Stick On You

Now, let us all acknowledge that this week we are enjoying little more than the calm before the storm when the first big superstar return of 2024 makes her Grande entrance. But in the meantime everyone gets to make hay while the cold winds blow, and that includes Noah Kahan who comfortably spends a second week at No.1 with Stick Season. That is genuinely as exciting as I get to make it sound in truth, he's miles ahead of the rest of the market with easily the most streamed track of the moment. The big pre-Christmas hit is the big post-Christmas No.1 single. At least for the moment.

But No.1 single aside, this is one of those weeks where an overarching theme presents itself. In many ways January 2024 will go down as one of the most vintage-dominated charts since well, Christmas time I guess. So join with me if you will for a series of enjoyable flashbacks:

Dateline: 2002

As Sophie Ellis-Bextor herself has pointed out, it is exactly 22 years to the week that Murder On The Dancefloor made its own January journey back to its chart peak, returning to the No.2 position at which it had debuted a month earlier. So it seems entirely appropriate that the reactivated hit this week matches that same peak exactly, enjoying a six-place climb to reoccupy second rung a full generation later.

When you've lived through many decades of pop history, and in an era when nothing is truly lost and every memory you want to enjoy is on tap online, it is harder than ever to define what can be regarded as a "classic". But the esteem in which Murder On The Dancefloor has always been held and the unabashed joy that has greeted its revival means it is hard to argue against it being regarded as such. Making it in some ways all the more frustrating that it has suffered from a misfortune of timing that means further chart progress seems somewhat unlikely. But then again the charts have a funny way of springing surprises. In the meantime let us also enjoy the fact that Sophie Ellis-Bextor's hit has her stridently proclaiming that she will "burn this goddam house right down" without anyone batting an eyelid. This the very same blasphemous epithet that is clunkily and brutally muted from the radio edit of Olivia Rodrigo's Vampire. Hits you will note from two very different ages.

Dateline: today (retro)

One prediction that does seem to be on the verge of coming true is the imminent Top 3 arrival of Teddy Swims' Lose Control. It has momentum and is heading in the right direction, the gorgeous soul track soaring to another brand new peak of No.6. The exposure of the song has helped the American singer's album too, I've Tried Everything But Therapy - Pt1 (from which the hit single is taken) barges its way onto the Official UK Albums chart at No.24, the first time it has charted since its release in September last year.

Dateline: last summer

The sudden resurgence of interest in the soundtrack to the misfiring series The Idol last week sent One Of The Girls into the Top 30 (it falls back to No.25 this week) but this week it is now the turn of the series' signature track Popular. Performed by The Weeknd, Playboi Carti and Madonna the track vaults from 48-11 after what you suspect is an ACR reset. Observant chart fans will note this now matches the peak it first scaled at the end of July (yes, it really was that long ago).

Dateline: the early 70s

It isn't often that the projected No.1 single on the increasingly bizarre Sunday afternoon First Look countdown broadcasted by Radio One winds up at the lower end of the Top 20 when the final tally is unveiled, but it is far from unknown. Such is the fate of the highest new entry of the week as Just Another Rainbow by the superstar pairing of Liam Gallagher and John Squire was unable to add streaming success to the paid sale that initially propelled it to the heights and so has to settle for a berth at No.16.

The two men are chart veterans in a number of guises. Liam Gallagher began his career 30 years ago this year as the lead singer of Oasis, forming his own band Beady Eye for two albums in the early 2010s before embarking on a solo career that has seen him land several No.1 albums since. John Squire is most famous as the guitarist and chief songwriter for The Stone Roses, although he also had a second career with his own band The Seahorses in the late 90s. Unlike Gallagher he has taken a back seat from fame in recent years, quitting music to become a painter in 2007 save for a brief sojourn with the reformed Stone Roses in the mid-2010s.

The union of the two men has its roots in two shows Liam Gallagher performed at Knebworth in 2022 during which Squire made guest appearances. Heralding a forthcoming album the single Just Another Rainbow is a piece of music out of time, Gallagher giving full vent to his John Lennon hero worship with a vocal worthy of the great man himself while Squire indulges in the kind of Jimmy Page-esque guitar work which defined and ultimately derailed the final Stone Roses album The Second Coming back in 1994. It is that kind of record. So no, it was never really going to be a No.1 hit, but in an age when rock music doesn't really sell singles, the superstar pairing have landed themselves a Top 20 hit with what appears to be quite startling ease.

Newer Horizons

They aren't quite as veteran as the pair above them, but Bring Me The Horizon can also boast a long and storied career, dating back to the release of their first album Count Your Blessings in 2006. As they edge towards their own 20th anniversary they have a rather unexpected hit single, metalcore track Kool-Aid charging into the charts as the latest herald from their forthcoming Post Human: Nex Gen album. The track marks something of a watershed too, their first release since the shock departure of keyboardist and key songwriter Jordan Fish at the tail end of last year.

