Happy (Nearly) Birthday
The 70th anniversary of the British charts is upon us soon (as well as the 30th anniversary of this column which is scary enough as it is). This week I lashed together a full list of all the promotional activity planned, which you can read elsewhere on this site.
All About The Germans (Part I)
We start, as we always do, at the very top end of the charts where we find Unholy from Sam Smith and Kim Petras nicely planted at No.1 for a fourth straight week. The startling single has proved to be incredibly popular across the English-speaking world (as well as elsewhere), and if it hangs in long enough may well top the American charts in short order. Sales of the track rally once more this week, its sale of over 59,000 giving it a 15,000 chart sales lead over David and Bebe in second place.
This is one of those "I could be wrong about this" moments (what do you mean "the entire column each week is"?) but by spending a fourth week at the top of the charts Kim Petras overtakes Nena (her of 99 Red Balloons fame) as the German woman with the longest-running No.1 hit. German acts overall have had longer runs on top - such as the six-week spell in 1992 for Snap! with Rhythm Is A Dancer. But the female singer on that track, Thea Austin, was herself American.
Steady Anne-Marie, Steady
It is an all-static Top 5 this week (marking the fourth week in a row that the Top 3 has remained static), meaning the next move of note is the three place climb for Psycho by Anne-Marie & Aitch. Anne-Marie herself has spent the past few weeks nerding out about her chart prospects as climbing into the Top 10 (and possibly the Top 5) is clearly a huge thrill for her. Bear in mind that this is a lady who sang on a record that was No.1 for nine weeks once and was the Christmas chart-topper to boot (Clean Bandit's Rockabye). But the thrill of chart placings remains for her very much alive. It is also worth noting that Psycho is only the second Aitch hit to climb into the Top 10 after debuting much lower down - the first time he's done this since the 2019 chart climb of Buss Down took it to a No.8 peak.
Back On The Mike
Aitch may be the highest-charting British rapper of the week, but it is the undisputed Daddy of the genre who has the highest new entry. His last hit Mel Made Me Do It is barely three weeks old but Stormzy rockets back onto the chart with what is billed as the first single from his forthcoming new album This Is What I Mean, set for release in November. Hide & Seek is the man at his poetic best, a mellow and moving tale of heartbreak. His own deep baritone tones are the centrepiece of the track, but acknowledgement must be made of the uncredited co-performers on the single, British singer Ayanna and Nigerians Oxlade (he of Ku Lo Sa fame) and Teni. Stormzy is a man with more than his fair share of classics in his catalogue already, but it is hard not to see this one joining them. Hide & Seek smashes its way to No.7, his first Top 10 single as a lead or sole credited artist since tracks from his last album Heavy Is The Head barged their way onto the chart in December 2019. The only shocker really is the video. I mean Big Mike is a literal giant anyway, but could they not have cast someone closer to his size to play his girlfriend? The lady in the clip is Saffron Hocking, recognisable from her role as Lauren in the Netflix show Toy Boy.
We touched on them briefly last week but the Miss You wars appear to have kicked fully into gear, with the whole astonishing tale creeping beyond specialist music publications and into the mainstream. The charge is still lead by Oliver Tree & Robin Schulz' "official" version which makes a flying leap to No.9 this week, the German producer's first Top 10 single since Prayer In C was a No.1 smash in 2014. But following in its wake is the "original" version of the concept, fellow German southstar climbing his way to No.23. The very fact these two tracks are simultaneously on the British charts is jaw-dropping in itself. They are both fundamentally identical, using the same sampled and sped up vocals and with the same piano house backing. They even match each other for time to the second. The only noticeable difference between the two is the mastering, the Robin Shulz one sounding brighter and crisper. But is that really a reason to prefer one over the other? Let me know in the comments if you have any thoughts.
There are no fewer than three acts with multiple new entries on the singles chart this week, although only two of them are due to brand-new albums. The exception is Central Cee who released EP No More Leaks this week and whose tracks all make an impact. One Up leads the charge at No.17, with Chapters rather lower down at No.69.
The other multi-hit acts are naturally a product of albums chart races. No.1 on the long players countdown this week are The 1975 who maintain their 100% career strike rate as their fifth album Being Funny In A Foreign Language follows the previous four to the very summit. The current holders of the "most hits without a Top 10 single" record have an impressive number of singles chart hits to accompany the album, indicating that despite their status as a jangling indie-pop band they command their fair share of streaming attention too. The new album hands them a new entry at No.29 with Oh Caroline while previous single I'm In Love With You re-enters the chart at No.34 after having previously also made No.29 back in September. Their final permitted chart cut is Happiness which lands at No.49, the two new arrivals taking their tally of Top 75 hits to 27. 2020's If You're Too Shy (Let Me Know) is the biggest of all of these, peaking at No.14.
No.2 on the albums chart are Red Hot Chili Peppers with Return Of The Dream Canteen, but just a pace behind is the streaming champion of the week. Rapper Lil Baby lands at No.3 with It's Only Me which not only becomes his highest charting album to date but also adds to his large tally of chart singles. Hence you will find him this week at No.26 with California Breeze, No.36 with Real Spill, and No.43 with Forever.
Bigger Than Little
Entertainingly (and perhaps confusingly) he is not the only "Lil" performer to enter the Top 40 this week. New at No.30 is the man with the (sometime) multicoloured dreads Lil Yachty, his new single Poland only the fourth British chart single of his career and his first since 2020. It is agonisingly one place short of becoming his biggest, beaten out only by the eventual No.29 peak of the Charli XCX single After The Afterparty on which he featured and which enjoyed an extended chart run at the very start of 2017.
Carry Me Home
For those who haven't been following the soap opera of Blink-182 allow me to recap. After reuniting in 2009 following a hiatus largely due to Travis Barker's plane crash the band quickly discovered their relationship had turned dysfunctional. This was largely due to the erratic commitment of co-lead singer Tom DeLonge, resulting in his departure from the group prior to the recording of their seventh album. In his place came former Alkaline Trio singer Matt Skiba with whom they recorded two albums - 2016's California and 2019's Nine. But following the cancer battle of bassist (and other singer) Mark Hoppus it appears all parties had a change of heart, Skiba is amicably no longer part of the project and DeLonge is back in the fold. The resultant attention has had an extraordinary effect on the band's chart fortunes. The result is this week's No.31 entry for brand new single Edging which incredibly becomes their first Top 40 single in 18 years - their biggest hit since Not Now made No.30 in December 2005. There's a question of just how relevant they are still, given their music has had to change to reflect their status as grizzled middle-aged men rather than the youthful skate-punks singing songs about a joyous lack of maturity. But even in an age when old rock bands never die but just carry on and on, this is a quite notable singles chart comeback.
Next week is new Taylor Swift week. Be ready.