Kisses Of Fire
Lodged at the summit of both sales and streaming tables, once again this week it is with a sense of inevitability that I report that One Kiss from Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa is top of the Official UK Singles chart for a fourth straight week. That is enough to equal the chart-topping run enjoyed by Calvin's first ever Number One hit single Dance Wiv Me from the summer of 2008 as his longest ever continuous stay at the top of the charts. His all-time record does, however, remain the six weeks total clocked up by We Found Love back in 2011 which did so in two batches of three.
Whilst four weeks isn't a huge length of time in the context of some stays at Number One we've seen of late, One Kiss is still starting to display signs of being another of those singles which becomes, shall we say, stranded at the top of the charts simply because of the huge numbers of streams (and also in this case) sales which it is consistently able to command. Whilst singles with a colossal lead over the rest of the market are nothing new, 20 years ago such recordings would be unable to sustain that kind of level for an extended period and would frequently clock up a huge sale in Week 1 only to be eclipsed the next. The streaming era seems to be throwing up singles which race away into the distance and which can literally go months without being caught.
As for this week's numbers, One Kiss enjoyed over 8.1m streams and almost 18,000 paid-for sales, the latter a total equating to more or less the same lead it commands over the Number 2 single which is itself the largest gap between 1 and 2 we have seen so far in 2018.
The Number 2 single is, in fact, a former Number One, Drake's Nice For What climbing back into second place after the Ariana Grande single slips back. Indeed there is an oddly familiar look about the entire Top 10 this week, with the singles at numbers 1, 4, 5 and 7 all holding firm and everyone else rearranging themselves a little. Not one single, not even the hottest new releases of the week can penetrate the upper reaches.
That does mean for the moment there's no Top 10 berth available for David Guetta and Sia with Flames, but for the second week running the single is the highest climber within the Top 40, jumping 8 places to end up knocking on the door at Number 11. Flames is one of no less than three singles to credit the Frenchman on the Top 40 this week, although as only two of them are as the primary artist he still has room for one more. The simultaneously released Like I Do (featuring Martin Garrix and Brooks) dips to Number 32, as does the Sean Paul single Mad Love on which he is credited - that takes a small plunge to Number 29 after having apparently peaked at Number 22 a fortnight ago.
Nothing Childish About It
Childish Gambino is the creation of 34-year-old actor Donald Glover, an alter-ego which has allowed him to enjoy a musical career entirely parallel with acting roles in series such as "Community" and "Atlanta". His three albums to date have netted him seven Grammy nominations and four further MTV VMA nominations. Yet until now, he has remained largely unknown to British audiences. This is in spite of the worldwide acclaim he received for 2016 single Redbone, to date his highest charting single on the Hot 100 in America. The track was released and promoted here but bombed out at Number 51 this time last year. It means that to date the highest profile Childish Gambino appearance has been his one-shot cameo on the Leona Lewis track Trouble, which reached Number 7 in October 2012.
Glover has indicated that he feels the character has run its course and intends to retire him after one more album. Ironically only now that he is about to enjoy what is surely going to turn out to be his biggest hit ever. Released a day later than most other singles this week, appearing on Saturday lunchtime, This Is America nonetheless charges into the chart to become the highest new entry of the week, at a stroke, making an impressive Number 14.
The reasons for this are twofold. On the surface, This Is America is an intriguing rap hit, a piece of music which veers in several different directions ranging from African, gospel and good old fashioned trap hip-hop. It is a compelling listen even without any visuals. But the real attention is focused on the biggest viral hit of the week, the accompanying video which is bursting with visual references and hidden meanings, often several in each show. It only serves to hammer home the track's core message about gun violence, racism and the current issues faced by black culture. This Is America is a major, provocative, artistic statement and one which sails dangerously close to being genius. And it means Childish Gambino lands his first ever major British hit single, one which should almost certainly break up the stagnancy of the Top 10 in short order.
