NO MORE WILTING PUNS I BEG YOU
This may not take all that long, but let's see. We are for the moment in a kind of holding pattern, the main tension being the question of whether Miley Cyrus can hang on long enough to see Flowers remain at the top to coincide with the release of her album. For the moment the single spends its seventh week at No.1, officially now the longest-running No.1 by a female artist since Adele's Easy On Me also spend seven weeks at the summit back in 2021. But this was its narrowest margin of victory so far, the 56,000 chart sales it registered a mere 4,000 ahead of Pinkpantheress who continues to snap on her heels in second place. An eighth week at the top of the charts is by no means guaranteed.
We should also pay due regard to SZA who seems to have been lost in the mix somewhat but whose chart run is quickly becoming the stuff of legend. Her Kill Bill single remains at No.3 this week making this now the seventh week in total the track has peaked in third place, the run interrupted by a dip to No.4 a fortnight ago. Prior to that Kill Bill had equalled the record for "most consecutive weeks at No.3" (yes, it’s a thing), becoming only the sixth such single to do so, and the first since Anne-Marie's 2002 back in 2018.
Fun chart fact of the week - outside the Top 2 (where the records are 16 and 8 weeks respectively) no single has ever spent more than five consecutive weeks at any other chart position.
As predicted last week Die For You by The Weeknd explodes into full chart contention, the release of a new remix which adds in vocals from Ariana Grande helping the 2016 album track to finally become a major hit single in its own right. The track rockets to No.4 to give the Canadian his 14th Top 10 single. The continuing odd quirk of the way chart credits work means there are now effectively three singles in the Top 10 whose named artists don't fully reflect those who perform on the most popular versions. Just as Ariana is absent from credits for Die For You, so too Ice Spice is absent from the listing for Boy's A Liar and Selena Gomez receives no credit for her work on Calm Down. Meanwhile a bit lower down Stormzy's Hide & Seek jumps to No.21 thanks to the release of a new mix which adds in vocals from Rema. But the charts don't credit that either.
Besties (Part One)
There aren't many superstar pop singers who follow me on Twitter (perhaps for the best) but Daddy Pig's other daughter is one of them. Freya Ridings' new single Weekends has spent the past month scuttling around the lower end of the Top 100 but the release of a CD single and possibly her recent Graham Norton performance has finally lit a fire under it. The elegant and classy single becomes her long overdue fourth Top 40 hit following Lost Without You (2018) and Castles (2019). Rumours abound that she's one of the acts in consideration to sing the UK's Eurovision entry this year. Suddenly the contest is no longer the career death it used to be.
Why am I dubious about the role of Graham Norton in the success of Weekends? The Friday night chat show remains one of the last high profile slots for acts to perform hit singles but the evidence that this makes a material difference to the chart prospects of the song performed is flaky to say the least. Yes, there have been songs that jumped following a slot on the show, but there's no telling that this would not have happened to them anyway. Two weeks before the BRITs show Cat Burns was on to perform her current single People Pleaser. This week it is at No.84 having apparently peaked at 77 a fortnight ago. Graham Norton did nothing for her. Although it has only this weekend seen its video debut.
There are just two other new arrivals on the Top 40 this week. Painting Pictures is the debut single from the proudly independent rapper Superstar Pride, the American star new at No.33. Two places below at No.35 is yet another TikTok surfaced hit, Southampton's Caity Baser charges into our lives with Pretty Boys to land the 20 year old her first major chart single.
The albums chart makes for some interesting reading this week too, with Gorillaz storming to No.1 with their new album Cracker Island. Damon Albarn's "other" band, fronted by Jamie Hewlett cartoon characters, hasn't enjoyed a major chart single for some considerable time (their last Top 40 appearance was way back in 2010) but after returning from a hiatus just over five years ago the project has enjoyed some consistent albums chart success. Cracker Island however is their first No.1 record in a devil of a long time, the first Gorillaz chart-topper since Demon Days way back in 2005.
Besties (Part Two)
Finally forgive the indulgence of mentioning another Twitter moot, as at No.14 on the albums chart this week is the crunchingly good One In A Thousand from Obey Robots, a collaboration between the proudly independent multimedia star Laura Kidd and former Ned's Atomic Dustbin guitarist Rat (Gareth Pring to his mum). The album is entirely self-produced and self-released and grandly makes the Top 20 after a week of Laura pushing it with pride. She previously charted as Penfriend, her Exotic Monsters album reached the Top 20 back in 2021. And yes, it mattered to her deeply where she managed to make it in the charts. As it always should.
We're NUMBER ONE in the independent chart, and NUMBER FOURTEEN in the main chart.— @penfriendrocks on all the platforms xo (@penfriendrocks) March 3, 2023
This is what people power looks like. THANK YOU!!!! pic.twitter.com/ev807L3RS9