Whilst it may be one very British act making all the headlines on the album chart, as far as singles are concerned it is the people across the Atlantic who rule supreme. Number One for a second week are Beyonce and Shakira as Beautiful Liar holds off the competition. Their closest competition comes from the track they replaced at Number One as Timbaland's Give It To Me moves back up a place to rest at Number 2 whilst Avril Lavigne moves back up to Number 3 with Girlfriend. Set to join the US invasion shortly is inevitably Akon whose Don't Matter is now at Number 12 and still two weeks away from full physical release.
The reason for the turnarounds is, of course, the absence from the Top 3 of the Arctic Monkeys whose Brianstormtumbles 2-7. This is of course due to the release of their second album 'Favourite Worst Nightmare' which contains the single and which sweeps aside all competition to debut strongly at the top of the albums chart and indeed gives the entire albums market a much needed shot in the arm after some decidedly sluggish sales in recent weeks. That said, the Arctics very nearly had some extra singles action of their own as due to a processing error, Favourite Worst Nightmare was not listed for purchase as a full album on iTunes until Tuesday morning. This meant that anyone wanting to snap up the songs on Monday after they were released had no choice but to buy them all as individual tracks - resulting in the entire album clogging up the lower end of the singles chart after Monday's sales. With the error swiftly corrected normality was restored by the end of the week and the result is only Fluorescent Adolescent (Track 5) and 505 (Track 12) sell enough to make the Top 75, the two tracks coming to rest at 60 and 74 respectively.
The last act to see his album tracks invade the singles chart in any significant way was Mika and he has the biggest selling new physical release of the week as his second hit Love Today surges 18-6. The track is one of three singles he has on the Top 75 this week with former Number One Grace Kelly bubbling under at Number 25 and the continually popular album track Lollipop sliding back in to Number 73 this week. Nothing is listed for a third single just at the moment, but it seems a no brainer as to what track will be picked for promotion next.
Moving even faster upward are Gym Class Heroes who seem almost a certainty for a Top 3 placing next week with Cupid's Chokehold. Released physically this week (April 30) the single's online sales take it 24-8. Arguments begin here as to whether the appeal of the song is down to the group themselves or Supertramp's Breakfast In America around which the track is based. Also worthy of a mention is the video for the track which features a loincloth-clad Cupid firing some all to real and exceptionally painful arrows.
The final Top 10 arrival is Closer', the brand new single from Travis which made a rather understated Number 36 on downloads last week but which now surges to Number 10 after a physical release. After three years of low to mid table hits, the Scottish group hit paydirt in 1999 with their The Man Who.. album which spawned classic singles such as Driftwood, Turn and of course Why Does It Always Rain On Me. Their biggest hit Sing followed in 2001 but since then they seem to have been lost in the mix somewhat with acts such as Coldplay and Snow Patrol having taken the art of brooding melancholia to even greater heights. Close' illustrates their problem perfectly, a rather sweet and softly strummed ballad which allows Fran Healy to prove he can still croon a chorus with the best of them. Back in 1999, they would have brought the house down at festivals with a song like this. In 2007 it somehow sounds distinctly average, as if we literally have heard it all before. I suspect they won't worry too much of course, they still have enough clout to feature Ben Stiller in their videos and the single marks their comeback in style as their first Top 10 single in three and a half years. I'd love to see them become superstars all over again but on the strength of this track, I'm not entirely convinced they still have it.
Enough melancholy, time for some cheese. Charging into the Top 20 after a gap of a year are Sunblock. After Top 10 hits with the Baywatch theme (I'll Be Ready) and 20 year Coke adverts (First Time) the producers and their scantily clad video stars have chosen to reinterpret some quintessential 90s Eurobeat. Baby Baby began life as a continent-wide hit for Corona, hitting Number 5 here in April 1995 as the second hit for Francesco Bontempi's all-star production project. This new version from Sunblock is actually a masterclass in how to bring a decade old club hit up to date as the track is slowed down to match the current musical vibe whilst at the same time retaining something of the fun and energy of the original. As an added twist, singer "Sandy" who gets a co-credit on the track is none other than Sandra Chambers who sang on the original version 11 years ago.
Just outside the Top 20, there is a cluster of long running hits that simply refuse to go away. What Goes Around Comes Around loiters at Number 20, Say It Right is at Number 24 and Grace Kelly is at Number 25. Also in the area is Christina Aguilera's download-only Candyman which ran out of steam at Number 17 four weeks ago but which since then has not dipped below Number 23, the single this week resting at 22.
Those attempting to predict the Top 10 hits of next week won't go far wrong by fingering the Number 26 hit as a likely candidate. One week ahead of its physical release, Your Love Alone Is Not Enough from the Manic Street Preachers arrives thanks to download sales. After a break for solo projects, the Welsh wizards are set to return with their 8th studio album Send Away The Tigers. Their first single in over two years has been greeted with something approaching tears of joy by longtime fans, an insanely cheerful crowd pleasing anthem which may not be their deepest song ever but is the perfect way to reintroduce themselves to an audience which might have moved on while they were away. The song is actually a male-female duet and whilst the group performed it with Charlotte Church on her TV show a few weeks ago it is the Cardigans' Nina Persson who shares vocal duties with James Dean Bradfield. This, of course, isn't the first Manics single to feature an uncredited but still high profile female co-vocal, Traci Lords having featured on their 1992 hit Little Baby Nothing. The last two Manic Street Preachers singles For The Love Of Richard Nixon and Empty Souls both made Number 2. Would you bet against this giving them a hat trick?
Also expected to climb over the next few weeks is Take Control from Amerie which lands at Number 28 this week, two weeks ahead of physical release. She is yet another act who returns after a two-year break, her last hits coming back in the summer of 2005 when 1 Thing and Touch gave her a pair of Top 20 hits. Like its predecessors, Take Control is perhaps something of an acquired taste if you aren't a hardcore R&B freak but it has enough legs to take it into the Top 20 at the very least.
From the "you are only as good as your last single" drawer come The View whose attempt to follow up the Top 3 hit Same Jeans has come off the rails rather spectacularly as The Don creeps in at Number 33 after a physical release. It would be easy to blame "fourth single from the album syndrome" here, but with the long player having only hit the shops in January it is rather surprising to see it running out of promotional steam so soon.
Finally, for this week, it may not have wound up a massive hit, but the return of a legend is always to be appreciated. Dame Shirley Bassey arrives on the chart at Number 37 with new single The Living Tree, her first Top 40 hit since she hit Number 35 with World In Union back in October 1999. The new single is classic Shirley, a John Barry-esque epic ballad which allows her still powerful voice to shine through above the intense string backing. 2007 marks the 50th anniversary of her first hit singles and whilst this chart placing will go down as a disappointment it is still good to see that the living legend can still make pop records that rank as good as anything she has done before. If only her rendition of Pink's Get The Party Started from the Marks and Spencer adverts had been released, it was a smash hit waiting to happen.