For the third time in 2018, it is necessary to announce that Drake is the performer of the brand new Number One single on the Official UK Singles chart. A week after it made a belated debut after being crowded out of the way by other tracks from his Scorpion album, the reflective In My Feelings ascends with majestic ease to the top of the charts. It is the Canadian star's fifth Number One in total and as noted his third of the year, hard on the heels of God's Plan and Nice For What.
To land three Number One hits in a calendar year is impressive enough, and indeed Drake is the first act since his fellow countryman Justin Bieber did so back in 2015. To do so before the end of the seventh month puts Drake in rare company indeed. Elvis Presley is the only other act to have managed this before, topping the charts three times in the space of four weeks in 2005 when a series of re-issues took turns at the top. He was also the last person to do this with original material, back in 1961 when Are You Lonesome Tonight, Wooden Heart and Surrender had all taken turns at the top of the charts before we'd reached the summer solstice.
So why In My Feelings above all the other tracks on the album? Why has this one shot to prominence? It all seems to be down to a cleverly engineered craze for viral videos of people performing dance moves to the track, apparently inspired by a video shot for YouTube by Instagram comedian Shiggy. After stars such as Will Smith and Ciara got involved and posted their own take then everyone was trying it, and the result seems to be an effortlessly viral track.
It should be noted that the plethora of YouTube videos featuring In My Feelings as a soundtrack are not counting for singles chart purposes, the rules on video streaming ensuring that a 'play' only counts if it is of a clip where both sound and visuals have had ownership claimed by the copyright holder. That's not to say that In My Feelings hasn't enjoyed a huge amount of streams, one glance at the live Spotify tables during the week would have demonstrated this. The track was somehow commanding over 800,000 plays every single day, almost double that of most other singles at the top end of the market.
Indeed it is the underlying numbers which are fascinating here. In My Feelings was a distant runner-up in the paid sales stakes, commanding just 11,000 downloads. Numbers lower than any chart-topping single this year save for God's Plan. You may have heard of the guy who performs that one. His streams were, as you might expect, off the scale with a grand total during the course of the week of over 8.8m. Absorbingly that accounted for just under 80,000 chart sales - a notional conversion ratio of just over 100:1. The implication here is that contrary to assumptions, precious few of these were free tier streams via Spotify. Virtually all must have come through paid channels - and of course, he didn't have the benefit of any YouTube plays as we've noted.
Are we facing the prospect of yet another Drake track lodged near the summit of the charts for weeks on end? Just as God's Plan did, and technically just as Nice For What did, although it spent most of its chart life stranded at Number 2 behind the unstoppable One Kiss juggernaut. For now, Aubrey Graham reaffirms his status as the most phenomenally successful act on the planet. And when he and his fans are in full flow, very little is able to stand in his way. Number One still by the time the schools go back?
It's Going Away
OK, I know what you are asking. Never mind what is at top of the charts this week, where indeed is last week's Number One single? Just as World Cup fever came to an abrupt end last weekend, so too did the demand for the Baddiel/Skinner/Lightning Seeds single 3 Lions. It was inevitable that the track would suffer a significant collapse in sales and streams, the only question was how large that would be. Well, now we have the answer. Last week's Number One single is still on the Top 100 - but only just. 3 Lions tumbles from Number One all the way down to 97. It seems almost unnecessary to point out that this shatters the all-time record for the biggest fall from the top of the charts. That benchmark was previously set by the 2015 Christmas Number One A Bridge Over You by the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS choir which fell 1-29 a week after the holiday. Those who believe in synchronicity will surely love the way the ultimate destiny of a single first recorded in 1996 to celebrate Euro '96 is to set a new record of dropping 96 places down the chart.
With the "official" chart now running to just 100 places the record for the biggest ever drop from the Top 10 is now unassailable and held forever more by the appropriately named Forever Yours from Alex Day. That fell 4-112 in January 2012 after the YouTube star withdrew the single from sale having made the point he was intending to a week earlier. 3 Lions doesn't quite hold the crown for the most spectacular in and out Top 10 performance of the year though. On the chart dated January 11th this year no less than six different Christmas hits vanished totally from sight, dropping from the Top 10 to out of the charts altogether.
Turns Out This Was His Plan
In any other week, a brand new single debuting as high as Number 4 would command headlines, so time we paid it proper attention. God Is A Woman is the new single from Ariana Grande, the follow-up to the absorbing No Tears Left To Cry which stalled at Number 2 but enjoyed a nine-week run inside the Top 10 before the ACR rules brought this to a crashing halt. Two instantaneous Top 5 hits in a row more or less confirms she's now elevated to full superstar status. The new single isn't quite as compelling as its predecessor but pushes enough of the right buttons to more than deserve its chart placing. This is Ariana Grande's seventh Top 10 hit single, notably all but one of which have reached the Top 5. Meanwhile, it seems she can't quite give the rub to anyone else, her collaboration with Nicki Minaj on Bed remaining resolutely down the lower end of the chart scale, lifting four places to Number 27 this week.
