Change The Record
Yes, you are bored of it, I'm bored of it, I'm sure plenty of others must be too. But the main point is that the people who matter - those who stream and the tiny handful who still buy music are not bored of it, as once again they make Despacito by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee (with Justin Bieber assisting) the Number One single in the UK for a ninth non-consecutive week. It is not as if one-half of the market can be blamed for propping up the other one either, the single remains dominant regardless of whether you are tracking single purchases or downloads and is top of both tables this week by some comfortable distance. Overall chart sales of the single are slipping, that is hard to deny, yet its combined sale of 72,617 copies is still higher than the 71,925 copies the single registered in its first week at the top of the charts ten weeks ago. This remains a phenomenally popular pop record.
For those wondering, for the moment Despacito still doesn't qualify for the Accelerated Streaming Ratio as despite the single being more than 10 weeks old and in decline for three weeks, the first of those was a decline less than the market overall, which had the effect of resetting the clock. Hence that total of 72,617 copies includes 6.7m streams calculated on a 1:150 ratio to add 45,041 sales to its chart total. And yes, that does mean the biggest selling single of the week still only sold 27,000 purchased copies which in historical terms is absolutely nothing. If it helps though, the week on week decline in sales of Despacito was 7% this week, sagging more than the overall market which only declined by 1.3% week on week. So the clock is indeed ticking on its time at the top, making next week's chart race a fascinating one indeed.
Enough chewing on numbers, let's note a few other chart facts. Despacito is now only the 20th single in chart history to clock up as many as nine weeks at the top of the Official UK Singles chart, an honour only slightly dented by the fact it is no less than the fourth single to do so in the last 12 months. In its second run at the top, following the week's hiatus whilst the Artists For Grenfell single took its place at the summit, Despacito has been Number One for the last three weeks, matching spookily enough the latter half of the chart run of Justin Bieber's own Love Yourself which spent three weeks in its second spell at the top in January 2016. This week takes Justin Bieber's total number of weeks at Number One to 28, now four more than his nearest 21st-century rival Rihanna who can 'only' boast 24.
Oh, who are we trying to kid? Nine of the last ten weeks it may well have spent at the top, but Despacito remains a quite mesmerising record. And a reminder too, it is 90% in Spanish. Far and away the most successful foreign language hit single this country has ever known. Still very much worth celebrating, even if there is still no 'official' version of the video which features Bieber's added contribution. It still cracks me up to see the version being spun on TV jukebox channels with Bieber footage edited in ham-fistedly from an entirely different shoot altogether.
This Is What You Came For
New rules notwithstanding, the whole of the Top 10 still retains an eerie calm to it, the entire Top 3 remaining static as if glued together by an unbreakable both. Hence the highest charting upward mover is Calvin Harris' Feels which makes another two-place climb to Number 4 this week. That's enough to make it Harris' biggest hit single since My Way also hit Number 4 in September last year. Feels now takes over as the biggest chart hit Big Sean has ever been involved with, eclipsing the Number 5 peak of Jessie J's Wild from 2013 to which he also contributed some guest vocals. The continuing good form of Calvin Harris' album has had a beneficial effect on his last major hit single of note Slide which reverses its own slide with a 33-21 leap to become rather startlingly the highest climber within the Top 40 this week, this now the single's highest chart placing since May 4th.
The only new Top 10 arrival is Came Here For Love from Sigala and Ella Eyre which makes a 12-6 jump, giving Sigala his fifth Top 10 hit single and Ella Eyre only her third - this now her first single to reach the upper reaches since her turn on DJ Fresh's Gravity made Number 4 in February 2015.
