Dinner For 32K
We sneer at the Brit Awards with no small justification at times, their internal machinations and the tweaking of categories to accommodate all their stakeholders always worthy of scrutiny. But their commitment to celebrating the upcoming talent conveyor as well as the established stars is always commendable. They don't always get it completely right (whither Flo?) but the Brits Rising Star award has unearthed the likes of Jessie J, Sam Smith, Adele, Ellie Goulding and Tom Odell in the past. Lately anointed holders of the gong are The Last Dinner Party and in a quiet week for new stories they have the honour of grabbing the lead chart headlines as their debut album Prelude To Ecstasy charges to the No.1 position this week.
Even that is to perhaps understate matters a little. The five women clocked up an impressive 32,800 chart sales this week, landing them the fastest-selling debut album by a group since Years & Years debuted at No.1 with 55,000 sales of Communion in 2015. Fully 14,000 of the sales of Prelude To Ecstasy were on vinyl too, the fastest selling LP release for five months.
Last Dinner Party enjoy a bump - a small one mind - but a bump nonetheless on the singles chart, the album's biggest hit single Nothing Matters rising three places to No.19 to take them into the Top 20 for the first time ever.
fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuckkkkkkkkkk 😵💫😭— The Last Dinner Party (@lastdinnerparty) February 9, 2024
we can’t believe Prelude To Ecstasy is the #1 album in the UK! pic.twitter.com/xTOLwZPqHk
The top end of the singles chart isn't quite so dramatic, with Stick Season enjoying a sixth straight week at No.1. That makes Noah Kahan's track the longest-running chart-topper since Sprinter spent ten weeks at the summit last summer. He heads up a locked in place Top 4 for that matter, with Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Teddy Swims and a still surprisingly evergreen Jack Harlow all lined up below.
This is one of those weeks that was devoid of major new releases, so hot new chart arrivals are thin on the ground. But as these pages are fond of noting, that often gives the charts room to breathe allowing existing hit singles to reach a potential and enjoy exposure that might otherwise have been denied to them.
The biggest winner in that respect then is Benson Boone who charges 11-5 to see Beautiful Things take its place as a Top 5 hit single after just three weeks on the streets. It is still an absorbing, arresting hit single and more ammunition to prove that the singles charts aren't completely a closed door to rock music. It just has to hit precisely the right note.
Also shooting up the table with a rocket is YG Marley with Praise Jah In The Moonlight, making him the third member of the Marley clan to enjoy a Top 10 hit single. He follows Bob himself and cousin Skip. Uncle Ziggy never made it past No.21 during his hitmaking career. One fascinating detail to watch out for is his family connection on the other side. YG Marley is the son of a previous No.1 hitmaker, his mother Lauryn Hill topping the charts twice as a member of The Fugees back in 1996. Famously only one mother and son combination has previoiusly topped the British charts - namely Rob and Hilda Woodward who performed together as part of Lieutenant Pigeon in 1972. So keep an eye out. As well as mothers and sons we've had previous father/son and father/daughter combinations top the charts. We are still waiting for Mabel to make it to the top to join her mother Neneh Cherry as the first ever mother/daughter pairing.
There's a climb too into the Top 20 for Alibi from Ella Henderson and Rudimental which rockets to No.16, the former well on course it seems to extend her current run of consecutive Top 10 hits to six. In their 12 year chart career to date Rudimental have only ever had three singles peak inside the Top 20 but outside the 10, and all three peaked at either 12 or 14. As is fairly obvious from the moment its first bars kick in, Alibi is based heavily on an interpolation of what is billed as Coolio's 1995 hit single Gangsta's Paradise. However Ella is actually singing the song to the melody of Stevie Wonder's Pastime Paradise on which the Coolio track was originally based. Hence the song credits amongst its 10(!) writers both the late Artis Ivey (Coolio) as well as Stevie Wonder. Also in there is Larry Sanders (better known as LV and whose vocals from Gangsta's Paradise are sampled on the new track) and Doug Rasheed who produced the Coolio hit.
Such inception-like samples of samples are by no means unknown. We have however yet to match the four levels of self-reference sparked by Enya's Boadicea which was sampled by The Fugees on Ready Or Not which was sampled by Mario Winans on I Don't Wanna Know which was itself interpolated on Creepin' by Metro Boomin. I need to lie down.
Of last week's bottom end new arrivals there still isn't much sign of life, although Justin Timberlake's Selfish does creep upwards to reach a new peak of No.29. As expected Megan Thee Stallion's Hiss landed smack at No.1 on the Hot 100 in America, but despite a - frankly - weird first look chart on Radio One last Sunday which suggested it was heading for a Top 20 place here, the frantic rap rant actually slides back this week and slumps to No.37.
But the best is perhaps saved until last. A low-key chart debut at No.81 last week, Home by British duo Good Neighbours has a rocket up its arse and shoots to No.40 to come into mainstream view for the first time. OK so the track has a distinct Foster The People vibe to it, but that's enough to make it quite wonderfully nostalgic and after several months swirling around as a Tik Tok favourite its commercial release is now reaping due rewards. It won't be a shock to see this Top 5 by the time the spring finally arrives either.