Archives: 2019

The year opened with Ariana Grande dominating everything and breaking streaming records left right and centre. Then came a Scotsman who invited the former Dr Who into his video and tugged on heartstrings everywhere. Until country collided with rap and Stormzy stormed Glastonbury. Ed Sheeran woke up from his slumber in the summer and almost broke everything again before a blonde Australian had us all talking of monkeys.

Overnight the singles chart returns to normal, the streaming market resets and pop music is allowed to re-assert its dominance once more. That means some spectacular moves and peculiar re-entries, but it means Post Malone gets to be the hero of the hour with two songs of his own in the Top 5.

What's more problematic, a Number One single complaining about "psychos" or the much-loved Chris Brown biting off huge chunks of a much-loved pop hit from the early 1990s? The new year lull continues, but that is good news if you are a British rap star. Mainstream success is yours for the taking.

...and as if the Good Fairy of pop waved her magic wand, we suddenly have a flood of exciting new hits to bite upon. Former collaborators Calvin and Sam go their separate ways with new partners but in the process hand us the most exciting new singles we've heard in months. Ava still clings on at the top, just long enough to finally get her hands on her award.

Ariana Grande's new single is big. We're talking full-on family-sized pizza with extra toppings, stuffed crust with hot dogs and mustard levels of big. A record streaming total and the first record to move over 100,000 copies in a week for almost 18 months. 7 Rings has arrived, and not even a row over its origins could stand in its way.

There's more to life than Ariana Grande, despite what the Spotify charts would have you believe. Mabel makes the Top 10 for the second time, but J Cole and Lewis Capaldi do so for the first time ever. One of them is pretty damn thrilled about it too.

An intriguing three-way battle at the top end of the albums chart was the perfect distraction from nothing of note happening at the top end of the singles market. 39 years to the week that they topped the singles chart for the first time, The Specials have a first-ever Number One long player to go with it.

This shall henceforth be known as Ariana week because there is surely nothing the American singer will ever do to surpass this. Her new album tops the charts, bringing in its wake yet another brand new single. And making her the first (dangerous) woman to do something very special indeed.

As if to prove there are always new records to break and new benchmarks to set, the reigning Queen of pop does something at the top of the charts that nobody ever has before. Not even Elvis, even though he tried.

A brand new Number One single but genuinely, truly, not the one any of us were expecting. But that's what makes all of this so much fun. The second Capaldi to make the charts is the one with the biggest hit of all.

All hail artists from north of the border as they dominate singles and albums charts simultaneously for the first time in 25 years. Plus the Jonas Brothers return after a decade away and land their biggest hit single ever. Who would have thought it?

Plenty going on in a week when not much appears to, but it is Dave who gets the top billing this week. The first British rapper since Stormzy to top the charts, and the man with the three biggest new chart singles of the week. But read on, because both Billie Eilish and Wiley have amazing singles out too.

We have Englishmen born to Italian parentage at the top of both singles and albums charts this week, all thanks to Senors Capaldi and Savoretti. Meanwhile, a lack of any big new entries does at least mean room for other hits to breathe. And if you've been longing for the Lizzo single to reach the Top 40, this is where your patience is finally rewarded.

A week when most things are on the up, except for the singles at the very top which remain where they have been for weeks. First, though we have to contemplate a man and his dogs, and the unerring way he finds his way to the top of the album charts. Be it in the 1990s or the 2010s.

The most unexpected breakout star of the year more than lives up expectations. Which is the kind of thing she'd write a song about. Billie Eilish is the artist of the week, a massive Number One album that shatters all kinds of age records, and she nearly fights her way to the top of the singles chart as well. Don't be scared, I'll walk you through this.

You may have never heard anything like it before, but perhaps that is part of its appeal. Lil Nas X might easily have had a hit single under his own steam, but the addition of Billy Ray Cyrus to the mix has given Old Town Road an exciting new dimension. It is just one of a terrific series of breaking hits this week. Even if nothing can shift the Number One.

Do horses eat chocolate? More Easter Eggs for the rest of us in that case. Regardless of what Billboard says, there is some genuine country at the top of the charts this week. Plus a father follows his daughter to the very top of the pile, even if the charts themselves don't have room to credit it.

