It is a week of wild celebration for younger teens, gays and of course 18-year-olds with 36D breasts [I've literally no idea what that was a sideways reference to] as McFly storm to the.. Oh no hang on, sorry. They have actually tumbled from Number 2 straight out to Number 21 in their second week on sale. I guess it doesn't really need saying.
Petty point scoring aside, it says it all when a large fall down the rankings is the most spectacular chart move of note. Two singles do enter the Top 10 this week, but they are simply rebound climbs for singles which have already had at least one spell in the upper reaches, Sweet About Me by Gabriella Cilmi moving 12-7 and Rihanna up 11-9 with Take A Bow. As far as the Top 3 are concerned, Dizzee Rascal and crew clock up a fourth week at the top with Dance Wiv Me, Kid Rock advances to a new peak at Number 2 with All Summer Long and Jordin Sparks regains Top 3 status with No Air.
Indeed the lack of any downward pressure from above has naturally given many older hits the chance to consolidate their chart positions and in some cases make quite spectacular gains. The more observant chart-watchers may have spotted that many of the tracks making forward progress all have one thing in common - a place on Now That's What I Call Music! Volume 70. The latest edition of the legendary compilation series is by no means the first to be promoted by the online stores but this week's release of the second edition of 2008 has clearly found itself in a position to impact the singles chart in a way that none of its predecessors did. Despite most of its tracks already being available online as individual cuts, the effect of grouping 40 popular singles together online has prompted some fresh cherrypicking by eager purchasers who were presumably too discerning or too impacted by the credit crunch to shell out the £10.99 charge for the full album set (plus videos and digital booklet). The Now effect is most pronounced lower down the chart where some older singles compiled experience what would otherwise be inexplicable charges up the listings. So step forward Can't Speak French from Girls Aloud which moves 106-59, Better In Time from Leona Lewis which leaps 76-55 and Heartbeat from Scouting For Girls which soars 53-37.
Better yet are the hitherto unnoticed singles which the Now album optimistically contains as future hits in what seems like a self-fulfilling prophecy. Thus up pops Discolights from Darren Styles & Ultrabeat which may well have entered the Top 40 on its own merits this week anyway but which can clearly thank Now compiler Ashley Abram for its lurch to Number 31. Then there is You Wot from DJ Q featuring MC Bonez which after three weeks as a near flop finally charts at Number 50. Ten years ago I think I almost caused a rift between one Europop act and their British label when I blamed the appearance of their single on a Now That's What I Call Music album six weeks before it was even released for its failure to duplicate its European and American success over here. The angry letter that was sent to my then editor pointed out that they believed putting the pre-release single on a compilation album actually helped its exposure and could stimulate sales. A decade down the line it now appears that this is genuinely the case.
Onto singles that haven't needed any kind of leg-up into the charts, and leading the way is the highest new entry of the week at Number 18. It seems like Ida Maria's I Like You So Much Better When You're Naked has been around for months, certainly it is one of those tracks leaped upon by the likes of Radio One and played to death until it becomes a more or less guaranteed hit. The enthusiastic single is the first chart hit for the Norwegian punk singer and follows festival appearances and live TV performances, all carefully calculated to position her as the next big thing. It is one of those records it is hard to hate, even if musically it won't necessarily be to the taste of everyone. After all we can all relate to its sentiments, can't we?
One step below is Adele on whom the jury is still out after her second single Cold Shoulder stalled at Number 18 as a less than impressive followup to her debut Chasing Pavements. Her third Top 20 hit has the strange distinction of having already made the Top 40 on two separate occasions this year thanks to its longstanding availability as her first single release back in 2007. So it was that download copies of Hometown Glory made Number 32 in early February and Number 38 in mid-April on the back of her two other hits. Now promoted to a full single release for the very first time, the tracks physical sales give it a new entry at Number 19 although annoyingly this still only ranks it as her third highest-charting hit to date. These chart entries aside, the big new discovery of 2008 still remains frustratingly mired in one hit wonder status and you suspect this particular cycle is not going to be broken until she emerges with some spectacular new material. [I'd like to think that in some way she took my words here as inspiration].
Finally, for this week, it may not have started out as the biggest hit single ever, but the track at Number 71 heralds the arrival of a whole new business model for music. Cambridge band Hamfatter attracted plenty of column inches at the start of the week after their star turn on the BBC series Dragon's Den, pitching to the millionaire investors for the investment that would allow them to record, release and promote their music without the intervention of a traditional record label. This, they argued, would allow them a much greater share of the royalties than would otherwise have been the case, royalties they were prepared to share with an investor. Peter Jones bought the pitch and bought into the group, hence their appearance on the chart of The Girl I Love. Its rather lowly chart placing may not quite reflect the level of exposure they gained, but then again how many singles buyers are watching BBC2 at 9pm on a Monday night?