The first "new" show of the new year : 

Wombats - Jump Into the Fog
Chapel Club - Surfacing

Elvis Costello - (I Don't Want To Go To) Chelsea (This Year's Model)
Everything Everything - Photoshop Handsome (Man Alive)

Badly Drawn Boy - I Saw You Walk Away (It's What I'm Thinking Pt. 1 - Photographing Snowflakes)

Gerry Rafferty - Baker Street (RIP 1947-2011)

David Bowie - Fame (Young Americans)
Donovan - Hurdy Gurdy Man
Adam Faith - Message To Martha

The Fab Four Freakout : 

Vangelis & the Minis - And I Love Her
Beatles - Oh! Darling (Abbey Road)
Beatles - Please Mr. Postman (With the Beatles)

Joy Formidable - Austere
Biffy Clyro - Bubbles (Only Revolutions)

Clockwise - I Don't Know 

PJ Harvey - Written On the Forehead
Foundations - In the Bad Bad Old Days

...and this week's UK Top 5 : 

5). Jessie J - Do It Like a Dude (new)
4). Katy B - Lights On (re-entry)
3). Black Eyed Peas - The Time (Dirty Bit) (non-mover)
2). Matt Cardle - When We Collide (-1)
1). Rihanna - What's My Name (+1)


The doldrums of January were expected to continue to have an effect on the British charts this week, without many new releases. "Next week!" we chart aficionados said. 

But the season starts a little early with a couple of unexpected songs charting higher than had been foretold. Sure, the top of the chart still managed to keep three songs that have been in the top 5 for four weeks or more. But what a nice surprise otherwise!

Jessie J first released "Do It Like a Dude" back in November, but the promotion remained low-key and the song attracted little attention. 

Now the tune takes off, and introduces us to the first new talent of the year. Jessica Cornish (Jessie J) has actually made an impact before this, since she co-wrote Miley Cyrus' "Party In the USA". That song was Miley's biggest hit ever in her home country, but only achieved middling-hit status in the UK. Now we've got Jessie's first proper single, and it's a jokey affair that's not meant to be taken seriously. 

Here's the thing, though - the song has potential to cross over. It's funny, and it's catchy, and it will probably catch the teenage zeitgeist worldwide. Expect to hear it on American radio soon. 

I give Jessie J an 8 on the England Swings scale of 1-10. Give it a listen if you haven't heard it yet. 

Katy B comes back to her highest position this week with "Lights On" clocking in at number 4. Vaguely urban, vaguely techno, and far removed from her dubstep origins, the song is a mishmosh of styles. It sounds a little thin, actually, and reminds me of nothing more than Daniel Bedingfield's homemade "Gotta Get Thru This" from eleven years ago. I give it a 6.5.

The Black Eyed Peas manage to hold onto the number 3 position with "The Time (Dirty Bit)". You'd think that with all the talent in the group, that they could move on from the whole poppin' bottles/I'm in da club kind of subject matter. Is that all they got? Whatever happened to grand themes like in "Where Is the Love?"? 

The song has probably not met their expectations in the USA, although it moved from number 9 to 7 this week. It was only at number 1 in America for a week, and it doesn't seem to want to go back there. Contrast this with "I Gotta Feeling", which was at the top for approximately 8,201,583 weeks last year. It could be that the BEP has worn out the welcome mat. 

This song, while not an abomination, is a waste. I give it a 4 this week. 

Matt Cardle, the 2010 X Factor winner, finally relinquishes the top and slides to number 2 this week. His version of Biffy Clyro's "Many Of Horror", conveniently retitled "When We Collide", is still among the best of immediate X Factor songs. He does an honest and mostly effective job on the vocals, and the arrangement is only mildly cloying. Put this next to Joe McElderry's "The Climb" from last year, and it shows that Simon Cowell and Syco Records have finally smartened up a little. I give the song a 6 this week. 

Rihanna bounces into chart history this week, as "What's My Name" goes to number 1. For those of you that missed it, that means that she's had a number one hit for five consecutive years, a feat that rivals Elvis, and something not even achieved by Madonna. 

The song she's accomplished this with is, luckily, one of her better tunes. It's got the sort of chorus that immediately adheres to brain cells, the production is perfect, and she's got the smooth-voiced Drake on backup, although his contribution is perhaps limited in its appeal. I give it an 8 again this week. 

No new album reviews this week, because, um, there are no new albums. We'll pick that up when the time comes, though!

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