Wow, a trifle late this week but for some very good reasons indeed, trust me. [It had been quite the weekend].
Shame on all of us who boldly predicted that the X Factor Finalists 2010 single Heroes was set to be a one week wonder at Number One. By contrast the single holds off what was always going to be a solid challenge from Ellie Goulding and clings on at the top of the charts to land a second week at the summit. Not that we should be too shocked, the charity offering from the class of 2008 (a cover of Mariah Carey's Hero) managed a full three weeks at Number One but the benchmark we were all expecting this year's single to follow was set by the 2009 single 'You Are Not Alone' which debuted at the top with a huge sale before suffering a slump a week later.
There is needless to say an X Factor connection to the highest new entry of the week as well. Having stepped in as a guest judge during the auditions stage this year, Nicole Scherzinger is now clearly part of the X Factor family and so was afforded the benefit of a fawning appearance on the results show a week ago, plugging her new single Poison. Whereas once upon a time such a level of hype would have been more than enough to guarantee the single a massive Number One level sale, this year the audience for the show appear to have become a little more selective and so the single makes a nonetheless strong but still perhaps unspectacular debut at Number 3. The X Factor hype machine was keen to sell the single to us as Nicole's "first ever solo release", although this isn't the case at all. That honour belongs to 2007 single Baby Love which reached Number 14 and which was recorded for what was supposed to be her debut solo album due that year. When subsequent tracks from the album pushed to radio bombed in the States, the release was put back and many of the songs were reworked into full blown Pussycat Dolls tracks instead. This time around however Scherzinger's stock as a star in her own right is much higher and you suspect this new move to launch her solo career will meet with slightly better returns.
There appears to be nothing predictable at all about the chart life of the Black Eyed Peas single The Time (The Dirty Bit). Last week the track tumbled to Number 11 after breaking into the Top 10 in its second week on release, but now it goes on the yo-yo, charging back to Number 6 to land its highest peak to date. Confusingly this surge in interest for the single coincides with its parent album The Beginning making an incredibly understated chart debut of its own, arriving at a lowly Number 17. This is in marked contrast to the first week performance of their last two albums Monkey Business and The E.N.D. which both hit their Top 10 peaks the moment they were released. The only Black Eyed Peas album to chart lower upon first release was their pre-fame 2003 album Elepunk which debuted at Number 69 in August 2003 and did not make the Top 3 until early the following year.
Long time chart-watchers may have noticed that Rihanna tends to achieve things which mark her chart career as something quite notable. Whether it is amassing a large total of Number 2 hits to go alongside her own chart-toppers, or having Number One singles that reach double figures in terms of weeks spent at the top, she is in short a chart nerds dream for the impressive things she does. Well this week she manages something else rather spectacular to add to the list. Her current singles Only Girl (In The World) and What's My Name line up at Numbers 7 and 8 this week but are also joined at Number 9 by the David Guetta single Who's That Chick, a track which comes complete with guest vocals by Miss Fenty herself. It means the star has managed the all too rare feat of having three singles inside the Top 10, becoming only the sixth act in chart history to manage the feat. To find an act lining up at consecutive places with all three singles takes a quite some finding and indeed a journey back to the dawn of chart history. Step forward Frankie Laine, who in the week of October 17 1953 was at Number 2 with I Believe, Number 3 with Hey Joe and Number 4 with When The Wind Blows. Indeed, virtually all of the five other acts in chart history to have managed three Top 10 hits at once did so during the 1950s. As well as Laine there is Vera Lynn (1952), Ruby Murray (1953) and The Shadows (1960) who qualify by appearing on Cliff Richard tracks as well as their own. The only other act in the modern era aside from Rihanna to achieve the trick is John Lennon who had three singles in the upper reaches in the first weeks of 1981. Maybe the most amazing thing of all is that Rihanna didn't have to die to achieve this.
As for the single that completes this extraordinary triple, it is a brand new track taken from the special edition re-release of David Guetta's One Love album and is the Frenchman's fourth Top 10 hit of the year if one counts his co-credit on Flo Rida's Club Can't Handle Me which hit the top back in the summer. If Who's That Chick fails to progress further it will coincidentally become his second Number 9 single of 2010, this being the peak of Commander back in June.
