Well, it is an odd kind of week this week. We've got a much-appreciated invasion of new blood in the Top 10, some slightly disappointing moves for singles that are physically released and a quite exciting flood of pre-release download hits which have the potential to be massive. The singles chart is also notable for the "Glastonbury effect", the return of the famous music festival sparking some strong moves for acts who featured on the bill.
In the meantime, Britain's wet weather is neatly soundtracked by Rihanna's Umbrella which sits atop the singles chart for a seventh straight week. Only one single this century - Gnarls Barkley's Crazy - has bettered this run and although its sales have been slow and steady rather than spectacular, the fact that it has outsold all-comers for almost two full months now is to be applauded.
The biggest challenge to 'Umbrella's crown came from a welcome new source. Songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Kate Nash is the latest "MySpace star" to achieve fame, like Lily Allen before her having uploaded her first tracks and attracted a following via the social networking site. Further parallels between the two women can be drawn in their music, Kate Nash's Foundations being an incredibly entertaining stream of consciousness delivered unashamedly in a strong Estuary accent. The track is actually her second single, her first being Caroline's A Victim which came out in February but failed to crack the Top 100. The success of this second release comes on the back of her Glastonbury performance (plus others during the festival season) and which has undoubtedly helped the single to shoot straight to Number 2, downloads having propelled it to a non-canon Number 187 in the week before it was released. In summer which has seen a frustrating dearth of exciting new singles arrive on the chart, the arrival of Kate Nash is something to cheer. Had this fulfilled its early week promise and actually topped the chart it would have surely been even better.
Also making a Top 10 splash on physical sales are The Enemy who follow up April's Number 8 hit Away From Here with new single Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors which makes a flying 51-4 leap to become their biggest hit to date. Needless to say, the Glastonbury effect comes into play here, the band having played the Other Stage on Sunday night.
Joining them in the Top 10 are the Hoosiers who leap 16-6 with the newly released Worried About Ray and just behind them is newcomer Jack Penate whose single Torn On The Platform made a strong debut at Number 25 last week thanks to download sales. The single now charges to Number 7 to give him a Top 10 hit with his first fully released single. Hailing from London, he is yet another of the strong band of singer songwriters to have emerged over the past year or so. Torn On The Platform is a gloriously uplifting single fusing both soul and ska to quite magical effect. Whilst I'm reluctant to mention it because there is no doubt that the single is here on its own merits, he did, of course, appear at Glastonbury.
Arriving on the Top 40 at Number 11 is an act who just for a change wasn't at Glastonbury last weekend. R&B star Robin Thicke has been a performer of note in the States for the past five years or so, but his new album The Evolution Of Robin Thicke has now become his first international release. Lead single Lost Without U now becomes his first UK hit, the single maybe a little too understated and whiny to cross over properly, but as a white man performing in the black dominated R&B world he is capable of turning more than his fair share of heads. Plus we can all snigger at his name.
Next up is the 20 place leap made by the Klaxons and their cover It's Not Over Yet which may not have quite fulfilled the potential it seemed to have when it arrived on the chart five weeks ago but can at least now rank as their second biggest hit to date, behind Golden Skans which of course went Top 10 b back in January. The Grace original made Number 6 in 1995 which I guess means that for the moment, the most successful example of a club record being turned into a rock classic has to be Gun's take on Cameo's Word Up which made Number 8 in July 1994, the original reaching Number 3 in 1986.
As for the future releases, well there are three of them lined up at the base of the Top 20. First of all is Avril Lavigne's When You're Gone which moves 23-17 and which finally hits the shops this week (July 2nd), something which should see it go Top 5 at the very least. One place behind her is Timbaland with an all too rare single as a performer The Way I Are. The track is only his second Top 40 hit as credited lead performer, his first since Cop That Disc (which featured Magoo and Missy Elliott) which crept to Number 22 in 2004 [at least if you pretend Give It To Me didn't exist. It was only a hit a few months ago, so you might still remember it]. Not due out until next week (July 9th), the single landed at Number 84 last week and now surges to Number 18, suggesting that a Top 10 placing upon full release is pretty much a formality. Not entirely coincidentally Timbaland has a hand in the Number 19 single as well, Justin Timberlake's Lovestoned which this week eases up two places. What happens to this single next should be interesting as whilst no physical release for the track is scheduled, it does arrival as an e-single in the online stores this week (July 2nd). As we've already seen, download only singles have struggled to achieve the same penetration their fully released counterparts do. Are there enough JT fans around to snap up a chart-eligible digital bundle and send this album cut soaring still further?
If only Gwen Stefani had that luxury. Her last single The Sweet Escape may have wound up her biggest and most enduring solo hit ever, hitting Number 2 at the start of the year and still being on the chart 23 weeks later (it sits at Number 68 this week) but the follow-up is slightly less well starred. The third single from her current album, 4 In The Morning had limped to Number 52 on downloads last week and upon physical release can only reach Number 22. It will rank as her smallest solo hit to date, and her lowest charting performance since Ex-Girlfriend reached Number 23 for No Doubt in March 2000.
There is a more intriguing story behind the Number 26 hit this week, Dance Tonight by no less a figure than Sir Paul McCartney. The single is the lead track from his latest album Memory Almost Full which made headlines on its own by being released through a label co-promoted by coffee chain Starbucks, a minor stir being caused when it was noted that branches of the chain were selling copies of the CD which of course would not register as official sales for the charts. Released as an e-single, Dance Tonight has steadily been climbing the singles chart for the past four weeks and this week has crept into the Top 30, his first such hit since Jenny Wren made Number 22 in December 2005. Initially scheduled as a full CD release, those plans have now been scaled back, a 7-inch version will hit the shops but not until July 23rd. Just where will the single be in three weeks time? Macca hasn't had a solo Top 10 hit since 1987, his last visit to the upper reaches of the chart being oddly enough as a member of The Beatles in 1995 and 1996 when Baby It's You, Free As A Bird and Real Love all went Top 10.
Also in the "way ahead of release" pile are Fergie with Big Girls Don't Cry (up to Number 28 and out on July 16th) and Teenagers by My Chemical Romance (up to Number 29 and out on July 9th). Similarly the next Arctic Monkeys single Fluorescent Adolescent arrives on the Top 40 at Number 32, also ahead of a July 9th release. [You will notice all those are Mondays, which is when all physical releases came out. It wasn't until we went fully digital that Sunday was the de-factor release date for new singles].
Oh yes, and it would be wrong to go without mentioning the unexpected chart return this week of Voodoo Child by Rogue Traders which will puzzle some by re-entering at Number 48 a full year after it first peaked at Number 3. Never underestimate the power of the geek, the track having seen a surge in sales following its dietetical use in the TV show "Dr Who" a week ago. The episode shown last weekend used I Can't Decide by the Scissor Sisters in a similar manner. The Master was right, it is indeed Track 3 of Tah-Dah and I suspect will make a Top 75 appearance of its own seven days hence.