Summer Is Here At Last
After a number of weeks knocking on the door, Youngblood by 5 Seconds Of Summer finally makes good on its promise and rises to become a Top 10 hit single. The track is now Number 8, marking the first time the Australian pop group have climbed this high on the UK charts since 2014 when Amnesia reached Number 7. It is worth recapping how extraordinary this is. Whilst the group have enjoyed large sized hits in the past, most have been one-week wonders with a high entry and then a rapid dive to the bottom. Either that or they start out as mid-table hits before enjoying a single week of elevated glory following the release of a collectable physical edition (that was indeed the fate of Amnesia which bounced 38-7-23 to reach a chart peak). Youngblood is different. It has behaved like a "proper" hit single. Entering low, and then climbing steadily. This is a 5 Seconds Of Summer single with an appeal that stretches beyond their normal hardcore fanbase.
There's also room in the Top 10 for Tiesto's Jackie Chan which leaps 12-9, and just like 5 Seconds Of Summer he can now claim a first Top 10 hit single in four years, this his first to climb this high since Wasted in June 2014.
Talk A Lot Of Shit When I'm Drunk
Appropriately enough it was a release from another sidestepping the mainstream fanbase act which gave the Official UK Albums chart its most intriguing race for some weeks. Contending for the top was the new "Day Editon" of Night And Day from The Vamps. The group first released the album a year ago in a "Night Edition" and promised that the second part would be forthcoming. That now arrives, although perhaps controversially has come in the form of a special edition of the first, the new tracks bundled together with the previous set rather than being a standalone album in their own right. Regardless of such value for money issues, the album stormed into a commanding lead on the early midweeks and seemed set to duplicate its success 12 months on from release. Only the problem was that by and large stopped selling midweek. Everyone who wanted a copy had bought it over the weekend, and so sales of Night And Day appeared to come to a grinding halt. It was fascinating to watch: the album posted 22.1k sales on the official Monday update, rising to 23K on the Tuesday flash, 23.6K on Wednesday and 23.9K on Thursday. So yes, it almost certainly only sold 300 copies nationwide on Wednesday. It all meant their lead just couldn't be sustained. Leaving the way clear for Drake to do the chart double and remain at Number One with Scorpion. The Vamps have to be content with what is effectively a 142 place climb to Number 2.
So Close I Can Taste You
Just for a change, there are plenty of upwardly mobile hits in waiting to talk about this week. Taking over as the Top 20 hit "most likely to" is Taste from Tyga and Offset which leaps to a brand new high of Number 16 in its fourth week as a Top 40 hit single. Something of a chart veteran, having made his UK debut as one of the guest stars on a Chris Brown single back in 2010, this is perhaps surprisingly only the second ever chart single to feature Tyga as a lead artist. His only other hit under his own steam came back in 2011 when Rack City crept to Number 39. As a guest star he's been on plenty of bigger hits of course, his best chart year coming in 2015 when he featured on two Top 10 hits: Chris Brown's Loyal (a Number 10) and Pia Mia's Do It Again (Number 8) which also just happened to see him alongside Breezy. After three attempts this is Offset's first successful chart hit, his own Ric Flair Drip not living up to its pre-release hype and limping to a mere Number 67 back in March.
I suspected that the arrival of a video would finally kick the Cheat Codes/Little Mix collaboration Only You into life, and so it proves. Having moved 32-40-28 since release the single finally takes off and makes a huge stride towards the mainstream with a jump to Number 19.
Another of those hits which are performing better via sales than streams is Nevermind from 25-year-old Israeli Dennis Lloyd. A summertime smash hit in many continental countries, its main hope for a higher level of chart success is to be picked up by those travelling on holiday over the next few weeks and returning with a renewed love of it. Once upon a time, this used to be a well-travelled path to success for many Euro-hits, although in this new globally connected world the idea of a single becoming a hit overseas and remaining unknown in other territories is something of a lost art. Unless Dennis Lloyd has other ideas. His single rises three places to Number 29 after a fortnight locked in place at Number 32. 14 weeks after it first registered on the singles chart, Nevermind is at long last a Top 30 hit. You'll notice its video has a YouTube upload date of July 2017, this is a hit which really has been a long time in the making.
Speaking of summer, Summertime Magic is the latest single from Childish Gambino, although its entry point of Number 30 does rather suggest that the instantaneous impact of its predecessor This Is America was something of a one-off. There's also a new Top 40 arrival for Martin Garrix whose latest single Ocean makes its Top 40 bow at Number 34. Guest performer on the single is Khalid, this the seventh different chart single he has participated on in 2018 alone. The eighth is the new Benny Blanco single Eastside which makes its own chart bow at Number 52.
Token Statistics Of The Week
Topically enough in a week when Drake sells precious few download singles and still makes Number One, we can note the further decline in paid-for sales this week. Just 927,000 passed into public ownership this last week. The lowest total recorded since November 2005. I'll keep banging this drum until everyone wakes up to the way the purchased single is dead, just you wait.