Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Number 1s of 2008: November 30

As I expected, just a week for Beyonce. In fact, her sales were already falling by the time she reached number one - it's just that the X-Factor single was dropping faster.

The new number one isn't "Run" by Leona Lewis, which was finally made available as a download track on 30 November. As such, it'll enter the charts next Sunday, almost certainly at number one. In the meantime, squeezing into the one-week gap, we have...

Take That, "Greatest Day." (Here's the non-embeddable YouTube version. Apparently Polydor still haven't figured out how to post their own videos in the correct aspect ratio. Is it just me who thinks a major record label should be able to get this stuff right?)

In their original incarnation as a boy band, Take That were massively popular round Europe throughout the first half of the nineties. Their core audience was screaming teenage girls, of course, but Gary Barlow was a good songwriter, and they were certainly the best at what they did. Americans don't tend to go for this stuff, and according to Wikipedia's discography, their only American hit was "Back for Good" (number 7 in 1995).

The band re-formed in 2006 for a greatest hits tour, minus Robbie Williams, who by then was enjoying a thriving solo career. This went well enough for the band to continue as a sort of grown-up boy band, singing superior MOR songs to the same women who had bought their records as children. Since then, they've already racked up two number one hits (one of which I wrote about last year), a minor single that we'll forget about, and "Rule the World", which was the promotional single for the "special edition" of their album.

For most of the preceding decade, the prevailing wisdom had been that Robbie Williams was the enormously successful one, and that the others had faded into obscurity. Ironically, Take That's hugely successful return coincided almost exactly with a downturn in Williams' career, due largely to his inexplicable decision to start releasing self-indulgent nonsense like this:

Meanwhile, Take That are now on to their second album as a re-formed act, and "Greatest Day" is the lead single. Reminds me vaguely of an MOR U2. Not that that's a bad thing.

This is their twentieth hit single, and their eleventh number one. Pretty good track record, that.

Elsewhere on the chart: in a worrying precedent, this week sees the release of records from the losing finalists from X-Factor 2007. That means whoever wins the final, we're practically guaranteed a Eoghan Quigg album for Christmas 2009. Oh lord.

Rhydian Roberts enters the album charts at number three with his self-titled debut, which is pretty respectable considering that the number two album is "Chinese Democracy." A pop-opera singer who was plainly more interesting than winner Leon Jackson in every conceivable way, he was also ludicrously at odd with the pop-covers format...

And over on the singles chart, at a mercifully low number 13, we have "We R One", the debut single by disturbingly enthusiastic brother-sister duo (and I mean "disturbingly enthusiastic" in every possible combination of meanings) Same Difference. In theory I suppose there's a gap in the market for a new Steps, but this sub-S-Club-7 single misses the point of them entirely, with its hamfisted attempts at actual emotion.

Oh, and down at number 30 is a single by George Sampson, the winner of Britain's Got Talent, and also signed to the ubiquitous Simon Cowell. He's a teenage breakdancer, and it was always a bit unclear how Cowell was going to make money out of him. Apparently the answer is "try and make him a pop star"; the number 30 debut suggests that might be a non-starter, but then the record IS terrible.