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The Easter Bunny Giveth

The Easter bank holiday means Music Week goes dark for a few days and so there's no Chart Pack or charts analysis published. But I'm nothing if not a completist (obsessive?) so as is now traditional, here's an informal free roundup of this week's UK charts.

The Parts We Want To See

This week's No.1 single is something of a surprise, in the sense that when the first midweek flashes arrived it was set to be the highest new entry but in no sense a contender for the No.1 position. But having spent the week generating a backlash (for no other reason it seems than being gloriously fabulous in the video) Lil Nas X slowly but surely grew into contention, ensuring that it was almost certain Montero (Call Me By Your Name) would end up his biggest single since Old Town Road propelled him to stardom two years ago.

And so it proves. Only moving ahead at the death, the single debuts at No.1 to hand the American his second chart-topping single. It does however do so by the narrowest of margins. 1,600 downloads and 6.8m streams equate to a chart sale of 45,426 - a mere 324 sales ahead of Nathan Evans' Wellerman in second place. That's the closest gap between 1 and 2 on the charts in almost exactly a year.

The remainder of the Top 3 sees Peaches by Justin Bieber and company hold firm at No.3 with 42,250 sales, A1 & J1's Latest Trends sliding two places to No.4 with 40,083 sales and Friday by Riton/Nightcrawlers sliding to No.5 with 36,631 sales.

No Credit For MK

I've been waiting for several weeks for Friday to climb to No.3 to match the chart peak of the Nightcrawlers' original Push The Feeling On on which it is based, but alas no dice for the moment. Pleasingly though the other 90s revival of the moment Your Love (9PM) by ATB, Topic and A7S arrives in the Top 10 at No. 8 (26,909 sales) even if it has some way to go to match the No.1 scaled by the ATB original back in 1999. The other "based on an old hit" track of the moment is Ava Max's My Head And My Heart and which slips to No.19 and so for the moment also cannot quite reach the No.15 scaled by ATC's Around The World on which it is based.

Tom Tom

One further Top 10 arrival is Little Bit Of Love by Tom Grennan which climbs to No.10 (26,725 sales). He was at one stage looking set to land two Top 10 hits at once but the Ella Henderson duet Let's Go Home Together can only stumble to No.13. The presence of two simultaneous Grennan hits is a fun curiosity. Both tracks are technically taken from his Evering Road album but the latter only features on the special edition and is actually being promoted as an Ella Henderson single with Grennan simply the invited guest star. Hence there are two different labels involved and each promoting their own hit with their own agenda - all to the advantage of Tom Grennan himself who suddenly looks like the hottest star around.

Fun Fact Of The Week

Despite the No.1 single posting a sale of below 50,000 the tracks at the top of the chart all sell in very close numbers. This has the curious effect of ensuring the average sale for this week's Top 10 singles is 35,686, the second-highest of the year so far. The only week in 2021 to eclipse this this was the week in January when Olivia Rodrigo spent a second week at No.1 with a sale of 116,748 which skewed the average somewhat.

The second highest new entry of the week is Good Without by online discovery Mimi Webb (No.17, 21,075 sales) closely followed by Body by Russ Millions/Tion Wayne (No.21, 19,040 sales).

Token Albums Chat

The week's No.1 album is Collections From The Whiteout by Ben Howard, the kind of record which will make people go "wow, is he still going?" Ben Howard's biggest success came in 2012 with the Top 10 hit Only Love and which helped him to the Best British Male Solo Artist award at the Brits the following spring. He doesn't need hits to sell albums, which is possibly just as well given he hasn't graced the singles chart since 2014. Anyway, the new collection takes him to the top of the charts for the second time with a sale of 15,621 - once more the vast majority of these on physical formats. It is the 33rd week in a row that a different album has occupied the No.1 position.

Technically Howard's isn't the biggest selling album of the week. That honour inevitably goes to Volume 108 in the Now That's What I Call Music series which is the No.1 compilation of the week with 25,876 sales to its name. That feels a lot, and indeed it is more than most No.1 albums of any kind manage to move, but the truth is that the venerable series continues to trace a downward curve in its opening week sales. It's predecessor Now 107 debuted with 31,231 in November, Now 106 did 28,305 in its opening week, and the equivalent release last year (although it was delayed by several months as everyone halted work for Coronavirus) Now 105 opened with 30,591. At the very least you can say the curve is a gentle one.

Down The Rabbit Hole

One final query this week caught my eye, all thanks to this tweet:

The "Now bounce" in question is a phenomenon which first manifested itself during the download era, whereby tracks featured on a brand new Now That's What I Call Music album would see an uplift in their own individual sales as people cherry-picked their favourites from the compilation. In download terms that doesn't happen any more, but it did make me wonder: do the tracks featured on Now releases see an uptick in overall chart sales when the albums are released?

Well as a point of reference here are this week's market variances for the first ten tracks on Now 108:

Drivers License - down 4%
Midnight Sky - up 9.7%
Golden - up 5.8%
We're Good - up 9.8%
Lifestyle - up 5.8%
Save Your Tears - up 2.1%
Heat Waves - up 10%
Therefore I Am - down 1.5%
Cover Me In Sunshine - up 35.9%
Get Out Of My Head - up 3.1%

By and large, there is indeed a lift. Drivers License is a notable anomaly, but perhaps that's just because the track is burned out and there aren't many people left to discover it. But with one exception everyone else does get a lift. Some are current hits on the way up anyway, but relative flops like Lifestyle and Cover Me In Sunshine do indeed get a rise in consumption which is hard to explain any other way.

It isn't hugely noticeable in the way it used to be, but I guess the answer is yes. The "Now bounce" does still exist even if it isn't to the kind of extent that has noticeable effects on chart places.

That's all I've got for this week. I'm back for the exclusive benefit of Music Week subscribers next Friday. Can you really afford to miss out?


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