Lil Nas X walks the line and crosses further over to becoming a genuine phenomenon with one of the highest streaming totals of the year. Plus the voice of a Martin Jensen hit is back, Lil Dicky makes the sweariest charity single ever and there's a new Drill track from a man who literally went to prison for making Drill tracks.

The Vossi Bop. All the cool kids are doing it, haven't you heard? Shoving the big comeback from a big American superstar very much into second place, Stormzy bends streaming records, bends your mind with his rhymes, and bends reality in the video. He's a quite sensational debutant at the top of the charts this week. But whatever did Boris do to upset him?

One of those weeks in which nothing moves about very much, but also another of those weeks when some very exciting new singles arrive. Lewis Capaldi is back once again, but Stormzy and Lil Nas X are locked in an ever-spiralling battle to the death. Which may come sooner than we think.

One of those weeks where there was simply no competition at the top of the charts. Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber prove they are as potent a force together as they are apart. But did they manage to land the fastest selling Number One single of the year?

All hail Lewis Capaldi, undeniable King of albums with the strongest sale of the year. All hail Sheeran and Bieber who are still Kings of singles. But hail too to Lil Nas X who hasn't been Number One for five weeks now, but keeps racking up the numbers to deserve to. Plus Eurovision and even Britain thinks our own entry is garbage.

Al hail the return of Urban Ed as he reactivates in time to try to save us from the mediocrity of... himself? Meanwhile, Old Town Road just won't let go of that Number 2 position, still poised it seems for a sensational return to the top.

NOBODY MOVE! Oh, wait, you haven't. One of the most extraordinary singles charts in the entire history of the medium is yours for your perusal this week. Every single one of the Top 12 singles this week is a non-mover. And yet there's tons to talk about. Just below the stack, there are three brand new entries. Or should that possibly be four? Plus Cheryl is no longer a thing (apparently) and we have the oldest singles chart debutant ever.

No, YOU spent midweek writing an introduction to this column that would never get used. The thing we thought might have happened didn't happen and we are left with nothing happening. Except for a new hit by two men who can swap notes about an ex.

A changing of the guard! Except at the top where Ed and Justin reign supreme. Bothered about singles crashing to ACR? You need to calm down...

Stormzy dominates the Top 5 in the same way he dominated the Glastonbury stage (although there's no Chris Martin in sight here). But there's a new rule in force. Nobody to reach the Top 10 unless you have at least two concurrent hit singles. You'll be forgiven for seeing double.

In this column, I mention Glastonbury a lot, simply because it informs much of this week's chart activity. Kylie was there, had the biggest TV audience and has the biggest album of the week. Ed wasn't there but might as well have been for the way he dominates the singles chart yet again.

The single which has been top of the charts since before the last football season finished finally makes way for a new one. Summer is now officially here as the hottest, steamiest single of 2019 gives Shawn and Camila each their second Number One.

And now I'm in Ed Sheeran's body. This does mean I get to appreciate through his eyes the two shiny awards he gets to hold this week - one for the Number One album and the other for yet another Number One single. His new album means this was only ever going to be his week.

It is the week of resets. Shawn and Camila reset at the top of the charts. Ed's old Number One resets back. And Billie Eilish has her ACR reset which is less painful than it sounds. Especially when it pings you straight back into the Top 10.

"The needle returns to the start of the song, and we all sing along like before" sang Del Amitri almost 30 years ago (ask your mum). It was almost as if they had predicted the streaming era of the charts, as the same songs come around over and over again. A Top 40 without a single new entry, although we still get to celebrate some new stuff.

That "first look" chart at the weekend? It lied to you in a way. The single we expected to top the charts actually didn't and even fell short of penetrating the Wall Of Sheeran. But a week with a new Ari single is still better than one without, surely.

Yay! The Wall Of Sheeran collapses and everything moves around a bit, lifting Dominic Fike into the Top 3 at long last. Boo! There's only one new entry. And surprisingly it isn't Katy Perry.

Chart rules - taking the messy unpredictability out of the singles market. This is Senorita's final week at the top of the charts, meaning we can begin the fun speculation about what is to replace it.

Not for the first time this summer, Ed Sheeran's grinning fizzog adorns the front page of this site as he and longtime good mate Stormzy march to the top of the charts. A single that is there on merit too, not by default as we had feared.

