It has been another of those weeks in the UK where the schedule of big new releases takes something of a back seat, leaving the singles market open for a elegant reshuffling of the pack. This did result in a rather interesting week-long tussle for the Number One position and as it turns out a rather unexpected result.
Few expected will.i.am's "This is Love" to sustain the huge sales lead it notched up seven days ago, and in early sales flashes it did indeed seem as if Chris Brown's "Don't Wake Me Up" would fulfil its destiny and climb to Number One in his place, the single bolstered by the release of parent album Fortune which this week neatly gives the controversial star his first ever Number One on the long player chart.
In the end the single was relegated to Number 2, outsold in the final tally by Maroon 5's "Payphone" which rebounds a place to regain the chart-topping position it surrendered a week ago. "Payphone" is the second Number One single this year to perform the trick, following on from "Somebody That I Used To Know" which had two bites of the cherry back in February and March. More extraordinarily (although maybe a natural consequence of the more fluid market created by the digital era) it is the third time in four years that two different singles have yoyo-ed back to the top of the charts. The rebounding success of "Payphone" also brings to an end the current run of a different Number One single every week, the single the first to spend more than a fortnight (whether consecutive or not) at the top since Rita Ora's "R.I.P." back in the middle of May.
Such reshuffling of the pack aside, the state of calm on the singles chart extends right the way down the whole of the Top 15 with no new singles entering or climbing from outside these positions. Therefore the most upwardly mobile track of the week is at Number 16, "Pound The Alarm" from Nicki Minaj which rises from Number 34 last week. Her second 'proper' hit of the year, it is the follow-up to Number 2 hit "Starships" which is demonstrating some impressive longevity of its own, slipping down a place to Number 20 on its 21st week on the chart.
Having already mentioned the Number One feats of "Somebody That I Used To Know" it is further worth noting that the smash single by Gotye and Kimbra is still selling steadily, climbing back to Number 17 this week, 27 weeks after it was first released. Note too the continuing presence just outside the Top 20 of Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now" which was propelled back into the charts following last month's Jubilee concert and has for whatever reason remained there ever since. It rebounds this week back up to Number 22, the position it re-debuted at four weeks ago - still agonisingly one place short of its original 2010 peak.
So were there any new singles released this week at all? Well yes in actual fact there were two potentially large hits which ultimately failed to impress. The first of these was "Under The Westway", the first full released studio recording from Blur in almost nine years. The much-awaited fruit of their reunion a couple of years ago, the single makes a rather understated debut at Number 34, in a strange coincidence their lowest charting single release since their 1990 chart debut "She's So High" stalled at Number 48. It is hard to view this as a reflection on their continuing popularity since they reformed, more a sign of the times that most people who care are content to wait for a brand new Blur album, should one ever appear. In the meantime watch out for Blur 21, a deluxe boxed set of their seven studio albums plus several discs of rarities which is set for release at the end of the month.
Watch "Under the Westway"
Just one place below Blur at Number 35 is Dappy with his second chart hit of the year "I'm Coming (Tarzan Part 2)" which is the follow-up to Number 2 hit "Rockstar" and a further promotion for his forthcoming album Bad Intentions. Its rather understated chart placing is due to its classification as a "promotional single", released online with little pre-promotion or fanfare - his next single proper is, we are told, "Come With Me" which is set to hit stores in August. Nonetheless the single does have a video to call its own, one which attracted its fair share of controversy during the week thanks to a rather crass dedication to a notorious jailed murderer who is the brother of one of the artist's friends.As mentioned, Chris Brown storms to the top of the album chart with Fortune, the album beating the chart peak of 2007 release Exclusive which peaked at Number 3 and which was hitherto his highest charting release to date. The reissued Graceland by Paul Simon storms back up the chart to Number 6 this week thanks to a BBC documentary screened this week which followed the star journeying back to meet the musicians who helped him make the controversial work back in 1986. Plus, after four weeks away, Adele's 21 is back in the Top 10 at Number 9 - which means it all kind of feels like everything is right with the world once again.