Entering the Top 20 as was widely expected is Rudimental's collaboration with James Arthur on Sun Comes Up which moves 24-18, but it is closely followed by Major Lazer's Know No Better which similarly climbs 26-19. One of the three guest performers on the single is Camila Cabello who thus can boast two Top 20 hits side by side with her own Crying In The Club also on the move, rising 16-14. The single also features a guest turn from Quavo but who for whatever reason does not receive a chart credit of his own. This is thus his third simultaneous Top 20 hit single of the moment, thanks also to his presence on Liam Payne's Strip That Down at Number 7 and the still apparently evergreen I'm The One from DJ Khaled which loiters down one place at Number 12.
How Low Can You Get
Speaking of Liam Payne, by a strange coincidence he pops up once more on what is now his second hit single of the moment - this time with a guest turn on the new single from a returning Zedd. Their collaboration Get Low has the honour of becoming the highest new entry of the week, slipping in nicely at Number 26 - by a cute coincidence one place below his sometime 1D bandmate Niall Horan whose Slow Hands is at Number 25. This is Zedd's second chart hit of the year, following on from the memorable Stay which peaked at Number 8 back in April.
There will be more than a few people welcoming the return of Ke$ha to the UK singles chart this week, her brand new single Praying making a respectable chart debut at Number 30 as the second biggest new hit of the week. Absent from the recording studio on her own terms since 2013, she has ever since been embroiled in a dispute with producer and label boss Dr Luke, one which has seen her generate more than her fair share of unfortunate headlines and quite clearly taken a large personal toll on her. Whilst she, for now, may still be unable to extricate herself from Kemosabe Records, she has elected to move forward with her own career and it is hard not to view Praying as the first statement in seems destined to be a very personal collection of songs which will make up her forthcoming new album. Gone for now is the bright and bubbly party vibe of past hits such as Tik Tok and We R Who We R. Instead this new single, co-written and produced by Ryan Lewis, is a stark, haunting and confessional ballad, a plea for peace and forgiveness with a central message of "I'm proud of who I am" and "the best is yet to come". Be under no illusion this is her personal coming out of the dark moment and it will capture attention on that basis alone. Whether strong sales and streams will result is still open to question of course. For now, it is Ke$ha's first Top 40 single as a lead artist since Crazy Kids made Number 27 in June 2013 and her first major chart single of any note since she guested on Pitbull's Number One hit Timber at the start of 2014.
There was an intriguing battle taking place over on the Official UK Albums chart this week, a three-way tussle for top honours which perhaps surprisingly was resolved in the end in favour of the incumbent. Ed Sheeran's Divide is still the biggest album of the moment, this week enjoying its 14th total week at Number One, now one more than its predecessor X managed following its 2014 release. It means HAIM have to settle for second place with Something To Tell You whilst Jay-Z's much talked-of 4:44 creeps in at Number 3.
It is the Jay-Z album which is most fascinating, either his 13th or 14th album depending on how you count them, it charts a week after it was technically first released following a week as (what else?) a Tidal exclusive. It takes the recording career of the rapper and mogul into a third decade, his very first work Reasonable Doubt having been released in June 1996. Intriguingly he seems to have moved into the realm of being a mature artist appealing to a predominantly album buying market for whilst the collection spawns the three single hits it is entitled to, they are all only minor chart entries. The title track leads the way at a lowly Number 73, The Story Of OJ hits at Number 88 with Bam bringing up the rear at Number 93. Aside from the Watch The Throne collaborations with Kanye West in 2011 and 2012, Jay-Z's last singles chart hit of note as a lead artist was as long ago as 2009 when Young Forever reached Number 10.
I cannot finish this week without noting the progress of the ever so important Olly Murs/Louisa Johnson duet Unpredictable as flagged up over the past few columns. Make that lack of progress though, the track dipping this week to Number 35. Continue to keep a close eye on how much of a push the single continues to receive because the last thing anyone wants is another underperforming Louisa Johnson single.
You suspect better things are in store for another former Olly Murs collaborator. Demi Lovato's much-heralded new single Sorry Not Sorry was given a midweek release and so was always going to struggle to make much of an impact. The track lands at Number 69 but should be flying towards the Top 40 this time next week.