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I Let My Guard Down And Then You Pulled The Rug
An all-static singles chart Top 4 (the second in the last five weeks) means it is very much a case of 'as you were' at the very head of the singles market. Lewis Capaldi's intense crooning of Someone You Loved proves irresistible to the vast majority of streamers at he spends a third week at the top of the Official UK Singles chart, once more relegating Calvin Harris and Rag'n'Bone man to second place.
Indeed it is Capaldi's superior streams which continually give him the edge. Someone You Loved is selling well enough, but week in week out for the past month it has been Giant which has topped the paid-for sales tables by some distance. It meant another neck and neck race throughout the week between the two singles, Capaldi's margin of victory this week was around 5,500 copies - down from 6,300 last time around.
Call Him Dave
A far tighter race ensued on the album chart but fascinatingly here the victor turned out to be an album the overwhelming majority of whose 'sales' turned out to be thanks to online plays. With its tracks streamed 23.6m times Dave's debut full-length album Psychodrama edges its way to the top by the tiny margin of just 279 chart sales. It is enough to make him the first British rap star to have a Number One album since Stormzy shot to the top with Gang Signs And Prayer in March 2017.
Needless to say with almost 80% of Dave's album sales coming from streams, that translates to a brief singles chart invasion too. The album's three permitted tracks narrowly fall short of giving the star three simultaneous Top 10 hits. Instead, he has to be content with two: Disaster at Number 8 and Streatham at 9. His third hit Location is edged out by Tom Walker for the Number 10 slot and charts instead at 11. Disaster and Streatham thus become his third and fourth Top 10 hit singles. His first was celebrated Number One single Funky Friday from last year, followed by the Headie One track 18Hunna which reached Number 6 back in January.
Have A Cry
She may never have quite been in contention for the top of the charts, but Sigrid's debut album Sucker Punch charts this week at Number 4, dragging its latest hit single up the charts in its wake. Don't Feel Like Crying makes good on the potential it showed last week, moving 34-20 to become her second Top 20 hit single to follow 2018 hit Strangers. I read criticism of the album during the week that its only tracks of interest appear to be the previously released singles, but when the singles sound as good as this is anyone really complaining?
All Hail The Blue Rinse
Multiple simultaneous hits appear to be the order of the day for several artists at the moment. Along with Dave, Lewis Capaldi has two singles in the Top 30 and he is joined this week by rising star Billie Eilish. Her 'current' hit Bury A Friend is making graceful drifts down the chart after its spell in the Top 10 but now has competition for people's attention in the shape of wish you were gay which entered at Number 61 a week ago and now shoots to Number 26. We still await a formal video for the track, meaning we have to make do with an audio stream for the moment but it is still more than enough to cultivate an appreciation. I can't begin to tell you how much I love this woman, once more she performs on a record which stands pop music conventions on its head. The quirky and appealing song is a clever ode to a high school crush who rejected her, making her sit and hope he's turned her down for orientation reasons rather than simply not liking her. Cue a veritable army of disaffected teens relating to it - so perhaps it is a conventional pop record after all.
Every Reason To Boast
Not every smash hit in waiting can make the grade in Week 1. Such was the fate which befell Wiley's latest release Boasty which first hit the online stores in mid-January, only attracting enough attention to go for a three week wander around the lower end of the Top 100 before vanishing from sight. Sometimes these things just need a proper promotional push, and the release of the track's video last week has now sparked it into life, the single re-entering far more strongly second time around to land at Number 33. When you appreciate the talent involved you will understand why. Accompanying Wiley on the compelling track are Stefflon Don, Sean Paul (because sooner or later he collaborates with everyone) and making what is certain to be a legendary cameo no less a figure than Idris Elba who proves that his MC skills are just as fine as his acting ones. The track marks a long-overdue return to the British charts for Wiley, this his first Top 40 hit single of any kind since Lights On reached Number 9 back in June 2013. If the single sticks around for long enough it will be on the chart to mark the 15th anniversary of his April 2004 debut.
Stefflon Don has also had a wait for another hit, this the first time she's troubled the producers of the Radio One chart show since Hurtin' Me made the Top 10 in late 2017. As for Sean Paul, well as noted he will work with just about anyone. Even confining the search to his on the record Top 75 hits, since he debuted on the UK charts in late 2002 he has appeared on hit singles alongside Blu Cantrell, Beyonce, Sasha, Santana, Keyshia Cole, Jay Sean, Alexis Jordan, Simple Plan, The Saturdays, Fuse ODG, Enrique Iglesias, Little Mix, Clean Bandit (albeit uncredited), Dua Lipa, David Guetta, Sigala and now Wiley. Yet he's still found the time to release 11 completely solo hits as well. That's quite some going.
White Flag Over Babylon
Finally, in one of those odd moments of synchronicity which release schedules sometimes throw up, both David Gray and Dido released new albums this week. Ms Armstrong is the winner in this particular battle, with Still On My Mind landing at Number 3 whilst the male crooner from a past generation has to be content with a Number 21 entry for Gold In A Brass Age. Both acts began their careers more or less 20 years ago and both stars were amongst the top album sellers in the first few years of the century (Dido with No Angel and Gray with White Ladder) with a string of hits in their wake as well. Here they are in 2019, playing now to a diminishing band of long-term fans, but somehow contriving to launch comebacks in exactly the same week.