Well, you've got what you wanted, I hope you are now content. For what seems like the past decade I've been regularly bombarded with emails from seasoned music fans bemoaning the "top down" chart culture and hankering for the days when men were men, dragons roamed the earth and singles did the classic enter low and move high routine. By and large, we have that situation at the present time with only the very biggest new hits coming close to penetrating the Top 10 in their first week on sale in whatever form. Of course, this state of affairs is only likely to persist whilst first-week downloads are at the kind of level that will ensure a Top 20 new entry at best most weeks. In the time that will change and they will come to dominate the market more completely, resulting in shop sales becoming less and less of a factor. For now though the singles chart has taken on an interesting new form, and one which the industry as a whole now has to take into account when marketing. Years ago the singles chart was the only marketing tool they needed, an instant indicator to the public which singles and acts were "hot" and which were not worth the time of day. As focus switched to the initial entry point of a single, all that mattered was how much fuss you made about a new release and where it was racked at the entrance to a shop to give it maximum impact. Now we are back to where we used to be where the chart can work properly again as a promotional tool. What must be most frustrating is that the traditional ways in which the listing was exposed appear to be on their last legs. Top Of The Pops is soon to be no more, commercial radio has "chart shows" which focus on entertainment value rather than true listings whilst Radio One doesn't have a singles chart countdown worthy of the name.
So where else but here on Yahoo! will you find a celebration of the movers and shakers of the week. Or the non-movers in the case of the Top 2 Lily Allen maintaining her rightful lead over Shakira and clocking up a second week at Number One. With the summery vibes of the track dovetailing nicely with the steaming hot weather the UK is enjoying, the feeling of having a Number One hit totally in keeping with the vibe of the moment is a nice feeling. Lily's biggest challenge comes from herself this week with her debut album Alright, Still hitting the shops.
Crashing into the Top 3 to the surprise of nobody are the Rogue Traders with Voodoo Child, the Aussie rockers leaping 18-3 with their breakthrough international single. Of special note is the deliberately underplayed fact that the lead singer of the group is Natalie Bassingthwaighte, better known to the casual audience as Izzy from Neighbours. Her work with the group actually predates her television fame and with her music career taking off, it appears that for the moment acting will have to take a back seat. Strange to think it is now over 18 years since Kylie Minogue first made the transition from Neighbours to the charts - still less when you consider her Australian chart debut was in the summer of 1987.
The other big gainer from last week's download only entries is Busta Rhymes who soars 23-8 with I Love My Chick. The single is a slightly sanitised version of a track originally entitled I Love My Bitch and like his last hit Touch It is taken from his current album Big Bang. The cleaning up of the song is reminiscent of the hoops that Badly Drawn Boy jumped through a couple of years ago for his single Pissing In The Wind which became Spitting In The Wind for single release and radio airplay purposes.
The highest new entry of the week lands at Number 14 - Stand By Me by Shayne Ward. The formula is what you would expect, a heartfelt impassioned ballad done with full production and overblown emotion. However unlike That's My Goal and No Promises, the first two hits from the X Factor winner, this third single has failed to find mass appeal. Number 14 is the chart placing of the single after shop sales, not just downloads and as such will rank as a rather spectacular flop. In truth, his appeal was hardly likely to sustain itself beyond a couple of singles. Dismissing him as a flash in the pan reality TV show winner would have been unfair after the huge sales of his debut single at Christmas. Now it just seems like the logical conclusion. [He'd manage another album of hits, despite my cynicism].
The biggest download only sale of the week is that of Rihanna's Unfaithful which hits the chart running at Number 16 on the basis of digital sales. Whilst that is still a long way short of the Number 5 entry her last single SOS managed, it certainly bodes well for a swift climb into the Top 10 next week. Her lowest charting single to date is the Number 11 If It's Lovin' That You Want and with the powerful ballad Unfaithful showing off her voice to perfection I can't really see it falling short of that particular target.
News just in: The Manic Street Preachers are very much a going concern, but that hasn't stopped two of their number from deciding to take time out for solo projects. Beating Nicky Wire to the punch is lead singer James Dean Bradfield whose debut single That's No Way To Tell A Lie slides in at Number 18. I've never really been convinced of the merits of solo projects from people closely associated with a group. Generally they are either bodies of work from a singer who wants to "make music that wouldn't necessarily fit with the sound of [insert group here]' or records made by the singer in the aftermath of the demise of his group, the assumption being that he was always the talent and that the hits will keep on flowing regardless. In practice, both kinds of album generally just prove that the influence of the group and their collective talents was what made the magic happen in the first place.
Not that there aren't exceptions to these rules of course, so let's hope that JDB is one of them. On the basis of this first single, it is clear that the desire to do something "a bit different" was the driving force behind it, the new wave handclap rhythm and breezy pop feel of the single ensuring this is a track that the Manic Street Preachers would never dream of putting their names to. The Manics aren't the only group to have succumbed to solo fever at the present time, Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke this week debuting at Number 3 on the albums chart with his own personal offering The Eraser.
From solo projects, we move to offshoots and the Number 20 single Deadwood, the second single from Carl Barat's Dirty Pretty Things. Although Bang Bang You're Dead was the first single from the band, reaching Number 5 back in May it is this new hit that has swiftly become their theme track, a rousing rockabilly track [oh mate, it is more New Wave than anything else] of the kind that all but defies you to keep still when hearing it. The video features a crowd of extras, all of whom were recruited for the task via the band's own website.
Finally for this week as is rapidly becoming a tradition, we should flag up one download only new entry lower down the chart which is set to hit the heights in seven days time. Step forward Gnarls Barkley and Smiley Faces which creeps in at Number 23 this week. Their last single was, of course, the headline grabbing Crazy which reached the dizzy heights of Number One on download sales alone. The second single comes nowhere near of course and whilst it is unlikely to have anything even approaching the cultural impact of Crazy, the new hit is more or less assured to give them a Top 10 follow-up next week. We'll talk more then, OK?