This week's Official UK Singles Chart
As expected, Kings Of Leon claim for themselves the chart double, topping both singles and albums charts simultaneously. Their fourth album Only By The Night was released last week and storms to Number One, giving them their second UK chart-topper in a row - 2007 release Because The Times also having hit the summit. As you would expect this also gives a boost to lead single Sex On Fire which spends a third week as the country's best-selling song, enough to make it the longest running rock Number One since Evanescence spent four weeks at the summit with Bring Me To Life way back in 2003.
Sex On Fire isn't the only Kings Of Leon track in the Top 40 this week either. No, it's not Fans (which is still clinging on to life in the Top 75) but instead Use Somebody, another track from Only By The Night which for some reason is outstripping all the other tracks on the album in terms of sales popularity and so charts as high as Number 29 this week.
For the biggest new single of the week, look no lower than Number 7 and the triumphant return of James Morrison with his brand new single You Make It Real. This will come as a huge relief to everyone associated with the British soul crooner as despite the huge impact of his first two singles You Give Me Something and Wonderful World back in 2006, his subsequent single releases failed to make the grade. The fear that he was just a passing novelty, plus the two years that have elapsed since his last big hits, made it all the more important his comeback made as big an impact as possible. Consider it job done then, as not only is You Make It Real now his second Top 10 hit but it also oozes with the class that made him such a huge star first time around. His raw yet warm and distinctive voice is the nearest thing to a musical hug and the song is once again the best bits of Sam Cooke and Otis Redding all wrapped in a package that fits seamlessly into the present day. We've talked in the past of how certain songs and certain styles work best for a certain time of year, well You Make It Real is an autumnal warmer, produced to sound at its best as twilight falls and streetlamps glow and as the central heating bursts into life ready for the winter cold.
Another autumn tradition is that of a brand new Sugababes album, with each of their last three studio releases having kicked off its promotion with a lead September single. Now their forthcoming sixth album is set to follow that sequence as brand new single Girls storms the chart at Number 8 ahead of the release next month of Catfights And Spotlights. It is an eyebrow-raising choice of lead single as instead of being a perfectly crafted new pop classic along the lines of Push The Button and About You Now they have instead chosen a cover (or as the label insists an "interpolation") of a song that will be familiar to many people, despite never before having been a major hit single.
Ernie K-Doe's Here Come The Girls was first released back in the early 1970s to very little acclaim, the singer having spent most of the previous decade trying to overcome the memories of his 1961 novelty hit Mother In Law which topped the US charts and forever earmarked him as a comedy act. It charted for the first time ever at the tail end of last year when Boots began using it as the soundtrack to their TV commercials, helping the single to Number 43 just before Christmas. The song remained uppermost in the public consciousness when the chemist chain used it once again for a new series of summer adverts during the summer.
Now, over three and a half decades after it was written, it becomes a substantial hit thanks to the Sugababes' reinterpretation, once which sensibly retains the brass arrangement of the original to ensure its feet are firmly planted in the deep south whilst at the same time allowing them to sprinkle their usual pop magic. I'm reluctant to knock it too much as like all the best 'Babes singles it is something of a grower, the kind of pop track that will all too easily get under your skin after a few spins. Hence first impressions that it is at times a bit too shrieky and does the trio few favours vocally are probably best left at that. For the moment the statistics don't lie. It is their first Top 10 hit since About You Now a year ago and the 15th of their now 8-year chart career. With the album still several weeks away there is time for Girls to find its feet and inch its way up the chart with the added bonus of continually being able to wonder if they really do all secretly hate each other.
If the first two new entries this week were all rather predictable, at Number 10 we have instead a track whose presence in the bestsellers was almost totally unexpected.
First, we should back up a little and explain just how it has come about. As we've seen over the last year and a half, the ability for any available track to chart at any time has opened the door for older songs to be spontaneously propelled into the charts, normally thanks to TV or film exposure or some other factor that prompts a mass downloading of some back catalogue. TV talent shows have a particular knack for doing this, with Mint Royale's Singing In The Rain famously being propelled to the top of the chart thanks to Britain's Got Talent earlier in the summer. Last year's series of The X Factor also proved it was able to make chart waves, it being possible every week to spot a chart entry from an old song that happened to have been performed by one of the contestants.
Even that, however, is nothing compared to the quite remarkable effect the broadcast on Saturday, September 20th appeared to have on people. Wannabe contestant Amy Connolly appeared on the show and chose for her audition There You'll Be, the song from 'Pearl Harbour' that was sung by Faith Hill and which originally hit Number 3 back in 2001. Who knows if it was the quality of Amy's performance, or simply the use of a song that had all but faded from view in the seven years since its release, but whatever the reason the TV show sparked a surge in demand for the old soundtrack hit.
Hence the re-entry at Number 10 in the most unscheduled manner of There You'll Be from Faith Hill. Her only Top 10 single to date in this country, it has been absent from the chart since its original 14-week run that began with it entering at Number 3 in June 2001. The American country star has been absent from the UK charts since her 2002 single Cry and whilst the chart run of this single may turn out to be a flash in the pan, if the label reacts quickly enough this is the kind of happy accident that can give an act a much-needed shot in the arm. In the meantime, we can only wonder just what is going to happen once the live X Factor shows start airing in a fortnight. Who knows what we will see being propelled chart-wards thanks to a well-timed TV performance?
