Now let's be honest. In a straight up race between a brand new physical release from an incredibly popular band which had already made the Top 20 on two days of download sales, and the download-only release from an R&B artist who in spite of her success so far is still something of a niche taste [regardless of the accuracy of that last statement, we can all agree that this is the moment which changed her (and the rest of us) forever], who would you expect to win?
We all thought Maroon 5 would do it too, and indeed sales figures from early in the week suggested that Makes Me Wonder would storm to the top of the charts. In the end, they are stuck at Number 2, leaving the way clear for Rihanna and Jay-Z to storm to Number One with the single [and you may not have heard of this one before:] Umbrella which duly becomes only the third single to top the UK charts without selling a single copy physically. The track is the lead single from Rihanna's forthcoming third album Good Girl Gone Bad and finally propels her to the top of the singles chart after three of her previous hits had stalled at Number 2. For the second time in the space of a year, Jay-Z finds himself at the top of the chart thanks to a collaboration with an R&B diva. Last August he was at the summit alongside his better half Beyonce on Deja Vu and now Rihanna brings him his second UK Number One hit. With a physical release for the single not due until May 28 it seems a fairly safe bet that the single is in for a Number One run of at least another couple of weeks [ooh, at least!]. Just as well really, I think I need time to get it properly [Dude, take all the time you need. There's plenty of it]..
This does of course rather leave Maroon 5 out in the cold but at the very least Makes Me Wonder now ranks as their biggest hit to date, beating out This Love which made Number 3 in May 2004. Meanwhile spare a thought (or stop and have a good laugh, as you please) for last weeks Number One hitmakers McFly who plumb brand new depths in their inability to sell singles beyond their first week. Baby's Coming Back/Transylvania takes an almost unprecedented tumble this week, falling 1-20 to equal the biggest ever fall from Number One in chart history. Worse than that, the record it emulates was Elvis Presley's re-issued One Night/I Got Stung in January 2005 which was only a limited edition single and so might have been expected to fall. McFly had no such excuse, their record was still fully available and easy to find in the shops. Are they possibly the most useless Number One act ever?
Other Top 10 action comes from some newly released physical singles. Snow Patrol charge 17-4 with Signal Fire to land what is startlingly their highest charting hit single to date. Their previous best was the Number 5 peak of Top 40 debut 'Run' in February 2004. career-defining single C*****g C**s peaked at Number 6. Competition from above means that the insanely catchy Here (In Your Arms) by Hellogoodbye is stuck at Number 5, up from last weeks Number 11 after its own physical release. A genuine love it or hate it track, it still has the potential to cross over still further and I suspect it is good for at least another week or so in the Top 5, assuming there aren't too many megahits standing in its way.
Also on the rise are Booty Luv who move 25-10 with Shine to give Nadia and Cherise their second Top 10 hit single as a duo. As I mentioned last week, Luther Vandross' original could only reach Number 50 two years ago.
If you want a small private bet on what could be the next Number One, then look no further than the second highest new entry of the week as the first solo single proper from former Sugababe Mutya Buena lands on the chart. She kicked off her post-'Babes career in November last year, appearing alongside George Michael on the Number 15 hit This Is Not Real Love, but this single marks the official start of her solo years. Real Girl is a single which just for a change is fully deserving of the online buzz that has surrounded it. Taking the strings from Lenny Kravitz's It Aint Over 'Til It's Over as a base (and in a strange coincidence matching for the moment its 1990 Number 11 chart peak), the single is an elegant yet still amazingly hummable pop track which positively oozes sophistication and is right up there as one of the best singles released so far this year. To make things even better, her online previews suggest that this track is just one of many gems on her forthcoming album. I don't really have to be any kind of chart sage to tell you that this download only Number 11 entry is just the beginning of the chart life for this single.
There's another chart breakthrough at Number 17 as after two years away, Wakefield's very own The Cribs return with one of their best singles to date. The lead single from a brand new album, Men's Needs charges into the Top 20 to become far and away the biggest hit single of their career, their previous best being Hey Scenesters and Mirror Kisses which both crept to Number 27 in 2005. I'd write more on this but the uncensored version of the video has just streamed onto my desktop and it is proving too much of a distraction. [If anyone tried this kind of presentation today they'd be utterly destroyed by outraged SJWs on Twitter. It was still quite provocative even then, whatever the ironic intent it is still a video of a curvy woman in the altogether trying to distract the band. Although she wore a leotard for daytime airings and if you look hard enough there's a totally uncensored version out there. They were simpler times].
Also new to the Top 40 are Biffy Clyro who follow up March's Number 13 hit Saturday Superhouse with their second hit of the year. Living Is A Problem Because Everything Dies is the opening track from their Puzzle album and after charting at Number 72 on download sales last week, soars up the chart with a physical release to give the band their second Top 20 hit. Not a naked woman in sight either.
New in at Number 23 is the second single this year from Sophie Ellis-Bextor. Her comeback single Catch You didn't do too badly when it peaked at Number 8 back in February but this rather lowly entry point (after a physical release) for the second single from her album does not bode well. There's nothing really wrong with this single other than that it is by and large underwhelming. Whatever spark she had which gave her such a string of hits in the early 2000s appears to have vanished. Her time has passed, let's move on.
Finally, for this week, we have something of a surprise and one consequence of the "anything goes" chart rules that I don't think anyone anticipated. As has becomes the custom in recent years, the aftermath of the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest saw the release of a compilation album of all the songs entered in the annual jamboree. With every single song effectively available as a single, the way was open for the British public to vote with their wallets and send several slices of Euro-cheese into the chart. Leading the charge is the song that ultimately came second in the contest - Dancing Lasha Tumbai from Ukrainian comedian Verka Seduchka. Enough people fired up their browsers to buy the track last week to help it rank at Number 28, turning it into the first hit single from a non-British Eurovision runner-up to become a UK hit for over thirty years. Traditionally the only Eurovision tracks to become hits are the UK entries and the occasional winner, the last "losing" foreign entry to become a UK hit was Gigliola Cinquetti's Go (Before You Break My Heart), an English translation of her song Si which was runner up in 1974 and which reached Number 8 here a few weeks after the contest.
It is one of three Eurovision songs in the Top 100 this week, Scooch's Flying The Flag (For You) is at Number 8 whilst the Russian entry 'Song 1' by Serebro is at Number 99. This could be a one-off or it could turn out that we do a very British thing and get the Verka Seduchka joke very enthusiastically indeed.