Take My Hand
When Rudimental's These Days was enjoying its extended run just short of the Number One position a couple of months ago, I noted that the most significant aspect of its sales and streams success was to thrust guest singer Jess Glynne back into public consciousness. It has been well over two years since the record-breaking British star released a single, two years during which the world of popular music has moved on at a frantic pace. During her imperial phase of 2015, it appeared she could do no wrong, notching up three Number One hits during the course of that year alone. But time out of the spotlight means the memories had faded and her name value alone may not have been enough to ensure that a second album (when it arrived) would be the instant success of her first. That's why These Days was so important. Because it means we aren't just talking this week about the return of someone whose biggest hits were half a decade ago. We are talking about a lady who has already performed on one of the biggest hits of 2018.
The first single from her forthcoming second album is I'll Be There which slams with some satisfaction into the charts at Number 16 as the second biggest new hit of the week. Since she's been away little has changed in her act, but then again it was pretty perfect to begin with. Everything is present and correct here. Her voice warbles just as it did, the production is immaculate and I'll Be There is a fun and enjoyable pop record and one which topically enough has more than a hint of country about it. With the exception of two album cuts from August 2015, every one of Jess Glynne's hits as a lead artist have reached the Top 10. Be in no doubt about where this one is heading too.
Pick Your Damn Clothes Up
Liam Payne's fifth solo chart hit first entered the Top 40 a fortnight ago but last week only managed a three place climb. The release of the track's video finally kicks it into life, however, as Familiar starts to take off and moves up six places to Number 25 this week. The track continues the trend of the One Direction man teaming up with others, with only one of his releases to date being a 'true' solo hit. Familiar features the dulcet tones of J Balvin, he of Mi Gente fame and who is presently enjoying two simultaneous chart hits thanks to his presence also on Cardi B's I Like It which slips to Number 17 this week. Back to Liam, and he of course is coming off the back of the slow-burning Fifty Shades soundtrack hit For You which still refuses to leave many radio playlists, despite having long tumbled down the charts after peaking at Number 8 earlier in the spring.
Still Me Guys
In other news, the sun rose this morning so it is with a similar sense of inevitability that I report that The Greatest Showman original cast recording is once more Number One on the Official UK Albums chart. Climbing back to recover the crown it last occupied a fortnight ago, this is now the album's 15 week in total at Number One. That is now just three short of the 18 weeks clocked up by the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack in 1978 which for now remains the most successful movie soundtrack of the modern era. I say "modern era" because as any student of chart history knows, the early years of the albums chart were dominated not so much by rock albums but by the cast recordings of two other massive movie musicals. South Pacific spent a phenomenal 115 weeks at Number One between 1958 and 1961 whilst The Sound Of Music spent 70 weeks at the summit, mostly in 1965 and 1966. Something tells me the Saturday Night Fever record is the one which is going to be easier to equal.
Wasted On The Youth
Shawn Mendes third studio album is but weeks away from release, and so hard on the heels of the double-release of the singles In My Blood and Lost In Japan he this week dropped another teaser track from the collection. Youth enters at Number 35 this week, but I suspect it will be regarded as little more than a promotional release. The single does, however, hand Khalid a second Top 40 hit of the moment, to sit alongside Love Lies which continues its steady progress up the charts, edging up to Number 13 as one of a number of hits hammering fruitlessly on the door of the Top 10.
There are also Top 40 debuts this week for two singles which have been awaiting their moment to step into the spotlight for a couple of months now. First Time by M-22 featuring Medina slides in at Number 36, whilst four places below there is a long-overdue appearance for Man Down which hands up and coming producer and performer Shakka his first ever major chart hit. The single also marks a chart return for synthpop duo AlunaGeorge, this their first chart credit since their own I'm In Control reached Number 39 almost exactly two years ago. The pair are best known for their appearance on the Disclosure single White Noise which reached Number 2 back in 2013.
Got Your Numbers
Shall we end this week on some stats? The number of paid-for singles dipped below a million for the third time in the last five months, but streaming numbers reached another all-time high. This helped to secure a larger than usual jump in the record books, as streams this week accounted for a massive 94.49% of the total singles market. This week two years ago the total was 81.37% (with paid-for sales hovering around 2 million). A year earlier the split was as low as 64.06%.