In the end he had some competition, but despite the challenge of his debut album being released this week as well, Mika holds firm for a fourth week at the top of the singles chart with Grace Kelly. Contrary to what I suggested last week, the low level of turnover we have seen lately at the top of the chart isn't all that much of a novelty as it was only in 2005 that Crazy Frog, 2Pac/Elton and James Blunt all had runs of at least four weeks at the top of the chart. Nonetheless to have just three Number One singles in 12 weeks (as we've just experienced) is extremely rare in the modern chart era, you have to go back to 1994 to find another example of this.
Ever since the change in chart rules at the start of the year, people have been holding their breath waiting for big new album releases to invade the singles chart, with cherry-picked single tracks registering enough sales to appear on the horizon. With the release of his album Life In Cartoon Motion Mika has the unique honour of becoming the first artist to manage this. Hence Lollipop, Track 2 on the album, is the 62nd best selling "single" in the UK this week. Oddly enough the numerical sequence is spoiled from this point on, the next biggest selling single track being Relax Take It Easy which is Track 5 and was, of course, his first single, released to little attention last summer. His next single officially will be Love Today which is currently tentatively scheduled for an April 30 release.
Grace Kelly also until now had the odd distinction of being the last single to enter inside the Top 3 but after four weeks the feat is finally matched by the returning Kaiser Chiefs with their brand new single Ruby. Taken from their forthcoming album Yours Truly, Angry Mob, the track storms to Number 2 thanks to a strong online performance and gives the band their biggest ever hit single in chart terms. Prior to today, the highest peak they had scaled was the Number 6 of Oh My God from March 2005. With the physical release of the single still a fortnight away and the album not due until a week afterwards, you have to believe that the Chiefs are the most likely candidates for the next Number One single.
Elsewhere in the Top 10, How To Save A Life from The Fray continues its inexorable rise, moving 10-6 this week but the most impressive jump is that made by Gwen Stefani and Akon who move 23-10 with The Sweet Escape. Whilst for Gwen it is her second successive Top 10 single following on from Wind It Up, it is man of the moment Akon who has the most to cheer about, his presence on the track gives him two simultaneous Top 10 hits, his own I Wanna Love You holding firm at Number 9 this week. The latter track seems set for a small boost this week with its physical release finally arriving, the Gwen Stefani track doesn't hit the stores until the 26th.
Also making great strides ahead of physical release are both Take That and Sophie Ellis-Bextor. For the comeback boy band, Shine moves 30-17 whilst Catch You rises 28-18 for the double-barrelled one. It is Catch You which will hit the shops first (out on the 19th) whilst 'Shine' will arrive in stores a week later. Needless to say both will almost certainly be Top 10 before that moment arrives.
The highest charting March release is one place below them, Say It Right from Nelly Furtado making a massive 22 place leap. If this single continues its rise and goes Top 10 she will have managed a 100% strike rate with the singles from her current album.
The prospects are less bright for the next new entry to the Top 40 this week. The title track from her brand new album, Jessica Simpson's A Public Affair limped onto the chart at Number 53 thanks to digital sales last week and now joined by its CD in the shops it jumps to Number 20 but inevitably will go no further. Her sixth hit single in this country, it will wind up her smallest yet, peaking lower than the Number 15 of I Think I'm In Love With You which charted in July 2000. There is nothing particularly wrong with the track but as a bubbly three and a half minutes of mid-Atlantic pop, it seems oddly out of place in the current musical climate.
Also new to the Top 40 thanks to physical sales is the undead 2Pac who scores yet another posthumous hit with Pac's Life. The first 2Pac single to chart since Ghetto Gospel sensationally topped the chart in 2005, like its predecessor it is essentially a recycled track, taking old vocals from a previously released track and then reconstructing them into a seemingly new song with a new vocal refrain, supplied here by Ashanti and Ti. Pac's Life features rhymes from his older track This Life I Lead which first appeared on an album back in 2002, before the label had run out of studio offcuts to release as "new". At this rate, the conspiracy theorists will be waiting a long time for the dead star to "reappear", with this level of creativity at work the music he made during his lifetime can apparently be recycled forever.
New in at Number 25 on physical sales is Dutchman Ericke with club hit The Beat Is Rockin'. A floor filler at Christmas, the single has only just escaped into the shops and clearly lacks a little something in terms of momentum and dare I say it, mass commercial appeal. Not offensively bad, but very much an also-ran.
The prospects are slightly better for Justin Timberlake with his forthcoming new single What Goes Around Comes Around. Due for release at the start of March, the track is picking up online momentum and enters the Top 40 at Number 29. His debut album Justified spawned a trio of Top 2 hits and with SexyBack and My Love already having made 1 and 2 respectively, it is down to this single to ensure that Futuresex/Lovesounds maintains his impressive solo record. We'll ignore the blot on his copybook that was the Number 13 peak of Senorita in 2003. I thought that was his best one dammit!
The only puzzling moment on the chart this week comes at Number 31 as Beyonce's Listen makes slow progress for her, shifting a mere eight places this week. Its performance is all the odder when you consider that the movie Dreamgirls from which it is taken hit the screens here this week and, so the theory goes, should have prompted more sales of the track. Give it time though, like so many of the songs climbing the chart at the moment, its physical release is still some time away.