On A Promise
We need a good name for these kinds of periods. Those times when the very top end of the singles market settles into a position of comfortable familiarity. The big hits of today are the big hits of yesterday and to all intents and purposes, everyone is fairly cool with that.
The reason for my musings is the sight of an all-static Top 4 on the Official UK Singles chart. Calvin and Sam spend a third week at Number One with Promises, whilst in turn, the single they deposed, Eastside, remains happily stuck at Number 2 for a third week of its own. Impressively Kanye West and Lil Pump's I Love It proves it was no one-week novelty wonder and holds firm at Number 3, leaving Loud Luxury and Brando to lodge at 4 for the second week running with Body. See what I mean? Comfortable. No sensation.
Yet this is another of those weeks where you get the feeling something is just around the corner to shake things up. Promises is comfortable at the top of the charts, but unlike so many others during the course of this year, not so far in front of the market you feel it is trapped there until ACR kicks in. The track is doing just shy of half a million a day on Spotify, but then again so are several other singles. This week Promises is Number One by a margin of 6,000 chart sales - way down on the 8,000+ lead it enjoyed last week. 6.8m streams last week equates to 46,000 chart sales - a conversion ratio of 148:1 which implies a fairly even split between paid and free streams.
Number 2 single Eastside is staring down the barrel of a removal though. It slides in sales for the second week running in what is now its tenth week on the chart. One more and it is moved to ACR, bringing its career near the top of the charts to a premature end.
A little lower down there is at least the pleasing sight of two singles making good on their potential and reaching the Top 10 with consummate ease. In My Mind from Dynoro and Gigi D'Agostino appeared to have stalled in place inside the Top 20 in the last few weeks, shifting 15-16-14 in a manner which suggested it had reached a streaming peak and was determined to remain there. This week it finally appears to have taken off properly and climbs to Number 8, although I'm at a slight loss to explain exactly where the extra chart sales have come from. Whilst it rises the sales chart slightly, its streams have largely remained static overall. The track may well even be held back a little by the continuing lack of an official video, although there remains an "official audio" upload on YouTube whose plays count towards the charts as if it had visuals attached.
Also coming good is Silk City's Electricity which wastes little time in reaching the Top 10, climbing five places from its chart entry point last week to sit at Number 10. That's sufficient to allow Dua Lipa to claim a sixth Top 10 hit single and indeed her fourth in a row. All six have come in a little over a year and a half, starting with the Sean Paul single No Lie (on which she sang) and her own Be The One which both reached the Top 10 almost simultaneously in early 2017. Her run of four in a row stretches back to last summer - New Rules, IDGAF and One Kiss the other smash hits in her record.
Conspicuous by its absence from the Top 10 (if only because I keep calling attention to it) is Jess Glynne's All I Am which holds firm at Number 11 for a second week. Why does it matter that she reaches the Top 10? Because that way she will continue what is almost a 100% success rate, reaching the upper end of the charts with every single she has been associated with. I say "almost" because there's a couple of flies in the ointment. She received a credit for her vocals on Yungen's Mind On It which crashed out at Number 47 back in March to make it the first true flop of her career so far. There is also a pair of album cuts Ain't Got Far To Go and Why Me which graced the lower end of the Top 75 in August 2015, but we can write them off as footnotes. All I Am is her single, and a fully promoted official one to boot. And that's why it matters that it goes Top 10, instead of spending the last five weeks marooned inside the Top 20.
Devil In The Details
The highest climber of the week is a single which I had to all intents and purposes written off as a passing novelty. But no, after entering last week at Number 31, Machine Gun Kelly's Rap Devil rockets up the charts to sit at Number 15, surpassing even the Number 16 peak of Bad Things to become his highest charting single to date. This despite much comment online about how audiences don't really appear to be buying into his feud with Eminem, concertgoers declining to co-operate with his requests to give the finger to Shady when he performs the track. In theory, the single should have been joined on the singles chart by Eminem's last-minute riposte Killshot which he released unannounced last week. That track was the 11th most-purchased of the week, and despite poor streams (although they too are growing) should theoretically have done enough to make the charts. Except that it can't chart, because his own trio of hits from the Kamikaze album are charting higher. It makes no difference that Killshot is a one-off release and does not feature on the album. It would be his fourth hit single as primary artist and so instead is starred out between 20 and 21.
After dipping back to Number 23 last week, David Guetta's Don’t Leave Me Alone (with Anne-Marie in tow) rebounds to reach a new peak of Number 18. This rise isn't entirely spontaneous, coinciding as it does with the arrival of Guetta's new album 7 which after a frantic week for new releases is one of four new entries to the Top 10 of the album chart and sits at Number 9. This is also almost certainly behind the 80-73 climb for previous single Flames. With both of these singles on the chart there should be room for just one more cut from the album to register a Top 100 presence - Say My Name featuring Bebe Rexha and J Balvin which enters at Number 91. However there's a twist in the tale here and Guetta actually manages to sneak in a fourth chart hit from his album - as I'll explain shortly.
Rap God vs Mod God
At the top end of the album chart, the most intriguing battle of the week was between Eminem and Paul Weller, the latter hoping to land himself a Number One album for the first time since 2012. Sadly he fell just short - by the order of some 5,000 chart sales apparently - and so True Meanings enters at Number 2, matching the peak of his 2015 album Saturns Pattern. Just like the Eminem/McCartney battle last week, the split in formats is marked. Weller's is far and away the most-purchased physical album of the week. Eminem's popularity remains entirely digital.
