Chart Watch UK exists thanks to two things. My own enthusiasm for the topic, and the generous support of its fans. The two naturally increase in step with one another. You can help support the site either with a regular pledge or a one-off donation to the author's coffee fund. Select either of the two links below. If you click either of them I might even update this text next week and surprise you all.
Chart That Counts
A rather curious announcement came from both the BBC and the Official Charts Company midweek, unveiling plans for a new Sunday evening chart show (of sorts) on Radio One. "The Official Chart: First Look" is effectively going to replace the existing Monday evening midweek update, moving the first glimpse of the way the singles market is shaping up forward a full 24 hours. I suspect this drive comes from Radio One who have struggled to find something to replace the proper chart show in that Sunday evening slot since the move to a Friday chart reveal four years ago. But it will still make for an odd listen. Dedicated chart watchers are only too aware that the Monday midweek update can be quite random, based as it so often is on an incomplete set of streaming data from over the weekend. Moving the update forward to Sunday night will surely only exacerbate that situation. Radio One seems intent on broadcasting an "official" chart update that will be based on, let's be charitable here, the tiniest fragments of the full picture. I can't help but think a better solution would be to move the official chart show back to its old home. The gimmick of revealing the brand new chart live on the air no longer works as a ratings booster, and I'm not sure how much of the audience listening truly care about that detail. If you want a chart show on a Sunday evening, just run the real thing in that slot. We used to listen to the old chart countdown less than 48 hours before it was superseded by an old one. Broadcasting it when it is just 48 hours old still feels like an improvement. Or maybe that's why I don't run radio stations.
Love It When You Call Me
Since the rule was first introduced exactly two years ago, no single has so far spent its entire chart life at Number One before succumbing to the enforced relegation of the Accelerated Chart Ratio. We will still have to await that moment, for this week after an epic eight-week stay during which time it has declined in chart sales every week, I Don't Care is deposed from the top of the charts. Not because of a chart rule, but simply because it was outsold by another track.
Sweeping almost majestically into pole position on the Official UK Singles Chart is Senorita from Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello, its patience after a fortnight locked in the runners' up slot duly rewarded. As Britain swelters in a heatwave and the schools prepare to break up, it seems entirely appropriate that the biggest single of the moment should be a sultry, smooth and seductive Latino track. It is like the summer of Despacito and Wild Thoughts all over again.
Senorita manages the fun trick of being the second Number One single for both performers. Canadian singer Mendes first topped the charts in early 2016 when his solo chart debut Stitches spent a fortnight at the top of the charts. Cabello can lay claim to the biggest hit so far between the pair, her track Havana enjoying a five-week run at Number One at the end of the following year.
Much of the marketing of the single seems to have hinged around the spreading of rumours that the chemistry between the pair extends further than the single and its accompanying video. Most American gossip sites are declining to bite, noting a small detail which makes the pairing (in their view) more than a little implausible.
Still Ed's World
So yes, their steady decline has indeed caught up with them and Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber slip a place on the charts to Number 2. The single is destined to fall even further next week, hitting 10 weeks old and having declined in chart sales for the past three weeks running. The relegation of its streams to ACR puts paid to any chance that I Don't Care will return to the top of the charts. Not that Ed Sheeran will mind really. He still has three of the Top 10 singles of the moment, with Beautiful People holding firm at Number 3 and Cross Me dipping to Number 8. Two more 'teaser' tracks from his new album were also released this week, but both Best Part Of Me and Blow are "starred out" of the singles chart, Ed having exceeded his three permitted singles. Although it should be noted that even if the pair had been permitted to chart they would only have reached 35 and 41 respectively.
The release of Ed's No.6 Collaborations Project does however throw up an interesting curveball for next week, because it is not beyond the realms of possibility that one or more of the cuts from the new album will enjoy enough streams to chart above the now hamstrung I Don't Care, meaning that even if it does enjoy a streaming boost from plays of the full album, the former Number One single may well itself end up briefly starred out of the chart - which let's not pretend will look a little odd.
And yet there is another twist in the tale. A minor tweak to the chart rules set to take effect next week is set to make it far easier for ACR-ed singles to reverse their enforced decline. More details on that next time around, but suffice it to say the Official Charts Company could be about to maintain their proud record of introducing new rules at the precise moment existing singles behave in a way which breaks them.
Truly A Rockstar
The emergence of Post Malone as a solo star two years ago was greeted with suggestions from cynics such as me that he had done nothing more than stolen Drake's act, adopting the same mournful tone of delivery in a pop/trap fusion as the Canadian superstar. Yet over time, the 24-year-old from New York has proved he is far more than that, producing a succession of singles which possess a wistful, fragile beauty which makes each one of them a worthwhile listen. Take his last smash hit Sunflower for instance, what should have been a throwaway contribution to the soundtrack of an animated movie that nobody cared about beyond its second week in the cinemas turned out to be one of the most enduring hits of the first half of this year. A track which spent 12 weeks in the Top 10, wrote itself into most people's hearts and which in the process almost totally eclipsed Wow, his "proper" single release and which was supposed to be the herald of a brand new album.
