Skip The Beyonce Stuff If You Wish

We will get to the really newsworthy bits in due course, but first of all I have to respect the format and deal with your actual top of the Official UK Singles chart.

That's Beyonce, of course it is, Texas Hold 'Em reigning supreme over the competition for the third week running. It means the country-themed hit joins both Crazy In Love and the one I forgot to mention last week, Beautiful Liar as Queen Bey's most successful British chart hits of her career. One more next week and it becomes her biggest of all time. But there's a Grande reason why that many not happen. And you'll note we still don't have an official video.

Below Beyonce the two boys continue to do battle. Benson Boone and Teddy Swims swap places for the second week running and are now at 2 and 3 respectively. They are joined in the queue for the stairs by DJO who moves up a place with End Of Beginning. The Top 5 is rounded off by the single that continues to startle: Carnival from Kanye West and Ty Dolla Sign (plus other credited hangers on) which after four weeks does the exact opposite of fading away quietly and instead commands attention as one of Ye's biggest hits for some time. Carvinal is Kanye West's first Top 5 hit single since the equally memorable I Love It spent a month in the Top 3 way back in September 2018. If the single clings on any longer it will be a Top 10 single to mark the twentieth anniversary of his chart debut Through The Wire, the track that first convinced me he is a lyrical genius - and indeed remains so no matter how publicly he continues to fall apart.

Deny Everything

In what is otherwise a slightly static week at the top end of the chart, we do at least have to note a single that has broken through the sometimes impenetrable glass ceiling. Climbing the singles chart for the seventh week in a row, Alibi from Ella Henderson and Rudimental now reaches a new peak of No.10, becoming notably her fifth Top 10 hit in succession. This is harder to pull off than it ever used to be, given the way minor chart hits can get in the way of a singles run, as well as the constant cross-pollination of the business which means everyone appears on everyone else's records eventually. But Ella Henderson picks her collaborations carefully, meaning over the past two years she has now appeared on successive Top 10 hits Crazy What Love Can Do, 21 Reasons, React, 0800 Heaven and now Alibi, this current hit the only one of these on which she takes the lead billing.

Racheeeeeel!

But we all know all of the above isn't the true story of the week. What we are really here for is to note the sales fallout of the annual Brit Awards ceremony, the show for the second week running relocated to prime time TV on a Saturday night meaning there is almost a full week for any resultant sales uplifts to register. And as anyone who watched last weekend's show or read the results afterwards will know, the show was really just about one person. Rachel 'RAYE' Keen pulled off what you might call a reverse Craig David, nominated for just about every award possible and far from going home empty handed ended up marching up the stairs five times over (taking her total haul to six). By the end part of the fun was watching her run out of people to thank.

I remain personally unconvinced of her presumed status as one of the greatest award-winners of all time, and it wasn't as if her album was one of the standout sales successes of last year, but award ceremonies are always supposed to be about the subjectively best of their kind, and not always commercially so. RAYE's rags to riches tale of breaking away from the label she believed had held her back for so many years and subsequently making hit records on her own terms deserves to at least provide inspiration to many others. So it seems only proper she should get at least one statue for it. And she ended up with several.

The resulting interest has inevitably propelled her award-winning album My 21st Century Blues back up the charts. Originally No.2 when released just over a year ago, the record charges back into the Top 10 for the first time since at No.5, adding a further 10,945 chart sales to its lifetime total. I say "chart sales" as Music Week hasn't specified exactly how many of those were purchases rather than extra streams. So the jury is still out on just how much the prime time TV special inspires a casual audience to go out and spend money on the music they see rewarded.

We don't always see the Brit Awards have a noticeable effect on the singles chart, but in RAYE's case they make an exception. Benefitting from an entirely appropriate ACR reset her 2023 No.1 single Escapism is back once more, re-entering at No.13, its highest chart placing since it was No.12 exactly a year ago this week. It technically isn't her record, but Casso's Prada benefits from the shine her presence gives it and so it too is on the move once more, still subject to ACR but climbing back 27-18. As I noted online during the show itself lyrics from the track featured as part of her three-way performance medley on the show, leaving me to wonder if she will go down in history as having performed Prada or Ferrari Horses given they are essentially the same song.

The third corner of RAYE's medley was a piano-led performance of Ice Cream Man from her album, but her third hit of the week is actually a different track altogether - Worth It which makes the chart for the first time at No.38. Ice Cream Man has charted before, hitting No.69 in the week the album was released in February 2023. RAYE could in theory have charted another track, given that she isn't a primary artist on Prada, but no others made the grade.

Other Winners(?)

Perhaps we expect too much of it, but while there are other singles chart moves as a result of Brits performances, none are what you might call spectacular. Dua Lipa theoretically lucked out, opening the show in front of the TV audience inherited from Saturday Night Takeaway and being privileged to perform her latest hit single. But Training Season holds steady at No.8, while Houdini has the indignity of being yeeted to ACR and out of sight at No.43. In a show lacking notable overseas attendance (none of the three "international" award winners showed up to collect) the only non-British performer was the decidedly Canadian Tate McRae, but she is at least rewarded with a ten place climb for Greedy which is now back up to No.22.

The only other singles chart moves creditable to the Brit Awards are those made by Chase & Status. The result of their performance sees Disconnect return to the Top 75 at No.67 while Baddadan is up a tiny, tiny bit from No.92 to No.82.

She Cares

All of this all means the biggest genuine new hit of the week is a little bit of an afterthought. Technically Charli XCX is as much of a veteran as everyone else around her, charting for the first time well over ten years ago. Her two hits in 2023 were indicative of the issues that have plagued her for the last decade - blowing hot and cold without any rational reason behind it. Speed Drive was her biggest solo hit in what felt like forever when it peaked at No.9 but its follow-up, the Sam Smith duet In The City, bombed out at No.41. So for now her new release Von Dutch picks a middle way, opening her 2024 chart account at No.26. An arresting electroclash revival track, it will either annoy the hell out of you or bury itself into your brain for months.

Mopping Up

Twenty One Pilots' new single is called Overcompensate, and in the context of their career to date it does more than that. The No.34 single this week it has the distinct honour of becoming only the third ever Top 40 hit for the American duo, the first since their brace of hit singles Stressed Out (No.12) and Heathens (No.5) opened their career in 2016. The single heralds the release of their seventh album Clancy, due for release in May.

We can't finish a sweep through the singles chart without acknowledging the chart debut of the UK's 2024 Eurovision Song Contest entry, although Olly Alexander's Dizzy fails to make good on its early week promise and lands instead at No.42. Interest in it may well grow as we draw nearer to the contest itself, but let's be honest. Sam Ryder aside, British entries to the contest rarely do particularly well as far as the singles chart is concerned. And it has been years since the Artist Usually Known As Years And Years has been relevant to anything. Still, keep your fingers crossed for something better than a bottom three finish.

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