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Who actually likes Robbie Williams?

Although he’ll be gnashing his teeth that ‘Something Beautiful’ only enters the single charts at number three, it’s still his biggest hit since 2001. The question is: just how widely popular is Robbie Williams? Sure, he managed to fill out Knebworth three nights running, but there’s sometimes a sneaking suspicion with these mega-gigs that they’re held as much because it’s easier to sell out three big ones than a proper tour of medium-sized arenas; it’s certainly a lot more impressive to have everyone in one place. We’ve long held a feeling that his big selling albums are often gift-purchases (everyone likes Robbie; you can’t go wrong with a Robbie CD, can you?) and while we wouldn’t try to pretend he’s unloved, the fact that he seems incapable of selling enough singles to get to number one – even with all the coverage he gets – suggests that he isn’t as popular as he’d like us to think. We can but hope.

The number one honours fall to Blu Cantrell and Sean Paul with ‘Breathe’; in at two it’s Lumidee with ‘Never Going To Leave You’, which is a fair summing up of the way the song’s hook gets caught in your cerebellum. Beddingfield drops from last weeks’ one to number three; Kosheen enters at seven with ‘All In My Head’, one place above Craig David with ‘Spanish’. Although not a stellar performance, this is the fourth track off the album (yeah, us too – he really has trouble with his profile, doesn’t he?) and so not bad for a well-worn track. Lisa Maffia will be surprised at only entering at 13 (‘In Love’) after a launch week whirl of front covers and media; Funeral for a Friend (‘Juneau’, 19) fare much better, proportionally speaking – although it seems the audience for nu-rock is starting to contract back to the graveyard hardcore. Having managed to build sales stealthily for ‘Move Your Feet’, Junior Senior find themselves back to square one with the follow-up Rhythm Bandits (22). Without the aid of Zia’s breasts or a mobile phone campaign, the Dandy Warhols struggle to scrape into the 40 (‘You were the last high’, 34) and Hot Hot Heat’s ‘No, Not Now’ makes an MTV2-sized debut at 38. Prophetically, Kaci claims to be ‘Not Anybody’s Girl’ and only enough people to get her to 55 disagree – we’re surprised London is still persevering with her, to be honest. Curiously, the two-month old Girl In The Moon sneaks back for Darius at 68.

We’re not sure who’s going to be more surprised that The Coral have deposed Beyonce at the top of the album charts – the scousers or the diva. ‘Magic and Medicine’ is the only album of new material to join the top fifty this week – collections from Yes (10), Bob Marley (20, re-entry) and Killing Joke (43) being the other debutantes in a steady chart listing. His joint number one single helps Sean Paul crack the top ten at long last (Dutty Rock, 7; up from 19).

Of course, we suggested the behaviour of Kim Marsh’s Standing Tall this week (after its number 9 entry last week) would provide a good indication of where her career is going to be heading. Plummeting down to 25 would seem to give a large hint.

Further down the chart, Blu Cantrell’s Bittersweet enters at 64. Proving that controlling the two charts, Beyonce style, isn’t as easy as you might think.

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