I've lost count of the number of times I've written "it deserves better" about the chart performance of a song that to my ears sounds particularly commercial and especially appealing. To count them all up would be a rather dispiriting experience unless it was with a view to compiling an iTunes playlist of them or something. It is therefore worth savouring the moment of a hit single rising effortlessly to Number One in a manner that is both inevitable and never more richly deserved.
The single in question is With Every Heartbeat by Robyn with Kleerup which adds physical sales to its already strong online showing to storm 5-1, replacing Timbaland at the top and giving the Swedish star her first ever Number One single. With her first chart hit having come way back in 1996 (Number 54 hit You've Got That Something) she has had to wait for a little over 11 years (during which time she has been dropped by labels worldwide and written off as a failure) for this moment to arrive. Indeed the single itself has had a tortuous journey to the shops. It was first released in Sweden well over two years ago, credited solely to producers Kleerup with Robyn relegated to guest star status. Import copies made a club buzz in 2006 and if you look carefully enough you will find the track in several "best of the year" lists compiled by mixers and DJs around the country. Now as a Robyn single (with Kleerup reduced to the "featuring" role) it is set to top charts all over the world and as a curious aside is having a positive effect on her last single Konichiwa Bitches which flopped earlier this year but which is now picking up sales online in its own right, although not enough to make it register in the Top 100. Not yet anyway.
So to the biggest new hit of the week, tipped by some as a possible challenger for Number One but ultimately making a none too shabby Number 3. To say Stronger by Kanye West has been strongly anticipated is, to put it mildly, for some this is one of the most exciting new releases of the summer. Kanye West's elevation to rap superstardom effectively came in 2005 when the album Late Registration built on his debut and surpassed it, singles such as Diamonds From Sierra Leone and of course Gold Digger becoming more or less instant classics. Indeed the latter single is one of the most charted rap singles of all time, having hit Number 2 when first released in October 2005 and to date having notched up 41 total weeks on the Top 75. New release Stronger is the first to be taken from his forthcoming third album and has attracted its fair share of attention thanks to an inspired choice of sampling. The track is based on Daft Punk's Harder Better Faster Stronger, a small but fondly remembered Number 25 hit from November 2001. With the full co-operation of Guy and Thomas from Daft Punk themselves, Kanye West takes the electronic pop rhythm and spins his trademark compelling lyrics over the top to create what is supposedly one of his best singles ever. I say supposedly because you know what, I can't myself quite figure out what the fuss is about. I'm a Kanye West fan and appreciate his work, but really much of the attention paid to stronger is down to the fact it has been two years in the making rather than being the work of genius it is being made out to be.
That said, the battle for Number One over the next couple of weeks is set to be very interesting indeed. Robyn looks set for a good long run but the Kanye West track has made Number 3 on downloads alone and will get a physical boost of its own over the course of the next week. Those who have spent the summer begging for some chart action are finally about to get some.
Meanwhile coming up on the ropes are Plain White T's. Hey There Delilah has moved 70-26-10 in recent weeks and now makes another four-place climb to land at a new high of Number 6. All this still just on downloaded sales, physicals not arriving until August 27th. Really the record company are missing a trick if they don't bring this forward. The gentle ballad to the mysterious Delilah is all over the radio and is rapidly turning into a massive mainstream hit single. As How To Save A Life showed earlier this year, singles which have too long a gap between online and physical releases tend to burn themselves out by the time the CD arrives in shops and I'd hate the ultimate chart prospects of Hey There Delilah to be spoiled, just because it has had the nerve to become a hit a month earlier than anyone had planned.
Also in the "not out for a while" club (and indeed also listed on release schedules for August 27) is Shut Up And Drive from Rihanna which this week motors to Number 11, just four places behind the now folding Umbrella. One place behind her is Beyonce with the resolutely download-only Green Light. This climb for the single lifts it past Listen to avoid the stigma of being her smallest ever solo hit although it still needs one more place to match the peak scaled by Me Myself And I in early 2004, her only other hit single to miss the Top 10.
A trio of brand new hits occupies the three places on the cusp of the Top 10. First up at Number 19 are Elliot Minor with another single named after a female - Jessica. Not a he but actually a they, the group are notable for the way they blend classical motifs with a more conventional emo-rock sound. They first crept onto the chart back in April with the single Parallel Worlds which made Number 31 and actually was worth a place on the "deserves better" playlist. This second single takes them one stage further up the ladder although having been released simultaneously online and in the shops, this initial entry point is likely to be as far as it gets. Despite this the single is well worth a listen and is interestingly enough only the second chart single ever to reference the name "Jessica", the first being a track of the same name by Adam Green which made Number 63 in April 2004.
Next in the trio and on a slightly less frantic note is Darren Hayes, the Australian singer presumably now far enough removed from his days as part of Savage Garden for us to stop referring back to his old group. Number 20 hit On The Verge Of Something Wonderful is his first release in almost two years and duly becomes his seventh solo Top 20 hit, albeit only just. Only his solo debut Insatiable made the Top 10, the rest of his material suffering from the same affliction as this new single - it is just too bland and unappealing for anyone outside his suspiciously loyal fans to give a damn.
Number 21 marks the arrival of the latest single from Frenchman David Guetta, Love Is Gone the follow-up to his smash hit take on Egg's Love Don't Let Me Go (Walking Away) which made Number 3 last summer and which was still on the chart at Christmas. Fans of his last single will find much that appeals to them in this hit. Dare I point out it is almost EXACTLY the same, right down to the instrumentation.
Love Is Gone should at least receive a boost next week with physical sales added to the mix. So too new entries from Axwell (I Found U at Number 27) and Mario (How Do I Breathe at Number 30). Eve's new single Tambourine hits the ground running at Number 38 but has another two weeks to make good on that position, arriving in the shops properly on August 20.
Finally, for this week it is worth noting the three place climb of Tears Dry On Their Own by Amy Winehouse which moves 27-24 as the fourth single from her Back To Black album. It comes in a week when ever-more lurid tales of her own personal mission of self-destruction continue to make headlines. It echoes the similar morbid fascination for Pete Doherty's suicidal abuse antics but whereas the limited nature of Doherty's talent made his gutter falling antics just pitiful, the way Amy Winehouse's work, just like this current single, oozes class and brilliance makes her apparent mission to destroy herself all the sadder. [Amen].