Regardless of the circumstances it now becomes what you may be shocked to learn is their second highest-charting single ever. No.21 this week, Kool-Aid not only beats the 29 and 31 peaks of their two 2023 hits Lost and Darkside but fails by the narrowest of margins to become their first Top 20 single since their singles chart debut Drown hit No.17 in December 2014.

Dateline: 2004

Back we go once again to the somewhat distant past. Natasha Bedingfield began her own career exactly 20 years ago albeit initially in the shadow of that of her older brother Daniel (whose career predated hers). However it swiftly became clear that this wasn't just a case of easily marketable nepotism and that she was actually an artist and performer of some note in her own right. Absent from the charts since 2008 (she moved to America and concentrated on her career there following her marriage) one of the most brilliant women in pop returns to the Official UK Singles chart this week thanks to a movie-inspired revival of one of her earliest hits. Her third single release, the gospel-tinged Unwritten was originally a No.6 hit in December 2004 but now barges its way back onto the Top 40 thanks to its use on the soundtrack of the Sydney Sweeney romantic comedy movie Anyone But You. Absent from the Top 75 since its original chart run came to an end after 12 weeks, the track smashes its way back to No.24 and, who knows, may well be destined to join Murder On The Dancefloor in the upper reaches once again. She has attempted to revive the track in her own right quite recently, promoting a new acoustic recording of it back in 2022 - but it remains the original that everyone loves.

Dateline: 2007

Natasha Bedingfield's final hit before today was actually a mash-up remix, Bruised Water a fusing of Saltwater by Chicane and her own I Bruise Easily. So it seems entirely appropriate that two rungs down is another revived oldie that is itself a mash-up. Perfect (Exceeder) by Mason vs Princess Superstar became a hit in 2007 by fusing the former's instrumental track Exceeder with Princess Superstar's Perfect and its Saltburn-prompted continues this week with a rise to this week's No.26. Despite her extensive discography it has remained for years one of only two UK hits for the American rapper, her only other chart success the novelty cut Bad Babysitter which peaked at No.11 back in 2002. What wouldn't I have given to hear that in Saltburn as well.

Dateline 2011

We are used to Drake tracks regularly popping in for a chart visit. Although now distant from his commercial peak, the Canadian rapper still flings out enough material to ensure he continues to have a respectable chart career. Hence Rich Baby Daddy which made the Top 10 just a week ago. Yet the man's second biggest hit of the week is - you guessed it - a revived oldie. His second studio album Take Care already contained its share of chart singles, most notably the Rihanna-enhanced title track which reached the Top 10 and indeed Wikipedia tracks seven different cuts which were promoted as singles at one stage or another. But now the album spawns another new hit, the 17th of its original 18 tracks as Practice debuts at No.27. Thematically it is out of step here, revived not due to a movie or TV soundtrack but because of new-found TikTok virality.

Dateline: er, last week

We happily get to round things off with two more contemporary sounds. The new Lewis Capaldi tracks that were unveiled on New Years Day may not have managed to make their way onto the singles chart last week, but now with a full week of streams behind them two of them do make the grade. Leading the way is Strangers which now debuts at No.37, followed by A Cure For Minds Unwell at No.59. There would be a third, most probably Someone I Could Die For, but it was outstreamed and thus outcharted by the still evergreen Someone You Loved which slots in as Capaldi's third permitted chart hit of the week at No.67.

It's Britney's Song, Bitch

It would be wrong to wrap up this tour of the singles chart without celebrating one truly contemporary hit single. Even if it too is based heavily on a famous record from the early years of the 21st century. British rapper Songer makes his Top 40 debut with a track that has been making waves since he premiered it just before Christmas. Taking the instrumental of Britney Spears' celebrated No.1 hit of the same name, Toxic is a freestyle rap which takes the original to a surprisingly different level. The use of the Britney Spears track makes this a far more accessible and appealing commercial offering than your average grime or drill hit. It is No.39 today but I can't see it languishing down in the depths for too long.

Rainbow Chased

We round off this week by noting that the continuing run of albums chart success for vintage acts shows no sign of letting up. Making their own set of headlines this week are Shed Seven, veterans of the 1990s but with the odd quirk of never having a No.1 album to their name - until now. Releasing what is only their sixth studio album, the reformed indie rockers soar to the top of the charts with A Matter Of Time. They don't quite come close to the record set by The Specials in 2019, but with their No.1 record arriving fully 26 years and 3 months since the release of their debut Change Giver in 1994 Shed Seven set what Official Charts is heralding as a new record for a British rock act. And who are we to argue?

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