Hand Of God
I told you last week this was going to happen.
For only the second time since the rule was introduced last July, the Accelerated Chart Ratio rule - the halving in value of the streams of an old and declining track - directly impacts the incumbent Number One single. Last summer the fate of Luis Fonsi's Despacito was to fall down the charts a single place, only to turn around and stick two fingers up at the rules by climbing back to the top of the charts again anyway. God's Plan by Drake isn't quite so lucky, for whilst the extensive lead it had in the streaming market was enough to sustain it at the top of the charts for several weeks after its paid-for sales had died away, halving them in value relegates the single to little more than a chart also-ran. Early midweek figures suggested the single was destined for an alarming drop out of the Top 10 altogether, which would have been history-making in its own right. In the event, however, the single "only" falls nine places, dipping 1-10 to become by my reckoning the first single to make that specific chart move since the 2005 reissue of Jailhouse Rock by Elvis Presley also enjoyed a nine place fall from the top of the charts in January that year. [Even people on Twitter were misinformed - She Looks So Perfect by 5 Seconds Of Summer enjoyed a 1-10 dip in 2014].
Fascinatingly it still wasn't that clear-cut. Had the rule not applied this week, God's Plan would indeed have remained Number One for a tenth week, but its lead would have been a mere 51 chart sales - even fewer than the 937 sales gap which we were all going "wow" over a fortnight ago.
Whatever the grumbles over the circumstances of this chart change (and yes, amongst the assembled chart nerds there will doubtless be plenty) this has opened the door to not only a new Number One single but one which itself sets a fascinating number of chart benchmarks.
The single in question is These Days by Rudimental and cast - of whom more in a moment. The single's rise to Number One comes after what in any terms would be considered an epic seven consecutive weeks waiting in the wings at Number 2. It is a display of patience matched by only two other singles in chart history, neither of them dating from what we might regard as the rock and roll era: Little Things Mean A Lot by Kitty Kallen which enjoyed seven non-consecutive weeks at Number 2 before topping the charts in September 1954, and You Belong To Me by Jo Stafford which is both the only single ever to spend eight weeks (seven consecutive) as a runner-up prior to topping the charts but also the only single in chart history to enjoy nine weeks in total at Number 2.
For Rudimental this is finally a third Number One hit single, one which arrives just three weeks short of five years since their previous chart-topper Waiting All Night entered the charts at the summit. Since then they have had one other near-miss, the Ed Sheeran-sung Bloodstream having peaked at Number 2 in April 2015. It has also been a five year wait for a return to the top of the charts for the single's guest star Macklemore, These Days finally returning him to the chart summit for the first time since Thrift Shop gave him and former partner Ryan Lewis a Number One single in February 2013.
Both of those statistics pale into insignificance behind what this does for Jess Glynne's chart records. Her first Number One single since 2015 hit Don't Be So Hard On Yourself, this is now the sixth Number One single on which she has been credited with lead vocals - two of the others solo and the rest as the invited guest of Clean Bandit, Route 94 and Tinie Tempah respectively. That's enough to surpass the total of five Number One singles enjoyed by Cheryl Tweedy/Cole/Nosurname to make Jess Glynne the most successful solo (ie not a group member) British female in chart history. Only three other international stars can better that total of six Number One hits. Madonna has 13 to her name, Rihanna 9 and Kylie Minogue 7.
As I noted when These Days first became a chart hit, for all her success in 2014 and 2015 Jess Glynne's extended absence from music since then meant that she faced something of a rebuilding job to remind people just why she is such a big deal when the time came to relaunch her with a second album. Appearing on the Rudimental single has essentially just handed her a gift-wrapped comeback. No longer is she "Jess Glynne, singer of some hits from a few years back". No, she's "Jess Glynne, singer of Rudimental's massive Number One smash hit These Days". And in marketing terms, that's worth its weight in gold.
It would be wrong to overlook the final credited artist on These Days, British neo-soul singer Dan Caplen who has been active since 2016 and indeed featured on a handful of tracks on Macklemore's Gemini album last year. Devoid of chart hits until now, however, you suspect this single will also help springboard him to mainstream attention. Even if he is rather lost in the mix next to his two rather more well-known co-stars.
Oh yes, and in case you are wondering, despite itself now being 10 weeks old These Days isn't in line for a move to ACR of its own just yet, this week rising in sales from 42,000 to just over 43,000. That is enough to reset the clock, and given the extra exposure afforded to the single by a rise to Number One, you suspect it will be some weeks yet before the track moves into the kind of terminal decline which sees it nudged out of the way.
