Another seven days go by. On the downside, another week goes by without anyone in senior Radio One management realising that Tweedledum and Tweedledee are the worst chart show presenters ever. [Dude, let it go. Within a year or so they get replaced with Reggie Yates. Be careful what you wish for]. On the upside, we have something very special at Number One.
Just as last single Feel Good Inc dips out of the Top 40 after an epic 20-week run, the second single from Demon Days storms the chart and beats the peak of its predecessor to give the virtual band their first ever Number One hit. To say that people love the single is something of an understatement. Dare surely has to go down as the most universally praised single of the year, just about every review you read showering it with praise in one form or another. Central to its attraction is the presence of a certain Shaun William Ryder on guest vocals, the former Happy Mondays frontman landing his first chart hit for some time and inadvertently winding up with his biggest ever. As with any Gorillaz track, seeing the video is central to the whole experience and this one does not disappoint, showing Noodle dancing and singing to her genetic creation - the giant disembodied head of Mr Ryder.
It gets boring saying nice things about Gorillaz all the time but heck, what can you do? For those still cynical, Dare is actually a better single than Feel Good Inc and in many ways their most accessible track since 19-2000. If nothing else it has done what the Happy Mondays and Black Grape could not, giving Shaun Ryder a presence on the biggest selling single in the land.
Leaping over Rihanna and Daniel Powter (who spends his third week locked at Number 3 to add to the three he spent at Number 2 previously) we come to the second biggest new hit of the week: These Boots Are Made For Walkin' by Jessica Bikini, er sorry, Simpson. The single is a neat tie-in with the singers starring role in the new 'Dukes Of Hazzard' movie which unless you have been hiding in Kong Studios with Shaun Ryder's disembodied head for the last month features her as the modern day incarnation of Daisy Duke. The track itself is actually enormous fun, a reworking of the track which Nancy Sinatra famously took to the top of the charts on both sides of the Atlantic way back in 1966. Jessica Simpson's version has certainly fared far better than the last cover version attempted - that by Billy Ray Cyrus which limped to Number 63 in late 1992. Better known over here for the Newlyweds show rather than her singing, this is actually only Simpson's fifth UK Top 40 hit but is easily the biggest, sailing past the peak of both her debut I Wanna Love You Forever from 2000 and last year's comeback single With You, both of which made Number 7. As well as featuring a pink bikini the video also has a brief starring role for C&W legend Willie Nelson whose UK chart career is restricted to a duet with Julio Iglesias which graced the Top 20 in 1984. Still, that is better than the late Waylon Jennings, the man who sang the theme to the original TV series and who never managed a UK hit single before he passed away in 2002.
Last week's Number One slips to Number 5 as Oasis at least see The Importance Of Being Idle perform slightly better than Lyla which fell to Number 6 after topping the chart earlier this year. It remains the most frustrating quirk of their chart performances to date - not one of their Number One hits has ever managed more than a single week at the top of the charts.
With the long hot summer of James Blunt and Daniel Powter drawing to a close, it seems somehow appropriate that September sees the long awaited return of the man who arguably created the chick-friendly purveyor of male love songs template at the start of the decade - a certain David Gray. The singer-songwriters arduous climb to stardom (which began as long ago as 1992) finally paid off in 2000 with the release of the album White Ladder. Thanks to hit singles such as Babylon, This Year's Love and Please Forgive Me the album became a smash hit and the soundtrack to a thousand failed romances. On August 11th 2001 the album rose to the top of the charts having been selling steadily since its release the previous May - a new record for the longest uninterrupted climb to the top of the album charts. For some odd reason, his next album misfired a little, singles The Other Side and the rather lovely Be Mine barely grazed the Top 30 although the parent album A New Day At Midnight was an instant Number One. OK so selling albums is where the money is but somehow the perception is that stardom is only due to those who can have hit singles. Therefore the success of The One I Love will be hailed as something of a comeback for the man who on record sounds like he is about to burst into tears at any moment. The One I Love storms onto the chart to become what is only his second ever Top 10 hit. Only Babylon charted higher, hitting Number 5 in July 2000.
I mentioned last week when discussing Mint Royale's Singin' In The Rain (which plummets to Number 32 this week) that the charts were set for the arrival of the soundtrack to yet another memorable TV commercial. Said track is the Number 9 new entry this week, Jacques Your Body (Make Me Sweat) by Les Rythmes Digitales which gained wide exposure as the tune which the Transformers-style Citroen C4 car dances to in the TV advert. What may come as a surprise to many is that the track has actually been kicking around for a number of years. Les Rythmes Digitales is one of the more polite aliases used by Frenchman Stuart Price and was the title he used for a 1999 album of electronic club tracks entitled Darkdancer. Jacques Your Body was one such track on the album and was released as a single in the UK, making a rather disappointing Number 60 despite exposure on a Sunny Delight TV commercial. It just goes to show that you have to pick your commercial endorsements carefully. The rather more memorable car advert created renewed demand for the six-year-old club track and the result is what you see here today - a long overdue Top 10 hit.
One act who has been a model of consistency throughout 2005 so far is Gwen Stefani and she continues this week by hitting Number 11 with Cool, the fourth hit single from her solo album Love Angel Music Baby. The new single sees her doing her very best Cyndi Lauper impression on a none more 80s mid tempo love song. It's choice as a single was a surprising one as most indications were that Bubble Pop Electric was set to become spin off - but you never know, given that thus far the album has spawned three Top 10 hits and now a further Number 11 single, a fifth release may not be completely out of the question.
Just below here it is third single time for KT Tunstall whose marketing has been a world away from that of your traditional mainstream pop star yet who is slowly but surely carving out for herself a respectable singles career. Hence the breezy Suddenly I See which immediately beats the peak of her last hit Other Side Of The World to become her biggest hit single thus far.
I wonder sometimes if artists such as the aforementioned Miss Tunstall ever look lower down the chart at the artists who have ended up below them and think to themselves "hey, I outsold so and so how amazing is that?" Well if she does then this week she can admire the way she has sold considerably more records than no less a legend than Paul McCartney whose latest offering Fine Line drifts into the chart at Number 20. The lead single from a forthcoming new album, chances are this will be hailed as yet another return to form by the former Beatle, featuring as it does a Lady Madonna-esque honky tonk piano rhythm and enough proof that even above the age of 60 he can still write an appealing melody. Just beating the peak of last years one-off novelty Tropic Island Hum it becomes his first Top 20 single in over eight years, his biggest hit in fact since Young Boy crept to Number 19 in May 1997. Hard on the heels of the Rolling Stones also landing their biggest hit for years it proves there is still much life in some very old dogs although, like the Stones, McCartney moves ever further away from his last Top 10 single - that honour going to Once Upon A Long Ago which hit Number 10 back in December 1987, way before most current singles buyers were even born.
Down amongst the rest of the also-rans there are disappointing weeks for the likes of a returning Elbow (Brand new single Forget Myself really needed to go Top 20 to advance their cause but only hits 22) and also My Chemical Romance (who hit 27 with what in fairness is their third single of the year The Ghost Of You). Still, they have at least managed better than one particular superstar collaboration which once again goes to prove that sticking two big names in the studio together sometimes results in a track that is less than the sum of its parts. Stand up R Kelly and The Game who watch Playa's Only crash land at a miserable Number 33. The track is taken from Kelly's latest offering TP3 Reloaded, the album which contains the 5-part "urban musical drama" 'Trapped In The Closet' which in truth is really the big selling point of the album. [Regrettably that throwaway reference is the closest Kelly would ever get to the UK charts with his near career-defining musical soap opera].