Not that Wow didn't do too badly itself, reaching the Top 3 ahead of Sunflower, but it came and went while the soundtrack single was enjoying its time in the sun. Post Malone essentially has some work to do to drag the project back on track. Fortunately, his new single is the perfect vehicle for this. Goodbyes is quite possibly his greatest work to date. It is an epic, sweeping mid-tempo ballad as the singer begs to be freed from the clutches of the woman he just can't bring himself to part from. Already causing a stir thanks to graphic scenes of a stabbing in the video, the track races into the chart and is this week's highest new entry at Number 5, bringing to seven the tally of Post Malone's Top 10 singles. His partner on Goodbyes (because nobody ever releases singles alone any more) is Young Thug, his reappearance on the chart is a masterpiece of timing given he was Camila Cabello's performing partner on her last Number One single Havana.
Horsey Horsey Don't Ever Stop
That is pretty much the only action of note in the Top 10 this week, which means it is worth noting the continuing presence of Lil Nas X's Old Town Road which is Number 7 for the fourth week in a row, all of which have come since it experienced its own relegation onto ACR. As one commenter noted, last week the four-month-old single was actually the most-purchased and most-streamed of the week and was only Number 7 due to the low conversion applied to those streams. It doesn't quite manage the trick this time around (Senorita easily tops both tables as a worthy Number One), but if the ACR rule had not been in place Old Town Road would this week be enjoying at the very least an unprecedented 11th week as the Number 2 single. It remains a quite extraordinarily popular hit record, as its 14 weeks (and counting) at the top of the Hot 100 in America prove.
Smoke Gets In Your Eyes
Brand new at Number 11 is rap hit So High from Birmingham performer Mist. The single cutely interpolates snatches of You're Makin' Me High, originally performed by Toni Braxton and which hit Number 7 in July 1996 - or to put it another way, just after the performer's fourth birthday. The single means Mist (real name Rhys Sylvester) becomes the latest in a long line of British rap stars to have enjoyed major chart hits this year. He first debuted just over two years ago as a featured performer on the J Hus track Fisherman, but to date, his biggest solo outing has been Game Changer which crept to Number 35 in February 2018. Guest on So High is the ubiquitous Fredo, this the performers 11th Top 75 chart entry but his highest since he accompanied Dave on the Number One single Funky Friday last October.
Beats N' Rhymes
One place below at Number 12 is AJ Tracey whose Ladbroke Grove is proving to be a welcome slow burner. 19 weeks into its chart career it reaches a brand new peak and with one more nudge could well hand him a Top 10 single as a lead performer for the first time ever.
More rap? Go on then, since you asked nicely. Brand new at Number 20 is the delicately titled Home P*ssy from D-Block Europe, this the equally cleverly rhymed follow-up to the memorable Kitchen Kings which raced to Number 16 back in February.
Making pleasing progress inside the Top 30 is Kygo's remix of Whitney Houston's Higher Love, the single climbing 36-26 in its second week on the chart. There is also a brand new peak for Miley Cyrus' Mother's Daughter which has spent the past five weeks hurtling around the lower tier of the Top 40 but which now rises 33-29 to become a Top 30 hit for the very first time. It is a single which deserves more attention than it has been paid so far, beyond the flurry of interest it generated when it was first released a month and a half ago.
All good things come to those who wait, and as it spends a second week as one of the 10 most-purchased singles of the week, Freya Ridings' Castles finally seems to have taken a hold in the streaming market and is rewarded with a jump to Number 34 to finally give the singer-songwriter a second Top 40 hit to follow Lost Without You. Castles seems to suggest her material has a tendency to lean towards sounding like Florence & The Machine - not that this is a bad thing in any sense of the word.
It Was A Set Up
At Number 36 there's an intriguing new entry for a vintage Dave track Thiago Silva. First released back in 2016, the track surfaces thanks to its high profile part of the rapper's Glastonbury set, this track the one he "spontaneously" invited a fan from the audience to perform with him, 15-year-old Alex Man instantly becoming a viral sensation by apparently knowing the lyrics to the tribute to the Brazilian footballer off by heart. Thiago Silva could well have ended up an even bigger hit than this, but with a release date of May 2016, it is agonisingly just beyond the three-year limit set by the chart rules and so is stuck on permanent ACR. The track's position at Number 17 on the overall streaming chart should clue you in as to just how high it might otherwise have been.
Are we ever going to mention fun sized rapper Lizzo as anything more than a footnote? The larger than life American first rated a mention in these pages earlier this year when her enormously appealing track Juice made heavy work of a chart climb and enjoyed a solitary week of Top 40 glory at Number 38. Her latest track Truth Hurts has endured a similar steady wait, charting at Number 67 back in May and only making the Top 50 for the first time last week in its 10th week on the chart when it came to rest at Number 42. A five-place climb means it is now her second Top 40 hit and her highest charting single to date as well. She remains criminally underrated in this country, even if Juice was actually far more fun and a far better single than this rather pedestrian offering.
A quiet week for major new albums leaves the way clear for Lewis Capaldi to return to the summit with Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent, this now the album's sixth non-consecutive week at the top of the Official UK Albums chart. He seems more than likely to relinquish that crown to Ed Sheeran next week, and it is fun to note that as if to whet people's appetite Sheeran's previous album Divide leaps back up the chart to sit at Number 9, its first appearance in the Top 10 since March. I know these 'sales' are bolstered by continual streams, but the album is still Number 30 in the old school sales table. Meaning that almost two and a half years since its release there are still people who don't own a copy and last week decided that they really fancied getting one.