Monday, July 06, 2009

Number 1s of 2009: 5 July 2009

Last week, La Roux's "Bulletproof" entered at number one, and nobody noticed, because they all too busy listening to old Michael Jackson records. Six of them entered the chart last week, on the strength of two days of download sales. "Man in the Mirror", last week's number 11, was generally assumed to be the frontrunner, and was indeed leading the iTunes chart for a couple of days. But the Jackson sales slacked off as the week went on, and as it turns out, the song only climbs to number 2. That was probably its only shot.

However, a bunch of other Michael Jackson singles also climb. That gives him a total of 13 tracks on this week's top 40, shattering the previous record (which stood at either 6 or 7, depending on your tolerance for dodgy late-50s charts - see last week's post for more details). Counting Jacksons singles, he has a staggering 26 entries on the top 75. The previous records were set in the pre-download era, and Jackson is the first megastar whose back catalogue was readily available on his sudden death. This record will stand for the foreseeable future; it's not unbeatable, but I don't see it happening except in similar circumstances, and even then for an artist with the profile and back catalogue of a Madonna or a Paul McCartney.

But even without Michael Jackson, the number 1 slot still changes hands for the fifth week running. And this week's lucky winner is...

...Cascada, "Evacuate the Dancefloor." They're a German dance/pop act (lead singer Natalie Horler has British parents, but she was born in Germany). This is their sixth top 40 hit, and their first number 1, in a chart history that goes back to 2004. They're probably best known for the thumping 2005 single "Everytime We Touch", which was a number 2 hit in Britain, and even made the top 10 in America - unusual for a Euro-dance record.

Now, I rather like "Everytime We Touch." It's got a great tune. It is unrepentantly anthemic. It gets to the point. By thirty seconds in, it's as subtle as a brick to the face. And then, at the one minute mark, it reaches for a second brick. Awesome. And "What Hurts the Most" (number 10 in 2007) isn't bad either, once it gets going, in a thudding sort of way.

On the other hand, they also tend to make treacly ballad versions of their songs, for airplay on channels that wouldn't touch dance music. Here's "Everytime we Touch" with fullbore piano-driven sincerity. It's awful. And some of their upbeat tracks are a bit dodgy too - their cover of Savage Garden's "Truly Madly Deeply" is very questionable.

"Evacuate the Dancefloor" is somewhere in the middle. It's trying a bit hard to be a Proper Song for my tastes, and ends up with a verse that sounds like a Britney Spears B-side. The chorus isn't bad, but it's not their best. Still, they've been around long enough that I can't really begrudge them their moment in the sun.

Oh, and unless I'm forgetting someone, I believe this is the first German record to reach number 1 since "Loneliness" by Tomcraft in 2003. I recall the UK mix being slightly different to this, but this is the only one YouTube and DailyMotion seem to have.