Look at her, "Lana" "Del" "Rey". Like butter wouldn't melt. Yet she's given us the sweariest named Number One album in history and helped to litter the singles chart with a further string of profanity. More f**kery (some of it uncensored) inside. Plus, we've all gone Aitch crazy.

It is officially Post Malone week as he scores his second Number One album in 16 months, ends up with two side by side Top 10 singles - and nearly enjoys a third as well. Meanwhile, Aitch doesn't do too badly either. Although something tells me this is all just a throat clearance for exciting stuff to happen next week.

This was supposed to be the week of the Angels, but instead, our two favourite rap Gods stole the show once more. Plenty to chew over, however, especially as Ozzy Osbourne is back on the charts at the age of 70. All thanks to the Postman.

It is one of those chart battles for the ages. Multiple singles all vying with each other for a coveted chart position and the chance to write themselves into musical history. Alas, that chart position was only Number 2 as nobody quite has the legs to step up to the top. Plus Liam Gallagher rockets to the top of the albums chart but spoils someone else's perfect record in the process.

The inevitable finally happens and after five weeks we have a changing of the guard at Number One. Tones & I becomes the first Australian act in five years to dance her way to the top of the Official UK Singles chart. Plus some promising new group called The Beatles make their way to the top of the albums chart. I think they have a bright future ahead of them.

At first glance it looked as if this might have been Travis Scott's week, but his room just wasn't higher than the massive sales and streams of Tones & I. Meanwhile, this chap here is Dermot Kennedy who is top of the albums chart with his first release. Something no Irishman has managed for almost 20 years.

There's always something worth paying attention to when Harry Styles makes the Top 40 solo. Extraordinarily this is only the second time he has done so. Never in with a chance of topping the charts, it is still the biggest of a wave of new Top 10 arrivals as the clearout we've been longing for finally takes place.

The singles chart goes to sleep, but we had a genuine ding-dong battle to be king of the albums. After missing out by the narrowest of margins in the spring, Foals record another album and this time strike it lucky.

This could so easily have been Selena Gomez' week, but even she wilted in the face of the Dance Monkey. We delve into the thorny issue of just how old Toni Watson really is and deal with Kanye West's new-found spiritual vibe. He's not Number One either. These guys are instead.

Frustration! Anger! Betrayal! The mother of all rows erupts as nobody can make up their mind just what kind of album the Children In Need charity collection is. Happily, Dua Lipa is far too lovely to upset anyone in that manner and is back to inject some sparkly disco into all our lives.

It is but a few weeks to Christmas and we've all gone Brit rap crazy! These guys are but a small subset of the hot British stars who invade the singles chart en masse. But don't forget those who are still Dance Monkey crazy. And trust me, there are still plenty of them around.

The last week at Number One for Dance Monkey? Well actually not necessarily as she escapes the axe once more. An all-female Top 3 is rounded out by a returning Billie Eilish. And she is just as spooky as before.

Let's work this backwards. Stormzy (and pals) has the biggest new hit, Lewis Capaldi has the biggest climber, but it is still Tones & I with the biggest sale. The three main contenders for Xmas No.1 all line up in the Top 3 and it is truly still all to play for.

Acts at the top of both charts perform feats which takes them into record-equalling territory. Tones & I is only the third woman to spend ten weeks in a row at the top, whilst Robbie is now level with Elvis for Number One albums. And it STILL isn't Christmas yet.

One week to go before Christmas and records tumble like dandelions. Festive ones, of course. The longest-lasting Number One single by a female act, plus Rod becomes the oldest star yet to have his turn with the Number One album. At the expense of some fellow veterans too.

Well wrap me in pastry and bake in an industrial-sized oven. The crown of 2019 Christmas Number One goes to the same bloke as last year, doing the same joke as last year and all for the same cause as last year. This wasn't a race to the top as much as a stroll. Find out inside how he did it - and what befell those other singles all hoping for a slice of the Christmas pie. Or should that be bake?

Cry me a river, the expected coronation of Mariah Carey didn't happen. Instead, Ellie Goulding rides the river Amazon and sails her way to a third Number One. There are modern-day hits swimming around in the mess of festive streams, but we have to look hard to find them.