Kiss Me With Your Mouth
The long overdue release of its official video (rather than the lyrics rendition we have been making do with until now) almost certainly gave it a boost, but even before the clip appeared online there was precisely zero chance the Number One single on the Official UK Singles chart would be anything other than One Kiss by Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa. The 14,000 sales margin between the 1 and 2 singles on the chart this week is the fourth highest of the year and the largest winning margin enjoyed by any Number One single for 12 weeks. Three weeks at the top of the charts is now enough to make One Kiss Calvin Harris' most successful chart hit for almost seven years, his longest-running Number One single since We Found Love enjoyed a total of six weeks at the top at the end of 2011. In pure chart terms this is also now Dua Lipa's biggest hit to date, surpassing the two weeks she enjoyed at the top of the charts with New Rules last year.
We are in the middle of another of those periods of what you might call chart consolidation, with the top end of the market refusing to bend to anyone's will. This week's Top 4 singles are the same as last week's Top 4 singles, the first sign of movement coming with the 8-5 climb for Anne-Marie's 2002, this now her second Top 5 hit single of the year following her vocal turn on Marshmello's Friends.
Anne-Marie's single was almost certainly given a boost by the arrival in the shops of her long-awaited album Speak Your Mind, which enters at Number 3. It was, however, and perhaps inevitably only the second most popular new release of the week.
Do You Hear A Droning?
Sweeping all before him on the long-players market is Post Malone. His debut album Stoney opened its chart account at a lowly Number 87 in December 2016, not climbing to its eventual peak of Number 10 until October the following year. The second time around he's a far bigger deal all around, with the result that Beerbongs & Bentleys crashes into the top of the Official UK Album chart. In common with so many urban acts, his music speaks most powerfully to the demographic which prefers to stream above all else. The result was to make tracks from the Post Malone album some of the most streamed music of the week. They all helped to ensure Beerbongs & Bentleys opens its chart account with some 35,000 streams to its name, the third highest first week total in the short history of the format to date. Only More Life by Drake (36,000) and, inevitably, Divide from Ed Sheeran (79,000) were streamed more upon first release.
It was Ed Sheeran's utterly phenomenal streaming numbers just over a year ago which led to the introduction of the singles chart rule that really should carry his name. The one which permits a primary artist no more than three concurrent hit tracks at any one time. As you might gather, Post Malone's streaming numbers test that particular rule to its limit. 17 of the Top 50 most-streamed tracks of the week are ones from the Post Malone album, yet on the main singles chart itself, only the three most popular are eligible to make an appearance.
Post Malone still came within a whisker of achieving what is presently the ultimate - three simultaneous Top 10 hits from the same album. Current hit single Psycho is up to Number 6, album cut Better Now enters at Number 9 whilst its brother Paranoid creeps into Number 11. It all means everything from the fourth most-popular track from the album onward is disqualified. Music Week reports that said fourth track Spoil My Night would have ranked at Number 14 were it not "starred out" by the Ed Sheeran rule, the highest theoretical placing by any track caught up by these regulations to date.
Getting A Vibe Here
Better Now is the only single to penetrate the Top 10 this week, which is all to the detriment of our favourite recurring theme of the moment - the chart run of Bebe Rexha's Meant To Be. After three straight weeks at Number 11, the single is shunted back to Number 12. The singles chart doesn't run on "what ifs" but let's just note that had the Post Malone album not been released this week Meant To Be would almost certainly have reached the Top 10 at long last. Is it ever going to be Meant To Be? Mind you, ten places below there is a single which is mirroring that frustration at a lower level. Bad Vibe by M.O. entered the Top 40 seven weeks ago at Number 27. Since then it has bounded 23-24-26-23-22-21 and this week falls back a place to Number 22. Destined it seems never to quite manage to become a Top 20 hit.
Climbing into the Top 20 with the kind of steady momentum which suggests its prospects for further expansion are good is German from rapper EO. Another disturbingly precocious talent, the Londoner is just 16 years old but has landed himself a major chart hit out of the gate with a tongue in cheek rhyme about wanting to own an Audi (the "German" of the title). Written initially as a throwaway joke, he's once more proving that the best grime hits tend to be self-aware rather than aggressive. The single bounds 24-18 after four weeks around and will inevitably be Top 5 in fairly short order.
One place behind is the chart's highest climber Flames from David Guetta and Sia which is clearly finally finding its way onto the right kind of playlists and advances to Number 19. As we noted a couple of weeks ago when it first reached the Top 40, Flames is actually a couple of months old and has fought its way into contention thanks to the kind of patience which would have been unthinkable 20 years ago.
Stars Shining Bright
It is a similar story for the next biggest Top 40 new entry as Make Your Own Kind Of Music gives Paloma Faith her tenth Top 40 hit single with a climb to Number 28. Easily one of the most gloriously uplifting pop songs ever written, Make Your Own Kind Of Music is best known for the version recorded by Mama Cass in 1969. For all the love that has come its way ever since, it was only ever a minor hit single, grazing the lower end of the Top 40 in America and not charting at all in this country. In fact, Paloma's take on the song is the first one ever to make the charts in this country. Recorded to feature on the soundtrack of a TV (and online) commercial for Skoda, the single was first released back in the spring, but was paid little attention at first, save for snarky comments about the irony of recording a faithful and unadventurous cover version of a song of that name. Once the Sigala single Lullaby on which Paloma Faith features appeared to have peaked, promotional attention finally switched to the soundtrack hit, resulting in its edging its way up the charts.
Yet here is the extraordinary thing. Make Your Own Kind Of Music has embedded itself in the playlists of many radio stations but has resolutely failed to do so on any of the streaming services. Its chart position this week is almost entirely due to its position as the fourth most-purchased single of the week. You will search for it in vain on the streaming Top 100.
In fact, nothing sums up the at times alarming divide between the two different markets that go to make up the singles chart than the relative fortunes of Post Malone and Paloma Faith. The rap star appeals to the teen market who stream rather than buy (his most-bought track this week is Psycho which sits at 30 on the sales table). Paloma Faith, on the other hand, has recorded a faithful take on one of the most beloved songs of its era. Your mum who listens to Heart FM has downloaded a copy but precious few under the age of 25 appear to care at all. Which will ultimately be to its detriment when it comes to progressing further up the charts.
Then again, I said that about George Ezra didn't I?