At the age of 60, Weller is very much a chart veteran, although the album chart this week also hosts new entries for new recordings from Richard Thompson (69), Jean-Michel Jarre (70), but most impressively of all the 92-year-old Tony Bennett. His album of duets with Diana Krall Love Is Here To Stay enters at Number 33, further extending his own record for being the oldest man to chart at Top 40 album. He first set that back in 2014 when at the age of 88 he collaborated with Lady Gaga on Cheek To Cheek which charted as high as Number 10.
Back to the singles chart, and there's an enormously significant moment at Number 20. A two-place climb for a single which has been around for a couple of months already may not seem like much, but it is enough to lift High Hopes from Panic! At The Disco into the Top 20 for the first time since March 2008. Nine In The Afternoon was their last single to climb this high, that track peaking at Number 18. Countless acts have returned to the upper end of the charts after long absences in the past, but the overwhelming majority of them do so following either a re-formation or because of a re-release of an older hit. Panic! At The Disco fall into that extraordinary category of acts who have gone a decade between Top 20 hit singles despite remaining a fully active recording act during the whole of that period.
The only other comparable chart feats came in the 1980s. First The Four Tops returned to the charts in 1981 with Number 3 hit When She Was My Girl, just a shade under nine years after Keeper Of The Castle had become their last Top 20 hit. In the meantime, they'd released six different albums and only enjoyed one other chart single. Two years later The Kinks returned to the Top 20 with Come Dancing, the single their first such release since Supersonic Rocket Ship reached Number 16 in May 1972. Once again, they had never split up or taken a hiatus. Ray Davies' men had simply slogged away for a decade in between hit singles. Just as Panic! At The Disco have managed this week.
Your Mum's Favourites
Dean Lewis continues to climb a few rungs at a time, Be Alright rising 27-22 this week. Rather intriguingly this rise is thanks to a surge in his paid-for sales which sees the single shoot 75-27 on the old-fashioned sales table. The fact that even this huge leap is only good for a five-place climb on the full chart should give you a large clue as to just how low the margin is between 75 and 27 on the sales listing.
Rather more reliant on sales is Freya Ridings who also continues to climb slowly but surely, one place to Number 25 this week with Lost Without You. Her chart run comes almost entirely on the back of paid-for sales, where the single this week registers a brand new high of Number 8 on the old school singles chart. Her streams aren't quite as spectacular, and Lost Without You is a mere 53 on that table. And that means that sadly, for now, she is stranded outside the Top 20.
Con Ti Patiro
None of the brand new releases of the week have managed to reach the Top 40 (the singles chart's highest new entry this week is Better from Khalid at Number 44) but there is at least room for two hits to break the surface. Both are what you might regard as superstar ensembles.
At Number 33 is Goodbye, the brand new single from a returning Jason Derulo, looking to bounce back after his last single Colours could only reach Number 64 back in the summer. Presumably intended to feature on Derulo's vaguely announced but still to be released 2 Sides album, Goodbye is also the work of no less a figure than David Guetta, who here gets an "x" credit which generally implies the two artists have equal weight. Vocals on the track are augmented by both Nicki Minaj and Willy William making in all for a rather convoluted artist credit of "Jason Derulo x David Guetta featuring Nicki Minaj and Willy William". Goodbye is also magically the fourth cut from Guetta's own 7 album to take pride of place on the singles chart this week. You will note that as he's not the primary artist, this doesn't impact on the three hits the Frenchman has under his own name this week, meaning that Guetta's album manages what should be impossible and has four different cuts on the singles chart at the same time. Onto Goodbye itself, and the most intriguing part of it is the way the main hook is a clever reworking of the chorus melody of Time To Say Goodbye. One of the more celebrated classical/pop crossovers of the 1990s, the original was a smash and perhaps rather surprising Number 2 hit for Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli back in 1997.
All About That X
There's a multi-artist collaboration at Number 37 too, in the shape of a single I briefly flagged up last week. Just Got Paid sees the reunion of Sigala and Ella Eyre on record, following on from their collaboration on Came Here For Love which reached Number 6 last year. However, this time around the pair are joined by the unlikely pairing of both Meghan Trainor and French Montana. After several flops, this returns Trainor to the Top 40 for the first time since No reached Number 11 in April 2016. Like the Derulo/Guetta single, the credits for this tie themselves in knots over how to weight people. Whilst she merely "featured" in Came Here For Love, on Just Got Paid Ella Eyre gets an "x", but then so does Meghan Trainor. Montana's agent isn't quite as skilled, so he's just here as a feature. Meaning the single is officially credited to "Sigala x Ella Eyre x Meghan Trainor featuring French Montana". Frankly, I'm starting to relate to Diplo's fondness for group pseudonyms. Anyway, the music. Just Got Paid is as magnificent as its pedigree would lead you to believe. Because Sigala has never made a bad record, Ella Eyre always enhances them, and the addition of Trainor is an incredibly fun bonus. French Montana? Well, he just "features", so you can take or leave him. We're still awaiting the release of a proper video. When that arrives this track will be unstoppable.