CHART OF DARKNESS: Making a late rush for the time of year to bring back the concept of the dance crossover hit from endangered species status, Fedde Le Grande crawls up to number one, taking advantage of an odd thing about McFly hits, that they do tend to hurtle back down the charts after their usual high entry. Right at the start 5 Colours In Her Hair spent two weeks atop then fell to 6, I'll Be OK went in at 1 then down to 8, even Don't Stop Me Now hardly helped charity by going 1-6, and now Star Girl goes 1-9. Not just the number ones either - That Girl 3-10, Ultraviolet 9-24 - and only All About You, the higher profile charity record, has hung around in the style you expect of a heavily promoted pop band. If their album Motion In The Ocean is titled after the Rock Lobster lyric we'll be asking questions. Bodyrox make it a modern disco music double at 2, and we've dealt with that suggested diplomacy already. U2 and Green Day's The Saints Are Coming, which doesn't actually feature many of Green Day or U2, wasn't in the midweek lists but crashes in at 6 on downloads, with All Saints proving more of an attraction these days than we'd have guessed at 11. We're not sure people will remember this one as fondly all the same, though. Simon Webbe, now a permanent fixture of the GMTV set, is at 12, Depeche Mode do the fanbase thing at 13, Babyshambles and some people somewhere in the mix are at 17, Jamiroquai ratchets up another one at 18, Keane find their memory sticks chart ineligible but get to 19 instead, the interestingly low-key so far The Good, The Bad And The Queen is at 22, one-joke Tenacious D outstretch themselves and don't even appeal to the Hasselhoff masses at 24 and shoe salesman The Game is at 26. New Rave has clearly yet to take off in the provinces with Klaxons only at 29, although at least they beat Sunshine Underground, who've spent the last couple of months of a much longer build-up going "New Rave? Us, mate. No, here. Really. No, see our glowsticks!" and consequently make 46 (and while we're about NME sloganeering, we must keep an eye out for when the full top 200 is released to see how the 7" only Horrors single did) Unsurprising news of the week: the still baffling in light of no extra airplay re-release of the Young Knives' The Decision only at 60. Demonstration of how times change in terms of alternative movements: Post-Arctics New Yorkshire's Milburn at 66. Well, Worth A Shot news of the week: The Gossip at 64. Chart curio of the week: Alesha, who entered at 69 on downloads, has had a lot of publicity work and no small amount of goodwill, all of which only takes her to 45.
As it was surely evident from the kickoff that it would be the only full-length release of theirs that would actually be necessary, of course The Sound Of Girls Aloud is at number one. Horrible cover, overstretched second CD, covers on the verge of stinking the place out, originals by and large of top drawer quality, and finally even their handlers seem to have noticed that it's more than 11 year old girls taking notice. Amy Winehouse, so called because she'll drink your house clean of wine and every other spirit, ho ho, and her post-modern Stax revue is at 3, with the Who's concept-not-concept album doing very well at 9, better, you might want to note down, them ...Sell Out or any of their three celebrated Official Soundtracks did. Madeline Peyroux takes care of the Parky demographic at 12, Tony Bennett (15) and Aerosmith (19) both make it to four charting hits compilations, Michael Ball's back with another overwrought pop covers album at 22, One Voice containing Since You've Been Gone. We can't find out which Since You've Been Gone it is exactly, but we can but hope and fear. At least it's not like his last album's version of Life On Mars, the very idea of which makes our skin crawl.
FREE MUSIC: San Francisco's self-sufficient Cult Of Sue Todd have called their album Kelsey Grammar Loves Us, presumably just to give anyone interviewing them a head start on the first question. Pitched somewhere between Sebadoh ramshackle lo-fi and the withering zombie of cowpunk, in our eyes you have to listen to anything called ExBoyfriends of the World (Unite and Take Over).
HEY YOU GET OFFA MYSPACE: Au Revoir Simone are, inevitably, from Brooklyn. We say inevitable because the female trio sound like they've been piped directly from a faux-boho practice space, all singing and playing keyboards. Musically we're hearing influences from the Magnetic Fields' twee days, a blissed-out Ladytron, Cocteau Twins' ethereal synths and great swathes of warm Germanic electronica. Apparently they can be quite disco, but as there's only two tracks uploaded we'll have to take their word for it. The kings in waiting of Moshi Moshi Records have picked this up for the UK and they're currently hanging onto We Are Scientists' coattails around the country.
VISUAL REPRESENTATION: It's 25 years this week since the release of the first Fun Boy Three single, so with new material allegedly on the way let's scour Google-O-Look for Terry Hall's back catalogue. Let's start with the shortlived but brilliant ska revolution of 2-Tone and its 1979 debut Gangsters, the live version in Japan of the ever resourceful Too Much Too Young and the Top Of The Pops performance of Ghost Town, which is actually quite odd - where is everyone? What set is that? That record was 25 years old this year too, as celebrated in a special feature on BBC Midlands' Inside Out that here runs over two parts. See Jerry Dammers there? Curiously, that's much like what Green Gartside looks like these days. Then Terry, Lynval and Neville left to form the Fun Boy Three and only realised when they got to the studio that they couldn't actually play much between them, hence the percussive sound of The Lunatics Have Taken Over The Asylum. Then they got some musicians in and made quality spooked pop like Tunnel Of Love, launching Bananarama along the way with jazz cover It Ain't What You Do It's The Way That You Do It. From there he progressed through Colourfield and their own moment of pop inspiration Thinking Of You and onto Terry, Blair & Anouchka, which we thought was the largely overlooked phase of Hall's career until we noticed Blair Booth herself has uploaded Waiting and Ultra Modern Nursery Rhyme (we say again - ooh, Jerry Sadowitz). The solo career isn't so well covered here, although there is a live version of his cracking Dub Pistols guest spot Problem Is, but at least he's keeping his hand in and isn't afraid to look back, as seen when he joined Blur to cover Nite Klub for French TV in 1995.
FALLING OFF A BLOG: The FunkyFunky 7 is one of those blogs that doesn't need gimmicks, although they're really strong writers, it just has the correct attitude, here demonstrated by a lovely dancepop compilation, discussion of how the word emo changed and why the modern Killers might actually be worthwhile. One slightly disturbing sentence we noticed: "An acquaintance in the UK... reports using the word "emo" in an article he wrote for the Daily Mail". Oh yes? (yeah, we know it's got a female byline, but who knows)
EVERYBODY GET RANDOM: Remember the national music list blogger craze of about this time last year? In Canada it's still going, I Heart Music revealing the results of this year's list (ooh, good work for Tokyo Police Club, and Cadence Weapon whose full album we must get hold of at some point) Which reminds us...yes, we're doing another UK blogger poll for albums of the year for publication on New Year's Day. Don't post anything yet, we've not settled on our own list yet never mind everyone else's, but details will follow in about a month's time...
IN OTHER NEWS: To spread the word, and possibly to make up for our own RW drive dying a couple of weeks ago, why not send the Victorian English Gentlemens Club a mix CD?