No video for this yet, but it’s a fairly blatant example of Bieber trying to grow with his audience and turn into Justin Timberlake. Can you take seriously the idea of a sultry Justin Bieber? No, me neither.
Which is maybe a shame, since somebody else could have got away with this record a lot more easily. Bieber’s problem is that he’s so emphatically associated with an audience of young girls that it’s become very difficult for him to broaden his appeal beyond that. His records sell to that core audience and pretty much nobody else. He’s never had a UK number one; this is his biggest hit to date, beating the number 3 peak of “Baby” in 2010, though that’s somewhat undermined by the fact that it’s going to plummet straight out of the top ten on Sunday.
Tedious chart trivia: this is apparently the first time that Canadian artists have been at numbers 1 and 2 simultaneously. (Yes, I know. Somebody looked that up.)
4. Usher – “Climax”
Usher’s been around since 1998, and this is his biggest UK hit since “OMG” reached number 1 in 2010. Somewhat to my surprise, this turns out to be a Diplo production – it seems he’s finally figured out how to make a record that doesn’t scare off mainstream radio. Naturally, he’s done so at the expense of becoming rather less memorable. Still, it’s a decent enough R&B single.
7. fun. featuring Janelle Monae – “We Are Young”
A massive hit in America, now finally crossing the Atlantic. Fun are a New York band who have been around since 2008 but they’ve never previously been promoted in Britain. Monae is an R&B singer who’s similarly unknown over here.
Glee covered this single a while back, but that’s not the sales driver it used to be. “We Are Young” is the sort of vaguely indie anthem that’s likely to stick around for quite a while; it was at number 36 in the midweeks (behind a knock-off cover by Rainbow Mix at 33), so I’m assuming it was rushed out when the record company realised they were losing sales to the spoiler versions. That being the case, it will go up.
8. Sway – “Level Up”
UK rap. This guy’s been around for ages – his first hit was “Little Derek”, which reached number 38 in 2006 – but he’s been mired in the bottom half of the chart. Until now, his biggest hit was December’s “Still Speedin’”, which made number 16. Appropriately enough, “Level Up” is indeed his mainstream breakthrough.
The bloke in the video is apparently from Soccer AM. Ah, celebrity.
21. Breathe Carolina – “Blackout”
Breathe Carolina are basically an electropop duo with rock pretensions. Despite the name, they’re actually from Denver. They’ve been around since 2007 but this is their commercial crossover hit. It’s going to drop next week.
This was nowhere in the midweeks, and it’s going to vault into the top five on Sunday, so again, I’m figuring it’s a sudden midweek release. It’s promoting the “Platinum Edition” of her debut album, and it’s basically a poor man’s version of Guetta’s other current single “Titanium”.
27. John Legend – “Ordinary People”
Now this is a big surprise. This was Legend’s biggest UK hit back in 2005, when it also made number 27. He’s only had three UK top 40 hits, and isn’t exactly a huge name over here. So why is this suddenly in the chart?
Because two different contestants performed it on The Voice auditions last Saturday, and that show is starting to drive sales. Why choose this song? Because it’s produced and co-written by will.i.am, not that you’d guess from listening to it, and he’s one of the judges on the UK version of The Voice, and apparently it’s Very Important to him, and so hearing two such talented singers perform it is Very Moving and… oh, you know the deal.
Actually, will.i.am is coming across rather well on this show, as is Jessie J. Both are turning out to be significantly less irritating than I’d have expected. It’s probably going to do both of them the world of good with audiences outside their existing fan base, and not just by raising their profile.
Here’s the thing: the episode in question aired on Saturday evening. The chart cut-off point is midnight. So due solely to being pushed on The Voice, this single made number 27 on the strength of four hours sales.
I have no idea why this is back. Is it in an advert or something? The original release made number 2 in 2001, and it also reappeared last year when it made number 35. I doubt many people would have expected it to be quite this enduring…
37. Alex Clare – “Too Close”
Alex Clare is a previously largely unnoticed singer-songwriter, and this song has been out for over a year. But it’s now being used in a Microsoft advert, and so everyone has belatedly noticed that it exists. The midweeks have it sailing into the top 20, so this could be a breakthrough for him.