Physical stocks exhausted, Olivia Rodrigo's Vampire no longer has the streaming legs to sustain it at the top of the charts and so exits as quickly as it came, although suggestions that it might be the latest No.1 single to succumb instantly to ACR proved a false alarm. Vampire is still very much (un)alive and merely slides to No.3.
That means however a void at the top, filled nicely by a track which is indeed enjoying some delayed gratification, after a five-week climb Paint The Town Red by Doja Cat is the latest in a growing line of brand new No.1 singles. And oh my word is there is a great deal to unpick about this one.
First, to the lady herself. It is the first UK No.1 single for the lady born Amala Diamini, three years on from her debut hit single Say So which peaked at No.2 as one of the stars of the original Coronavirus lockdown in 2020. Say So was also notable as one of the first Tik Tok inspired smash hits, coming to prominence thanks to the dance which went viral at the time it was topping the charts. To see Doja Cat evolving into a genuine mainstream rap superstar has been quite the story - particularly when you consider she first came to public attention in 2018 when her novelty track Mooo! became an internet meme (even though it has yet to chart at all in this country).
Paint The Town Red is, as is fairly apparent, based heavily around a sample of Dionne Warwick's recording of Walk On By. The song was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, meaning that Doja Cat's single is effectively the first British chart-topping composition by the pair since I'll Never Fall In Love by Bobbie Gentry hit the top way back in 1969. Burt Bacharach (with or without his lyrical partner) spent the 70s and 80s coming close but not quite close enough to replicating that feat. Despite composing several US No.1 hits during that period, songs such as Arthur's Theme (The Best That You Can Do) and On My Own always fell short. The latter was agonisingly a No.2 hit for Michael McDonald and Patti Labelle in 1986. In 1990 Deacon Blue released an entire EP of Bacharach and David songs, but the single (led by their cover of the aforementioned I'll Never Fall In Love Again) also contrived to peak in second place.
Paint The Town Red is notably the fourth No.1 single in a row from a female solo artist as it follows hard on the heels of Billie Eilish, Dua Lipa and Olivia Rodrigo. Depending on your point of view this is either unique, or something that has not taken place since 2009. The ambiguity surrounds a run of hits that began at in December 2008 when Leona Lewis, Alexandra Burke, Lady Gaga, Lily Allen and Kelly Clarkson all topped the charts one after the other. The problem is that Gaga's Just Dance was technically a co-credited duet with Colby O'Donis although the latter was not mentioned on the single artwork itself, merely in the song metadata. The track is presently listed in the Official Charts database as a co-credited track but the printed charts of the time told a different story. So go figure.
We have now had four new No.1 singles in as many weeks. While there was technically a similar rapid turnover of chart-toppers at the start of this year, one of those (Last Christmas) was a single making it to No.1 for a second time so this technically doesn't count as a "new" chart-topper. The last time we had a run of four singles in a row top the charts for the very first time was therefore back in 2020: Captain Tom Moore, The Live Lounge Allstars, Drake and DaBaby all arriving at the summit in quick succession. What makes the present run of No.1 hits so startling though is that all four are tracks that have climbed to the top one after the other, as opposed to entering straight at No.1. That's the first such run of this kind since the very dawn of chart history in the first weeks of 1953. Strange but true.
A Swift Note
Will we have a fifth lady in a row at the top next week? Well if you still believe in the idea of delayed gratification then keep an eye on Taylor Swift's Cruel Summer which ascends gracefully to No.2 this week. It now beats the No.3 peak of Me! to become the biggest hit single to be taken from her Lover album. Lover is incidentally one of no fewer than six Taylor Swift albums currently clogging up the Top 20 of the albums chart. It is this week's No.10 joining Midnights (No.7), 1989 (No.11), Folklore (No.12), Speak Now (Taylor's Version) (No.16) and Reputation (No.17). She perhaps deserves to take her turn at the top of the singles chart to reflect her status as one of the biggest stars in the firmament right now. At least as far as her combined streams are concerned.
Once again we have an all-solo female Top 5 with Doja Cat, Taylor Swift, Olivia Rodrigo, Billie Eilish and Peggy Gou all showing the boys how it is done. Calvin Harris & Sam Smith are the highest charting men, climbing to No.6 with Desire. Only one track penetrates the Top 10, Adore U from Fred Again climbs to No.9 to give the rapper and producer his first ever Top 10 hit single.
Continuing Legend Alert
In the same week her comeback hit Padam Padam is anointed the "song of the summer" by those in the know, the apparently evergreen Kylie Minogue proves that it was one no-off, at least as big chart hits are concerned. Having now broken the seal and become the kind of act whose songs are streamed enthusiastically, regardless of her age, she lands her second Top 20 hit of the year as Tension becomes this week's highest new entry at No.19. The song is a genuine curiosity, an aching generic dance-pop hit which could in truth be performed by any current pop star, from Anne-Marie to Becky Hill or Dua Lipa and end up sounding exactly the same. Kylie's suddenly lucked into being the voice of the moment, so the hit is hers and will go down as such. But an inspiration on the same level as its predecessor it is not.
Of perhaps more interest is the song that is new at No.20. Strangers is the debut chart single for South African-born British singer and songwriter Kenya Grace. Having generated some online buzz with her previous single Meteor she makes her major label debut with this subtle and alluring trance revival. It is worth three minutes of your time at the very least.
Hurry Hurry Lover
Completing an oddly symmetrical around the houses chart run is Rush from Troye Sivan which debuted at No.22 in July, drifted down as far as No.37 only to turn around and start climbing again. This week the single makes an 11 place leap and returns back from whence it came, re-peaking at No.22 in its eighth week on the chart. The rebound is largely due to the release of a new mix of the track, stirring in vocals from Pinkpantheress and Hyuinjin. And let's face it, there is no track that isn't enhanced by a vocal turn from Pinkpantheress.
There's just one more new Top 40 arrival to mention, Feel It from Jazzy which finally makes the Top 40 after a five week climb and pokes its nose in at No.35. It means it for the first time out-charts its predecessor Giving Me which is still grimly clinging on to a Top 40 place of its own, a non-mover this week at No.37.