This week's Official UK Singles Chart
Typical isn't it? You wait weeks for new songs to arrive in the Top 10 and four of them turn up at once.
More on that shortly, but first the big news of the week is the dual changeover at the top of both singles and albums charts. The new Number One album manages the rare feat of being both predictable and rather startling at the same time. Predictable in the sense that Gold - Greatest Hits from Abba has experienced a surge in popularity thanks to the box office success of the film version of Mamma Mia! And has been steadily climbing the chart for the past couple of weeks, but all at once startling due to the chart longevity of the hits collection itself. Gold - The Greatest Hits was first released way back in 1992 after a summer of Abba-mania spearheaded by Erasure's Number One chart success with the Abba-esque EP and marked the first time their hits catalogue had been remastered in its entirety for the new CD age. A hardy chart perennial ever since, it now becomes not only the first album of the modern era to top the chart on three entirely separate occasions but also far and away the oldest album ever to hit Number One. First time around it only managed a single week at the top in October 1992 upon the occasion of its first release. It returned to the top slot almost seven years later, spending five weeks at Number One in three different spells between April and June 1999 - this of course due to the stage premiere of the Mamma Mia! musical in London. Nine years on and as the musical becomes a film, so it once again becomes the biggest seller of the week in what is now its seventh week as a Number One album. For a long player to return to the top of the charts almost sixteen years after it was first released is entirely without precedent in British chart history. Just remember that when the image of Meryl Streep's dancing is hard to get out of your mind.
Number One on the singles chart doesn't quite have the same air of sensation about it, but it still marks the culmination of an agonisingly slow journey for Kid Rock. Just a couple of months shy of nine years since he made his singles chart debut with Cowboy he deservedly ascends to Number One with the phenomenally appealing All Summer Long. In doing so he has achieved what the likes of Shania Twain, Faith Hill, Lonestar and the like have all failed to manage since the start of the decade and take a nu-country track to Number One in the United Kingdom. Categorising records is always a dangerous business, and All Summer Long is open to more argument than most given it is based at its heart on two very famous rock tracks, but there is a strong case to be made for suggesting it is the first country single of any kind to hit the top since Coward Of The County by Kenny Rogers way back in 1980. I told you it was a dangerous path to tread - after all wasn't Angel by Shaggy and Rayvon back in 2001 a remake of C&W classic Angel Of The Morning?
The next big singles chart surprise arrives at Number 3 in an impressive 27 place leap for The Man Who Can't Be Moved from The Script which crept in at Number 30 as a download single last week. It is the second single from the hotly tipped Irish trio, the follow-up to We Cry which made Number 13 back in April. Their follow-up single is a genuine show-stopper, a simple yet heartbreakingly beautiful ballad that grabs you by the balls the moment you hear it and refuses to let go. Singles charts are littered with terrifically good singles that somehow come and go and never turn into mainstream classics. That a single like this can charge into the Top 3 and surely be destined to become part of the soundtrack of the summer somehow reaffirms your faith in mankind.
The parade of new arrivals continues at Number 4 with the much-anticipated chart entry of a very noteworthy single. [Superstar debut klaxon!] I Kissed A Girl from Katy Perry will be familiar to anyone with half an eye on the events across the Atlantic, being as it is the single that has dominated the Hot 100 for the best part of two months. With that kind of pedigree the sparky pop record had an almost guaranteed ticket to the upper reaches of the charts on this side of the pond, and so it proves as with download sales alone the single is Top 5 already. I Kissed A Girl has of course proved to be one of the most controversial tracks of the year in Perry's native country thanks not only to its unapologetic take on sexual bilateralism but also due to the fact that the message comes from a "reformed" Christian singer, Katy Perry's first albums earlier in the decade being very much wholesome gospel offerings. Over here, of course, we have a slightly more enlightened attitude to such matters and so controversy there comes none, particularly as Perry's co-writers on the single are none other than Cathy Dennis, Max Martin and Dr Luke, people whose chart pedigree surely needs little introduction here.
