Wake Up Sheeple

"And nothing ever happens. Nothing happens at all. The needle returns to the start of the song, and we all sing along like before".

Del Amitri, 1990. Wise words from a bunch of wise Scotsmen.

Now look, we've had worse times in the recent history of the pop charts. Those weeks when the Top 13 singles remained the same as before and to find new things to write about any of them was like getting blood from a stone. But at least that is notable. Surely what is worse is when the same songs as before largely shuffle themselves about a bit. The charts are becalmed again, and what's more becalmed with stuff that has genuinely been around forever.

So let's deal with facts. The No.1 chart run of Miracle by Calvin Harris and Ellie Goulding is nicely symmetrical. Two weeks first time around, two weeks the second time around. Four of them in total. That's enough to ensure this single matches the best of Ellie's career so far, her own Love Me Like You Do also enjoying four weeks at the summit back in 2015. Calvin naturally has been here before. He spent four weeks at No.1 with Dance Wiv Me in 2008, six weeks in total with We Found Love in 2011, a massive eight weeks with One Kiss in 2018 and had another six week total run with Promises later that same year. So Miracle has a little way to go yet to rank as one of his very biggest hits. But who knows what twists lie ahead.

So as referenced many of the other Top 10 singles just reshuffle a bit. Daylight holds at No.2,  People and Wish You The Best swap places at 3 and 4, the evergreen Calm Down is still (still!) at No.5, with Ed Sheeran's Eyes Closed a non mover at No.6. The appearance in the shops of his Subtract album will probably mean next week is all about him and his music which he definitely does not copy from anyone else. Stay tuned.

Shoot That Arrow

The most impressive move of the week though is the nine place leap enjoyed by Cupid from Fifty Fifty which now sits pretty at a damn impressive No.9. I went on a long Twitter rant about my love for this track this week, and it continues to astound. Let's hammer the point home - K-pop singles tend to be one or two week wonders and play largely to the gallery. This one is different, having improved on its chart position in every one of the six weeks it has been around. The breezy track now becomes the first ever Top 10 single from an all-female Korean act and has the kind of momentum to suggest it is on its way to the Top 3. The fourpiece themselves are a refreshing break from the norm, from the vocals to the fore production which you don't normally get in K-pop singles right through to the fact that unlike contemporaries such as BTS and Blackpink they aren't merely puppets of a giant corporate behemoth. Their management have rather more humble origins.

Cupid is available in two versions, an English "twin" mix which alas is slightly less worthwhile and omits the Doja-esque mid-song rap in favour of an instrumental break, and the single proper which features a genuine fifty-fifty split in languages. Each line is sung half in Korean, half in English, and if you don't have the subtitled video in front of you it blows your mind trying to listen. Best pop record of the year so far? Undoubtedly. Which is why having it in the Top 10 is such a joy.


Nines doesn't quite have the biggest album of the week, but Crop Circle 2 enters at No.2 as the most-streamed release of the last seven days. Inevitably this means the British rapper gets to pepper the singles chart with its biggest tracks, just as well really as there's nothing else taking place this week. Already-charting hit Tony Soprano 2 lands the Top 10 place it missed out on last week with a climb to No.10, and it is followed by new arrivals Calendar (No.19) and Favela (No.34).

So, about the albums chart. Giving me the opportunity to swerve a whole series of jackpot jokes, the biggest release of the week was Anxiety Replacement Therapy by The Lottery Winners which gives the group their first chart-topping album at the third time of asking. The only disappointment is that they didn't do so with six numbers, edging just over the 22,000 mark.

They preside over an all-new Top 4, Jessie Ware and The National taking up the remaining two places. But what is most notable is the almost total absence of the whole of last week's all-new Top 4 from this week's chart. Enter Shikari's former No.1 album? Gone from the Top 100. The 1975 who were No.2 last week? Gone from the Top 100? Everything But The Girl's No.3 album? Still around! Albeit at No.3. And Taylor Swift's admittedly limited edition No.4 album from seven days ago? You guessed it, nowhere to be seen.

This isn't an uncommon sales path for new albums, just that it is rare to see them bunched together like this. But the albums market has become the singles one of two decades ago. Nobody has a Week 2 in them these days unless you are commanding respectable numbers of streams. In one ear and out the other.

Extraordinary then that Ed Sheeran is here to save us once more next time around.

Played By Carlos

Finally for this week, let us note that the presence of Tech It Deep's Maria Maria in the market (it jumps to No.63 this week) has inspired a chart comeback for the original, that by Santana and The Project G&B. Originally No.6 in 2000 and featuring on the guitarist's career-reviving Supernatural album, it re-enters the Official UK Singles chart at No.51. God love the TikTok generation.