This week's Official UK Singles Chart
Oh come on, this isn't fair. I need new material to work with or the creative juices will stop flowing. Umbrella's run at the top of the singles chart now stretches to four weeks with Rihanna's biggest competition being none other than herself, her album Good Girl Gone Bad having emerged triumphant from a fascinating three-way race between herself, Biffy Clyro and The Twang to ensure she tops both charts simultaneously. The single becomes only the second this year to remain at the top for a full lunar cycle, Umbrella now the longest running Number One since Mika's five-week spell with Grace Kelly at the start of 2007. Just below Mutya Buena continues to fulfil her destiny of having an all time great Number 2 single with Real Girl but fresh blood does at least arrive in the Top 3 thanks to Calvin Harris and his single The Girls which makes a six place leap to well and truly establish his credentials as a hitmaker.
Also advancing are Reverend and the Makers who see a physical release of Heavyweight Champion Of The World help the single to climb four places to Number 8 and give further hope to the bright bit of my soul that would love to see it as a Top 5 hit. The week's biggest winner, however, has to be Enrique Iglesias who moves 28-9 with Do You Know despite the single still being just a download. The physical version arrives in the shops this week (11th June) which makes him a fairly good bet to be the one to be challenging Rihanna's crown this time next week.
Not that he doesn't have some competition of his own as the biggest new hit of the week is the download-only Icky Thump which arrives at Number 13 to announce the long awaited return of the White Stripes. The single is the title track from Jack and Meg's new album which they claim to have laboured over longer than any of their other works, the recording having taken a massive three weeks to complete in its entirety. Needless to say it would have been a colossal disappointment if the single had been a straightforward and accessible commercial track and it is good to report that our worst fears are not realised, the buzzsaw guitar intro giving way to an experimental prog rock inspired track that comes over like a long lost Led Zeppelin jam session, right the way down to Jack White's Robert Plant howls [it is fair to say that with this they pulled off Led Zep-lite with far more aplomb than the Stone Roses managed 13 years earlier]. What happens from here will be quite interesting as this is the first White Stripes single to hit the charts in the new online era. Their four Top 10 hits to date have been straightforward in and out chart performances and with the physical single set to arrive in the shops this week, there is a good chance that this wild and raw single will consolidate its chart placing and become their first hit to make a significant chart climb. Their target to beat is Number 7, the peak of their most famous single (start the debate!) 7 Nation Army back in May 2003.
One place below at Number 14 is the ever exotic Bob Sinclar whose new single Sound Of Freedom disappointed online (hitting Number 49 last week) but now as a small consolation becomes a Top 20 single thanks to physical sales. As usual the track drags dance music kicking and screaming into the realm of world music and represents a reunion of sorts for past collaborators. Just as on his last single (the Top 3 hit Rock This Party (Everybody Dance Now)) the track features Cutee B on co-production duties as well as Dollarman on vocals alongside former Wailer Gary Nesta Pine who also featured on Love Generation back in 2005. Just like his last hit the single takes its cue from a choice cut of 1990s dance, in this case borrowing the chorus of Everybody's Free (To Feel Good) which was a Number 6 hit for Rozalla back in 1991 and coincidentally also provided the underscore melody for Baz Lurhmann's famous 1999 Number One hit (Everybody's Free) To Wear Sunscreen.
There is a brand new entry at Number 16 for hotly tipped new band Unklejam and their second single What Am I Fighting For. Following attention from the likes of Trevor Nelson and Annie Mac on Radio 1 their first single Love Ya crept to Number 54 earlier this year, setting the stage nicely for this follow-up to catapult them to mainstream attention. As befits an act named after an old Funkadelic album, they are unashamed soul and funk revivalists, fusing the sound with up to date electro rhythms in an insanely appealing manner. I think this might be as good as it gets for this particular single but release number 3 ahead of an autumn album is set to be massive. Keep an eye out.
