Posted on Wednesday, June 13, 2012 by Paul in Music
It’s Jubilee time, everyone! Actually, as I write this, the British media have already moved on to the Olympic torch. But this week’s chart shows the fall-out of the big Jubilee concert outside Buckingham Palace, which got a lot of TV time, and was one of the major events booked for the weekend. The other stand-out was a big flotilla of boats along the Thames, an event which forced the elderly monarch and her husband to stand in the freezing rain without shelter for some two hours. And then the next day they made her watch JLS. I suspect she’s had more enjoyable weekends.
But major TV broadcasts of pop music shift records to people who don’t normally pay much attention, and that’s what we see this week, in a chart which combines some Jubilee-related hits and resurgences, a couple of other unexpected appearances, and regular releases from people who evidently figured it was going to be a quiet week.
1. Gary Barlow & The Commonwealth Band – “Sing”
Jumping from 11 to 1, this is the specially composed song by Gary Barlow and Andrew Lloyd-Webber featuring musicians from around the Commonwealth, though it mainly sounds like Gary Barlow and Andrew Lloyd-Webber. Some listings have the Military Wives Choir down as featured artists, though the official chart website would apparently beg to differ. If you count them, it’s their second number one following the Christmas single “Wherever You Are”.
The parent album is also at number 1 on the album charts, though at a mere 25 minutes, you may be slightly surprised to learn that it counts as an album at all. Especially since it relies on a second version of “Sing” even to get up to that length. I could have sworn there used to be a separate chart for records like that. At any rate, it’s the shortest number one album in modern chart history and arguably the shortest of all time. (This depends on whether you count the Record Mirror charts which appeared between 1956 and 1958; some people do, on the basis that they were the best available at the time. If you do, the shortest number 1 album of all time was apparently the original soundtrack to the Tommy Steele film The Duke Wore Jeans.)
“Sing” isn’t going to be number 1 next week, but considering it’s a tie-in to a concluded event, the midweeks show it doing better than you’d expect.
2. Flo Rida – “Whistle”
Really, Britain? Really? I mean, yes, it’s better than “The Whistle Song (Blow My Whistle Bitch)” by the DJ Aligator Project (number 5 in 2002), but it’s still not exactly subtle, is it? Though I’ve got to admit it’s a good hook.
“Whistle” was a mid-week rush release when the record company realised to its horror that one of the generic spoiler covers was picking up so many sales that it was actually going to chart. It’s possible the Flo Rida version might have made number 1 with a full week of sales, though the current midweeks suggest that it’s probably missed its chance now. You never know, though.
5. Usher – “Scream”
It’s Usher doing a club track. S’alright.
It’s also his third consecutive top ten hit, and he hasn’t managed that since 2005, so evidently he’s having something of a resurgence.
6. DJ Fresh (feat Dizzee Rascal) – “The Power”
Number 6? It’s had nearly two months of promotion… it’s been getting heavy airplay… it’s Dizzee Rascal’s first single in two years… and it’s actually quite good. I was expecting it to do a bit better than number 6, to be honest.
14. Nelly Furtado – “Big Hoops (Bigger The Better)”
Does everyone want to sing like Rihanna these days? This is Nelly Furtado’s first hit as lead artist since “Say it Right” reached number 10 in 2007. It’s the lead single from her new album and it’s actually kind of growing on me, though believe me, I can well see why you might find it incredibly irritating. It’s hard to believe this is the same person who started her career in 2001 with “I’m Like A Bird”.
From the Annals of Blunt Wikipedia Entries, their synopsis of the video: “Furtado strolls down a city block wearing a giant pair of stilts. As she walks gracefully through the city, she breezes by all the plebeians who stare up in awe. A few outfit changes later and Furtado’s chilling with some professional hula hoopers and doing some form of interpretive dance.”
15. Dot Rotten – “Overload”
This guy was on a lot of “ones to watch in 2012″ lists, but his first single (“Are You Not Entertained”) stalled at number 53, so there’ll be some relief that this has done better. He’s an odd one – quite aside from anything else, he’s chosen to name himself after Dot Cotton, a character from Eastenders who was quite old when she debuted in the mid-1980s and is even older now.
This starts off sounding like a fairly routine case of sampling an old record – “Children” by Robert Miles, a number 2 hit from 1996 – but pretty soon goes its own way, and also seems to be aiming a bit higher than a lot of mainstream UK rap these days. It’s quite good when you get over the fact that he’s sampled “Children” by Robert Miles.
This reached number 21 in 2010 (though it actually sold more records this time round), and it’s the country band’s only UK hit. It’s back because Gary Barlow and Cheryl Cole covered it at the Jubilee concert. It may actually stick around for a couple of weeks.
25. Ed Sheeran – “Small Bump”
The fifth single from his album +, but he was on the Jubilee concert to promote it (and album sales have done very nicely, thanks). It’s a song about a friend’s miscarriage, apparently, which makes it a slightly odd choice of single, but then it’s not as if the theme is glaring enough to deter airplay.
Re-entry because she was on the Jubilee concert. Jessie J was also one of the judges on the UK version of The Voice, which tailed off rather alarmingly in ratings towards the later stages, and also saw a lot of very weird voting eliminate favourites in the semi-finals. The eventual winner was one Leanne Mitchell, and for reasons best known to themselves, the BBC are doing a slow-burn release of her single, with a download available now and a physical release to follow. The single missed the top 40 in its first week. Panic will surely be setting in. Particularly when this made the top 40 in the same week… the debut single from the man who came ninth in X-Factor two years ago!
35. Aiden Grimshaw – “Is This Love”
The hell…? That’s certainly not what I was expecting from an Aiden Grimshaw single. He appears to be trying his hand at drum and bass. Not sure his voice is quite right for this song, actually, but it’s an interesting direction, to be sure. Unexpectedly good, in fact.
Oh, by the way, the guy in the video isn’t Aiden Grimshaw. Aiden Grimshaw is the extra who walks past at 1:14.
Search engine optimisation at its shameless finest, as a knock-off cover of the Flo Rida single scrapes onto the bottom of the top 40 even though the real thing is now available to buy. Actually, to be fair, it’s not a clone; it’s at least noticeably different from the original, though I suspect that’s more a reflection of the recording budget than anything else.
Strangely, the same thing seems to be happening on today’s midweek chart, with the appearance at number 14 of a cover version of “Payphone” by Maroon 5 (weirdly not yet released in the UK, even though it’s been out pretty much everywhere else), credited to cover factory Precision Tunes. This is usually a sign that advance promotion has been dragged out for too long, so record labels might want to think about dialling it back a bit.