I don't know if anyone has taken the time to point it out before, but there is a crucial, almost fatal inbuilt flaw to pop records that are centred around tubthumping support for a particular team or event - namely their inbuilt obsolescence. It is like Christmas records I guess, one moment capturing the true spirit of the age, the next an embarrassment and something from which people want to quickly put behind them and move on.
Hence it is almost a relief to note that the singles market shook down the way it did this week. At 5pm on Sunday afternoon England were dumped out of the World Cup in quite unceremonious fashion. Two hours later the brand new singles chart was announced - and thankfully the big England supporting single of the moment was no longer Number One but instead had begun what is almost certain to be its swift exit from the sales market. On a similar note, have you ever noticed that the truly classic football records such as World In Motion and 3 Lions all happened to coincide with tournament performances by England which exceeded expectations and saw the team reach the cusp of an ultimate victory? It is no coincidence. More so than any other genre of music, the appeal of football records is as much affected by external sources as it is by the quality of the song itself - something that bodes ill for the long term memories of the Shout For England record which this week ends its two week run at the top.
Not that it would have been there even if the England result at the weekend had been reversed, for quite simply nothing was going to stand in the way of the biggest new single of the week. Until this week you could be forgiven for thinking the jury was still out on Katy Perry's long term pop star credentials. Yes she had made a huge splash in the summer of 2008 with the global Number One hit I Kissed A Girl and had a by default follow up Top 10 hit with Hot N' Cold, but subsequent singles from her debut album - Thinking Of You and Waking Up In Vegas - had rather less spectacular chart runs. Effective one season wonder status was hers for the taking, especially given the way she took time out before working on a second album.
This week all such doubts can be cast aside. Already elevated to constant gossip site fodder thanks to her high profile relationship with Russell Brand, Katy Perry with one stroke reminds the world what she is famous for in the first place and crashes straight to the top with brand new single California Gurls, a lightweight piece of summertime froth which also features a typically sleazy rap from Snoop Dogg. As I Tweeted during the week, the single is simultaneously "quite awful and yet so utterly perfect at the same time". The chorus has little in the way of melody, the production almost devoid of depth and the subject matter (how "gurls" from California are so fragrant and wonderful in the sunshine) as twee and irrelevant as it is possible to get, yet the package as a whole winds up as an inch perfect summertime smash hit. California Gurls is the kind of record that can define a season, a record made for hearing blasted out of cafe radios and open top cars and the instant soundtrack to the online slideshows of digital snaps from your beach holiday. It is a record that screams SUMMER and as the sun blazes down and schools break up it is perfectly positioned to capture the spirit of the moment. That, above anything else is why it is Number One this week.
Now the stats, Katy Perry thus tops the chart for the second time in her career whilst recording partner Snoop Dogg finally makes the top of the UK chart a fully sixteen and a half years after making his singles debut. He's come close a couple of times before, hitting Number 2 with his own Signs in the summer of 2005 whilst also appearing on Top 3 singles The Next Episode (with Dr Dre), Buttons (with The Pussycat Dolls) and I Wanna Love You (with Akon) in 2001, 2006 and 2007 respectively. California Gurls shifted a massive 123,000 copies last week, easily seeing off a spoiler cover version which risked derailing its sales. That is more than even the Corden/Dizzee record sold in its own first week on sale to become the second biggest weekly sale any single has managed this year. For the next couple of weeks at least, nothing is going to shift this record from the top of the charts.
Over on the album chart, just as last week the plaudits are reserved for an act whose consistency at topping the listings means they seem to get a Number One almost by default. Step forward then Eminem whose latest release Recovery becomes his sixth album in a row to shoot straight to the top of the albums chart, doing so with the highest weekly sale of the year so far. Any doubts about the long term potential of his return from "retirement" should have long since vanished.. The release of the album has a far greater impact on the singles chart than might otherwise have been expected too. His official current single Not Afraid is still going strong, climbing back up one place to Number 5, the third time the single has hit this position in its five weeks on the chart so far. Not Afraid is joined in the Top 10 by the track that has been flagged up as the next single from the album but which has wasted little time in making its presence felt as a hit record. Love The Way You Lie which sees Eminem duet with no less a superstar than Rihanna charges into the chart at Number 7 to become the second highest new entry of the week and giving Eminem simultaneous Top 10 hits for the first time in his career.
