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UK Chart Commentary from James Masterton 01/05/06

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  • Mark
    CHART COMMENTARY from JAMES MASTERTON 01/05/06 from uk.launch So what do you do when one of the biggest selling singles of the week doesn t appear on the
    Message 1 of 1 , May 1 1:20 PM

      from uk.launch

      So what do you do when one of the biggest selling "singles" of the week
      doesn't appear on the chart at all. The record in question is 'Who The F**k
      Are The Arctic Monkeys' by the self same phenomenon which although it was
      released this week fails to qualify for the singles chart by virtue of being
      marketed as a five track EP. Despite the onset of the online era, we still
      have to play by the physical rules which state that a CD single must contain
      no more than three tracks - otherwise it is an album. Really it is a daft
      state of affairs, as by no stretch of the imagination is a set of five four
      minute tracks an album. Ever since the "3 tracks max" rule was imposed in
      the late 90s, I've always argued that exception should be made for an old
      fashioned "extended play" single to be part of the marketing ammunition for
      a band, and as long as it is sold at a suitable premium to account for the
      extra tracks then really the singles chart should make room for it. In any
      event if the Artic Monkeys really wanted another Number One single they
      could have simply released two CD singles with one track in common and the
      remaining four tracks divided amongst each format. With dedicated fans
      needing to buy both formats to complete the set so to speak, they would have
      been guaranteed another chart-topper. Given that they didn't do this, you
      have to conclude that further chart domination just wasn't on the agenda
      here, but it just seems a shame that the biggest new release of the week
      doesn't actually show up on the singles chart.

      Thus the door is left open for 'Crazy' to notch up a fifth week at the top
      of the charts. Despite the arrival in the shops of their debut album, Gnarls
      Barkley find that their hit single remains a phenomenon, shifting another
      70,000 copies this week to maintain a comfortable lead at the front. Those
      of us who heard the single when it first came out were in no doubt just how
      awesome it was, from these continuing high sales it seems that even the
      casual record buyers of the nation are still coming to the same conclusion
      over a month later.

      Honours for the highest new entry of the week go to one of the most
      sought-after singles of the year. Despite their denials, the Raconteurs are
      something of a US alt-rock supergroup, headed up by Jack White and Brendan
      Benson with Greenhornes members Jack Lawrence and Patrick Keeler making up
      the numbers. Their debut single 'Steady As She Goes' first appeared on these
      shores back in January as a strictly limited edition rune of 1000 7-inch
      singles. If you missed any of those you either had to travel to the States
      for a similar 1000 copy run that came out in March or take your chances on
      ebay for what was rapidly becoming a collectors item. The track arrives on
      the charts this week at Number 4 after finally being given a full release,
      and although one of the full release formats is also on an old fashioned
      7-inch single the artwork is a mirror image of the original print run - thus
      nicely ensuring that the copies of the original limited edition should
      retain at least something of their value.

      Also new-ish at Number 5 this week is 'Bang Bang You're Dead' from the Dirty
      Pretty Things which makes a massive 40 place leap after charting on online
      sales last week. Once again the band are a new outfit for a familiar name,
      in this case Carl Barat who on the strength of this record deserves to have
      his past association with the Worthless Junkie and the Libertines wiped from
      our collective memories. 'Bang Bang You're Dead' is more than worthy of its
      Top 5 status with a guitar line and a melody which reaches back to the 60s
      and the golden age of the Kinks for inspiration. The single is also neatly
      packaged with an array of live versions recorded in places as diverse as
      Stoke, Sheffield, Leeds and Portsmouth.

      There are more boys with guitars at Number 7 this week as Snow Patrol leap
      30-7 with the shop release of brand new single 'All I Have'. The single
      appears in advance of new album 'Eyes Open' which hits the shops this week
      and is something of an eye opener for those who classified them as
      melancholy dreamers on the strength of their most famous hit 'Run'. Indeed
      by crashing the Top 10 it becomes their second biggest hit to date ('Run'
      made Number 5 in February 2004). Their debut two years ago kind of became
      overshadowed by the fuss over rivals such as Franz Ferdinand. This time the
      way seems clear for Snow Patrol to receive their fair share of mainstream

