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Feeling A Little Horse
This is October's final chart, which quite frankly is a scarier thought than anything Halloween-related.
We actually did have a chart battle this week, although just for a change of the albums nature. Given that the singles market is pretty much settled for the moment. The two big new releases of the week: Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost, Pt 2 from Foals, and You from the man who it is easy to forget is a former X Factor winner James Arthur.
The two discs were neck and neck all week, and amusingly both acts appeared to have a number of promotional acts up their sleeves, James Arthur doing promotional appearances and selling signed copies direct, and Foals making exclusive picture disc versions of their album available through their website. In the final reckoning however, it proved that four heads are better than one, as the group from Oxford emerge victorious. It seems an entirely appropriate way for them to end the year given that they began it by releasing the "Part 1" version of Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost which failed by the narrowest of margins (279 chart sales) to top the charts itself, settling instead for Number 2 behind Dave's Psychodrama.
Meanwhile the flurry of brand new and big name albums just keeps on coming - with plenty more being added to the list in the past few days, not least the new Coldplay offering - of which much more next week for sure. Few thought this was actually possible but Quarter 4 has become an even greater scramble than it used to be. It may well be the case that precious few people actually buy albums these days, but Christmas just so happens to be the time when all the people who used to buy albums suddenly start doing so again. Just a shame they never stick around, and that the stuff they do actually buy is always the superannuated stars of the past. Here's to the new Ball and Boe album anyway. May it sell in the same shedloads as the previous two.
Getting Jiggy With It
Did I mention it is all quiet on the singles chart front? When it comes to calculating just when your new releases should come out to be around in time for the holiday period (not that this actually matters so much in this era) then this week was clearly seen as a black hole. So it appears everyone avoided it. I've got no major new releases, no dramatic high new entries to tell you about. But that does give everyone else room to breathe and rearrange themselves a little.
Leading the charge once more is Dance Monkey from Tones & I which clocks up a fourth week at the top of the charts in some considerable style. Once again the track generates a huge chart sale - 81,000 copies including well over 9 million streams. But let's note for the record - this is down from last week's total - the first drop Dance Monkey has experienced since it began its run at the top. The ACR clock has just started ticking - but never forget that it can also easily be reset. One detail I'm ashamed to have overlooked since she topped the charts, especially given I'd flagged it up so many times in the past, is the issue of Toni Watson's date of birth. Born on August 15th 2000 she sets the record as the first person born this side of the millennium to top the British charts. Even if she was just a few months too early for the 21st century proper.
There are precious few moves of real note inside the rest of the Top 10, although full credit to Post Malone for a climb to Number 3 with Circles, now ranking as his third single to reach this position in 2019, following on from both Sunflower and Wow. There are also new peaks for Ed Sheeran and his harem with South Of The Border up to 4, and Lewis Capaldi's Bruises which climbs to Number 6.
New to the Top 10 this week is Aitch who jumps 11-8 with the still incomprehensible Buss Down. And as was widely expected Maroon 5's touching Memories races 19-10 to give the band their 11th Top 10 single. For those wondering, the last Top 10 single to directly use the melody of Canon In D was oddly enough We Dance On by N-Dubz which reached Number 6 in June 2010.
Absent from the Top 10 you will note is Harry Styles' much-hyped single from last week, although in fairness it is unlucky to lose out by a single place. Nonetheless, a 3-11 tumble is the kind of move we expect from a long-running hit relegated to ACR. Not a track from an alleged pop idol in its second week in the market.
It Gets Better
Another "well you could have predicted that" move this week comes from the Meduza/Goodboys/Becky Hill track Lose Control which explodes into life with a 33-15 jump. It is now the fourth Top 20 single to benefit from a Becky Hill guest vocal. She has yet to reach the Top 40 with any single released with her as the lead artist.
Lizzo's Good As Hell advances once more and this week finally makes the Top 20 after just missing out last week with a climb to Number 18. All of this is really just throat-clearing as the track is expected to explode into far greater life next week thanks to the release of a new "remix" which adds in extra vocals from one Ariana Grande and gives the track an even greater sense of epic. The entertaining gospel-flavoured hit is easily the biggest hit single the lady has managed so far and seems set to go still further next week. Meanwhile, her "other" hit Truth Hurts whose chart run predates Good As Hell is still refusing to die, holding firm this week at Number 31 in what is now its 16th week as a Top 40 single.
