Monday, January 12, 2009

Number 1s of 2009: January 11

A new year, and as you'd expect, not much has happened over Christmas. You don't release singles during the dead period. The argument used to be that the stores weren't open, but that's not a big deal these days - most singles sales are downloads. However, it's very difficult to promote a single over Christmas, which tends to make for a quiet January. And three weeks at the top for Alexandra Burke.

Taking advantage of that quiet period is the first new number one of 2009: Lady GaGa, "Just Dance". Universal don't seem to allow embeddable versions of their videos anywhere these days, so you'll just have to click on the link.

The usual music industry pundits have declared that 2009 is going to be the year of electropop starlets (in the same way that 2008 was supposed to be the year of Amy Winehouse clones), and Lady GaGa fits neatly into that bracket. Her album has been out for months in most of the world, but for some reason Britain is only just getting it now. Good debut single, though I suspect it's being talked up a little more than it really merits. And for some reason, every time I hear the opening bars, I keep expecting it to turn into "Y Control", which sounds nothing like it...

Elsewhere on the charts, Britain's girl band triumvirate - Girls Aloud, the Sugababes and newcomers the Saturdays - have all chosen to release singles in January, with intriguing results.

The Sugababes' single, "No Can Do", peaked at number 23 and seems to be flying out of the charts already. It's an odd record which probably deserved better. Not sure about that video, though. Clever, yes, but do it with the genders reversed and you'd be Spinal Tap.

Girls Aloud are at number 25 and climbing with "The Loving Kind". This is written by the Pet Shop Boys, of all people. Whether it's a Girls Aloud record... well, I'm not so sure about that. Back in their prime, the Pet Shop Boys occasionally mentioned a vague plan to retire from performing, and hire some younger singers to write songs for. And this is what it might have sounded like. You can tell it's a Pet Shop Boys song - the chorus includes the word "disinclined." Arguably the best thing they've written since "Single Bilingual". And since everything else I've mentioned has had embedding disabled...

Finally, we have the Saturdays, who are surprisingly in the lead right now, with "Issues" at number 6. Surprising because they're the newbies, but also because it's a rather limp ballad with a chorus full of awkward rhymes. Their previous single "Up" was much better.

The Saturdays' gimmick - though they'd strenuously deny this - is that two of them are former child stars. Frankie Sandford and Rochelle Wiseman were members of S Club 8, a pre-pubescent spin-off from S Club 7 (themselves a pop group cross-promoted with a BBC kids show), which must have seemed like a good idea at the time. Here they are in action.

The idea that two of those kids are now in the Saturdays is something I still can't quite get my head round...