Monday, April 07, 2008

Number 1s of 2008: March

So far, 2008 has been a remarkably slow year for turnover of number 1s. Which is probably a good thing; after years of everything being determined by release schedules, it's actually become vaguely meaningful to be a Number 1 single again.

"Mercy" by Duffy stayed at the top until 23 March, for a total of five weeks. And now...

Estelle featuring Kanye West, "American Boy." (23 March onwards, three weeks and counting).

Once again, this is a little unexpected. Estelle Swaray has been around for a few years. There was an attempt to push her as the next big thing in 2004. That got her three relatively minor hits, of which only "1980" even vaguely sticks in the mind.

This didn't exactly set the world on fire, and she hasn't been seen in the charts since 2005. That's particularly odd, because she released a single from this album at the end of last year, and missed the top 75 altogether. Frankly, I'd never even heard of "Wait a Minute" until now, but it does exist, it did get a full release, and pretty much nobody bought it.

The success of "American Boy" can probably be ascribed to three things. It's had much better promotion. It's got Kanye West on it, who's a much bigger star. And it's a sunny, mainstream R&B song with a decent hook. Whether this is going to translate into sales of records that sound like "Wait a Minute", I'm not convinced. This might be the breakthrough hit she's been after for years, or it might just be a one-off hit which doesn't sound that much like her other material.

To date, "American Boy" has reached the dizzy heights of number 124 in America.