Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Number 1s of 2007: May and June

McFly, and their double A-side "Baby's Coming Back"/"Transylvania" (13 to 20 May, one week). "Baby's..." was originally done by Jellyfish in 1991, and the McFly version is a straight cover.

This only spent four weeks on the chart. It's an increasingly rare example of a single that got to number one solely because of a devoted fanbase buying it on the first day. It entered at number one, and the next week it dropped to number twenty - a new record. Needless to say, it's the lowest-selling single on this list.

They're a semi-manufactured boy band (nothing wrong with that, mind you), who emerged to fill the hole left when Busted split in 2004, and I suspect they're probably approaching the end of their natural lifespan as a group. Busted and McFly are both essentially kid-friendly acts, and their archetypal fan is a twelve-year-old girl. But they both deserve credit for aiming higher than the usual gloopy ballads.

Initially, McFly were positioned as a sort of ersatz Monkees, and more or less got away with it. But over time, they've increasingly emphasised their musical credentials, to pave the way for a longer career. And good luck to them. Nothing wrong with commercial pop music when it's done well.

Well, you knew it was coming. And no, I couldn't find a version of the video that wasn't topped and tailed with adverts.

"Umbrella" by Rihanna featuring Jay-Z (May 20 to July 29, 10 weeks). Astoundingly, this is still in the charts today. You'd have thought that massive overexposure would have finished it off by now, but "Umbrella" seems to be invulnerable.

Set aside the crushing overfamiliarity, and it really is a fantastic record, to be honest. Ten weeks at the top is an enormous length of time. Granted that the new chart format seems to have slowed down the turnover of singles, it's been ages since anyone stayed at number one for that long. In fact, you have to go all the way back to Wet Wet Wet's insufferable version of "Love is All Around" in 1994. That's a hit.

It's also the sort of hit that you'll probably be hearing on a semi-regular basis for the rest of time, unless the tide of fashion turns against the production style in a major way. It's catchy enough to overcome the burden of awful lyrics like "You're part of my entity for eternity." When even someone like Amanda Palmer is using it in her live set, it's clearly become some kind of landmark.

Meanwhile, in America... "Girlfriend" by Avril Lavigne" (number 2 in Britain), "Makes Me Wonder" by Maroon 5 (number 2 again), "Buy U A Drank" by T-Pain (failed to chart, proving again that hip-hop is one of the few areas where American hits don't necessarily travel to the UK) and "Umbrella" for seven weeks...