Haven't we been here before? Week Ending March 9th 2008 to be precise, when the singles chart presented us with a static Top 6 for the first time in 27 years. Just over 14 months later history repeats itself as every single one of last week's Top 6 singles retain their positions on the official chart. Step forward Tinchy Stryder, La Roux, Ironik et al, Calvin Harris, Lady Gaga and Ciara who all cement their places in chart history by refusing to budge a single inch.
The coincidences don't end there either. Both the chart from March 2008 and the one from May 1981 (with Adam and the Ants at the top) which featured an unchanged Top 6 also saw the Number 10 single hold firm, giving the Top 10 a grand total of seven non-movers. Cast your eyes down the chart listing and you will see the exact same thing this week as Beyonce holds firm with Halo. In an even more spooky moment of synchronicity, March 9th 2008 saw the Number 7 single move up a place and the Number 8 and 9 singles move down one to accommodate it. You guessed it - the same chart moves take place this week to make the two singles listings exact duplicates of one another with only the records and artists themselves changed.
So what does this all mean? Well, it means that Tinchy Stryder and N-Dubz grab a third week at Number One with Number 1, La Roux are stuck for a fourth week at Number 2 with In For The Kill and despite my confident predictions of chart-topping success, Ironik and Chipmunk are locked in place at Number 3. Incidentally, In For The Kill is the second single this year to stay locked at Number 2 for a full lunar month after Lady Gaga's Just Dance sat there for the same period back in February. Her single naturally did so after a three week run at Number One, the last single to spend as long as four weeks in the runners-up slot and not reach the top was Take That's Rule The World in December 2007.
It may also mean that those of us who noticed this strange set of coincidences quite possibly have too much time on our hands, you decide. Note that a slow singles chart doesn't necessarily mean declining sales, far from it. Although the only Top 10 single to post a sales increase this week is Lily Allen's Not Fair, sales of singles overall rose this week compared to last, despite a lack of outstanding new product.
I commented on the podcast last week that consistently high sales for the singles near the top creates a kind of glass ceiling for the singles bubbling under, and indeed this is nicely illustrated this week. Leading the ultimately fruitless charge for honours was Miley Cyrus who inches up yet another two places to see The Climb rest at Number 11. Appropriately enough the single has climbed for the last five of its six weeks on the chart and now equals the chart peak of See You Again as her joint biggest hit to date. Perhaps more extraordinarily the spontaneous halo hit Hoedown Throwdown shoots up 12 places from its Number 30 resting place last week to land at Number 18 and give the teenage star two simultaneous Top 20 hits. Both singles are taken from the Original Soundtrack of 'Hannah Montana -The Movie' which due to its multi-artist nature is relegated to the compilations chart where it has spent the last two weeks comfortably in the Top 10.
Also reaching new peaks this week are Warriors Dance from The Prodigy (up at 13), I Remember from Deadmau5 and Kaskade (up 7 at 19) and finally creeping into the Top 20 Britney Spears' gigglesome If You Seek Amy which climbs 3 to Number 20.
For all that the most significant chart story of the week is perhaps that of a single that falls down the chart and quite dramatically took. Taking an 11-21 tumble this week is Untouchable from Girls Aloud which means the worst fears of their fans are indeed true. With that fall the single brings to an end their hitherto unbroken run of 20 straight Top 10 singles. Sure, the run inevitably had to end sometime but it is actually a crying shame that it should be this single that has done so, a track far from their worst ever and released with the promotional support of their current UK tour.
For the biggest new hit of the week, arriving at a comparatively lowly Number 22, we turn to the world of Scandinavian power pop. Multi-instrumentalist Tommy Sparks hails from Sweden and comes from the same school of unashamedly bright primary coloured pop music as Alphabeat. Debut chart single She's Got Me Dancing is a track that has been worshipped by just about every pop music blog on the planet since it first hit the net earlier this year. You really don't require me to describe it, a synth-drenched, hook-laden three minutes of high camp electropop that sounds for all the world like it should be one of the greatest records ever made but maybe, just maybe falls a little short. That could just be me being out of step with many people reading this, and I suspect were I 13 again I'd be bouncing off the walls to this like a madman. Yet just as Alphabeat never really clicked for me, this doesn't either, at least not for now. Judge for yourselves below.
Climbing steadily inside the Top 30 are Alesha Dixon who rises 12 places to Number 25 with Let's Get Excited and Flo Rida who, in a week of coincidences manages to meet himself coming back down. Previous single Right Round dips to Number 27 just as his new single Sugar rises six places to Number 28 to give him back to back chart hits. Like its predecessor, Sugar is taken from his second album R.O.O.T.S. and also is based heavily around a former Number One single. In this case it is Blue (Da Ba Dee) by Eiffel 65 which topped the chart here in the autumn of 1999, a track so inane it takes great skill to incorporate it into a hip-hop track in a way that sounds credible - and to his credit (and that of DJ Montay who produced the track) he somehow pulls it off. Whereas his last hit was unashamedly and often quite unambiguously about blowjobs, Sugar deals with the slightly more savoury topic of kissing which should cause radio slightly fewer heartaches. Maybe.
Speaking of kissing, it is also the subject of the single at Number 30 this week as Kiss Me Thru The Phone gives Soulja Boy Tellem his second Top 40 hit. Known primarily for his worldwide smash debut Crank That (Soulja Boy) which hit Number 2 at the tail end of 2007, the star has struggled ever since for a follow-up, his only other chart single YAHHH! limping to Number 49 in April last year. After a slow start, Kiss Me Thru The Phone finally seems to have caught fire, but with an opening couplet of "baby, I knew that you like me/you my future wifey" somehow manages to be almost as ridiculous as the Flo Rida single above it.
Finally, it may turn out to be the least prophetic single name ever. Magnificent by U2 proves to be anything but as despite a physical release across several different formats, the veteran group tumble down the digital divide and can only make a lowly Number 42 with the second single release from their No Line On The Horizon album. Coupled with the shock failure of lead single Get On Your Boots to make the Top 10 it does indeed look as if their ever strong fanbase simply don't have the need or the desire to hoover up digital bundles of their singles and their near total physical absence from high street shops means their releases are reduced to being items for the dedicated collector only. Presuming it climbs no higher Magnificent will be their first official single to miss the Top 40 since A Celebration made Number 47 way, way back in 1982. Two singles since then have charted lower - In God's Country made Number 48 in December 1987 and All Because Of You Number 51 in 2005, but both singles were limited edition imports that don't form part of their official release canon. 'Magnificent' has no such excuses. This may well have been the week that the Top 6 remained the same, but it was also the week two former chart giants proved that at least for the moment their powers of hitmaking weren't quite what they once were.