It's as you were at the top of the charts this week as Shayne Ward makes a full lunar cycle at Number One, That's My Goal spending a fourth week at the summit. Not since Girls Aloud topped the charts with 'Sound Of The Underground' back in 2003 has any TV talent show winner spent so long at the top of the charts. Ward's 2004 counterpart Steve Brookstein by contrast only managed a solitary week at the summit with his cover of Against All Odds. Mind you the race for the top this week was a close run thing. Shayne Ward's sales are dropping far faster than those of Nizlopi and although the JCB Song duo trailed him all week, you suspect had another couple of days of sales been taken into account they would have overhauled him finally. In the event, JCB Song finished a mere 6,000 sales behind those of That's My Goal.
Well if the very top of the chart is starting to bore you, take heart at the way the rest of the Top 10 is shaping up as something approaching normality starts to creep back into the charts. Of the new releases last week, four of them have managed to penetrate the public consciousness enough to crack the best sellers. Leading the way this week is Richard Ashcroft who announces his new album Keys To The World with the acclaimed single Break The Night With Colour which charges in at Number 3. His first Top 40 single for almost three years, the new track also manages to equal his best ever solo chart peak, matching the position claimed by his solo debut A Song For The Lovers back in April 2000. In truth, it is a worthy placing as the new single confirms what all the critics have been suggesting, that his new album is a much welcome return to form. Break The Night With Colour isn't necessarily a classic but it is far and away the best new single of the week.
Meanwhile, the casual observer will be scratching their heads and wonder just what it is about 'Baywatch' that has suddenly fascinated record producers so. In an echo of last spring when two competing club remakes of Waiting For A Star To Fall demanded our attention, so January 2006 has so far been characterised by duelling remakes of the theme to the cheesy 90s TV show. Naughty Boy's Phat Beach got in first last week but could only chart at Number 33 so the chart honours for the moment go to Sunblock who hit the beach running with I'll Be Ready which crashes in at Number 4. The madness isn't likely to end here of course. Those with sharp ears will note that the Naughty Boy track was a mash-up of the theme, Sunblock have remade it so the door is open for a straightforward remix of the original theme (originally performed by Jimi Jamison). Just watch this space. Readers of a sensitive disposition may care to avoid noting that the series' star David Hasselhoff also has a new single scheduled soon. Well, I did warn you.
At times of late poor Texas must have been wondering what they had to do to get noticed again. The 90s superstars entered what is best described as Phase III of their career back in 2003 when they returned from a three-year break to find their fanbase had shrunk to an enthusiastic hard core. Since then they've released two albums, all of which have been warmly received and which have spawned some rather good singles (such as the Top 10 hits Getaway and Carnival Girl) but nothing that approaches the staggering success of 90s releases such as the now classic White On Blonde. Hence the arrival of Sleep in the chart is a welcome surprise. The third single from the album Red Book lands neatly at Number 6 to mark the first time in six years that they have managed two Top 10 hits from the same album. Some may point to the Peter Kay starring video which accompanies the single, others may note that they've taken good advantage of the depressed new year period to launch a single which deserved attention. Others will just be happy with the fact that Texas have returned to something approaching chart consistency and that it is about bloody time too. [Peter Kay appears in the video in character as Marc Parc, although happily he's only miming to vocals by Blue Nile singer Paul Buchanan].
A TV advert is partly responsible for the success of the next new entry, a debut chart single at Number 9 for Swedish singer/songwriter Jose Gonzalez. Heartbeats has featured of late in a series of Sony commercials [the infamous bouncing coloured balls adverts] and now gives the much touted new artist his first ever hit single. There is a small irony here however in that Heartbeats is actually one of the few tracks on his debut album Veneer which he didn't write himself, Swedish group The Knife having been the first to record the track back in 2004.
Whilst Brighton act The Kooks may well be frustrated at missing out on a place in the Top 10 this week they still have much to cheer about. Having grazed the Top 30 with their last single Sofa Song in October last year, the hard work appears to be finally paying off for the group as new single You Don't Love Me makes a comfortable debut at Number 12 to launch them into the Top 20 for the very first time. The four-piece are nothing if not efficient in their compositions. You Don't Love Me is their first single to date to break the 2:30 barrier and even then clocks in at a tidy 2 minutes 36 seconds. Their debut album comes out next week and is well worth a listen.
That's actually pretty much your lot this week aside from a trio of singles cracking the very bottom end of the Top 40. Most notable of all is the reappearance for the first time since July of Boys Will Be Boys by the Ordinary Boys. The single has gained new life thanks to the presence of lead singer Preston in the Celebrity Big Brother house. Although no formal re-release was scheduled, the single has suddenly taken off online and thus does enough to claim a place in the Top 40, the singles' highest chart position since June last year when it originally peaked at Number 16. Thus far it is the one and only chart single for the Ordinary Boys [was it bollocks, they'd had three more during the course of 2004] although they did perform on one of the remixes of Lady Sovereign's 9 to 5 which hit Number 33 in August. [More on that one later in the year].
Celebrity Big Brother of course also contains two more hitmakers in the shape of Maggot from Goldie Lookin' Chain and Dead Or Alive singer Pete Burns. Place your bets now on You Spin Me Round finding its way back onto the chart in some form or another before spring is out.