On the climb inside the Top 10 is Lady Gaga's Alejandro which rises two places to Number 8 this week. Amongst modern day chart stars she is pretty much unique in that many of her smash hit singles have been almost agonisingly slow burners. Of all her hit singles to date, the only one to begin its chart career inside the Top 10 was debut release Just Dance. Subsequent smash Number One hits such as Poker Face, Bad Romance and Telephone all made relaxed debuts lower down the chart before accelerating to the top, often spending several weeks in the Top 10 before even showing a hint of moving to the top. Despite its rave reviews when it first debuted as a track on her special edition Fame Monster album at the end of last year, the more understated Eurobeat groove of Alejandro might have indicated that it was set to become one of Lady Gaga's smaller hit singles, particularly when it moved 40-28-19 in its first few weeks on the chart. How foolish we were to doubt it - Alejandro is now firmly established as a Top 10 hit and I will be amazed if it is not still kicking around by the time August rolls around.
Was there ever a more inconsistent chart act than the Scissor Sisters? Rightly acclaimed for their joyful genre-hopping ultra camp pop records and creators of some of the best songs of the last decade, the American group have never quite managed to carve out a set of chart stats that fully reflects the column inches they attract. Their 2004 self titled debut album may have famously become the biggest selling album of that year, yet despite near saturation airplay for its hit singles such as Take Your Mama and Laura it took them until early 2005 single Filthy/Gorgeous to break into the Top 5 for the first time. 2006 release I Don't Feel Like Dancing was a deserved and instant Number One hit single, yet when the follow up single Land Of A Thousand Words from second album Tah-Dah struggled to even make the Top 20 it became clear that they were the kind of act who blew hot and cold almost at random.
Hence it is tricky to draw conclusions from the curiously understated chart debut of their brand new single Fire With Fire. The first Scissor Sisters single in over three years, it always had the onerous task ahead of it of re-establishing their brand after being away for what is a lifetime in pop music terms. Fire With Fire is an odd choice of single as well, a slow burning grower rather than an out and out hook-laden smash hit and a record which extraordinary as it may sound comes over like a collision between the music of Abba and Toto. Artistically it is a hundred times better than the Katy Perry single yet the first single from the third Scissor Sisters album Night Work has to content itself with a Number 11 chart entry, a start from which I'm not sure it is going to recover, especially given that the album itself is released this week and will inevitably attract the bulk of sales attention. We shall just have to continue to muse on the way the Scissor Sisters, one of the most creative and inspired musical acts of their generation have just three UK Top 10 singles to show for their efforts so far.
After a slow start of its own, B.o.B.'s Airplanes appears to be, ahem, taking off at long last. The single appeared on the chart as an album track three weeks ago at Number 23 and has spent the weeks since bounding around the lower end of the Top 30. Now with a new video to match and promoted officially to single status, the track leaps 25-12 this week and seems set for a Top 10 entry in seven days time.
The continuing desire of Mr Sean Coombs to confound and frustrate chart database compilers the world over continues this week as he makes his chart debut with yet another new variation on his performing name. Having started his chart career as Puff Daddy, he switched to being called P Diddy in 2001 and it is only an entertaining legal clash with the dance producer of the same name that has preventing him from reducing that still further to just "Diddy" in this country for the past few years. This week the rap star introduces to the world his new female collaborators and arrives on the chart at Number 22 as Diddy - Dirty Money with the single Hello Good Morning. For those wishing to keep track it is his first Top 40 hit single since Last Night hit Number 14 in March 2007.
Keep an eye out over the next couple of weeks for some more strange chart moves thanks to external events. Some heavy discounting in an HMV sale of the Black Eyed Peas album The E.N.D. sees it make a shock 40-3 leap on the album chart this week whilst the inevitable halo effect of televised Glastonbury Festival performances from the weekend will be making its presence felt next time around. Already the lower end of the iTunes rankings are peppered with classic Muse singles thanks to their headline slot from Saturday - I'm awaiting the after effects of Stevie Wonder's Sunday night set with fascinated interest.