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I don't want to brag, but I did kind of call this a week ago. The initial rush of support/interest/appeal/call it what you will for Dave and Fredo's Funky Friday just wasn't sustainable. In all fairness, the track remained enormously popular as far as streaming is concerned and is once again the most-played track of the past seven days. But its already fragile sales appeal fell off a cliff during the course of the week (it slips 12-19 on that particular table), and that meant the numbers just didn't work in its favour.
It means last week's Number One single is no more and the door opened for - you guessed it - Promises by Calvin Harris and Sam Smith to march back to the top of the charts after a week away. This is now the sixth week in total at the top for this single and it is duly the second Number One hit of 2018 to repeat at the top of the charts. The other was George Ezra's Shotgun whose journey to the top of the mountain for the second time was rather more notable given it took place after the single had been away from the top of the charts for a full five weeks. As I've noted on many occasions in the past, what once was a rarity is now commonplace. Between 1969 and 1993 no single returned to Number One after falling away. 2018 is the second year in a row when no less than two different tracks have pulled off the trick.
So what happens next? Well, this is where it gets intriguing. We've also been noting the steady decline in chart sales of Promises and the way it was edging towards a relegation to ACR at the first opportunity. Yet thanks to some clever tactical promotional by the label (not least the belated release of a physical 12-inch format) the single notches up a total of 52,187 sales - 546 more than it managed a week ago. It means at the very last moment the ACR clock is reset and we will have to wait for another three weeks of decline before Promises shows any sign of moving away from the upper end of the charts. Promises by Calvin Harris and Sam Smith is Number One again this week. And may well still be there next week too. That's a sentence I genuinely did not expect to be writing.
The Edge Of Glorious
The A Star Is Born soundtrack may no longer be Number One (more on that shortly), but Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper continue to rise up the singles chart, Shallow moving two places to sit at Number 4. Significantly that gives Lady Gaga her biggest hit single since Born This Way climbed to Number 3 - way back in February 2011. Speaking of the movie soundtrack though, there were a few eyes raised and questions asked when the album made its American chart appearance. Billboard credits the A Star Is Born soundtrack to Lagy Gaga and Bradley Cooper. Which is fair enough given that, the occasional dialogue track aside, Gaga and Cooper perform every single one of the tracks it contains. So why then does it appear on the UK charts as a "Motion Picture Cast Recording".
The answer is actually fairly straightforward - it is simply so it can be listed on the main artists' chart. Gaga and Cooper may well be the performers of the songs on the album but they don't always appear together on every track. Crediting it to the two of them by name would make the record a multi-artist compilation by rule and relegate it to the compilations listing. With the chart rules now explicit in allowing cast recordings to feature as "artist" albums it makes perfect sense to have the album listed credited to the cast. Who, according to the rules, are a single artist.
Legally Not Rhythmix
It has been seven years since Little Mix made their chart debut. Seven years in which they have effortlessly transcended their roots as a thrown-together at the last minute creation by X Factor producers and maintained a status as the pre-eminent girl band of their era. Competition has come and gone but Little Mix continue to rule all. Not that their name is always good for a hit, of course, their last chart appearance coming as the invited guests on the Cheat Codes single Only You which ran out of a steam at Number 13 in the summer. Still, there is no denying their pedigree. Four Number One hits and a further eight Top 10 hit singles is a fine body of work. And yet it barely requires me to point out that seven years is a heck of a long time in pop music.
Fair play to them, they've lasted those seven years without falling out, shedding members or apparently seeing their appeal undimmed. Their fourth album Glory Days came out in 2016 and was just as popular as the preceding three and was crammed with just as many hits. With their fifth due for imminent release, there seems no reason to believe they cannot carry on as before. This week the foursome released their first brand new material for two years. Woman Like Me began the week with a midweek sale which suggested it was set to contend for Number One. That proved to be a false dawn, but the single still storms the charts at Number 5, by dint not just of being the second most-purchased track of the week but also by registering a damn impressive first week place of 7 on the streaming chart. All cynicism aside, Little Mix were easily the biggest deal of the week.
It isn't quite the instantaneous Number One they've enjoyed with brand new material in the past, but Number 5 is enough to hand them a 13th Top 10 hit single, their first in well over a year and indeed their biggest hit single as a lead act since Power charted at Number 4 in early 2017. Woman Like Me also features a cut-n-paste rap break from Nicki Minaj, and this too adds a veneer of respectability to her recent chart form, her first Top 5 hit since she appeared in similar fashion on Ariana Grande's Side To Side a little over two years ago. The alleged Queen of rap hasn't had a Top 5 hit single in her own name since Anaconda reached Number 3 way back in October 2014.
