Homies Pullin' Up On My Block
This week, just as last week, I would have hated to try to call the result of this week's Official UK Singles chart race without the benefit of insider information. Yes, it was possible to see Post Malone's rockstar maintaining its commanding lead at the head of all daily streaming tables, but it was also possible to see it continuing to flounder in the rump of the sales market, a market where, by contrast, Havana from Camila Cabello continued to be the strong leader.
So when all tallies were added together, which would be the outright winner? rockstar once again as it turned out, Post Malone and 21 Savage for the moment immovable at the top of the market leading to a third straight week at Number One for the still-intriguing hit. Part of the reason for the apparent high level of the appeal of the single, particularly on streaming services, may lie from its continuing lack of an official video - or indeed any kind of fully official presence on YouTube. All you can find on the video site is what purports to be the official audio from the record label but which is, in fact, a three and a half minute loop of the chorus - along with a "click" here link inviting you to hear the full song. Said link takes you to a page directing you to the track on all other relevant services - Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play, Tidal and iTunes. All of which are chart eligible methods of consumption, as opposed to YouTube which (as far as the UK is concerned) is not.
Such not so subtle nudging has all helped to ease rockstar over the 6 million streams in a week benchmark. Against which nothing, not even the top-selling Havana could possibly compete. rockstar rises to Number 3 on what Music Week calls paid-for sales, its best placing to date. But that still only amounts to just over 10,000 copies - a mere 21% of its overall chart sale of 51,374.
Meanwhile, the halo effect of Post Malone's Number One hit continues to elevate his hitherto overlooked older work. His debut album Stoney makes the Top 10 for the first time whilst its two popular hits continue to climb - I Fall Apart up to 19 and Congratulations up to 26. If you cast your eye over the streaming chart, you will notice there's a fourth Post Malone track Go Flex kicking around (it’s the 77th most played this week) but chart rules only allow him three hits so it is for now disqualified from the Top 100.
Enjoy The Silence
It means the top end of the singles chart remains quiet - too quiet if anything. The Top 3 all hold their positions from last week, Cabello at 2 and the former Number One from Sam Smith Too Good At Goodbyes hanging in doggedly at 3. Just below him Avicii and Rita Ora move up to Number 4 with Lonely Together, a brand new peak for the track which makes this Avicii's biggest chart hit since Number 2 hit Hey Brother charted at the turn of the year in 2014. Also climbing are CNCO and Little Mix as Reggaeton Lento returns to Number 5, this now the third time the single has reached this chart peak. Nine weeks old, the single has spent its entire chart life at positions 5, 6 or 7 but never the same one two weeks running. One more week at these elevated heights and the single will equal the 10 week Top 10 run of Touch from earlier this year as the most enduring Top 10 hit single of Little Mix's six-year chart career.
There are two new arrivals inside the Top 10 this week, both singles making their way there after a 10-week climb. Leading the charge is Silence from Marshmello and Khalid. The identity of the electronic producer is officially a mystery, his only public appearances being made whilst wearing a distinctive white helmet with a painted-on face. However, there is enough circumstantial evidence (along with social media slip-ups) to suggest he is American DJ Chris Comstock. Although as revelations of secret identities go, that's about as dramatic as people learning Spiderman is "some young guy we don't recognise". More easily identifiable is Silence's singer Khalid Robinson, this being one of no less than three current Top 40 hits on which he features. Frustratingly he narrowly misses out on having two simultaneous Top 10 hits this week with Logic's 1-800-273-8255 on which he features dipping three places to Number 13 this week. His other chart single is his own Young, Dumb & Broke which continues its own steady chart climb with a four place lift to Number 21.
The other Top 10 new arrival is Mabel's Finder's Keepers and whilst it would be nice to think at some point that it will cease to be appropriate to see her achievements through the prism of those of her mother, we can, for now, note that Mabel now has her first Top 10 hit single to start the process of matching the five clocked up by Neneh Cherry between 1988 and 1996 - the last of which was Woman in August '96 and in whose video Cherry is visibly pregnant with the singer of Finder's Keepers. Honourable mention should be made of Mabel's uncle Eagle-Eye Cherry who had a pair of Top 10 hits of his own in 1998, the biggest of which was Save Tonight which reached Number 6, oh yes and also her half-brother Marlon Roudette who had a Top 10 hit of his own with When The Beat Drops Out in March 2015.
