Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Number 1s of 2008: August 3

Another change at the top. Dizzee Rascal lasted four weeks with "Dance Wiv Me", holding off Basshunter's "All I Ever Wanted" and, perhaps more interestingly, McFly. McFly are a boy band in the mould of Busted, who write their own material, and have a good ear for a chorus. But somehow, their records seem to sell exclusively to their fans, who buy them in the first week. So they have a weird tendency to enter at number one and then plummet.

Apparently dissatisfied with their record company, McFly didn't renew their record deal when it ran out, and went off to form their own label. And then gave away their new album free with a Sunday newspaper. Well, it worked for Prince. Kind of. Their comeback single, "One for the Radio", is an odd beast - a strangely defensive, "why don't you like us" song. Or rather, a "why do you pretend you don't like us when we're so clearly great" song.

It entered at number two, and the dropped the next week... to 21. That's horrible. In a period when the kids are complaining that chart movement has slowed to a crawl, McFly have the sort of mobility that would have been astounding even a few years ago. And it's downward mobility. Oops. Odd, really, because it's not a bad pop single.

Anyway... our new number one.

Kid Rock, "All Summer Long." (3 August 2008 to date, one week and counting.) Even though it's taken a month for this single to reach the top, its success still comes as a surprise. Kid Rock has been around for years, and in America, he does pretty well. But he doesn't sell abroad. The USA is usually pretty good at selling its pop culture around the world, but there are still little genre holdouts which are so American that the rest of the world just kind of writes it off as local music for local people. The faintest hint of country and western usually does it, although particularly insular hip-hop feuds can also pull it off.

You don't get much more American-Local than Kid Rock, who has only two previous UK hits to his name, and hasn't troubled the Top 75 in almost eight years. "American Badass", his previous biggest hit, only made it to number 25 - possibly because the wrestling fans were picking it up, as the Undertaker was using it as his theme music at the time. (And if you think that's ludicrously inappropriate... remember this?)

But somehow, "All Summer Long" has been an international hit. According to Wikipedia, it's currently number one in Austria, German, Ireland and Switzerland, and doing well in Australia, Holland and Sweden. As you probably know, it's based on "Sweet Home Alabama" and "Werewolves of London." It's one of those records where I can see the appeal, but it doesn't do much for me; most of the best bits are sampled.

I don't see it staying at the top for long. The obvious challenger is Katy Perry's thuddingly crass "I Kissed A Girl", in which the cash-curious singer expresses her approval of flavoured chapstick. The record company rush-released it on Thursday when a clone cover by somebody called Nicki Bliss started picking up sales on iTunes, and it charted at number four on the strength of three days' unadvertised sales. That kinds of suggests it's going higher next week, unfortunately...