[And now, a watershed moment in pop history as Kanye West debuts a whole new way of presenting a hip-hop track and in the process sparks a trend which would spend the next 12 months threatening to ruin music forever. As everyone insisted on copying it]. New in at Number 16 is Kanye West with the instantly notorious Love Lockdown, his first ever single to feature the artist singing throughout rather than rapping. Its notoriety stems from its first version (as performed at the VMAs at the start of the month) having been swiftly withdrawn following a widespread negative reaction, with the artist having been rushed back into the studio to re-record the vocals from scratch. This last minute re-versioning played havoc with its release plans and so the single only appeared online at the tail end of the sales period for last weeks chart, resulting in it registering a rather desultory Number 84 placing. With a full week of sales under its belt, things improve dramatically, and the haunting track is now a comfortable Top 20 hit with a Top 10 placing next week easily in its sights. Love Lockdown is one of those all too rare singles that command your attention from first note to the very last, the decision to drench the entire vocal in autotune giving it an eerie otherworldly quality that sets it apart from just about anything else you have heard this year.
Love Lockdown is, of course, Kanye West's second chart entry in as many weeks thanks to his guest role on Jay-Z's Swagga Like Us which hit the chart last week. This week, however, it is nowhere to be seen, bombing out at Number 43, in marked contrast to the single it samples, Paper Planes from M.I.A. Which instead goes from strength to strength and advances 23-19.
Now here is a question, what surprised people more? The fact that the new James Bond film is to be titled "Quantum Of Solace" or the fact that its theme song was going to be performed by the unlikely pairing of Alicia Keys and Jack White? Having received its world premiere last week, the song Another Way To Die was swiftly released online and duly makes its chart debut at Number 26. Now I've always said that the mistake people make with Bond themes is expecting them to instantly "work" as pop records when in actual fact they have been conceived and written as the scene and mood setters for a major cinema release. Madonna's Die Another Day received pelters galore when first unveiled back in 2002 for the crime of not sounding like a typical Bond theme, but few would argue that the stripped to the bone production perfectly complemented the scenes of our hero's incarceration and torture that played over the opening credits. Similarly two years ago Chris Cornell's You Know My Name sounded tedious and plodding on the radio but (admittedly thanks in part to a different orchestral mix to the single version) turned into the greatest song in the world when played over the opening titles of 'Casino Royale'. Another Way To Die has therefore neatly polarised people, dividing listeners between those who think it is an amazing track in its own right (which in fairness it is) and those who think it is a mess and cannot for a moment envisage it working as the theme to the latest in a major movie franchise. To the doubters, I say just one thing - wait and see. I'm dubious as to just how big a hit it will become in the end, but as the latest in a long line of classic Bond themes, it has a great deal of potential.
Now, what do you know about the Jonas Brothers? They are the all-American teen pop-rock group who made their chart debut this summer with Number 13 hit S.O.S. and of course most recently were on the receiving end of Russell Brand's acid tongue during his hosting of the video music awards. Their latest push for fame came last week with the UK premiere of "Camp Rock" the Disney Channel movie which features the boys in starring roles. Just like "High School Musical" before it, the release of the soundtrack album has prompted a flurry of downloads of some of its most memorable songs, resulting in a veritable flood of Jonas-related singles invading various parts of the chart.
Leading the charge at Number 30 is double-sided single Burnin' Up/Look Me In The Eyes which is their current official single, the lead track the first single from their new album A Little Bit Longer. Three places lower is This Is Me from Demi Lovato [this her own chart debut, a year before she was pushed as a solo star for real] and Joe Jonas, as heard in "Camp Rock". Also on the chart is Play My Music from the boys themselves at Number 57 and slightly lower down at Number 87 Joe Jonas' rendition of Gotta Find You with the ensemble cast as a whole popping up with We Rock at Number 97. It is enough to rattle the padlocks on their underpants.
Finally for this week, one more unexpected TV-related new entry. Ever since it was "discovered" by the producers of BBC series "Life On Mars", the late Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's rendition of Somewhere Over The Rainbow has become a useful reference point for anyone seeking a poignant yet uplifting track to soundtrack a film, particularly when the vibe of the song fits your piece and you feel that the infamous Eva Cassidy version is a little overexposed. Never a hit in his lifetime, the single has charted twice in the last two years, once at Number 68 in April 2007 after the "Life On Mars" appearance and then once more at Number 74 at the start of February this year. Last week the track was used over the closing credits of much-hyped Channel 4 documentary "The Family" and this has helped to propel the track to its highest chart placing to date, the single landing at Number 46 to narrowly miss out on an all-important Top 40 place. Its chart run is eerily reminiscent of the aforementioned similarly posthumous performance of the classic by Eva Cassidy which in 2001 and 2002 had several runs on the singles chart but never once climbed higher than Number 42.
Oh yes, and watch out next week for Pink with her band new single So What. Only Number 38 this week, but set to gatecrash the Top 5 next time around.