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Picking Up On Second Ring
To nobody's great surprise, this week's Number One on the Official UK Singles chart is the same as last week's Number One. Ariana Grande's 7 Rings may not have quite reached for the record-stretching levels of consumption it enjoyed when it first emerged, but that is the equivalent of negging a football team for winning the league by seven points when it did so by ten the season before. 7 Rings remains untouchable at Number One. She does, however, enjoy a relegation of sorts as thank u, next finally sees its run inside the Top 10 come to a grinding halt as it is yanked onto ACR and crashes 8-22 as a result.
The streak of male-free Number One hits continues, a member of the fairer sex having topped the British charts for 12 of the last 13 weeks (Ladbaby's solitary week at the top over Christmas the only aberration). That effectively matches the unbroken 12 week run of female chart-toppers we saw in the last three months of 2007, when Number One singles by The Sugababes, Leona Lewis and Eva Cassidy/Katie Melua enjoyed runs of 4, 7 and 1 weeks at the top in turn.
The entire Top 3 remain static this week, Ava Max's Sweet But Psycho clinging on in second place to extend its run in the Top 2 to a ninth week. That still leaves Sam Smith and Normani's Dancing With A Stranger knocking on the door in third place, not quite enjoying the chart boost you might have expected after its official video finally dropped during the course of the week. Maybe next time.
Taking After Mum
There's room for three new songs in the Top 10 - two climbers and one actual precious new entry. The first climber is Mabel who makes good on last week's promise and rises 11-7 with Don't Call Me Up. That's enough to ensure the single becomes her highest charting release to date, besting the Number 8 peak scaled by her debut Fine Line at the tail end of 2017. It remains a strange UK chart quirk that although we've had father and son, father and daughter and mother and son combinations top the charts, no mother and daughter have ever followed in each other's footsteps to the top of the pile. Neneh Cherry managed a Number One hit with the charity single Love Can Build A Bridge back in 1995, meaning that Mabel represents the best chance in years for that situation to be rectified. All she has to do is make it there.
Also reaching the Top 10 for the first time ever is American star J Cole. Besting his previous high water mark of Number 17 (as scaled by KOD in May last year) he storms the Top 10 at Number 9 with brand new release MIDDLE CHILD. The appearance of the single is a surprise one-off, its production pre-dating the much publicised Dreamville Recording Session at the start of the month which is expected to result in the third in the series of Revenge Of The Dreamers compilation album. J Cole plays by his own rules it seems, but his reward is his biggest ever hit to date. Even if its biggest challenge will be to be more than a one week wonder. Such hip-hop hits remain very much fan service, popping a rating first week out but then sinking to more respectable levels in short order. Just look at the way Gun Lean wasn't able to sustain the momentum, dipping as it does to Number 13 this time around.
Birth Of A Star?
Meanwhile, Lewis Capaldi continues to make good on his promise. Still without a video, the intense ballad Someone You Loved continues its progress up the charts to turn the Scotsman officially into the first big breakout star of the new year. This week it reaches the Top 10 for the first time with a 13-10 move. Working the audience at both download and streaming, the single seems set for an extended run up this end of the charts. So who says it isn't possible to break new British acts right now? And just look how much that chart placing matters to him.
Thought We Could Live Without Her
Without Me by Halsey holds firm at Number 14 this week, something which in itself doesn't appear to be worthy of note. However the single was potentially boosted, and thus its decline arrested, by the arrival at the start of the week of its remix, a brand new version which adds a new rap verse from Juice WRLD. The timing of it appears a little odd given that the hit has already enjoyed an extended run in the Top 10 before Christmas when it peaked at Number 3. Its belated appearance makes more sense when you note that Without Me has just enjoyed a brief run at the top of the Hot 100 in America and the new mix was almost certainly intended to boost its chances of remaining at the top. Although this was to reckon without Ariana, and remix or no remix, Without Me was booted down to second place during the week as 7 Rings duplicated its success across the rest of the planet to top the American charts as well.