Continuing the theme of potentially big new singles set for physical release this week, the download sales of Kelly Rowland and Eve ensure that Like This makes a comfortable chart debut at Number 18. Originally the breakout solo star from Destiny's Child with a Number One hit alongside Nelly on Dilemma and the Top 3 follow-up Stole in 2003, Kelly Rowland quickly found herself pushed into the background as the Beyonce juggernaut swept all before it. Now with last years Destiny's Child reunion out of the way she has a second chance of reminding herself that Miss Booty wasn't the only talent in the outfit. I'm old enough to remember a time when an R&B single with a rap break was an entertaining novelty but in this day and age it is all but obligatory and sure enough, Eve pops up to give the track that little extra edge which will help it onto a few extra playlists back in the States. From a musical standpoint, I can't help but feel this is one of those singles where the rapper drags the track down a little, Kelly's soaring vocal breaks have barely time to sink in before Eve shoves her oar in. Still, that is the way of the world these days and with another Hip N' B track currently occupying the Number One slot you can't argue that it isn't a winning formula. Top 10 next week on physicals or I'm Michelle Williams.
We can do rock as well though and Queens Of The Stone age make a strong showing on combined sales, landing at Number 19 with their first hit single in over 2 years 3's and 7's. Taken from their forthcoming new album Era Vulgaris, the track maintains their frustrating record of never quite breaching the glass ceiling of the upper reaches of the singles chart. Assuming the obvious and that this is as far as the single will go, it will become their fourth to make the Top 20 and the third to peak at either 18 or 19, their only single to creep further being No One Knows which reached Number 15 in November 2002.
There's more club masterwork at Number 25 as the Chemical Brothers arrive on the chart with Do It Again, the track becoming their first hit of their second decade of hitmaking. Embracing the download era, this single arrives on the chart a full two weeks ahead of the sweet spot of physical release which is normally the making of club tracks. For the moment this chart placing is deceptive. Personally, I'm not totally convinced the track has what it takes to replicate the Top 3 success of Galvanize from 2005, but then again it has plenty of time to grow on us all.
If you want a single that is on the chart even further ahead of its "proper" release then look no further than Number 28 and the arrival on the chart proper of one of the most extraordinary singles of the year. As a follow-up to Golden Skans and Gravity's Rainbow, the Klaxons have elected to release the one track from Myths Of The Near Future which turned the heads of everyone who heard it. The song Not Over Yet originally dates from 1995 and came from the mini golden age of Perfecto records when just about everything Paul Oakenfold and Steve Osborne turned to chart gold. They released Not Over Yet as Grace first time around, hitting Number 6 and in the process creating one of the all time classic club cuts of the 1990s, the legendary status of the track being cemented when Oakey himself remixed the track as Planet Perfecto and saw it rise to Number 16 four years later. As you would expect the Klaxons version (retitled It's Not Over) is one of those concepts which just shouldn't work which somehow does, the synths of the original replicated by Simon Taylor-Davies' guitar and the group as a whole joining in harmony on the chorus which recreates the intensity of the original version and yet turns it into the rock epic nobody ever expected it to be. There is a reason why this album track is a Top 30 hit almost a month before it is released as a single for real and it can only grow from here.
One act who know a thing or to about having hits way ahead of release are The Fray who ended up selling so many online copies of How To Save A Life that the single release had to be rushed forward by the small matter of a month. Their second hit single is the track that broke them in the States over a year ago, Over My Head (Cable Car) making its Top 40 debut at Number 34 and we hope set for Top 20 at the very least as it arrives in the shops this week. The only fly in the ointment may be its ubiquitous predecessor whose slow burnout continues, How To Save A Life on the bounce at Number 24 this week in its 22nd week around.
So, in the end, I think our pleas were answered. The top end of the singles chart may have become a little becalmed of late, but the winds of change are causing ripples and for the first time in several weeks, there are a wave of new hits that are set to go on to greater things. Snap out of the boredom, things just got interesting.