out we don't have to wait another 15 years for it to be broken again.
Meanwhile, it is proving hard for anything else to penetrate the Top 10 for the moment and one or two longer standing hits are taking advantage to improve their own positions. The most notable rise is the one that contributes to the trend-bucking chart performance of Snow Patrol's Chasing Cars. Having penetrated the Top 10 for the first time a fortnight ago when it rose to Number 10, the single fell back slightly last week but now gains a second (or should that be third) wind to climb 12-7 to give the haunting single a brand new chart peak. In truth, this sustained success is nothing less than the single deserves. Their debut Top 40 hit Run may still be the one Snow Patrol track that sticks in the mind but Chasing Cars, complete with its wall of sound climax looks set to replace it as their career high point to date.
Just below a similar yo-yo performance is in progress for the Rogue Traders and Voodoo Child. The Elvis Costello inspired electropop single first entered the chart two months ago and this week re-enters the Top 10 at Number 9 having dropped to Number 11 last week. It's only other spell outside the Top 10 came in its first chart week when the single entered at Number 18 on downloads.
The biggest chart climber of the week arrives at Number 11 with the arrival in the Top 40 of Hey Kid by Matt Willis. It is the second solo single from the former Busted man, the follow-up to Up All Night which hit Number 7 back in June. His debut solo album isn't scheduled for release until November and the hope was that this second stand-alone single would continue to establish him as a serious rock act with an appeal beyond his well-established teen following. The fact that for the moment the single hasn't reached the Top 10, even after making just Number 61 on downloads last week, will be a thorn in the side of his label.
Meanwhile, the highest new entry of the week is the single which will in all probability restrict Beyonce and Jay-Z to a solitary week at the top. It has been almost three years since Justin Timberlake last had a solo hit single, his contributions since being restricted to low key appearances on other people's records. Now it is time for pubehead to re-stake his claim as the coolest man on the planet. He's done so with a single which instantly establishes a brand new concept in attractiveness, that of the SexyBack and which flies into the chart at Number 13 on the strength of download sales alone. I confess I'm still waiting for the track to grow on me, the single being a typically idiosyncratic Timbaland production that sacrifices what little melody the track possessed in the first place and drowning Justin's vocals in a fuzz of distortion. [So both the concept of the lyrics AND its quality had flown totally over my head that week. Plenty of time to catch up though]. Still if nothing else it is danceable to the max which was probably the point and as his last solo hit Senorita proved back in 2003, Justin Timberlake isn't afraid of releasing the most unconventional tracks possible as singles. Needless to say as the first of the big new superstar releases of the autumn, SexyBack is all but assured a Top 3 placing next week and if it gives him his first ever Number One single I for one won't be all that shocked.
Four places below comes Morrissey who lands the second highest new entry on the chart with In The Future When All's Well. No real shocks here in terms of sound and chart performance, the single being after all the third single to be lifted from the Ringleader Of The Tormentors album. His performance at the V festival last week notwithstanding, the single has the dubious honour of becoming his smallest hit since his 2004 come back, his worst singles chart performance since Satan Rejected My Soul hit a lowly Number 39 back in January 1998.
Also new, although via a 65-20 rise as the single hits the shops, are Keane with Crystal Ball. The single is the second one proper to be taken from their second album Under The Iron Sea and the follow-up to Is It Any Wonder which hit Number 3 in June. They can be forgiven for finding the chart position of the single frustrating. For all the talk about how the second album dealt with darker themes than the first, this single hurtles along in an upbeat enough manner with their trademark twinkling instrumentation and the soaring sounds of Tom Chaplin's voice all present and correct. Compared to past chart runs, however, Number 20 is pretty poor, their only other single to date to miss the Top 10 being This Is The Last Time, the fourth single from Hopes And Fears which only reached Number 18 in December 2004.
Now just what was it about 2003 that means it now resonates in the chart this week? First, there was Beyonce who this week has her biggest solo hit for three years, then there is Justin Timberlake, last seen as a solo artist three years ago. Now comes Stacie Orrico whose last run of hits began almost exactly 36 months ago. A former Christian teen star, the girl from Seattle was launched into the mainstream music world with the release of her second album in 2003. The result was an international hit single Stuck which performed adequately enough on these shores, peaking at Number 9. Three more singles followed, all with diminishing returns and then silence - until today. Her new single I'm Not Missing You is a pretty enough pop track although one which maybe lacks the kind of killer hook which would give it greater hit potential. After landing outside the Top 75 on downloads this week the single leaps to Number 22 but this I suspect is as good as it is going to get. Worthy of further note is the strange way her new album is being marketed. Beautiful Awakening will hit shops here (and indeed across Europe) this week however her US label has taken the bizarre step of holding off on its release, citing competition from the likes of Justin and Beyonce et al. So when can you get hold of it in her home country? January 2007.