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Nov 13

Charts – 7 November 2010

Posted on Saturday, November 13, 2010 by Paul in Music

(In case you’ve forgotten, or you just didn’t listen all the way to the end of last week’s podcast, House to Astonish episode 50 will be out next Sunday.  In the meantime, regulars features…)

As expected from the midweeks, the top two singles trade places this week, with Cheryl Cole dropping to 2, and “The Only Girl in the World” by Rihanna climbing to number 1.  With the charts having slipped back into the old ways of much-hyped singles entering at the top upon release – perhaps because that makes it possible to concentrate sales into a few days in a way that can’t be done when you’re promoting the third single from an album and it’s already available for download – it’s the first record to climb to the top since “Club Can’t Handle Me” by Flo Rida in August.  (Yes, Bruno Mars went back to number 1 a couple of weeks ago, but he also entered at number 1 in the first place.)

It’s more of a European electropop record than an R&B track, which is hardly surprising, since it’s a Stargate production.  And it’s a great single – stomping production, big chorus, and for once they’ve not gone overboard with the Autotune.  One of the best number one singles of the year, actually.

This is Rihanna’s 20th UK single (including four “featuring” credits), and her fourth number one.   The biggest one, obviously, is “Umbrella” – ten weeks at the top in 2007.  The other two were 2008’s “Take a Bow” and last year’s Jay-Z single “Run This Town”.  All pretty damn good, come to think of it, even if “Umbrella” suffered from overexposure after a while.

The midweeks have Rihanna holding on at number one for a second week, which would be a big surprise, because it would mean holding off the new Take That single – but to judge from iTunes, her sales are holding up better than theirs, so she might be around for a while yet.  (As for Cheryl Cole, she’s on her way down the charts…)

The highest new entry is “Happiness” by Alexis Jordan at number 3.  She’s a losing finalist from the first season of America’s Got Talent, but that was in 2006, when she would have been 14.  Apparently she hung around on YouTube promoting herself, and eventually got signed by Jay-Z.  The actual single – which is a sort of one-chord trance-electro thing – is another Stargate production.

In fact, it’s largely sampled from “Brazil (2nd Edit)”, a 2008 album track by the Canadian producer Deadmau5.  Stargate weren’t the first people to think of sticking a vocal over it – there’s an unreleased Kylie Minogue track, “Change Your Mind”, that does exactly the same thing.  The Alexis Jordan record is better, to be honest, and “Change Your Mind” is officially still lying at the back of a drawer somewhere, Kylie presumably thought the same.

Other new entries this week:

  • “Check It Out” by and Nicki Minaj at number 11.  Ah, the classic error of sampling a much, much better record.  This is’s 11th hit as a solo artist, though eight of them were as featured guests.  It’s only been three weeks since Minaj’s chart debut, as guest vocalist on Jay Sean’s “2012 (It Ain’t The End)”, which is still in the top 30.  In a transparent attempt to get a bit more publicity over here, there’s also a UK edit featuring Cheryl Cole (cut and pasted awkwardly into the video), who adds little to the enterprise besides her name and some backing vocals.  Just in case any of you really are too young to recognise the sample, it’s from “Video Killed The Radio Star” by the Buggles.
  • “Stay” by Shakespears Sister at number 12.  This was performed on X Factor by Cher Lloyd the previous week, which of course begs the question of why people are buying the original rather than her version.  Answer: the original is vastly better, even if Cher’s version was attention-grabbing in the context of the show.  Cher is a strange contestant, generally regaling audiences with some bafflingly misjudged attempts at rap, while the judges try to convince us that she’s exactly what modern music should be about.  (Last week they even solemnly proclaimed that “Empire State of Mind” could have been written for her, apparently failing to notice that she comes from Worcestershire.)  Her version of “Stay”, consequently, came as something of a surprise, as it turned out that she could sing after all.  The judges are clearly very keen for her to succeed, but the newspapers have adjudged her (and Katie Waissel) to be this year’s heel contestants, so they might have their work cut out for them.  The original was a huge hit in Britain, reaching number 1 for 8 weeks in 1992.  It was their only American hit, but the duo had six hits from two albums over here, before splitting.  Siobhan Fahey released a couple of albums under the name in the 2000s, without notable success.  The video is still refreshingly ridiculous.  The group haven’t been on the charts in fourteen years, and the single doesn’t get wheeled out that often any more, so it’s the sort of record that can potentially be discovered by a younger generation when it gets dusted off for a talent show.  And yes, the band spelt their name wrongly and without the apostrophe (apparently because of an error by a logo designer, which they stuck with).  They’re named after a Smiths song (correctly spelt), which in turn was referencing Virginia Woolf.
  • “One in a Million” by Ne-Yo at number 20.  The parent album “Libra Scale” is supposed to be some sort of bizarre concept album about three guys who get super powers but may never fall in love.  You’d never know it from the essentially generic song, though.  Ne-Yo’s eleventh hit, and the follow-up to the August number 1 “Beautiful Monster”.  From the midweeks, it doesn’t look as though this is going to go any further.
  • “Second Chance” by Tinchy Stryder featuring Taio Cruz at number 22.  More of the usual.  This is Stryder’s sixth hit, Cruz’s tenth, and their second as a duo (Cruz also appeared on Stryder’s chart debut “Take Me Back” in 2008). The formula may be wearing thin, because the midweeks have this track dropping to 39, making it Stryder’s smallest hit since his commercial breakthrough.
  • “Insatiable” by Nadine at number 26.  That would be Girls Aloud member Nadine Coyle, trying to follow Cheryl Cole into a solo career, and… well, it’s at number 26, and it’ll be gone next week.  Nadine’s actually a better singer than Cole, but she doesn’t have the individual profile, and the material is just dreadful.
  • “Take Control” by Roll Deep featuring Alesha Dixon at number 29.  Operation “Piss Our Remaining Credibility Up The Wall” continues, with the grime veterans picking up their fifth (and smallest) hit.  With the best will in the world, this is just sub-Eurovision.  Alesha Dixon used to be a member of Mis-Teeq (eight hits during 2001-3), before returning a couple of years ago to try and launch a solo career (this is her sixth solo hit, but they’ve been getting smaller).  She’s better known these days as one of the judges on Strictly Come Dancing, the British show that’s licensed abroad as Dancing With The Stars, although even there she stands out as the least qualified or interesting member of the panel.
  • “White Knuckle Ride” by Jamiroquai at number 39.  Urk.  This comeback single for the jazz funk band was promoted on the X Factor results show, so a number 39 placing is pretty much a bomb.  On the other hand, the album came out the same week and placed in the top ten, so it’s not all bad news.  This is their 26th hit in an 18-year career.  They’ve never been to my taste, but they’ve more or less cornered an entire genre to themselves, so they must be doing something right.  It’s been four years since they last had a single out (“Runaway”, which peaked at 18), and if this doesn’t go any further (it won’t), it’ll be the smallest hit since 1992’s “When You Gonna Learn”, their independent debut single which introduced the world to their unique blend of funk and platitudes.

Bring on the comments

  1. Technically Shakespears Sister are still going, although it’s one of those “I’m going to carry on on my own without the other one” sort of deals. I’d forgotten how bonkers the video was until I looked it up after your last chart round-up.

    That Buggles song was also sampled — more successfully in my book — by Orbital earlier this year, but I get the feeling that despite packing out festivals, Orbital are a bit un-trendy.

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