The other 'stranded' hit we mentioned last week - Fuck I'm Lonely from Lauv and Anne-Marie is also still marooned at the bottom end. It moves 34-32 in its ninth week in the Top 40, this week climbing back to the peak it last scaled seven weeks ago.
New Stuff! Get It Here!
There may well be no brand new singles impacting the Top 40 this week but a handful of existing chart hits do manage to climb up from the lower reaches to come to our attention for the first time. Leading the way at Number 30 is the wonderfully profane Hot Girl Bummer from blackbear (sic) which finally makes the grade after five weeks on the chart. It is a long-overdue first UK chart hit for the 28-year-old American who already has five solo albums to his name since his 2015 debut. He's also found the time in the past to collaborate with others, working with Mike Posner on his 2017 Mansionz project. He insists the title has got no direct connection to the Megan Thee Stallion track Hot Girl Summer (a Number 40 chart hit here back in August) but is instead a comic misreading of the hashtag which derived from the hit. Make your own minds up on that one.
Jones Keeping Up
After a fortnight swimming its way up the lower end of the chart there is now a pleasingly strong jump to Number 33 for the latest offering from Jax Jones. It is the first single release proper from Jones' long-overdue debut album Snacks which arrived in stores at the start of September. Technically its first single was the promo track Jacques which featured Tove Lo on vocals, but that limped all but unnoticed to Number 67 so we all pretend it never happened.
The cross-pollination of British acts has reached such an extent that you now have to double-check if a particular permutation of performers has occurred before, so let us state for the record that This Is Real is indeed the first meeting of Timucin Lam and invited collaborator Ella Henderson. This single does, in fact, end a barren spell for the former X Factor contestant (class of 2012), her first chart appearance since 2015 when she enjoyed side by side hits on singles by Sigma and Kygo.
Jax Jones in the meantime has had an up and down year, enjoying a brace of Top 10 hits with first Play and then All Day And Night before slumping back into mid-table - his last hit, the Bebe Rexha sung Harder, could only haul its way up to Number 23. This Is Real has started slowly, just like all his hits do. But this one has a momentum others have lacked, so let's keep an eye out.
Reading Between The Lines
A somewhat herculean promotional effort has finally propelled the rather lovely The Last Time from The Script into the Top 40 as it finally pokes its nose above the parapet at Number 40. Now five weeks into its chart career, this is one of those singles which truly does flag up the generational disconnect that exists between the two different markets which make up the singles chart. On pure sales terms, this has been a huge smash hit since release, with a near-constant presence in the upper reaches of the live iTunes tables. On the old school sales only chart The Last Time debuted at Number 2, dropping to 13 in its second week before rallying back into the Top 10. With its streaming traffic negligible this all counted for very little, and as a result, the track has moved 48-60-63-48 in tandem with those sales moves on the full official singles chart. Little by little however it appears to have been finding its way onto playlists and so now finally has the legs to reach a higher chart position. The Last Time is the Irish group's first chart hit in almost exactly two years, their first Top 40 hit since Rain reached Number 15 in September 2017. It is now 11 years since their first hits and breakthrough chart smash The Man Who Can't Be Moved, so no matter how much effort it has taken to get them here, full credit to Danny and friends that they can still manage chart hits (of whatever kind) over a decade on.
The actual highest new entry of the week comes as low down as Number 45, this being Katy Perry's new single Harleys In Hawaii. So yeah, she's over. Pay close attention though to the new Selena Gomez single Lose You To Love Me which was a midweek release, landing online during the course of Wednesday. Even on the basis of two days sales and streams, it has done enough to chart at Number 65, suggesting a huge leap is on the cards next time around.
Remember this year's Chart Watch watershed watch? Will weekly paid for singles sales dip below half a million before the end of the year? We are getting closer - just 557,000 tracks were purchased last week. That's a new modern-day record low - dating back to March 2005 before downloads were even counted at all.