      At Number 8 this week there is a welcome return to the chart for both a
      famous artist alongside a slightly less legendary but also well known
      producer. Let's start first of all with Nick Bracegirdle, aka Chicane who
      first hit the chart back in 1996 with the instrumental hit 'Offshore' but
      who has since gone on to create some very memorable dance singles. His most
      famous collaboration came at the turn of the decade when he remixed Bryan
      Adams' 'Cloud No.9' single into a club hit and then had a Number One hit
      with 'Don't Give Up' on which a vocodered Adams provided vocals. He hasn't
      been seen in the Top 40 since 2003 when 'Love On The Run' (featuring former
      D:Ream star Peter Cunnagh on vocals) hit Number 33 but now lands his biggest
      hit since 'Don't Give Up' thanks to his latest superstar collaborator - Tom
      Jones. The legendary entertainer has always kept an open mind about working
      with modern day stars, having had hits in the past with the Art Of Noise
      ('Kiss') and of course in 1999 he recorded an entire album of duets with
      modern day stars which led to hits alongside the Stereophonics, The
      Cardigans and Mousse T. Nonetheless Number 8 single 'Stoned In Love' is his
      most radical outing to date, a high tempo high energy club track in which
      his vocals are buried deep in the mix almost as if they are part of the
      instrumentation. What has fascinated many people is that he has
      enthusiastically toured TV shows to perform the track live and thus given
      away that his vocals on the record have been processed into a much higher
      register than his usual singing voice.

      Also new at Number 11 is Will Young whose latest single 'Who Am I' soars up
      the chart from an entry point of Number 47. The third single from his
      current album 'Keep On', it is the followup to January's 'All Time Love'
      which made Number 3. As Radio 2 friendly as it is, the track isn't exactly
      the best release ever from the original Pop Idol winner and as it stands at
      present is set to become his first ever single to miss the Top 5 - never
      mind the Top 10.

      One of the biggest new album releases of the spring is almost certainly
      going to be that of the Red Hot Chili Peppers who, 2003's Greatest Hits
      collection notwithstanding, have the ominous task of following up 2002s 'By
      The Way' which saw their 15 year journey to superstardom finally come to
      fruition. That anticipation for their new material is high is shown by the
      performance of first single 'Dani California' which lands at Number 12 this
      week on the strength of downloads alone. It bodes well - not just for its
      physical release next week which may well see it challenging for the Number
      One slot, but also for the release of the album 'Stadium Arcadium' next
      week. I'll be first in the queue.

      The parade of big new releases continues with the arrival in the Top 40 at
      Number 13 of 'Yo (Excuse Me Miss)' from Chris Brown. It is the second hit
      single for the worryingly young R&B star but he cane be excused for being
      slightly disappointed by the track's rather lowly chart placing given that
      debut hit 'Run It' was a Number 2 smash hit back in February.

      To round off this week, just for a change we have two Michael
      Jackson-related singles. The first is the latest dualdisc release as we
      finally move beyond the 'Bad' years and head for 'Dangerous' territory.
      Latest release 'Black Or White' was released in late 1991 after months of
      anticipation. It's release marked a new phase in Jackson's solo career as he
      split from producer Quincy Jones in search of a different sound. At the very
      least 'Black Or White' was worth the wait, featuring an insistent guitar
      riff from Slash (he of Guns N' Roses) and one of Jacko's most singalong
      choruses to date. To the surprise of many the track also featured a rap
      break from the mysterious LTB, this despite Jacko having in the past
      denounced rap as the one genre he would never touch. Just as eye opening was
      the video for the track which starred George Wendt and Macaulay Culkin as a
      warring father and son, a cast of hundreds of tribal dancers and of course
      the multicultural stars whose faces were all morphed into each other at the
      end of the song. More notorious was the post-song sequence which saw Michael
      Jackson smash windows, dance on cars, rub himself and finally turn into a
      panther - footage which the star himself excised from future airings after
      many complaints. When originally released the track gave him his first
      Number One single since 'I Just Can't Stop Loving You' four years earlier
      but this week creeps to a mere Number 18.

      Three places below is 'Somebody's Watching Me' by dutch mixers Beatfreakz.
      Their hit single is a looping house version of an almost forgotten track
      that Rockwell took to Number 6 in February 1984 on the Motown records label.
      Although all claims of nepotism were denied, the artist was actually Kenneth
      William Gordy, son of Motown supremo Berry Gordy and the track is these days
      perhaps more famous for the fact that Jermaine and Michael Jackson provided
      backing vocals (Michael especially in evidence on the chorus). Ignored for
      ages, the track gains a new lease of life this week and topically enough
      takes the Jackson connection to a new level in the video - just check out
      the midget re-enactment of 'Thriller'.

      On that note I'm out of here - and remember there are just three weeks to go
      until the most exciting single release of the year.
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