Your Sweetness

What an intriguing week. It isn't often that Official Charts break the cycle and publicly announce midweek changes, but the three-way triangular battle for the No.1 position that resulted from this week's streaming and purchasing behaviour meant that an ever-changing lead required public updates. But even then it was impossible to properly guess just which track would emerge on top.

This week's No.1 is not… Texas Hold 'Em from Beyonce, the single unable to survive the lesser momentum now that the fuss over the Cowboy Carter album has died down. Bey slides to No.3 instead, and while the album's two other big tracks of the first week - Jolene and II Most Wanted - maintain that status, they took take somewhat larger chart tumbles and fall to 16 and 17 respectively.

No.1 also isn't - as I wondered out loud last week if it would be - Beautiful Things by Benson Boone. His album Fireworks & Rollerblades was indeed released this week but turned out to not be quite as essential a purchase or stream as his singles chart success might have suggested. The album debuts at a lowly No.16 and its biggest single holds steady at No.2 for a second week, unable to surpass the interest in the track that instead sits proudly at No.1.

A little over nine years since he first came to public attention with long (and I do mean LONG)-running smash hit Take Me To Church, Andrew Hozier-Byrne (better known by the first barrel of his surname) finally has a No.1 single to his name as Too Sweet makes short work of a swift journey to the top, rising 4-1 in only its third week on sale. I say 'finally' because the failure of Take Me To Church to make No.1 was one of the more intriguing sagas of the opening months of 2015. The track spent seven weeks in the Top 3, four of them stuck in place at No.2, unable to shift the sales behemoth that was Love Me Like You Do by Ellie Goulding.

Quite what piece of magic has sparked into life and made Too Sweet an instantaneous chart smash escapes me for now. It is one of a handful of tracks released last month from the deluxe edition of his third album Unreal Unearth. While the album did indeed top the charts in its own right last August, none of its previous singles exactly set the charts on fire. If Hozier had spent the rest of his career never quite managing to replicate the achievement of his singles debut, nobody would have batted an eyelid. And yet here he is, with the biggest track of the moment and with a song that was otherwise an afterthought and not considered originally for a place on the album. It all seems quite extraordinary.

Hozier is Irish, born in County Wicklow, and as a result further extends the international trend of No.1 singles even if he does break the three month run of American artists we have witnessed so far in 2024. He is the first Irish act to land a No.1 single since The Script (alongside the very American will.i.am) topped the charts with Hall Of Fame way back in 2012, and if you want to take things even further he is the first solo Irishman to have a No.1 single since Brian McFadden with Real To Me in September 2004 - almost 20 years ago.

Car Started

The departure of the two Beyonce singles leaves room for something new in the Top 10, and pleasingly the biggest of these is Austin from Dasha which overcomes its recent becalming and rises to a new peak of No.8. One place below Michael Marcagi's Scared To Start bounces back to its No.9 peak.

Can we take time out to contemplate the still extraordinary chart run of Natasha Bedingfield's Unwritten? Catapulted back into the charts at the start of January as part of a flood of revived golden oldies, it has long since outlasted its contemporaries. Always in theory at risk of ACR (simply because of its age) it has time and time again reset the clock and continues to loiter outside the Top 10 without ever really threatening to make it back there. This week Unwritten is back up the charts once more, rising to No.15 in what is now its 13th straight week as a Top 20 single during which time it has occupied every position between 12 and 18.

They keep getting mentioned in dispatches, but here they are again. Jungle now have a brand new peak for Back On 74 as it rises once again, now at No.19 to become a Top 20 hit for the very first time. And all I have to say about that is AMAZING.

Returning Singed

Speaking of returning oldies, there's a startling viral return for Hell N Back by Bakar, originally a No.20 hit for the British singer-songwriter almost exactly a year ago, that chart run itself more than four years since he first released it. It made a brief chart return in the autumn thanks to the release of a new version which added in new vocals from Summer Walker, but it failed to climb beyond No.49 that time around, although it is apparently streams of this version which are driving its current chart placing. We presume TikTok is responsible this time around, propelling the track back into the charts once more as it lands at No.26. Are even bigger things on the cards for its third go?

J Cole's new album Might Delete Later is a new arrival at No.7 and brings with it a scattering of hit singles. Leading the chart is H.Y.B. which features vocal lines from Bas and Central Cee. All I can do is marvel that once upon a time this might have been expected to debut well inside the Top 10, but in 2024 it is a lowly No.29. It is joined by 7 Minute Drill which creeps in at No.39 and Crocodile Tearz at No.53.

Counting Hits

If you had Ryan Tedder on your "who will David Guetta team up with next" bingocard, congratulations you have just won a special prize. It isn't the collaboration we are expecting, but damn this works in a manner you would not have expected. Credited to Guetta and OneRepublic (even though it is clearly only Tedder on vocal duties) I Don't Wanna Wait makes an oddly low key No.37 new entry, but this track has genuine pop banger written all over it and is surely destined for bigger things. I'm surely not the only one who spots the resemblance to O-Zone's Dragostea Tin Dea am I? It is the first chart hit credited to OneRepublic since 2022 No.3 hit I Ain't Worried and only their 14th ever chart entry. Guetta meanwhile just extends his vast run of hits still further, this now his 62nd credited Top 75 hit - albeit the first of 2024.

Artemas' I Like The Way You Kiss Me goes from strength to strength at No.5, and it is now joined at last in the Top 40 by his earlier release If U Think I'm Pretty which lands itself a brand new peak of No.39.

Having referenced the albums chart a couple of times it would also be remiss not to sign off noting the presence at No.1 of All Quiet On The Eastern Esplanade by The Libertines, returning the notorious veteran group to the top of the charts for the first time in almost 20 years - their only ever No.1 album being their self-titled second effort which made to the summit in September 2004.

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