This does all mean two other high profile hits are denied the chance to reach the Top 10 for now. Still knocking on the door (even with broken arms) is Ed Sheeran who is stuck at Number 11 with Perfect, and also perhaps more frustratingly Maroon 5 who are locked in place at Number 12 with What Lovers Do, this after the single previously spent a fortnight held firm at Number 18. Adam Levine's group have only ever had one other single reach the Top 20 and not manage to penetrate the Top 10 - their 2004 debut Harder To Breathe which progressed no further than its initial Number 13 entry point.
Exiting the Top 10? Most notably another former Number One single New Rules from Dua Lipa which crashes 4-16 in another high-profile example of a long-running but still popular hit being unceremoniously hoiked onto the Accelerated Chart Ratio for its online streams after three consecutive weeks of decline. But it is 16 weeks old after all. It has had a good run.
How Long Until We Get It On?
The most significant climb of the week is that of How Long from Charlie Puth which after making its Top 40 bow seven days ago now accelerates 40-22. The track is the second single to be taken from his still "forthcoming" second album Voicenotes and in keeping with its predecessor, the summertime smash Attention, sees him stay true to his pledge to steer clear of the love ballads which characterised his 2016 debut Nine Track Mind. It is a worthy successor to that hit, steering clear of most of the production clichés which bedevil American R&B at present in favour of an addictive groove which means this will be impossible to avoid on the radio from now until Christmas. Its official video was finally uploaded on Thursday night which will aid its visibility no end, if not its ability to achieve rockstar levels of streaming popularity I guess.
Watch My Heartline Rise And Fall
Also on the way up is Heartline from Craig David which climbs back into the Top 30 at Number 24 to reach a brand new peak, three weeks after it first appeared to stall at Number 28. This is all thanks to another almighty push from the label who are surely watching nervously as the chart veteran's latest hit does respectably well at retail (the single has been as high as Number 13 on the sales chart and indeed makes a 25-18 rebound this week) but resolutely fails to catch fire as far as the streaming charts are concerned. Craig David has been written off as a forgotten man far too many times before and always manages to bounce back, but you can chalk this up as another example of an established act being worked hard to continue to be relevant but being left stranded appealing to one half of the chart market and not the other. The belated appearance of its video may also help it kick on further.
To think, a few months ago we wondered if the same fate would befall Pink, a performer whose chart career dates back as long as that of Craig David. She demonstrated that this was not the case, her single What About Us coming within a whisker of topping the charts during the summer and ensuring she remains on top of her game nearly 18 years after first coming to public attention. That chart form is reflected in the demand for her new album Beautiful Trauma. Her seventh studio set in all, it debuts in some style at Number One on the Official UK Albums chart, only her second release to do so following 2008 release Funhouse. A combined sale of 70,000 copies is more than double her nearest competitor (Liam Gallagher) is notably not too far off the 79,500 copies she sold of her last album Truth About Love in its first week on sale in September 2012.
The album also scatters some of its tracks across the Top 100, her permitted three hits include, naturally, What About Us but also Eminem duet Revenge (the singles chart's highest new entry of the week at Number 33) and the title track at Number 57.
Revenge is one of four singles to enter the Top 40 this week, although two of them are older hits returning, Ed Sheeran's Shape Of You rebounding at Number 35 and Niall Horan's Too Much To Ask reappearing at Number 36 as the promotion for his solo album steps up a gear. It means the only other 'new' hit is Rihanna from Yxng Bane (making his solo debut after first featuring on Yungen's Bestie) which moves 47-40 to finally become a Top 40 single in its ninth week on the chart. The lyrics of the track compare the object of his desire with the titular Barbadian superstar, the single essentially the spiritual successor to Walks Like Rihanna from The Wanted which hit Number 4 in July 2013.
Finally, as we await the TV debut of the X Factor live shows there are two eyebrow-raising chart entries towards the bottom end of the Top 100 from acts associated with the show. With two Top 10 hits to his name already, the presence of One Direction alumnus Louis Tomlinson at a lowly Number 99 with the track Just Like You is easily explained by its status as a low-level promotional track and one which you suspect has greater things ahead of it when it is fully promoted as a single. Maybe more startling is the arrival at a lowly Number 83 of Sucker For You, the first post-series single proper from reigning X Factor champion Matt Terry. Now OK, we should no longer be in a Week 1 mindset, a newly released single is just as likely to go on an extended journey to the top as it is to enter near it. Plus you just know he is being lined up for the big heroic return to the X Factor stage when the live shows get underway which will give him an enormous boost. But even so. This is the "debut" single from an X Factor winner missing the Top 75 altogether in its first week on sale. Until now that was utterly unthinkable.