Every time a "new" rap artist appears with a chart single it seems necessary to note where we've actually seen them before, even if nobody was paying attention at the time. The new entry at Number 11 is no exception, ZeZe a three-way collaboration between Kodak Black, Travis Scott and Offset. Real name Dieuson Octave, Mr Black has until now been more notorious for the extensive legal troubles which have repeatedly threatened to derail his career prospects. Indeed, his last spell of incarceration only ended in August, charges resulting from an Instagram live feed at the start of the year involving drugs, guns and an alarmed small child. His only other chart appearance to date came just a few weeks ago when he was one of the stars featured along with Gucci Mane and Bruno Mars on the Number 65 hit Wake Up In The Sky.
Travis Scott is a slightly more familiar name (and a better human being all around it seems), Mr Kylie Jenner having enjoyed three side by side hits back in August, the highest charting of which was Number 9 hit Sicko Mode. Of all three it is Offset who has had the biggest hit to date, featuring on Tyga's Number 5 hit Taste (which is still on the chart in its own right) as well as Calvin Harris' Number 10 hit Slide (as a member of Migos). Personnel issues aside, ZeZe is actually a rather absorbing track, featuring extensive instrumentation from the sub-Saharan African instrument which gives the track its name. Even if it is the second new entry in a row not to have its proper video ready yet. Seriously, what is up with that?
Also familiar to many, in terms of performance if not actually name, is Bad Bunny. The Puerto Rican star has already experienced life at the sharp end of the singles chart thanks to his co-credit on Cardi B's I Like It (a Number 8 hit back in the summer). He steps into the spotlight as lead artist for the first time with MIA which crashes onto the chart this week at Number 13. Needless to say, he doesn’t do this alone, the single boasting a vocal turn from Drake, making this one of a number of chart singles to feature the ubiquitous Canadian superstar in one form or another.
The Sigala/Ella Eyre/Meghan Trainor/French Montana epic Just Got Paid finally got itself a video on October 10th, a factor which should hopefully help it to rise further up the charts. What in theory should also have helped was the unusual promotional tie-in which saw it make a surprise appearance on Strictly Come Dancing last weekend, the song used by Joe & Dianne to dance the cha-cha. This was expected to give the track a huge boost, given the audience it was now exposed to, making its solitary one place climb to Number 14 something of an anticlimax. Breaking it down, it appears the Strictly performance boosted its sales but failed to impact the track's still frustratingly slow streaming growth. It still remains one of the most energetic and appealing hit singles of the moment, or maybe it is my bias showing.
Another hit on the rise: No Stylist by French Montana, giving him two simultaneous Top 20 hits thanks to his turn on the aforementioned Just Got Paid. His single is the second hit of the moment to feature Drake on guest vocals - another is Quavo's Flip The Switch which alas can only debut at Number 55 this week, denying us the fun spectacle of Aubrey Graham appearing as a guest star on three different Top 40 tracks by three different artists.
It got mentioned in passing a couple of weeks ago, so let's pay proper homage to Taki Taki which climbs 33-21 after an alarming dip last week to leave DJ Snake and collaborators just shy of the Top 20. Who are his collaborators? Let's count them - Selena Gomez, Cardi B and Ozuna - the latter another Puerto Rican performer who makes his UK chart debut with this single. DJ Snake hasn't been seen on the charts since the summer of 2016 when his Justin Bieber collaboration Let Me Love You spent a record-nudging six consecutive weeks at Number 2 without ever quite managing to reach the top of the charts.
Ginger Power x2
I teased earlier but didn't deliver, so time to pay proper homage to the Number One album of the week. It seems almost needless to say it is Jess Glynne's Always In Between, home to her two hit singles I'll Be There and current chart smash All I Am (Rudimental's These Days is relegated to the Special Edition). She becomes incredibly enough the first solo British female to land a Number One album since Adele finished with the last of many spells at the top with 25 back in 2016. The album is also host to the final Top 40 new entry of the week, the memorable track Thursday which lands on the singles chart at Number 24. As noted last week, Thursday has rarely featured in the title of hit singles in the past, this only the third Top 75 hit ever to do so. In fact, it took until 1999 for anyone to mention the fourth day of the week in a song title, David Bowie's Thursday's Child breaking that particular window in October that year. Jess Glynne's Thursday is written by her but also features the songwriting talents of Ed Sheeran. You may have heard of him. The fact that he is reported to be popping up alongside the returning Westlife for their valedictory album and tour at the end of this year is not a prospect which fills me with the greatest of joy, why lie. Oddly enough this isn't the only single on the chart this week to feature writing credits for both Glynne and Sheeran (as well as producer Steve Mac as it happens). The other - Little Mix's Woman Like Me.