Nothing stays the same forever, not even stagnating charts. The cosy familiarity of the Top 10 is shattered this week by a brand new Number One single crashing straight in upon release.
Boom Boom Pow marks the musical reunion of the Black Eyed Peas and their return to the charts after a three-year absence. In the intervening period both Fergie and will.i.am have managed varying degrees of solo success but it is clearly the presence of all four members on record together which inspires the biggest sales. It may not be the greatest single of their career and for sure is up there with My Humps in terms of lyrical bizarreness but there is no escaping the fact that the single returns Black Eyed Peas to the top of the chart for the first time in almost six years. September 2003 was the last time they released a single which ventured this high, that record the now classic Where Is The Love, a track which managed a six week run at the top - at the time the 21st century's longest running chart-topper. Something tells me that Boom Boom Pow won't have quite the same run of success - more on that later - but for the moment it re-establishes them as chart royalty and sets up nicely the release next month of brand new album The E.N.D.
On the album chart the runaway winners are Green Day who storm to Number One with 21st Century Breakdown, this despite the lacklustre performance of lead single Know Your Enemy which made Number 21 and is presently loitering around the bottom end of the Top 40. It is their second chart-topper, following global smash American Idiot which also hit the summit upon release in October 2004.
Their biggest challenge next week is almost certain to come from Eminem whose long-awaited comeback album Relapse hits the shops this week. In anticipation of this, its promotion stepped up a gear last week. Lead single We Made You was granted a physical release and the resultant boost in sales elevates it to a new chart peak of Number 4, making this his sixth single to peak at that position (the most recent being lead "promotional track" Crack A Bottle back in February. Although We Made You is officially his current single, his label has been drip-feeding selected tracks from the album to iTunes over the past few weeks. First came 3AM which appeared at Number 56 a fortnight ago. Last week it was the turn of Old Times Sake which could only manage to make Number 87. For the third week of the promotion Beautiful has been selected for release and this one becomes the most successful of all, landing at Number 38 to give the star two simultaneous Top 40 hits. Meanwhile Crack A Bottle still has life in it and the single (which also features Dr Dre and 50 Cent) hovers at Number 69.
One veteran act showing a surprising amount of staying power are The Prodigy. Their second hit of the year Warriors Dance was also granted physical status last week and the single duly shoots 13-9. Following the success of Omen earlier this year it is the first time the group have managed back to back Top 10 hits since the turn of the decade. Back then the singles in question were Smack My Bitch Up and Baby's Got A Temper, the "back to back" nature of these records slightly undermined by the fact that there were five years in between the two. Speaking of Omen, the single refuses to die a death. After briefly dipping out of the Top 40 a fortnight ago it reappeared at Number 40 last week and this week climbs back to Number 30, its highest chart placing for five weeks.
Prodigy and Black Eyed Peas aside, there are no other new arrivals inside the Top 10 resulting in the glass ceiling collection of mid-table hits spend another week having their numbers added to. Rising through the ranks at a rapid pace are Alesha Dixon with Let's Get Excited (a 25-13 climb) and Soulja Boy Tellem featuring Sammie with Kiss Me Thru The Phone which jumps 30-16. Indeed the only one of last weeks up and comers not to make a big impression appears to be Flo Rida's Sugar which can only manage a six place climb this week to rest at Number 22.
Such is Akon's productivity that he has over the past two years set a new benchmark by charting with seven different singles in both 2007 and 2008, be they his own records or as the guest star on someone else's. Until now his only single this year to make the Top 40 has been Number 8 hit Beautiful (which actually counts as one of his seven 2008 hits as it charted for the first time just before Christmas) but that changes thanks to his starring role on Shontelle's new single Stuck With Each Other which creeps into the Top 40 at Number 39. The track is a new recording which didn't appear on the original issue of her album Shontelligence last year. Co-written by Diane Warren the single at the very least benefits from not sounding almost identical to someone else's record, something that couldn't exactly be said about her last single T-Shirt.
The power of Britain's Got Talent rears its head again on the singles chart as following a memorable performance of the song by an auditionee last weekend Ain't No Sunshine by Bill Withers lands at Number 40. It is the first time the song has been a hit single for its author in this country, the only version of the track ever to become a sizeable hit in this country was that of a 13-year-old Michael Jackson whose version reached Number 8 in autumn 1972. The track is Bill Withers' first chart single since a remixed version of Lovely Day hit Number 4 in September 1988.
It can be more or less taken for granted that the impact of the Eurovision Song Contest this weekend just gone will have a major impact on the singles chart next week. Leading the charge, in theory, should be the UK's representative Jade Ewen whose Top 5 competition finish with My Time was this great nation's best result since 2002. Her single has been available for a couple of weeks now but thus far has failed to catch fire in terms of sales, sitting this week at Number 50. Given the positive reception across the continent to her performance, she should be looking at a vastly improved chart position next week. Her biggest challenge, however, will be from runaway winner Alexander Rybak whose winning song 'Fairytale' has been generating huge online sales ever since the contest was broadcast. Is it possible that we could see a Eurovision chart-topper from an overseas winner for the first time in a generation?