Well, it's a weird old chart this week, with existing hits remaining just as dominant as ever. Search for exciting new entry action in the upper reaches of the singles chart and you will find none, although the bottom end of the Top 75 is a maelstrom of change with 13 new singles arriving between 41 and 75 alone.
In actual fact, the most interesting story of the week was the one that emerged at the very start, with the record retailers association ERA (who crucially form a huge block of the Chart Supervisory Committee) agreed to drop their opposition to the total integration of online sales into the chart. The current halfway house which ties chart eligibility to physical sales still is almost entirely down to the record stores who have previously been unwilling to support a singles chart that features product they are unable to actually stock, but it is becoming increasingly apparent that these arrangements just don't work properly. The current Number One by the Scissors Sisters is a case in point, having clocked up almost 50,000 sales before it became chart eligible - units that are lost to posterity and the sales history of the track. Before any great sea change comes in of course there will still have to be careful consideration of just what will qualify as a "single" if we are to avoid the situation of all 12 tracks on a hot new album each taking up a place on the singles chart. My only fear is this will result in record labels nominating which individual tracks will count as "singles" and thus opening the door to ever more manipulation. [A situation you will note, which took over a decade to fully materialise. This was, however, the moment that history seemed set to change forever although I was one of the few to actually note the significance of it. It wasn't until just before Christmas when the impact of what had just been agreed fully sank in that everyone got excited about the bold new future of the charts that was about to be ushered in].
So did we mention that the Scissor Sisters are still Number One? With their sales remaining strong they hold off the expected challenge from the Killers and When You Were Young to spend a third week at the top of the chart. As has been widely reported elsewhere, this week coincided with the release of its parent album Ta-Dah which tops the albums listing with ease to give the group a celebrated chart double.
This does, of course, mean the Killers are stuck for now with the runners up slot for their well received When You Were Young which gets a surge thanks to the addition of physical sales. This does at least mean the single now motors on to become their biggest chart hit to date, surpassing the Number 3 peak scaled by Somebody Told Me in January 2005. This shoves Justin Timberlake down to 3 and Fergie down to 5, the only winner being Nelly Furtado who holds firm at Number 4 with Promiscuous. The continuing success of that singles is actually something to be celebrated as by taking the form of an extended seduction conversation between Nelly and Timbaland it is possibly the least conventional pop record of the year - and yes, that definition does include the Robbie Williams track which ended up more weird than innovative.
A lack of any other new activity in the Top 10 gives some older singles even more opportunities to surge back to life. Now four months old, Shakira's Hips Don't Lie still has life in it and rises one place back to Number 6. The most impressive rebound, however, is that experienced by Cascada's Everytime We Touch which has spent the past fortnight outside the Top 10 at Number 12. This week the single surges forward and hits Number 7, its best chart position for over a month. Part of the continuing popularity of the track can be put down to radio's discovery of the "Yanou Candlelight Mix" which turns the song into a haunting ballad. Just as the Candlelight mix of DJ Sammy's Heaven remains a late night airplay staple to this day, I get the feeling that Everytime We Touch has more life in it than your average summer club track.
The other big winner of the week is Pink whose U and UR Hand looked to have missed out on the Top 10 when it peaked at Number 11 in its second week on release. Now after having dipped to Number 15, the single takes advantage of the lack of competition (its sales are actually down on that of a fortnight ago) and surges to Number 10 to give her current album a 100% strike rate of Top 10 hits. You have to feel sorry for the bloke in the song, given a somewhat scathing brush off by Pink as he attempts to chat her up. If only he'd gone to talk to Nelly Furtado instead...
The biggest new hit of the week is one which is best described as a misfiring come back. Time was when a new Janet Jackson release was a very big deal indeed, but this week Call On Me, the debut single from her 20th-anniversary album 20 Y.O. checks in at a lowly Number 18, this with the benefit of physical sales as well, the download having failed even to make the Top 100 when it became eligible last week. Her first hit single in two years, it does at least beat the Number 19 peak of her last hit All Night (Don't Stop) which made Number 19 in June 2004 but her last Top 10 appearance with All For You back in 2001 seems further and further away than ever.
Just below her is a single that is faring rather better as its Number 19 entry point is a sole result of download sales, suggesting bigger and better things are to follow. Lil' Chris is a reality TV star with a difference, Chris Hardman having begun the year as a pupil at Kirkley Community High School in Lowestoft. Said school, of course, became the focal point of the second series of the Channel 4 series Rockschool which features Gene Simmonds of Kiss taking a disparate group of youngsters and attempting to mould them into a rock band against the odds. Lil' Chris was one of the standout stars of the series, eventually leading the band in the finale despite the producers keeping both him and us guessing as to his eventual status in the band. With the group itself little more than a one shot joke it made sense to sign him to a solo deal, Hot on the heels of an appearance at the Reading Festival Checking It Out now makes its chart debut and looks set to turn him into the most unlikely new rock star of the year.
It has now been a year since the Pussycat Dolls' album PCD was released, but the process of mining it for singles continues apace. Hence at Number 21 this week I Don't Need A Man makes its appearance as the online sales of the track count for the chart ahead of its physical release. Although its four predecessors have all been Top 3 hits, I'm dubious about the potential of this fifth single from the album repeating the feat, and it may go down as an unwanted Top 20 blight on an otherwise stellar chart career thus far.
Number 23 sees the return of Aussie rockers Jet who had a creditable if understated run of hits in 2004, their only Top 20 appearance coming in the summer of that year when Are You Gonna Be My Girl crept to Number 16. Brand new single Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is is unlikely to duplicate that feat, its chart position this week coming as a result of combined sales, the track limping to Number 92 on downloads last week. Also struggling for another big hit are the Zutons have clocked up a brace of Number 9 hits earlier this year with Why Won't You Give Me Your Love and Valerie but who see the third single from their latest album Oh Stacey (Look What You've Done) creep in at Number 24. Again it is a similar story for Wales' The Automatic who by rights deserved a good follow-up to the rather brilliant Monster which made Number 4 back in June. Sadly Recover makes a derisory Number 25 on combined sales and will progress no further.
Hopefully, next week will see a little more top end chart movement. As well as the Lil Chris single mentioned earlier, new singles from Lily Allen and Evanescence are set to make a splash, the latter two landing themselves new entries at 27 and 32 thanks to downloads this week. Oh yes, and Bedouin Soundclash continue their climb with When The Night Feels My Song which rises 40-33 this week. This is the last time the single will chart with its old catalogue number, its online sales next week will be considered a new entry in advance of its physical re-release on October 2nd.