I'm sorry but she was always far and away my favourite. Out of all the 2010 X Factor contestants, eventual fourth place contestant Cher Lloyd stood out amongst a sea of bland balladeers in a heady mix of talent and attitude. One of those rare female performers who was as comfortable rapping as she was singing, it was clear right from the word go that she had a future away from the TV talent contest, regardless of how far she actually progressed in the public vote.
Eight and a half months on, the faith shown in her is rewarded as the 18 year old singer from Worcestershire becomes the latest in a long line of former X Factor stars to have her own moment of glory at the top of the singles chart as debut release Swagger Jagger storms to the top. To say this single has been much talked about is to put it rather mildly, for ever since a rough mix of the track leaked online a few months ago the debate has raged forth - is it the best pop single anyone has heard so far this year; or simply the worst? If nothing else the single is a chest-beating soul-baring statement of intent from an artist keen to make the biggest splash going. Playing on every last one of her performing strengths, the track (penned by some of the top writers in hip-hop, including California King Bed composers The Runners) lurches back and forth between a strident and technically proficient rap and a lustily sung chorus which as has been widely noted bears more than a passing resemblance to the melody of Oh My Darlin' Clementine. The end result is not totally dissimilar in vibe to Willow's Whip My Hair, a track with roots in the most adult sounding music going but which is aimed fairly and squarely at a young and enthusiastic pop market and which strips away the rough edges without every managing to sound sanitised.
This may be the deepest analysis of a Number One single we've conducted in these pages for some time, but far too many people have fallen into the trap of dismissing the single as patent rubbish after hearing just a ten second burst. As the chart success of Swagger Jagger (albeit with an "only there by default" sale of just under 67,000 copies) indicates, the single is far from utter rubbish. I think it is one of the boldest, most enjoyable and downright fun pop records I've heard all year and as a piece of promotion does the most important job of all, namely to ensure that I can't wait to hear what her album sounds like.
Although Cher Lloyd is the only Top 5 newcomer of the week, the seasonal lull which has befallen the singles chart over the last could of weeks finally appears to be over with the welcome arrival of some fresh new music. Arriving with a bang inside the Top 10 after a false start a few weeks ago is David Guetta's Little Bad Girl. After debuting in mid-July at Number 16 the single actually fell back to 19 before rebounding six places last week. Now with a further seven place climb the single sits at Number 6 to give the Frenchman his third Top 10 single of the year, his second as lead artist. Collaborators Taio Cruz and Ludacris also celebrate their own chart milestones, both with their second Top 10 hits of the year, and in the case of the American rapper his second this year as a passenger on someone else's hit single following his turn on Enrique Iglesias' Tonight… back in February.
Also new to the Top 10 are British rap duo Rizzle Kicks whose single Down With The Trumpets has suddenly sprung to life, shooting to Number 9 in its third week on the Top 40 after rising just two places to Number 20 last week. On the climb as well at Number 15 is Chris Brown's Next 2 You which rises seven places. This single is notable for a guest vocal by the man we all love to hate [it was a very different time], Justin Bieber who now has his biggest chart single since his co-vocal on the Sean Kingston track Eenie Meenie took him to Number 9 well over a year ago.
If it is slow burning singles that tickle your fancy then look no further than Jar Of Hearts from Christina Perri which lands on the Top 40 at Number 17 after just missing out at Number 46 last week. The debut hit single from the American singer-songwriter has had the unusual distinction of almost being beaten into the charts by an authorised cover version, this thanks to the Glee Cast who featured the track at the back end of the last series, with their remake charting at Number 63 on the chart of June 4th. That same week Christina Perri's original made its first appearance on the Top 100 at Number 90 only to vanish down the rankings without ever making the Top 75. Until early in July that is, when it reappeared at Number 91 and embarked on an agonisingly slow and often stuttering climb, moving 90-91-52-49-42-46 before finally working up a proper head of steam. For the people who have been a fan of the track ever since it made the name of the then unsigned singer over a year ago, its long overdue UK success is nothing less than a joy. With this kind of momentum finally in its favour, Top 5 this time next week seems more or less assured.
The one other notable new entry of the week, and indeed other than Cher Lloyd the only single to enter the Top 40 as a totally brand new release is the curiosity that is Masterchef Synesthesia by Swede Mason. The enigmatic 31 year old Londoner is one of a new breed of video mash-up artists, creating a series of popular viral videos by sampling bits of television and mixing them together over a dance beat. Almost out of nowhere his fun collage of quotes and samples from the TV series Masterchef became one of YouTube's biggest hits of the last few months, prompting moves to make the track available for download. So here it is then the tale of the Buttery Biscuit Base in all its two minute glory, the most unlikely chart single of the week and one which suggests its creators career as a plasterer and decorator may be rather shorter lived than he ever imagined.
Now naturally enough the brief flurry of interest in Amy Winehouse singles has proved to be a one week wonder, but sales of her two albums continue to be strong with the net result that Back To Black spends a second week at Number One, holding off Adele's 21 at Number 2 year again. Her first album Frank climbs two places to Number 3, and with 19 at Number 4, not only do Amy and Adele hold down alternating places on the chart, but three of the Top 4 albums this week are records released in 2003, 2007 and 2008 respectively, making this one of the most retrospective album charts seen for some considerable time.