Damn, three weeks in and I think everyone has used up all the planet metaphors. Miley Cyrus' Flowers have been blooming, blossoming, growing and taking root all over. Perhaps we just need to wait until the single is in decline so it can officially be "wilting".
There is scant chance of that for now however as the American singer maintains her quite astonishing lead over the rest of the singles market in Britain (and indeed in the English-speaking world) for yet another week. Flowers this week joins that elite group of tracks to land back-to-back streams of over 10 million as the track was consumed over 12m times across all platforms. That equates to a chart sale of 106,508 to become the first single to enjoy a six-figure sale for two weeks running since Adele pulled off the trick with Easy On Me in late 2021. It is also the first track to have a six figure sale in its third week on the chart since Ed Sheeran's Bad Habits earlier that same year.
I mentioned it had a strong lead - and yes, for the second week running Flowers' chart sales are (just) more than double those of its nearest rival, the still evergreen Escapism is No.2 for the fourth week in a row. Indeed Escapism is setting new standards for bad luck, its chart sale for each of those four weeks has been in excess of 50,000 copies - more than the 45,000 chart sale with which it landed its solitary week at the top a lunar month ago.
The top end of the singles chart remains becalmed, the Top 5 once more unchanged, the first time in almost three years we've had the same five singles top the chart in the same order for three weeks in a row. Even more brilliantly the biggest climber in the Top 10 is a track that is over a decade old as Miguel's resurrected Sure Thing advances still further to a new peak of No.6.
They Talk To Me
My favourite story of the week though concerns the fate of the highest new entry. Arriving at No.11 is Voices, a collaboration between KSI and Oliver Tree. This is KSI's first hit of 2023, just in case you had lost track - his first chart entry since Summer Is Over peaked at No.24 in October last year. It is another stage in the progress of the career of the one-time gamer and sometime boxer, a track that somehow manages to be even more commercial than most of his previous offerings. It is also the third chart single from Oliver Tree, but in a strange twist of fate is denied the chance to become his second Top 10 single in the space of three months by - his last one. Because yes, one place above it in the charts is Miss You, the Robin Schulz hit which samples Tree's vocals and on which he has the lead artist credit. The difference in sales between the two singles is a mere 200 or so. But when it comes to Top 10 hits a miss is as good as a mile.
I Want Him To Go
After an eight month absence The Kid Laroi is back once more, Love Again the week's second highest new entry at No.18. This is his first single since Thousand Miles reached No.21 in May last year. But here's the fun part: this isn't the only Kid Laroi track to enter the Top 40 this week. Back, after enjoying an ACR reset, is the Australian's 2021 collaboration with Justin Bieber, Stay. Originally a No.2 hit in August that year the maddeningly popular track enjoyed an extended chart run, loitering around the Top 75 for almost an entire year. It famously topped the Australian charts twice over a year apart and enjoyed a stranglehold on the US charts in a similar manner. And now the damn thing is back, re-entering at No.37. But then superannuated hits from the summer of 2021 are no strangers to the singles chart. The aforementioned Bad Habits by Ed Sheeran is still hanging around, No.66 this week.
Glory On Highest
Top of the Official UK Albums chart this week is, perhaps inevitably, Gloria from Sam Smith. Say what you like, but the hype for this record has been nothing short of magnificent, Sam Smith going full on in a change of image well-groomed crooner to high camp flamboyant and fabulous queen. Not that he's ever struggled to top the albums chart, having done so with three of his four releases to date. Even the only failure amongst those - 2020's Love Goes - was unlucky rather than unsuccessful and still made No.2
But much of the fuss was oddly confined to the contents of the video for the album's second single I'm Not Here To Make Friends, absurdly so really given it is simply high camp and absurd rather than the shocking obscenity that some commentators seemed to imagine it was. What is odd though is that didn't actually translate into huge streaming numbers and the Calvin Harris-produced single (which sounds like a Dua Lipa b-side if we are being honest) hoves into view at No.23. A far cry from the instant No.1 success of Sam Smith's last single Unholy. But this is the strange thing about tracks with much spoken-of videos. Not only do video streams count for very little (unless you want them on a paid YouTube account) but if you are "tuning in" to be shocked then you rarely stick around for the 30 seconds needed to count for a chart-eligible play.
Already a Top 3 hit as an album cut, Lavender Haze by Taylor Swift has been promoted to single status and with a video of its own in place now returns to the Top 40 at No.32. It isn't immediately clear why Midnights needs another hit single to boost its popularity, the album remaining comfortably Top 3 on its latest streams, but there's clearly a plan in place to keep it in the public eye. And if nothing else a new video clip is a great way for Taylor to drop many of her trademark Easter Eggs as people scour it closely for hidden details. Meanwhile, its predecessor Anti-Hero shows no signs of dying away, merely waiting for the ACR hook to kick in. It remains this week's No.4 single in what is now its 13th week as a Top 10 single - a total which would be far higher but for the whole messy business of Christmas coinciding with its first trip to ACR status.
Bringing up the rear is a genuine pop veteran, Pink landing her first Top 40 single in a year and a half as after a huge effort Never Gonna Not Dance Again reaches a brand new peak of No.40. This after what has felt like an eternity knocking on the door- it first charted at No.46 way back in November. In a fun irony it reaches the next rung on the ladder at the same moment its follow-up arrives online, her newer single Trustfall charting in its own right at No.59. This one is the title track of the album from which both hits are lifted, set for release in two week's time.