Bad To The Bone
There's a brand new peak this week for a single which has been around since before Christmas and indeed more or less vanished over the holiday. Going Bad by Meek Mill charted at Number 17 in the middle of December before going into what appeared to be a rapid decline. Needless to say, this was a false position, the single simply swamped by Christmas oldies, a state of affairs which led to it dropping all the way to Number 64 over the new year. Since then it has been on the comeback trail, rebounding to Number 22 at the start of last month and edging its way back into the Top 20 a week later. This week in its ninth week on the chart the single jumps 18-15. One of three cuts from his fourth album Championships to invade the singles chart on its first release, Going Bad at least proves that not all rap hits are one week wonders, although its promotion from popular album cut to official single (with the attendant airplay that results) is a major factor here in its extended chart life. Still no video though.
Speaking of rebounds and false positions, Westlife's comeback single Hello My Love has what is at first glance a life of its own, shooting back up the chart to Number 20 after crashing 13-29 last time around. This sudden return to form isn't quite what it seems, the single enjoying a renewed boost of popularity thanks to the release of a new acoustic version of the song which naturally enough Westlife completists (they do exist) snapped up with enthusiasm.
Does She Give One?
Dua Lipa is between albums. Her self-titled debut was released almost two years ago, and although we are promised a new collection later this year her name is being kept in lights thanks to a series of reasonably well-received collaborations. That's why she partnered with Calvin Harris on One Kiss, and more recently her vocal work on Silk City's Electricity. The former a Number One, the latter a Top 5 smash.
But there's another way to keep your name in the public's mind. And that's to record a track for a movie soundtrack. It can be a risky venture, even stars of the level of Ed Sheeran have fallen flat on their face when contributing spare material to pop up over the credits of a movie. But that's the source of the British beauty's new hit single Swan Song, set to feature in the new "Alita: Battle Angel" film. The track lands on the chart at Number 25 to open her chart account for the year and in the process become her 11th Top 40 hit single. Precisely where it will go from here is open to question. Yes, it’s a new Dua Lipa song. But it also isn't a very good Dua Lipa song. And she doesn't necessarily have a need to promote it either. Watch this one with interest.
Keep Up Grandad
At Number 32, a fascinating collision between veteran and relative newcomer in the shape of collaboration between Yungen and Dappy. CJ "Yungen" Brooks is best known for his single Bestie which reached the Top 10 last year, whilst Dappy can boast a chart career that stretches back over 12 years, first as a member of N-Dubz, and then as a solo artist, landing a Number One single in both guises. The pair's single Comfortable opens its chart account at Number 32, this for Dappy his second Top 40 hit in the space of nine months, continuing a comeback which began with Number 23 hit Oh My last summer.
New Mix Like Me
Hard on the heels of the still popular Woman Like Me, Little Mix's LM5 album spawns a second official single (although it is the sixth cut to chart) this week at Number 34. Interestingly they have already moved on to the tactic of enhancing tracks for single release, so the chart version of Think About Us is a brand new mix. Following Nicki Minaj's assistance on their last hit, the 2011 X Factor winners this time enlist Ty Dolla $ign to add a new dimension to the single. The American singer and rapper can boast an appearance on two different Top 40 new entries this week, also popping up alongside Kehlani on Nights Like This which is also starting to accelerate and jumps 12 places to Number 40.
Fresh Album Blood
At Number One on the Official UK Albums chart it is The Grea… well actually no, not this week. Proving perhaps that the long-running soundtrack was just keeping the seat warm until some new product came along, it is replaced this week by Amo, the sixth album from Sheffield rock band Bring Me The Horizon. The new release hands them a brand new chart achievement - their first ever Number One record of any kind. You will note that this is another example of an act shifting enough long form copies to fly up the albums chart without needing to trouble the singles audience with their existence. The album's lead single Medicine took its biggest dose at Number 42 a couple of weeks ago, recovering a little to Number 48 as one of three cuts they scatter around the lower end of the Top 100. In their entire career to date, the group have only enjoyed one Top 40 hit single, Drown reaching Number 17 in December 2014.
Also of note on the albums listing, the Number 11 entry for Trevor Horn Reimagines The 80s, a collection of sophisticated reworkings by the Sarm Orchestra of some well-known hits from that decade, all steered by the aforementioned celebrated producer and performer. Horn actually forms one of the father/son Number One conjunctions mentioned above having topped the charts as a member of Buggles with Video Killed The Radio Star. His son Aaron was a member of Sam And The Womp and topped the charts himself with Bom Bom in 2012.