Can't Stop What I'm Doin'
Time to squeeze blood from a stone once again as the Top 10, which should in theory be the source of all the biggest chart stories of the week, actually contains little of narrative note. Meanwhile the ever-changing mix of smaller singles down below continues to bubble away in its cauldron.
But it is what it is. Afraid To Feel by LF System chalks up a third week at the top of the Official UK Singles chart, the track effectively the most successful dance single since Joel Corry's Head & Heart enjoyed a six week run at the top exactly two years ago. Meanwhile As It Was by Harry Styles clings on doggedly at No.2 in what is now its 16th week as a Top 3 single. In another week bereft of big-name albums able to command the necessary sales to wipe out the competition Harry's House spends yet another seven days at the summit of the albums chart. This is now its sixth week at the top of the charts, Official Charts themselves most taken by the fact that it has spent longer at the top than all of One Direction's albums put together.
This is to the detriment alas of Mabel, as despite the failure of her last few singles releases to have any kind of impact her second album proper About Last Night debuts at No.2. Leading for most of the midweek updates, the album eventually suffered from not quite managing as many streams as Harry's album. But given last summer's valiant hit Let Them Know is the biggest hit it contains that is perhaps hardly a surprise.
Back to singles and George Ezra's Green Green Grass is stuck at No.3, but rising once more is Burna Boy with Last Last as it proves last week's vault into the Top 10 was no fluke. The track is No.4, bigger than all the Afrobeats star's other chart entries save for Stormzy's Own It on which he took a cameo role and which topped the charts for three weeks in January 2020. Which quite frankly feels like another age ago.
New hits? We'll get there.
The former No.1 slides once more to No.8, but Kate Bush fans online are incredibly animated about the fact that Running Up That Hill has now spent eight consecutive weeks in the Top 10 (making 14 in total). That surpasses the chart run of Wuthering Heights in 1978, with seven straight weeks in the Top 10 it was hitherto her most successful chart entry.
It really is one of those weeks. Nobody new makes the Top 10, and the only new arrival into the Top 20 is the smouldering No Excuses by Bru-C which we really haven't paid nearly enough attention to on these pages but which rises to a new peak of No.17 fully three months into a meandering climb.
Easing Their Way Up
Even just outside the Top 20 there are things which have all of a sudden stalled after being tipped as hits for the future. Most notably Doja Cat's Vegas while still alive is now creeping slowly and essentially within the margin of error of having been streamed at the same rate for the past few weeks - during which time it has eased 27-25-24.
Brand new to the Top 40 though is Bad Habit from rising American star Steve Lacy. His first major British hit single leaps 69-25 as streamers suddenly wake up to its charms, the release of his second album Gemini Rights quite possibly a factor here, although it can only manage a lowly No.47 on its first week on the chart.
The Sum Of Its Parts
I fear that next we have to talk about the latest in a growing series of Calvin Harris singles that somehow are less than the sum of their parts - a problem he has genuinely never suffered from before. Perhaps it is attempting to revisit the scene of past triumphs which is the problem. The Dua Lipa collaboration Potion was a worthwhile listen, but it surprisingly never progressed beyond the No.16 point at which it entered (although the track is still floating around and drifts back up to No.23 this week). It is joined in the Top 40 by the highest new entry proper of the week. Stay With Me sees Harris dive back into his address book and hook up with some big American stars. The track features vocals from Justin Timberlake, Halsey and even Pharrell Williams - this their first meeting on record since the memorable Feels five years ago. But Feels this is not, another track that is trying very hard to be the big deal that its big names clearly suggest it should be. I however remain unconvinced - and No.29 first week out is hardly a ringing endorsement from the general public.
Of course having said that it will go on to be massive now, the bloggers' curse will strike.
Apparently appearing on Love Island can do wonders for your profile. Not so much if you are a Rugby League player or a Footballer, but for a pop singer a guest role on the gossip sofa slaps hard. Such was the fate of Becky Hill who for some reason appears to be the new darling of the ITV2 show's fans. Her albums all receive a boost and most startlingly of all Remember, her David Guetta collaboration which was first a hit single one year ago, re-enters the singles chart at No.31, its highest chart placing since October last year. This return is actually a week late, the single spending its second week back in the Top 20 of most-purchased tracks but only now does an ACR reset kick in allowing its streams to lift it back into chart visibility.
Also brand new right at the very bottom is Hello Mate from ArDee, the track also handing singer Kyla a co-billing as it samples extensively from her semi-legendary 2008 single Do You Mind - the same track that inspired Drake's One Dance back in 2016.
Ed Sheeran's Thinking Out Loud was the first single ever to spend a full calendar year on the Top 40, and it is joined on that still elite list by his own Bad Habits which despite posting its lowest (official) chart position to date at No.39 is indeed now 52 charts weeks old. Of course unlike the earlier track this isn't a consecutive run, the single having been ineligible for four weeks at the end of the year when his Merry Christmas track rendered it his fourth-biggest hit. Although even then it would have spent a fortnight outside the Top 40 as Christmas hits swamped everything else. Even Ed Sheeran. The all-time record holder is seven places above - Heat Waves by Glass Animals, again unable to claim a consecutive record but still this week marking the 59th time it has been a Top 40 hit.