I'm Gonna Keep On Loving You
"There’s very little media oxygen for artists in this lane currently - they’re not the artists frontline media want to talk about. He isn’t traditionally beautiful, he isn’t contemporary in his musical palette, he isn’t hip-hop, he isn’t from a part of town where he’s tough and he’s a gangster. [But] his songs are great and he’s funny as fuck – and ultimately they have been his selling points.”
The words of Virgin/EMI president Ted Cockle in Music Week this week, speaking (naturally) about current chart phenomenon Lewis Capaldi. His "great song" of the moment Someone You Loved spends a comfortable fourth week at the top of the Official UK Singles chart, this time around landing its highest streaming numbers to date as fully 7.32m streams of the single were registered over the last seven days.
Once again the story of the singles chart was the tale of two tracks, as both Someone You Loved and Giant continue to do battle with one another. And once more it was the same story - Giant still has the edge in sales, but lags far too far behind in terms of overall listens to even come close to topping the charts. Indeed it is the chart run of the Calvin Harris/Rag'n'Bone Man single which continues to be the most noteworthy, a fourth consecutive week at Number 2 more than enough to make this the most successful "unsuccessful" single of the Scottish producer's long and storied chart career to date. Giant now surpasses the peak chart run of Rag'n'Bone Man's debut hit Human which spent three weeks at Number 2, albeit in weeks apart runs during what turned out to be a 13 week run inside the Top 10.
Human charted in the days before the ACR rules, something Giant is edging closer to succumbing to. One single which entered the chart at the same time back in January - Sam Smith and Normani's Dancing With A Stranger - this week hits 10 weeks old and immediately falls victim to the rule, dipping 5-16. Giant is immune for the moment, its sales jump a fortnight ago meaning that this week is only its second consecutive week of streaming decline. Effectively the single is indeed drinking in the last chance saloon. If it doesn't top the charts next week then it surely never will.
Music Too Good
Over on the Official UK Albums chart, there's a male crooner of a slightly different kind ruling the roost. Smashing in with an enormous sales total almost three times that of its nearest rival is veteran blues-rock performer Jack Savoretti who with his sixth album Singing To Strangers finally lands one achievement that has eluded him to date - a Number One record. I say "one" achievement, for although he has been a solid performer in the albums market over the past four years (his fourth album Written In Scars his true commercial breakthrough) he has literally never had a major chart single. For years he'd never even made the Top 75, not until Singing To Strangers' lead single Candlelight reached Number 70 back in February. This lack of hits is all the more surprising given that last year he duetted with no less a star than Kylie Minogue on the track Music's Too Sad Without You. First appearing on Kylie's Golden album, the track was promoted as a single but failed to chart at all. The song also features on Jack Savoretti's album, albeit in a live recording. Just two weeks after we celebrated Scotsmen topping both singles and albums charts, there's international synchronicity of a slightly different kind this week. Both Capaldi and Savoretti, as their names might suggest, are of Anglo-Italian parentage.
What A Time To Climb
The Number One album a fortnight ago, Tom Walker's What A Time To Be Alive climbs back into the Top 3 this week, aided not a little by the continuing success of its current single. Just You And I has the honour of breaking up the logjam in the upper end of the singles chart and climbs to Number 4, handing the singer his biggest chart hit to date as it eclipses the Number 7 peak of Leave A Light On. Also with their biggest hit ever already at the Jonas Brothers and after Sucker dipped slightly last week it is on the rise again and now reaches a brand new peak of Number 5.
Dave. Dave. DAVE!
Last week when I spoke of Dave's success at the top of the album charts with Psychodrama I wondered just how much of a one-week wonder both it and its three chart singles would be. Well not so much as it turns out. Although no match for the Jack Savoretti collection, the rap album holds its own at Number 2, whilst Dave's three hit singles are still, well, major hits. The main surprise is the way they rearrange themselves. The only one of the three with a proper video Streatham actually performs worst and drops 9-13. Last week's lead hit Disaster dips to 10, leaving the unlucky third track Location to run out as this week's Dave winner, climbing 11-8 to hand the rap star his fifth Top 10 hit single. The long-running success of Funky Friday last year should have clued us in. Dave singles stick around.
Boast Of Your Climbing
An overall absence of new entries in the higher end of the singles chart gives many existing hits room to breathe and indeed the story this week is one of singles making chart progress even after several weeks around. Talk by Khalid has now been a Top 20 hit for six weeks, although it remains frustratingly shy of the Top 10. The single rises three places to Number 14 this time around, one short of its present chart peak of Number 13 which it reached six weeks ago. Also six weeks old, albeit not all of which has been spent at the higher end of the chart is Sigrid's Don't Feel Like Crying which continues its own upward momentum with a five place climb to Number 15. And as last week's column dared to suggest, Boasty from Wiley, Stefflon Don, Sean Paul and Idris Elba continues to make waves and is the Top 40's fastest mover with an 11 place jump to Number 22.
Bring On The Bucket
There's no denying it, things are quiet as far as brand new releases are concerned, but that doesn’t mean there aren't "new" entries inside the Top 40. The good news is, every single one of them is awesome. The highest of these is at Number 23, representing a 19 place climb for the brand new single from Marshmello. The producer, who we are still supposed to pretend is anonymous, is still searching for a follow-up to 2018 smash hit Happier, his last single Alone reaching a rather disappointing Number 61 in February. Better things appear are almost certainly in prospect for Here With Me, and that's particularly good news for his latest singing collaborators. Glasgow trio Chvrches have spent the last five years being garlanded with praise and rave reviews without quite making it truly into the mainstream. Their only brush with chart success until now came in September 2013 when the utterly gorgeous The Mother We Share made a frustratingly low Number 38. "Every single word is as perfect as it can be" sings the crystal-voiced Lauren Mayberry on the single and she really isn't wrong. Here With Me is another Marshmello triumph, an uplifting and near-perfect pop record which has smash hit written all over it from the very first note. Elegantly simple, it is beautiful and seductive, and I've listened to it ten times while writing this.
Sweet But Blonde
It's chart debut last week was curiously low-key, but that doesn't seem to have harmed Ava Max's new single all that much. The follow-up to Number One smash hit Sweet But Psycho also arrives inside the Top 40 in its second week on sale with a climb to Number 30. The problem with landing such a massive hit single on your debut is that your subsequent releases will always struggle to live up to those now lofty expectations, but So Am I makes a more than reasonable fist of things. The track is more conventionally Europop than its predecessor but her voice rings out clearly just as before, and if Ava Max is at the forefront of the big 2019 comeback for bouncy bubbly pop music I don't think anyone will be complaining too loudly.
Gets The Juices Flowing
The third and final new arrival inside the Top 40 is a single which has been waiting patiently for its chance ever since the start of the year. First released way back in January, the fun single Juice by American rap star Lizzo didn't even reach the Top 100 singles chart until late February and since then has made a slowly meandering journey up the charts. The single appeared to have fallen short in recent weeks, its chart run reading 66-61-51-54-57 but this week it finally sparks into life following an appearance on the Jonathan Ross show and climbs to a brand new peak of Number 38. The 80s throwback single has a fun video which continues the theme, and the truth is that if this single had fallen short of the mark it would have been one of the great tragedies of the spring. Instead, it is nicely and finally poised to become a long overdue hit single as large as Lizzo herself. And once again that's something worth celebrating.