Covered on X Factor last weekend, and since it’s not that well known to the general public, it’s the sort of record that sees real benefits from that. “Wires” was Athlete’s only top 10 hit, making number 4 in 2005. The group are still together, but haven’t released any new material since 2010.
You may have noticed that X Factor hasn’t had quite the same impact on the charts this year, though it’s cropped up here and there. They also mercifully spared us the annual charity single. With the producers keen to avoid another unedifying squabble over the Christmas number 1 slot, the final is actually next week, so that the winners’ single will be on sale on 9 December to (they hope) be number 1 on 16 December. Much of the media coverage is centred on whether a chap called Christopher Maloney who has been panned by the judges since day one might actually win, which would apparently be some sort of disaster – though bear in mind that most stories of this sort actually emanate from the producers working their own angle.
39. Ladywell Primary School – “O Holy Night”
No, it’s not an indie band with a self-consciously quirky name. (I’m looking at you, The Cast Of Cheers.) This really is a primary school choir performing “O Holy Night”.
It’s in the chart because a six-year-old pupil, Caden Beggan, died last week from meningococcal septicaemia, and a Facebook page about his illness, set up by his parents, had 35,000 followers. Nonetheless, the record was given very little attention, because nobody was trying to get it into the chart in the first place. According to the school, the track was originally recorded for a fundraising CD they were planning to sell locally, and was then put on iTunes with the thinking that they might sell a few more copies that way. Its appearance on the top 40 seems to have come as a genuine surprise to everyone.
For fairly obvious reasons, it’s not on YouTube. Suffice to say that the target audience is clearly friends and family, and that it’s not likely to cross over beyond that. Obviously, judging this sort of record by musical standards somewhat misses the point.
38. The Script – “Six Degrees of Separation”
The follow-up to September’s number one “Hall of Fame” returns to the Script’s heartfelt-yet-radio-friendly style. Granted, it’s already available on their album, and the Script are probably more of an albums act anyway, but with several weeks of promotion and an appearance on the Children in Need telethon, a number 38 entry is not going to please anyone.
37. Imagine Dragons – “Hear Me”
35. Imagine Dragons – “Radioactive”
Yes, two songs by the same band. Imagine Dragons are a four piece indie band from Las Vegas, and these are their first UK hits – and they come from the same EP. “Radioactive”, the slightly more successful one with the now obligatory dubstep influence, has been a single abroad and it’s been used in adverts. But it’s the B-side.
“Hear Me”, the one that sounds a bit like the Killers, is meant to be the lead track of the EP, even though it doesn’t have a video. The result of this, as a closer reading of the chart rules might have disclosed, is that “Radioactive” only gets credited with sales of the individual track, while sales of the EP get ascribed to “Hear Me”. Hence both records charting right next to one another, when if they’d done it right they’d probably have got “Radioactive” into the top 30.
Another hardy perennial is back again, as every year another batch of people suddenly realise that they don’t own a copy yet. The record peaked at number 2 on its original release in 1987, and is now making its tenth visit to the top 40.
24. Taylor Swift – “I Knew You Were Trouble”
This reached number 23 as one of her pre-album teasers back in October. It’s being released as an official single in a week’s time, so the advance publicity for that is already getting it back up the chart. No video as yet.
10. Ke$ha – “Die Young”
The only major new release from the regular pop industry is the lead single from Kesha Sebert’s second album – co-written by the lead singer of fun., believe it or not. I’m assuming he wrote the chorus, which is quite good.
Despite that, it’s not exactly a departure from her now well established formula, which might explain why it ends up at a rather underwhelming number 10, in a week with no real competition. Ke$ha’s drunken party girl persona is pretty settled by this point and tends to be the focus of all her songs. Then again, there is a subtle change of emphasis, which is that she’s actually singing a bit more on this record. Personally, I’ve always suspected that she has a better voice than the production on her records would suggest, and that it’s been played down because, well, that’s not the image.
Her chart positions from the first album were a bit erratic, but she did score a number one with “We R Who We R” last year. Considering that, a number 10 placing for her comeback single doesn’t look great – but on the other hand, it’s climbing the iTunes chart, so I wouldn’t count it out just yet.
Oh, and the video is either mildly pretentious (itself a shift in image for her), or just an exercise in trolling the conspiracy theorists who occasionally crop up in YouTube comment threads alleging that everything is connected with the Illuminati. Ostensibly, it depicts her leading a group of sex cultists in Mexico. Ke$ha doesn’t do subtle, does she?
A second week, though it’s been dislodged from the top of the iTunes chart, so there probably won’t be a third. Proving the power of an X Factor appearance, the Bruno Mars single “Locked Out of Heaven”, rebounds from 9 to 2 this week, but it’s not enough to shift Murs.
Over on the album chart, it’s largely a parade of Christmas releases.
“Right Place Right Time” by Olly Murs at number 1, timed for the Christmas present market.
“The Very Best of Neil Diamond” at 8, which is self-explanatory.
“Ten” by Girls Aloud at 10, a greatest hits album with a couple of new tracks. The position seems disappointing to me.
“Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of the War of the Worlds – The New Generation” at 13. A follow-up to Wayne’s earlier concept album, best known for the hit single “Eve of the War”. This version of the album features such offerings as a duet between Liam Neeson and Gary Barlow.
“Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys at 15, which is about usual for her (though her last album made number 1).
“The Greatest Hits” by Il Divo at 17. Pop-classical outfit affiliated with Simon Cowell.
“Memory Lane: The Best of McFly” at 21. Something tells me the core audience for a McFly greatest hits album own all the tracks already.
“Greatest Hits: Chapter One” by Kelly Clarkson at 24.
“This is Christmas” by Katherine Jenkins at 26. Another classical crossover act.