Boy Tells Truth
Over 40 years. That's literally how long it has been since the UK charts saw the same Top 3 singles for five weeks running. And wouldn't you know it, we are going to have to wait just that little bit longer for it to happen again, because finally, the winds of change blow through the top end of the Official UK Singles chart.
That doesn't apply to the absolute top, naturally. Miley Cyrus remains firmly locked at No.1 with Flowers, the soon-to-be classic break-up song notably enjoying large consumption across Valentine's Day - make of that what you will. One step below remain RAYE and 070 Shake with Escapism which now spends its sixth straight (and seventh total) week at No.2 as it time and again avoids the ACR axe.
But the triopoly of the last few weeks is shattered at No.3 as Pinkpantheress takes a further step forward into the mainstream stardom her two years of quiet build were clearly always due. The combined forces of the Pt1 and Pt2 versions of Boy's A Liar take her into the Top 3 for the very first time. And regardless of what her real name may or may not be, it is a joy to see her there. I just hope celebrity is everything she wants it to be given she'd previously worked so hard to avoid it. Word is the track is set to storm the Hot 100's Top 3 in America this week after already making No.14 last time out.
Make Some Noise London
The only new arrival to the Top 10 this week is perhaps bizarrely a track that is six weeks away from celebrating its first birthday. As It Was by Harry Styles was one of many reasons the British star swept the board at the BRITs last Saturday and its reward is to be granted an ACR reset (pre-emptively you suspect given it would have qualified automatically next week anyway) and consequently surges 34-7 to enjoy a spot in the Top 10 for the first time since it first fell to ACR in August last year. Most of the surge in chart sales it did enjoy (even without the reset) were interestingly thanks to video views of the BRITs performance with which he opened the show.
There were many reasons given for moving the ceremony to a Saturday night, but one unspoken factor was surely to ensure that those records and artists given prime time television exposure were able to benefit from a near full week of subsequent chart sales, a chance for the "BRITs effect" to have more of a visibility than the ceremony's normal midweek berth has given it in recent years.
Awkwardly though you will find scant evidence that it gave a singles chart boost to any of the performing acts. Although we should note that streaming trends reward repeat consumption over a longer period rather than one-off spikes from a TV show. But still, Unholy by Sam n Kim only moves 21-20, I'm Good (Blue) by David Guetta and Bebe Rexha (Sam Ryder subbing for her on Saturday night) holds firm at No.26 and Lewis Capaldi's Forget Me makes a very fleeting shift from 44-37. And we'll gloss over the way Wet Leg were hailed as the greatest thing in the world on Saturday night (which may well be true), yet their performance of Chaise Longue complete with Morris Dancers was not enough to propel the single any higher than No.82.
Ah but James, I hear you say, surely the main aim of the BRITs was to sell albums to a Saturday night TV dinner audience. Well it kind of did. Album Of The Year Harry's House is No.2 this week (we'll come to the No.1 in due course) after jumping four places. But that's still only after a 47% week on week increase, and it still posts less than 10,000 sales this week. Similarly the performance of Wet Leg's eponymous album looks damn impressive, its consumption is up a massive 116% week on week. But as that means a change from 1,400 to approximately 3,000 to take the album to a mere No.29 that's not exactly a resounding vote of appreciation from the public at large.
Perhaps I'm expecting too much but the days of television exposure being able to move the dial in dramatic terms for pop records (the golden age of X Factor in the late 00s comes to mind) are long since gone. Several million people watched the BRITs last Saturday night but the number of people who were motivated to further engage with the music they saw and heard performed was vanishingly low.
In The End It Doesn't Really Matter
The highest new entry of the week is both brand new and a long-lost oldie. Released to celebrate a 20th anniversary re-release of their celebrated Meteora album, Lost is a previously unheard track by nu-metal pioneers Linkin Park track first recorded way back in 2002. Released for the very first time, and of course poignantly with their now-deceased frontman Chester Bennington on lead vocals, it makes a surprisingly impressive No.18, the band's first chart single of any kind since 2017 and their highest charting record since they were credited alongside Busta Rhymes on the No.10 single We Made It back in 2008. Meteora topped the charts in its first week on sale in April 2003. Start taking bets on whether it will repeat the trick upon re-release. Based on the appeal of this single, Linkin Park nostalgia is a very big deal indeed.
Strandz In The Place Where You Live
New to the Top 40 for the very first time is Croydon's own Strandz. In anticipation of the release of a new mix featuring Digga D his debut chart single Us Against The World surges to No.27 after a fortnight banging on the door.
There's more British rap at No.31 with the normally reliable Central Cee making a more understated debut than usual with his new joint Me & You.
Not An Antique In Sight
For those who prefer their underground pop with a little more, well, guitar here come Lovejoy who landed themselves five chart entries back in 2021 without ever troubling the Top 40 but now return with a new single which gives them their biggest hit so far. The band are fronted by a certain William Gold, better known to an entire generation of online streamers as Twitcher and YouTuber Wilbur Soot. Call Me What You Like enters smartly at No.32, the lead single not from a forthcoming new album but instead a planned EP called WU&IO of which it will serve as the lead track.
One other chart entry of note, and one that is possibly overdue. When I Was Your Man by Bruno Mars is of course the song that is said to have inspired Miley Cyrus' current No.1 hit. With the consequent rebound in interest this too has been granted a discretional ACR reset (as a back catalogue single it was not entitled to an automatic one) and re-enters the chart at No.50. Ten years and one week since it was first released and began a journey that would take it to an eventual No.2 peak. And a seemingly permanent place on the playlist of Magic Radio. Oh yes, we've noticed.
So what of the No.1 album? This Is Why by the sixth album from American trio Paramore, their first No.1 record in over a decade and the third of their career. It marks a comeback of sorts, their first release since After Laughter which came out in 2017.