Holding Them For You

A two-way battle for the sudden vacancy at the top of the Official UK Singles chart eventually turned into a stroll. But somehow it seems only right that a trans-Atlantic pan-generational battle of female titans was eventually resolved in favour of a legend.

A new entry at No.9 last week, Texas Hold 'Em by Beyonce ascends majestically to the top of the UK charts and in the process gives us all manner of fun stats to play with.

For a start it is Ms Knowles' eighth UK No.1 single, taking into account the two she enjoyed as a member of Destiny's Child and what is now the six she has had as a solo artist. Intriguingly this is only the second of the latter that has been a true solo performance. Her previous post-Destiny's Child No.1 hits have been: Crazy In Love (2003, with Jay-Z co-billed), Déjà Vu (2006, ditto), Beautiful Liar (2007, a duet with Shakira), If I Were A Boy (2008, solo) and Telephone (2010, a Lady Gaga track on which took second billing).

It has genuinely been almost 14 years since Beyonce featured on a No.1 single, which in itself is something of a surprise. That makes the No.2 peak of Break My Soul in summer 2022 all the more frustrating.

Can we gloss over the fact that at 42 she now takes her place among the oldest women to appear on a No.1 single (albeit some way from being the oldest). She's ageless I tell you, ageless.

Texas Hold 'Em is also now one of a still vanishingly small number C&W themed singles to top the UK charts, and in truth the most unabashedly country No.1 smash for some time. Lil Nas X's Old Town Road from 2019 technically counts as the last with Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper's Shallow back in 2018 the last one before that. But Beyonce's hit is more Nashville than either of them, and as Official Charts have been keen to point out: Beyonce has a C&W No.1 hit, one more than icons such as Shania Twain or Dolly Parton. And although fellow female country legend Bobby Gentry has a UK No.1 hit to her name it was with a pop ballad (I'll Never Fall In Love Again, 1969), making her no more a chart-topping country diva than Taylor Swift is. Let's instead anoint Beyonce as the biggest female country star since Tammy Wynette made No.1 with Stand By Your Man in 1975.

Cards Laid Down

The vacancy at the top is naturally caused by the slide of Stick Season into ACR status and as a result a slump in its chart fortunes to No.5. As ever on these occasions we are required to note that without ACR it would still be No.1 by a comfortable distance (67,000 sales to Beyonce's 59,000).

That all leaves room for Benson Boone's Beautiful Things to ascend to a new peak of No.2, and I know I've banged on about this already but its chart success remains quite startling given its position at the heavier end of the current vogue for Americana. But its screeching chorus is the one thing that makes it stand out and be more than just another Stick Season clone, so let's embrace that.

The Top 3 is rounded out by Teddy Swims with Lose Control rising back to its No.3 peak after a week away. In the process it neatly resets its ACR clock with an increase in streaming consumption. So it is sticking around for a little while longer.

What then of the single that was supposed to be the other half of a titanic chart battle? Said record was Dua Lipa's Training Season, her first single release of the year and the follow-up to No.2 hit Houdini. Despite challenging for No.1 in the early part of the week (and even leading the race at one point) it oddly sagged towards the end of the week and has to be content witb a debut at No.4. Like its predecessor it is an instantly appealing pop banger, this time infused with elements of the tango (it is essentially Hernando's Hideaway recast for the modern era) but also like its predecessor suffers from the need to be markedly different to her Future Nostalgia era. When you have made the greatest record of your career pretty much nothing you do subsequently will bear comparison. And in truth this is what she is now fighting against. But let us not knock it, taking Dance The Night into account Dua Lipa can now boast three consecutive Top 5 hit singles for the first time since 2018. She's still doing something right.

And Mimi Too

We've noted the notable solo nature of Beyonce's No.1 single, but ironically one of this week's Top 10 moves is by a single that has ceased to be solo - at least totally. Ariana Grande's Yes, And? has its slide halted briefly with a three place climb to No.7 thanks to the release this week of a new remix featuring added vocals from Mariah Carey. I noted earlier in the week in a Twitter thread that the extra layer it adds to the track is quite fascinating. Yes, And? stood out for being an entirely solo offering, refreshingly free from an obligatory co-vocal or rap break and worked that way as Ari's own personal statement of intent. Yet the new Mimi remix takes the track to a whole new level, giving it the extra vocal kick we probably didn't realise it was missing in the first place. It certainly made me question my own perceptions.

The highest new entry of the week is only one if you live in a Top 75 world, as End Of Beginning by Djo began its chart life last week at No.100 but now explodes dramatically into life with a climb to No.11. It is the first ever chart hit for the performing alias of Stranger Things actor Joe Keery, the American star having created his Djo persona for his album Twenty Twenty which was released in 2019. End Of Beginning has had a long journey to the charts, first appearing on the second Djo album DECIDE, but yes you guessed it this is another TikTok viral success - a lost hit resurrected out of nowhere. And this too surely has to be Top 3 bound.

Giants?

Two weeks shy of the 17th anniversary of his first chart hit Calvin Harris returns with what is now his 49th Top 75 entry. For the occasion he has returned to a previous well, teaming up once more with a returning Rag'n'Bone Man, the two men having last collaborated on 2018 No.2 hit Giant. Lovers In A Past Life charges to No.19 in its first week out, returning Rag'n'Bone Man to the charts for the first time since his duet with Pink on Anywhere Away From Here peaked at No.9 in April 2021. What does it sound like? Trust me, you aren't really in for a shock, but why change a winning formula?

On the albums chart? The battle between Idles and Paloma Faith ended in favour of the latter, but there's no drama there so let's not bother. Instead, we can note the effect of the Bob Marley drama One Love to which audiences have in relative terms flocked. Evergreen hits compilation Legend is back in the Top 10 at No.6 while lower down on the singles chart Marley classics Could You Be Loved (No.51) and Three Little Birds (No.56) make pleasing chart comebacks.

Shall we play the prediction game? Jason Derulo and Michael Buble's extraordinary collision on Spicy Margarita (a reworking of the old swing standard Sway) lands at a mere No.80 this week, but this is surely heading for the Top 40 in short order. Let's see if it gets there next time around.

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