Releasing a Christmas single is a path fraught with danger, despite the untold riches in endless catalogue sales and annual airplay it can bring. Few and far between have been the modern day seasonal offerings from established acts and fewer still are the ones which have established themselves as classic hits worthy of being trotted out each year. Notwithstanding the annual efforts from The Killers for the benefit of their hardcore fans, to find a highly regarded "proper" musical act prepared to cast credibility to the wind and sing about sleigh bells and Santa is even rarer still. We should therefore marvel at the balls of Coldplay who this week debut at Number 18 with the brand new track Christmas Lights, a track which may or may not serve as a preview of their new album due next year. To its credit the production steers clear of jingle bell cliches for the most part and instead is a fairly standard Coldplay ballad that just happens to have a lyric centred around the holiday season. With just two chart weeks to go before the Christmas chart itself, despite this rather gentle opening week to its sales, you suspect that 'Christmas Lights' is perfectly poised to make a good showing of itself as the holiday gets ever nearer.
Christmas Lights is for now the only seasonal song inside the Top 20 although it is almost certainly set to be joined next week by All I Want For Christmas Is You which moves 48-22 and Fairytale Of New York which rises 51-27.
This seems to be something of a week for acts making lower than usual chart debuts. N-Dubz hit pedigree seems to come and go in waves at times, the group hitting Number 20 in April with Say It's Over before following it up with Top 10 singles We Dance On and Best Behaviour. Their latest hit single Girls sees them drop back to mid-table, hitting a mere Number 23 to for the moment rank as their lowest charting single of the year. In fairness the track was up against its parent album Love.Live.Life which charts at Number 7 as the second highest new entry of the week on the album chart. Home to both this track and their previous two singles, the album is their third to chart and duly becomes their second Top 10 release, following 2009 offering Against All Odds which made Number 6.
One place behind on the singles chart at Number 24 is Take Over Control from Afrojack featuring Eva Simons. Both performers are Dutch, with Simons a veteran of the reality TV system in Holland. She first shot to fame as a member of the girl band Raffish, created by the Dutch version of Popstars. Embarking on a solo career last year, attempts have been made to push her both here and in America, but her first single Silly Boy failed to make an impression here when released at the end of last year. More successful then is this collaboration with dance producer Afrojack which gives both stars their first ever Top 30 hit.
At Number 26 is a single that maybe demonstrates that there is always reward to be gained from spotting an opportunity and running with it. Regular readers may remember the strange saga of Turn My Swag On, the Soulja Boy Tell'em track which came to people's attention here when X Factor star Cher Lloyd stormed the stage with the track during her audition. Cher's performance was inspired by a reworked version by Keri Hilson which at the time was unavailable here except as part of a mix by Greg Street which featured the Hilson vocal along with those of several other acts who have freestyled to the track. Out of nowhere the Street version charted, reaching Number 17.
Now the song appears on the Top 40 once again, this time performed in the full Keri Hilson arrangement by YouTube diva Alexa Goddard. The wannabe pop star uses the site to promote her talents by recording impromptu cover versions of up and coming R&B hits, and first posted her take on Turn My Swag On back in September when the track first came to popular attention. Granted a proper release by a small independent label, the artist herself has worked tirelessly over the last week to spread news of the single by word of mouth alone and to the surprise of everyone it appears to have worked a treat, sending the track into the Top 30 with little more than some careful promotion online.
Now, their first singles may have debuted at Numbers 1 and 2 respectively, but the third The Wanted track makes a rather more restrained chart debut, Lose My Mind entering at Number 29. Naturally there is a very good reason for this, the single not actually due for "release" until Boxing Day, leaving it for the moment to chart as an album cut. Now of course the post-Christmas release plan was designed to put the boy band in a good position to land themselves the first Number One single of the new year, but with the album version readily available already this rather reduces the chances of the single making the kind of impact it would need to, even in the week after Christmas. Never mind, we get what they were trying to do, and it does at least mean that The Wanted are in a good position to be Top 10 for Christmas - surely the least anyone can hope for.
Two charts to go until Christmas then (although the dates do mean that Christmas week sales don't get counted until Boxing Day, but never mind). Next week we could be set for a new Number One which breaks a very different kind of chart record.
For Nina Maria Masterton, Born December 5th 2010. 2.24am