Another week, another Number One single and this week we mark the coronation of a record whose ascent to the top was more or less a formality from the moment the buzz surrounding it began. After three weeks around, We No Speak Americano from Yolanda Be Cool climbs a place to ensure that the biggest dance tune of the summer is in pole position just in time for the summer holidays. The work of three Australians: Sylvester Martinez, Johnson Peterson and Duncan "D-Cup" McLennan, the track is an unusual fusion of jazz and dance - essentially the direct descendant of Dutch single Doop which made Number One for its eponymous performers back in 1994.
We No Speak Americano ends a startlingly barren run for Australian acts, the first record from Down Under to hit the top for some six years. Indeed the last Australian star to reach Number One in the UK was no less a figure than Peter Andre with the re-released Mysterious Girl in March 2004. Pedants will note that although a naturalised Aussie, Andre was born in Harrow in London and so technically can be claimed as British - in which case Kylie Minogue takes the crown as the last Antipodean act to have a Number One single with Slow in November 2003.
Based around a sample from the 1956 recording of Tu vuò fà l'americano by Italian star Renato Carosone, the Yolanda Be Cool single thus interpolates one of the oldest recordings to reach Number One for some time, Carosone's vocals reaching the top of the chart a full 54 years after they were first recorded. It is impressive but not quite a record, that undoubtedly still held to this day by the samples from Al Bowlly's rendition of My Woman which were used as the basis for White Town's 1997 Number One single Your Woman. With the Bowlly track having been recorded in November 1932, the samples were just over 64 years old when the single reached the top of the charts.
Incidentally, the oldest written lyrics to form part of a Number One single belong to Cliff Richard's 1999 chart-topper The Millennium Prayer which took its lyrics from The Lord's Prayer. If the Bible is to be believed, the words were first spoken by Jesus around 2000 years earlier, although some scholars might argue the prayer existed in some form prior to that date. First translated into English around 650, it is somewhat unlikely that anyone else will have a Number One single with lyrics whose age can be measured in tens of centuries.
We No Speak Americano has the honour of being the first ever Number One single to be sung predominantly in Italian and indeed one of only a small handful of chart-toppers to feature lyrics either wholly or predominantly in a foreign tongue. Just to show you how rare this is, the last Number One single to feature even a chorus in anything other than English was Las Ketchup's The Ketchup Song back in 2002, although even then the verses were in English (just) with only the chorus being in their native language. The 1980s were the most prolific decade for foreign language Number One hits, Begin The Beguine by Julio Iglesias (1981), Rock Me Amadeus by Falco (1986), and La Bamba by Los Lobos (1987) all hitting the top during that decade - although even then it was only the latter which was sung entirely in another tongue without even a single recourse to English.
A minor reshuffling of the pack results in a fairly unremarkable Top 10 otherwise, the only notable gainer being Eliza Doolittle's Pack Up which advances yet again to Number 5, her self-titled debut album slipping two places each week to exactly match the chart position of its second single. Professor Green slides two places to Number 7 with Just Be Good To Green, but at least as the consolation of the highest charting new album of the week as Alive Till I'm Dead lands at Number 2, unable to shift Eminem's Recovery which remains firmly in pole position.
The highest singles chart climber of the week is Jason Derulo who advances 40-19 with his latest single What If. His fourth chart single to date, the track is aiming to match the Top 3 status of his previous 3 releases, his last hit being Ridin' Solo which peaked at Number 2 in late May after a similar march from the depths of the chart.
He beats by one place the rather understated highest new entry of the week, although the single in question is from a man for whom slow starts appear to be de-rigeur at the moment. Usher is the act in question, his last single OMG having spent a week at Number One back in April despite a startlingly sluggish first week which saw the single arrive at Number 13. Thus the presence of his new single DJ Got Us Falling In Love at a mere Number 20 should perhaps not come as quite the shock it might otherwise have been - what is strange though is the fact it is being promoted here at all at this time.
Here is the problem: Usher's label in America painted themselves into something of a corner with the promotion of Usher's recent Raymond vs Raymond album, flinging out as many as six different tracks from the album to radio in a desperate attempt to make something stick after the first American single Hey Daddy (Daddy's Home) barely scraped the Top 20 over there. By the time OMG finally hit big on the radio and subsequently topped the US charts back in May the supply of potential hits from the album had already been tried and failed. Hence what appears to be the rather hurried rush-release of mini-album Versus which is billed as a "follow-up" to its big brother, containing a further eight new tracks and which will be bundled with a new deluxe edition of Raymond vs Raymond later in the summer.
So whilst theoretically any of Hey Daddy, Lil Freak or There Goes My Baby could have served as the international follow-up to OMG and thus squeezed a few more sales out of the original album, Britain is forced into the same release pattern as in America and has been introduced to the previously unavailable DJ Got Us Falling In Love. Hey, if it turns into a big enough hit and the new version of the album charts successfully then all is well, but you cannot help but marvel at the potential European hit singles that have essentially been ignored simply due to Stateside indecision.
Phew, after all that there is another rather unusually understated new entry from Basshunter whose first single of 2010 lands at a mere Number 21. Since he first hit the big time with 2008 Number One Now You're Gone and follow-up Number 2 single All I Ever Wanted, the German producer has seen his chart placings stutter somewhat with the biggest hit from his 2009 album Bass Generation being the Number 17 single Every Morning which charted in October. His new single Saturday at the very least marks him down as being one of the most prolific acts of the moment, a brand new release from his forthcoming third album in as many years, yet whatever chart momentum he might once have had has simply deserted him right now.
Pendulum are also new to the Top 40 this week, climbing 67-29 with Witchcraft, the follow-up to Watercolour and the second single from current album Immersion. Whilst its predecessor made Number 4 and became in the process their biggest selling ever, I'd advise not necessarily holding your breath waiting for this new one to duplicate the feat. The album has hit Number One and good as they are, Pendulum single are by and large there for completists and not necessarily a huge mainstream audience.
Finally for this week, there were two singles released by two sets of former X Factor stars, both of whom had a chart pedigree that would have suggested strong debuts. Not so it seems. First of all there is Diana Vickers who stormed to Number One with her debut single Once back in May and then duplicated the feat with album Songs From The Cherry Tree two weeks later. The second single lifted from the album is The Boy Who Murdered Love and despite several weeks of promotion has this week risen no further than Number 36 which is where it seems destined to peak. Now Vickers' chart popularity for her initial releases always seemed to me to be a little overstated and probably exaggerated her true widespread appeal, but this kind of popular drop-off for her second release was something I don't think anyone truly anticipated.
She does however have it good compared to the tuneless Irish twins Jedward. Undaunted by their label binning them after debut single Under Pressure - Ice Ice Baby "only" made Number 2, the pair inked a new deal and pressed forward with the recording and release of their debut album. To widespread amusement it appears the joke has worn thin far quicker than it should. Much hyped second single, a cover of the Blink 182 song All The Small Things, bombs this week at Number 80 in a quite unequivocal manner. The Jedward bandwagon is entirely based on the assumption that people are thinking "they are utter garbage but we have fun hearing them sing anyway". With this single that assumption is now shown up to be wrong - the public voice now appears to be "they are utter garbage, and we just don't want to hear them sing on record". Regardless of how well the album did in their native Ireland, I can't help but feel it is going to tank here too. That is the sound of a bandwagon derailing at very high speed.