It is hard to believe he actually needs the continuing exposure or celebrity, but over the last few months Black Eyed Peas star will.i.am has poured himself heart and soul into raising his British profile to entirely new levels. Not content with a prime time TV role as a coach on The Voice UK, he performed at the recent Jubilee concert and even found a way to become an Olympic torchbearer during the current relay pageant.
His reward for these efforts is plain for all to see at the top of the UK singles chart this week as he lands his first ever solo Number One single with This Is Love storming to the top in its very first week on sale. An uplifting and almost euphoric club track, the single is easily one his strongest releases to date, but make no mistake that he owes a great deal of its success to his high public profile of late. Effectively the track (the second single from his upcoming fourth solo album) is his seventh Number One hit, taking into account the five he's notched up as a member of Black Eyed Peas and his guest starring role on Usher's O.M.G. which it the top in 2010.
This Is Love reaches Number One with a sale of just over 102,000 copies, making this the fourth week in a row that the chart-topping single has sold in six figures. That's the longest such run since the final weeks of 2009 when the 100,000 copies mark was exceeded for eight weeks straight. It is also worth noting that the track is a centenary chart-topper, the 1200th Number One single since the UK singles chart was inaugurated back in 1952. Strangely enough it is exactly three years to the week since the 1100th Number One hit stormed to the top - Cascada's Evacuate The Dancefloor having the misfortune to do so when the charts were clogged up with posthumous Michael Jackson hits, so barely anyone noticed.
Although he was never really in contention as a potential Number One this week, it is still something of a surprise to note that Chris Brown slipped slightly towards the end of the survey and can only land at Number 3 with Don’t Wake Me Up, the second single from his forthcoming album Fortune and the follow-up to Turn Up The Music which gave him a first Number One hit back in April. Even as a Number 3 hit however it still ranks as his second biggest UK hit to date.
Not even the presence of Flo Rida on guest vocals could help Taio Cruz' last hit Hangover climb any higher than Number 27 when it charted in March as the follow-up to Number 3 hit Troublemaker. His third hit single of 2012 fares slightly better as There She Goes slots in neatly at Number 12. All three tracks are taken from his third album TY.O. which for reasons which have not been adequately explained to anyone is available across mainland Europe but is not scheduled for a British release until the end of December, although you suspect the "December 31st" release date is a placeholder simply so it appears on schedules for this year. [It never would appear, and to this day everyone remains baffled as to why].
Jay-Z and Kanye West's Watch The Throne album and its accompanying singles have been chart bubblers for the last few months, aided largely by the tour by the two men reaching its European leg and hopping back and forth to these shores over the last few weeks. This week virtually all the project's offshoots get a sales boost, but none more so than the single N****s in Paris which shoots 44-18, its highest chart placing for three months after it originally peaked at Number 10 in early April.
We may have got through the just finished Euro 2012 football (*ahem* soccer) [these columns written for an American website remember, so I wrote many of these presuming a more international audience] tournament without the traditional influx of football-themed records but the forthcoming London Olympics have now resulted in their first related hit single. Muse's Survival is apparently the official anthem for the event, and despite a wave of "what on earth were they thinking?" reviews and comments lands on the singles chart at Number 25. Only time will tell as to whether it chimes a chord with the public or not. Only a small smattering of Olympic-themed singles have made the UK charts over the years, the biggest bizarrely being the Team USA anthem One Moment In Time recorded for the 1988 games and a Number One hit for Whitney Houston that same year.
And the album chart? I've not forgotten that either. Maroon 5's Overexposed (home to "Payphone") surprisingly doesn't make the top, relegated to Number 2. Instead the top honours are taken by Living Things from Linkin Park which becomes their third Number One album following in the footsteps of Meteora in 2003 and Minutes To Midnight in 2007.