My Lego House Is Solid
If you've come here expecting something approaching change at the very top end of the Official UK Singles chart I'd estimate that you are at least two weeks two early. For the third week running the singles market is dominated by the dual thrust of Ed Sheeran's two hit singles and for the third week running they maintain precisely the same order. Shape Of You rules the roost once more, reasserting its status as far and away the most popular of the pair with a further 56,000 downloads and 9.7m streams over the past seven days. Now badly lagged is Castle On The Hill although its 46,000 downloads and 6.6m streams are still far in excess of any of the chasing pack. Shape Of You thus maintains a super-100,000 chart sale for the third week in a row, and once more although we are technically not comparing like with like thanks to changes in the streaming methodology, it is still the first single to achieve this since One Dance back in May last year.
What has changed however is the availability of a video. Both tracks when unveiled had 'lyric' videos attached, the now obligatory display of the song words to the soundtrack of the hits (and which have now reached such creative heights that they feature plots and storyboards that rival any "proper" videos which may follow). Now there is a real video available - in the singular. I've noted before that it is Castle On The Hill which, despite being the junior partner of the two, is actually the far better 'pop' record with a potentially longer lasting mainstream appeal. Sheeran and label clearly agree because that is the track which has been gifted with a properly shot video and with all the potential for further TV and online exposure that implies. Whilst in the short term this may actually be to its detriment (it is hard not to draw conclusions from the sharp drop in streams of the track which may well be down to many online plays being diverted to YouTube) in the medium term you will understand completely if Castle On The Hill ends up being the track with the longer chart life.
If You Touch Me There Again I'll Scream
Speaking of videos, another hit single which has oddly been lacking one until now is Little Mix's Touch. That didn't stop the single spending three weeks at Number 4 just after Christmas but over the past fortnight, it appears to have started to fade away, dipping to Number 6 last week. Now, this may or may not be a coincidence, but we should note that the seventh Top 5 hit for the four former X Factor stars this week rebounds to reclaim it's to date peak position (Sales: 5, Streams: 4) - just in time for its official video clip to be featured on these pages too. Nice timing girls.
Get Out And Don't Come Back
It seems odd to take time out to note something that hasn't happened but that very fact is actually rather significant. The former Number One single Rockabye from Clean Bandit takes a further dive this week, dropping heavily to Number 9 (Sales: 11, Streams: 6) a fortnight after it was deposed from the top of the charts. This almost certainly means the demise of what was admittedly only ever a faint chance that it would rebound back to the top of the charts, taking with it the chance that any Number One single from 2016 would pull off the trick. And that's the significant bit - 2016 is the first calendar year since 2008 which hasn't seen a former chart-topper return to the top. The last single to do so was Justin Bieber's Love Yourself in January last year - yes, doing so in 2016 but doing so as a single which first hit the top in 2015 and so counting as a Number One single from that year.
Dua Means Two (In Malay)
Thanks to the continuing presence of their earlier hit Shout Out To My Ex (hanging on doggedly at Number 19 this week) Little Mix are one of a startlingly large number of acts to lay claim to something which was once highly notable but which is now commonplace - two simultaneous Top 40 hits. They are in the company of acts such as Sheeran, Drake, The Weeknd, Sean Paul, Chainsmokers and now this week 21 year old British singer Dua Lipa. She was already a presence on the chart thanks to her featured credit on Sean Paul's No Lie which is now taking off in a big way and jumps 21-11 (Sales: 10, Streams: 27), but now finds herself in competition with er, herself, as her own Be The One takes a flying leap of its own and moves 54-21 (Sales: 8, Streams: 72). The single is the recipient of something of a re-push, its initial release last October rather overlooked in her native country (thanks largely to the chart presence of Blow Your Mind (Mwah) which was still engaged in a leisurely stroll up the Top 30 at the time. Having been a smash hit instead across Europe - and notably too Australia - it seemed only appropriate to reappraise British audiences of its quality. Second time around is clearly the charm and although she falls short of the Top 20 this week the single seems nicely on course to sail past the Number 15 peak of her debut hit Hotter Than Hell from last summer and compete side by side with the Sean Paul single for the honour of becoming her biggest hit to date. Regardless of which track wins out, this is all a rather useful way of keeping Dua Lipa's name in lights following continuing delays to the release of her self-titled debut album whose planned February release has now been abandoned in favour of one later in the summer. Mind you, she seems set to appear on a third simultaneous hit next week thanks to her vocal presence on Martin Garrix's new cut Scared To Be Lonely which is out this week.
Passed Out Long Ago
It feels like a lifetime ago since Patrick "Tinie Tempah" Okogwu made such a huge impact on his 2010 debut. Part of a clutch of exciting young British urban stars who managed to dominate the charts at the time, he opened his account with acknowledged classics such as Pass Out and Written In The Stars, launching what has turned out to be a similarly stellar and extended chart career. In recent years he's lucked into another record-breaking string of hits with fortuitous collaborations with the likes of Cheryl Cole and DVBBS along with his own hit singles gifting him an unexpected run of four straight Number One hits, a run which oddly came to a crashing halt in 2016 when Girls Like stalled at Number 5 and his only other chart entry of the year Mamacita wound up being almost totally overlooked, its Number 45 peak the lowest of any of his formal chart singles (album cuts excepted) to date.
So despite his reputation, you get the feeling he has some work to do to rebuild his form. Well, for now, he makes a good start as brand new single Text From Your Ex becomes the highest charting new release of the week, sliding neatly in at Number 35 (Sales: 16, Streams: 55). Like its immediate predecessors, it is taken from what is set to be only his third full studio album Youth currently slated for release at the end of March. As much a compilation of existing hits as it is new material, it is set to feature Tinie Tempah tracks dating back to 2015 Number One hit Not Letting Go which featured Jess Glynne on guest vocals. Speaking of guest stars Text From Your Ex features a vocal turn from Tinashe, last heard of on Snakehips' All My Friends which was a Top 5 hit early last year.
The top of the Official UK Album chart this week gifts us something of a chart first. Radio dance music guru Pete Tong has had a long and distinguished media career to date, launching his famous "Essential Selection" show on BBC Radio One in 1991 after a career in local radio. His name has passed into popular culture as a piece of rhyming slang and he was even the subject of a semi-fictional hit movie in 2004. He's also been the creator and curator of a number of hit compilation albums, all of which as multi-artist releases have featured on the Compilations Chart. It does, however, mean he can date his first Number One album back to 1996 and the release of The Annual III - one of three different chart-topping compilations to which he has lent his name. His Classic House album is however credited to him as producer and performer (along with The Heritage Orchestra and conductor Jules Buckley) and since before Christmas has been climbing the artist album chart. This week it finally achieves what was clearly always its destiny - ascending to Number One to give the DJ and producer the rare feat of making Number One on both flavours of the album chart. Which I think has to rank as my favourite fact of the week.