Listen To The Man That's Loving You
There's a changing of the guard at the top of the Official UK Albums chart too, the 11 week run of The Greatest Showman finally coming to an end at the hands of George Ezra. His eagerly-awaited second album Staying At Tamara's flies into the top of the charts with the fastest opening week sale of any release so far in 2018, the collection shifting 63,000 copies during the course of last week. It means he now has two Number One records to his name, his million-selling debut Wanted On Voyage having climbed to the top back in 2014.
The arrival of the album gives a boost to its hit single Paradise which also takes advantage of the vacuum at the top of the charts to climb three places to Number 2. That's enough to make it the British star's highest charting single to date, eclipsing the Number 3 peak of Budapest in 2014. Paradise is joined on the singles chart by Shotgun at Number 35 and Pretty Shining People at Number 54. Amusingly both cuts have out-streamed the album's first single Don't Matter Now which limped to Number 66 in July last year.
It seems an obvious point to make, but it is still worth noting that George Ezra's album is a long way from being the biggest selling album of any kind this week. That honour goes to the debuting Now! That's What I Call Music: Volume 99 which tops the compilations chart with a sale which we are told exceeds the other 75 biggest selling compilations altogether. Nonetheless, in another interesting sign of the times, the collection's total sale this week of 115,000 are the lowest opening week any volume in the series has enjoyed since Now! 33 opened with 75,000 sales back in 1996.
Two other Top 10 singles suffer ACR-induced drops this week with Dua Lipa's IDGAF tumbling 6-17 and Kendrick Lamar's All The Stars dimming 10-25. That leaves room for singles to replace them, so step forward Lil Dicky and Chris Brown with the still gut-wrenchingly funny Freaky Friday which soars 16-5 and moves beyond the realm of novelty to become a certified smash hit. The other vacant space in the Top 10 is pleasingly filled by Sigala & Paloma Faith with Lullaby, the track climbing 13-9 to become Sigala's sixth Top 10 hit single and what is only the fourth for his invited guest singer, her first since Changing back in 2014.
The failure of God's Plan to exit the Top 10 as expected leaves Bebe Rexha and Florida Georgia Line hammering on the door, for now, Meant To Be stuck with a single place rise to Number 11.
Don't Hold Him Back
Just for a change, the most talked-about new release of the week ended up being the biggest new hit of the week. Or should that be hits plural? Following up smash 2017 single There's Nothing Holding Me Back (which peaked at Number 4 during an 8-week Top 10 run) is Canadian singer Shawn Mendes. His tactic was to release two singles in quick succession at the end of last week, with In My Blood creeping out worldwide during the course of Thursday and its companion Lost In Japan just under 24 hours later. Both wind up as the two biggest new entries on the Official UK Singles chart this week.
Leading the way in terms of airplay, reception and as it turns out stream and sales is the lead track In My Blood, a hit which does everything we have come to expect of a Shawn Mendes single. Whilst it cannot quite equal the first week success of its predecessor the single does at least make a strong debut at Number 13, this enough for now to rank as his sixth Top 20 chart single (counting his appearance on The Vamps' Oh Cecilia on which he made his chart debut back in 2014). Twin track Lost In Japan fares slightly less well, although its own popularity is more than enough to see it land at Number 30.
Caught In The Crossfire
It isn't a new entry, by any means, but there's one other Top 40 hit this week which is perhaps worthier of more attention than we have paid it so far. It has been mentioned in dispatches as the second of two current hit singles featuring the vocals of Florida Georgia Line, but the chart journey to date of Hailee Steinfeld and Alesso's Let Me Go is nothing less than intriguing. The single holds firm this week at Number 32 in what is now its eighth straight week as a Top 40 single. During the course of those two months it has never once climbed higher than Number 30, a peak it scaled six weeks ago. This is all part of an extended singles chart run which actually began way back in November last year when the track was first released. Although it temporarily vanished from view in late December when the Christmas hits invaded the charts, Let Me Go has been charging continuously ever since with this week now its 23rd week as a Top 100 chart single. In truth, that puts even the slow and steady chart run of Feel It Still into an entirely new perspective. You cannot rule out the possibility of the single becoming a larger hit, especially with the Florida Georgia Line connection, but the label must surely be wondering what else they have do to get it to spring into life.