I Kissed A Girl probably would have debuted at Number One had everything gone to plan but it was given a rush release over a week before it was scheduled to be made available, catching many online stores and the chart compilers themselves on the hop at first. The reason for the panic was a 'spoiler' soundalike cover version by Nicki Bliss which was also released this week and which had it had the week head start originally planned was in danger of stealing the thunder of the "real" version. Hence the two versions of I Kissed A Girl on the chart this week, Katy Perry running out the winner at Number 4 and with Nicki Bliss limping in at Number 50, the threat it seems well and truly squashed.
Also new to the Top 10 are The Saturdays, one of several new girl groups in development by labels across the nation determined to prove that the concept of a female pop act still has legs. The unique selling point of The Saturdays just happens to be the previous chart pedigree of two of their members - Rochelle Wiseman and most especially Frankie Sandford whose chart career dates back to the very start of the decade as members of S Club Juniors/S Club 8. When the original S Club 7 dissolved in 2003, the plan was that their junior equivalents would simply pick up the baton and continue the concept. After the second S Club 8 album Sundown flopped, the group were shunted sideways into TV show I Dream based around the exploits of a larger group of performing arts students. The project spawned just one single, 'Dreaming' credited to I Dream featuring Frankie and Calvin and when that stiffed at Number 19 in November 2004 it appeared to be the final chart curtain for the S Club project. Hence there is a nice sense of continuity with the two girls forming two-fifths of what looks set to be quite a successful new project, although they are at pains to stress they were part of the audition process just like the other three girls in The Saturdays. Their first single If This Is Love is serviceable without ever being spectacular but as a Number 8 hit single first week out can hardly be sniffed at. Word is that this track is really intended to be a soft release, planned second single Up is the one that will set them on the road to stardom [hard to dispute that analysis]. We wait with interest.
With some joy we can also note that the fourth Top 10 arrival is 5 Years Time from Noah and the Whale which climbs four places in its third week on the chart to become another rather unexpected large hit. It certainly has performed better than last weeks big new arrival I Like You So Much Better When You're Naked from Ida Maria which is still climbing but can only raise its game two places to Number 16.
Between 30 and 40 on the singles chart are three singles which aren't actually singles at all in the traditional sense of the word. Leading the way at Number 32 is Numb from Honey Ryder, a London based duo who are very much operating extra-industry. The pair funded the release of their music by setting themselves up as a business startup and inviting investment in exchange for profit shares. The result is an entirely self-funded digital single released through their own "label" and one which has the added advantage of being amazingly, impressively and intoxicatingly good. Although it is becoming increasingly clear that old-world record companies are no longer needed to sponsor the development, producing and release of music, the one thing that online word of mouth cannot compete with at the moment is their ability to guarantee exposure and to organise promotion. In time, that will change, but for the moment this is really the only thing to hold the likes of Honey Ryder back - making the public at large aware of them and what they can do. Just think - if Top Of The Pops was still around they would be a featured act and be climbing with a bullet in no time.
New to the Top 40 at Number 34 is Disturbia from Rihanna, a final promoted track from the now milked dry 'Good Girl Gone Bad' album and the follow-up to the Number One smash 'Take A Bow' which has itself only just fallen out of the Top 10. The track has already had one wander around the lower end of the chart back in June and now penetrates the Top 40 for the first time. 'Disturbia' barely even qualifies as a "single" of any kind as although it has a video and is being promoted to radio, no e-single package has been released or scheduled. Technically and officially it is just an album cut.
Does Kylie care about chart records? Probably not given the circumstances behind the release of The One which arrives this week at Number 36. It is her first ever single not to be granted a physical release and as the fourth release from her comeback X album stands little chance of appealing to anyone who isn't a 100% dedicated Kylie freak. The net result of this may well be her smallest charting single to date. In her 20 year career, she has only once missed the Top 20, Some Kind Of Bliss charting at Number 22 in 1997. The only other blight on an otherwise superlative chart career is GBI, a single released by club act Towa Tei to which she contributed a guest vocal and which stalled at Number 63 in October 1998.