1,000 copies. That's just how much was in the incredibly tight chart race this week, a four figure total which for now prevented my oft-stated prediction that "We Are Young" by Fun featuring Janelle Monae is destined to top the UK charts. After dipping to Number 5 last week, the track now soars to its highest chart placing to date - agonisingly still only Number 2 however.
Naturally this leaves the way clear for Rita Ora to spend her second week at Number One with "R.I.P.", a week longer than the DJ Fresh single "Hot Right Now" managed back in February to effectively make this her biggest chart hit so far. Compared to the six figure sales of recent weeks, this last seven days has been a rather less frantic one in terms of numbers, Ora retaining her chart crown with just 57,000 copies sold.
Speaking of Number One hits, it is apparently a sore topic with girl group The Saturdays that to date the honour eludes them. I've heard tell of friends conducting interviews with them and being instructed not to raise the subject for fear of provoking the ire of their PR people. That said, during this last week the girls themselves were lamenting their lack of chart-topping success and urging everyone to buy their new single to correct this sales anomaly. That message spread out amongst their fans as well who have spent the last seven days bombarding just about every social network available with wild entreaties to buy "30 Days", a brand new single taken from what will be their fourth studio album. After all that effort and dedication it seems almost a shame to note that the single makes a non too shabby but actually rather disappointing Number 7, still the highest new entry of the week but still a long way short of becoming their first ever chart-topper.
On the positive side, the single is their 11th Top 10 single since 2008, returning them to the upper reaches after their last release "My Heart Takes Over" dimmed at Number 15 in late November last year. It shouldn't really matter that they have never climbed higher than Number 2 in their four year career, the five girls' pedigree of well received pop singles should really speak for itself. Except that it does. Without a Number One, without that crowning glory of seeing their best records appear in the all-time list of weekly big selling singles, the perception remains that The Saturdays remain distinctly second division, and this far into their career, I don't in all honesty see that changing any time soon.
Watch "30 Days"
The second highest new entry of the week is "Oliver Twist" by D'Banj which lands at Number 9. The Nigerian afrobeat star has been making records since 2005 but his prospects for mainstream commercial success increased dramatically last year when he and his produced Don Jazzy were snapped up by Kanye West in their first ever mainstream record deal. "Oliver Twist" is the first fruit of that new promotional muscle and it bounds into the Top 10 thanks to its effortless charm, the insanely catchy riddim which propels the track and of course the tongue in cheek lyrics namechecking the likes of Beyonce, Rihanna and Nicki Minaj as the kind of women who appeal to his tastes. Possibly the biggest breath of fresh air to invade the UK singles chart this month.
Watch "Oliver Twist"
Once upon a time a brand new single from the Scissor Sisters would have flown to the very top of the charts, or at least thereabouts. In 2012 the best they can do sadly is a Number 12 entry for "Only The Horses", the first release from their fourth album Magic Hour and one which struggles to impress despite the usually nailed on hitmaking presence of Calvin Harris on production duties. This all suggests that the new album is destined for the same fate as its 2010 predecessor Night Work, a record which sells by and large thanks to the echoes of their work in the last decade rather than on whatever merits it might have itself. For all the rave reviews they still attract, for all their undoubted creative brilliance, the fact remains that the Scissor Sisters haven't made the Top 10 since 2006 classic Number One hit "I Don't Feel Like Dancin'" with most of their subsequent releases falling a long way short. "Only The Horses" can't even reach the Number 11 peak of the one and only hit from Night Work, namely "Fire With Fire" and I'll be shocked if any other singles from the album manage to penetrate the Top 40. The new album may well be fabulous and showered with praise, but as far as pop hits are concerned, the Scissor Sisters remain resolutely yesterday's men (and women).
Watch "Only the Horses"
It has been a while since we noted Rihanna and her habit of dominating the singles chart, so it seems only appropriate to acknowledge that she appears on no less than three different Top 40 hit singles this week. As well as her own current hit "Where Have You Been" which climbs to Number 6, she is on the Drake track "Take Care" which still refuses to go away at Number 39 and newly this week as guest singer on the Coldplay track "Princess Of China" which first made the Top 40 back in November in the week of the release of the Mylo Xyloto album and which now reappears at Number 30 after being promoted to full single status with a video due in the next week or so.
The sad death of disco legend Donna Summer during the week naturally sparked a surge of interest in her back catalogue and most famous hits and she does indeed this week have five different tracks at various levels of the full Top 200 singles chart. The biggest selling of them all is "I Feel Love" which lands at Number 45 this week, its first chart appearance since its original 1977 run which saw it make Number One for four weeks during the summer of that year. Her death came too late in the week for her to have too great an impact on the album chart, but hits collection The Journey makes an appearance at Number 67.
Much was made during the week of the prospect of the Tenacious D album Rise Of The Fenix hitting Number One but in the end it proved impossible to shift Keane's Strangeland from the summit. The "D" are thus relegated to Number 2, still far and away their best ever chart performance on these shores, 2006 release The Pick Of Destiny being their strongest showing prior to today with a Number 10 peak.