1. American Boy - Estelle (feat. Kanye West)
Didn't see that coming. After 5 weeks at #1, Duffy's massive "Mercy," falls from the top to give Estelle, of all people, her first #1 hit. Estelle Swaray, who goes only by her first name, is a British rapper whose first album, The 18th Day, yielded a few top 40 hits, most notably "1980" which hit #14. Got her name out there, but nothing truly major. Since then she made on appearance on Natasha Bedingfield's debut album, and released her second album, Shine. It's first single, "Wait a Minute," tanked when it was released in November. Enter Kanye West, the most important rapper in the world at the moment, and suddenly Estelle goes from the basement to the penthouse with "American Boy." West's appearance surely doesn't hurt, but I can't help but feel this could have been a hit without him, for it's a fairly winning slice of retro-flavored pop/R&B. This is Kanye's second UK chart-topper, following last year's "Stronger." It's selling on downloads this week too--it's physical release is today--so another week at the top seems likely.
6. Low - Flo Rida (feat. T-Pain)
Up another notch, this single is now fully released as of today. Expect it to be a contender for the top 5, but no longer #1, not after Estelle and possibly...
7. 4 Minutes - Madonna and Justin Timberlake
This one flew up the charts this week upon its limited digital release, and the physical release is still 3 weeks away. The track is a far cry from the clubby Euro sound of Madonna's last album, having ditched British producer Stuart Price for American hip-hop/pop producers Timbaland and Nate "Danja" Hills. Tim and Danja were responsible for successfully resurrecting Nelly Furtado's career, keeping Justin Timberlake at the top of his game, and making OneRepublic into a household name--all within the last 2 years. Now Madonna's hoping they can give her something she hasn't had in 8 years--a massive U.S. hit, which by the looks of it, will likely also be a massive UK hit.
8. Something Good '08 - Utah Saints
The fully released Utah Saints single manages to nudge up only one place to #8, falling short of its original #4 peak in 1992.
9. Can't Speak French - Girls Aloud
While Girls Aloud do beat the Sugababes into the top 10 this week, I can't help but feel a bit disappointed that this fell short of the top 5. "Can't Speak French" is one of the more clever tracks they girls have produced, and after "Call the Shots" performed rather well, hitting #3, it's too bad this didn't do better.
15. Denial - Sugababes
A full physical release does nothing for the Sugababes, who stand pat this week at #15 with "Denial," the third single from their current album, Change. This makes two in a row to miss the top 10, a bad streak the band hasn't had since its first album, making the massive success last year of "About You Now" look like a one-off.
23. Black and Gold - Sam Sparro
Sam Sparro from Los Angeles, originally from Australia, gets his first top 40 hit this week with "Black and Gold." This is one to watch, for it this week based on the availability only of its remixes, with the digital single version out this week and the physical single in 2 weeks. It's a cool swirl of '80s synths, electronic beats, and Sparro himself.
27. Love Like This - Natasha Bedingfield (feat. Sean Kingston)
Another British female sees her career rescued by a hip-hop star. This time it's Natasha Bedingfield, whose last few singles failed to generate much heat. Her last in fact, "Say It Again" with Adam Levine, failed to chart. Enter Jamaica Sean Kingston, who had a bi-coastal #1 hit last year in "Beautiful Girls," and now appears on this track, "Love Like This," which does not appear on Bedingfield's second abum, NB, but on her second U.S. album, Pocketful of Sunshine, which features half the tracks from NB plus a whole bunch of new ones (including the title track, currently a hit in the U.S.). I'm not sure whether Pocketful of Sunshine will get a release in the UK or if NB will be put out as a special addition with new tracks, but surely either one will happen. "Love Like This" gave Bedingfield an American hit late last year, and makes a decent debut on downloads this week, with its physical release in 2 weeks.
32. Run - Gnarls Barkley
Remember when "Crazy" took the UK charts by storm 2 years ago? Gnarls Barkley's new material doesn't look set to repeat that success, coming in at a lowly #32 this week.
65. Carry You Home - James Blunt
Still, that's better than James Blunt's doing. "Carry You Home" is his second single in a row to miss the top 40, after "Same Mistake" hit #57. Guess he makes the same mistake. Ha ha. (lame, I know).