RSS Feed
Feb 9

Charts – 6 February 2011

Posted on Wednesday, February 9, 2011 by Paul in Music

Welcome to a new chart era.  I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that some of the major labels were introducing a new system for promoting singles.  Instead of hyping them for weeks before putting them on sale, they’re going to release new singles for download at the same time that they’re released to radio.  So, in effect, no pre-release publicity at all.  They call it “on air, on sale.”  And this is the first chart to feature singles released under the new system.

You’d have thought that would mean singles entering low and working their way up.  But, as it turns out, no.  The first major release with an “on air, on sale” schedule goes straight in at number one – which, of course, you could read as evidence that the record industry has been completely wasting its time with the pre-release hype on singles for years now.

The record in question is “Price Tag” by Jessie J featuring B.o.B. And to be fair to the record industry hype guys, they’ve done a pretty thorough job with Jessie J, a singer-songwriter who was completely unknown to the general public before Christmas, and who now has two top ten hits plus some sort of Critics Choice gong from the Brit Awards.  (Not that anyone takes the Brits seriously as an arbiter of musical taste.  Giving awards to acts who’ve released one single doesn’t seem a terribly bright idea to me.)  The approach with Jessie J has been good old fashioned promotion: convince a small audience that she’s the next big thing, and then repeat very, very loudly that she’s a major act until everyone gives in and agrees with you.

She’s written material for the likes of Miley Cyrus, and she’s now making the transition to her own career.  Her previous single, “Do it Like a Dude”, peaked at number 2 only three weeks ago, and under the original plans, this single wouldn’t have been available to buy for a while.  Having two big hits in quick succession will probably be better for her in the long run, though, since it tends to confirm that there’s genuine interest in her beyond the usual suspects filling column inches with their “stars of 2011” lists.  It’s also fair to say that, while “Price Tag” may not be a particularly original song, it’s got a decent hook, and it’s strikingly different from it’s predecessor – so she’s certainly establishing some diversity from the get go.

B.o.B.’s guest appearance gives him his fourth UK hit and his third number one, all since last May.

There are only four other new entries on this week’s chart, but they’re an interesting bunch.  At number 5, we’ve got  Enrique Iglesias, with his fourteenth hit single in a career that stretches back to 1999.  Boldly dispensing with such bourgeois conceits as subtext and subtlety, Enrique calls this offering “Tonight (I’m F–king You)”.  It’s the brackets I like, as if the contents had been tagged on by way of thoughtful clarification.  I can’t quite make up my mind whether this is incredibly self-aware, or staggeringly lacking in self-awareness.  Bold, satirical irony, or just Enrique Iglesias swearing into a vocoder?  You decide!

In all fairness, that chorus is growing on me.  Naturally, there’s also a radio edit available – “Tonight (I’m Loving You)”.  Close enough to scan, I guess.  Ludacris gets a featured artist credit for his rap break, giving him his sixteenth hit.  I suppose it’s a step up from his last chart appearance, when he was propping up Justin Bieber on “Baby”.

Sticking with the censor-baiting, number 20 is “S&M” by Rihanna, not one of her better singles, but certainly one that’s getting her plenty of column inches, and I’m sure she can live with that.  Radio 1 are so uncomfortable with this single that they refuse to even say the title during daytime shows, preferring to refer to it as “Come On”.  All of this is a bit academic; it means that journalists can say the record’s been “banned”, in the sense that it doesn’t get played until the evening, but realistically you can find the thing on YouTube without any age restrictions at all.

Lyrically, it’s a pretty straightforward dance record with a couple of superficial S&M references chucked in.  Can people in the real world, in 2011, possibly be getting worked up about the lyric “Sticks and stones may break my bones but chains and whips excite me?  The video pushes it into cartoon territory and seems to be trying to reinvent the song as some sort of commentary on Rihanna’s relationship with the press, something which is, shall we say, not obviously to be found in the song itself.  It also suggests that somebody’s been watching a lot of Lady Gaga.

This is her 23rd hit in a career that only goes back to 2005, so she really has been churning them out.  She has four records on this week’s chart alone – the others are “What’s My Name?” at 15, the David Guetta single “Who’s That Chick” at 16, and “Only Girl (In The World)” at 26.

Number 21 is “I Need A Doctor” by Dr Dre featuring Eminem and Skylar Grey, a curious artist credit since it’s actually two verses of Eminem and a couple of choruses by Skylar Grey before Dre finally shows his face almost three and a half minutes in.  He didn’t even produce the backing track.  But it’s from his album, so there you go.  And it would have been one of the better tracks on the last few Eminem albums.  (Not that the standard is as high as it once was, admittedly.)  It’s Dre’s 12th UK hit, Eminem’s 25th, and Grey’s second – the other being the Dirty Money single “Coming Home” which charted last week.  Looks like she’s following the strategy of a string of guest appearances before releasing her own single.

The last new entry is at 39: “On My Own” by Yasmin, which is a rather nice little song vaguely reminiscent of a slightly more energetic Massive Attack.  Video’s a bit phoned in, though, and it seems to have vanished in the midweek charts.  It’s her debut solo single, but she did appear as the guest vocalist on “Runaway” by Devlin, which reached number 16 last year.

This week’s climbers: “Higher” by Taio Cruz at 8 (climbing nine places because the remixes with the guest stars have been released at last), “Yeah 3x” by Chris Brown at 9 (up a place, and it looks like it’s going further), “F–kin’ Perfect” by Pink at 11 (up 10), “Wonderman” by Tinie Tempah at 14 (up 26, and well deserved – if you missed it last week, the video is fantastic), “L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.” by Noah & the Whale at 30 (up 7, and also well deserved), “What the Hell” by Avril Lavigne at 32 (a re-entry, and it’s going further this time), and “Someone Like You” by Adele at 33 (up 3).

Bring on the comments

  1. Ken says:

    Taio Cruz seems to be setting himself up as UK Usher. And his work isn’t that bad; a bit generic with the lyrics but better than other R&B/pop dance songs.

  2. AJ says:

    Funny that the BBC is getting worked up over that Rihanna song when it had no problem playing Depeche Mode’s “Master and Servant” back in 1984, whips and screams and all.

  3. Sending things off topic, I rather like this cover of “Master and Servant”

  4. jazz says:

    I really enjoyed this article, very thorough. I agree and disagree at points. I think the top 40 industry is a weird one because that is the music/artists that we are bombarded with… i like finding out the unknown bands and random music that I wouldn’t have come across otherwise. I quite like this blog for that kind of thing, it has a mixture of both, even an interview with Jessie J, but then lots of unknown music too.

  5. The Mirrorball Man says:

    Jessie J does look like Duffy in a black wig, doesn’t she?

  6. kingderella says:

    wow, that rihanna video is terrible. i actually think making the video about her relationship with the press is passably clever, and i appreciate that they made some unusual aesthetical choices (eg candy colours instead of black leather). but the execution is just awful.

  7. Ju-osh says:

    I like a lot of what I’ve heard from B.O.B., but it seems like with his endless string of guest appearances, he’s in danger of becoming the White folks’ Akon. Or T-Pain.

    (Correction: The Lonely Island has already made T-Pain the White folks’ T-Pain.)

Leave a Reply