Now Officially Bled Dry
This week belongs - in most senses - to Olivia Rodrigo. Her second album GUTS (home to recentl No.1 hit Vampire) is inevitably the biggest of all big deals this week, far and away the most in-demand release of the week. Helping to go 2 for 2 as far as chart-topping records are concerned, the new collections slams into the top of the charts with a colossal chart sale of well over 60,000. Those sales are somewhat evenly spread amongst formats, although streams count for the plurality of these with just over 28,000 of them coming from online listening. More curious is the marked similarity between her CD sales (10.5k) and vinyl sales (11.8K) which possibly suggests many physical collectors were snapping up both for posterity. We shall gloss over the 8,500 psychopaths who bought the album on cassette.
60,000 is still only enough to make GUTS the fourth fastest-seller of the year (Lewis Capaldi still holds that crown with his opening week total of 96k) but it is - interestingly - an increase on those of her debut SOUR which opened with 50,000 sales back in 2021.
All of the tracks from GUTS enjoy substantial streaming numbers, but this was still not quite enough to land Ms Rodrigo a triumphant return to No.1 on the Official UK Singles chart (unlike in America where Vampire is apparently set to break the record for longest gap between spells at the top of the Hot 100 during the same chart run). Instead, it is Doja Cat who has the honour of restoring some stability to the top of the charts for the first time in a month, Paint The Town Red comfortably enjoying a second week at the summit. Amongst her many documented achievements, we should have made more of the fact that she is the first ever solo female rapper to top the British charts. WAP by Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion was notoriously the first all-female rap single to make it to the top back in 2020 but there were four, I'm sorry, two of them. Doja Cat makes it to No.1 all on her own (save for the distorted sampled vocals of Dionne Warwick), thus besting Nicki Minaj whose No.2 with Starships was hitherto the biggest rap single by a lone lady.
That then leaves Olivia Rodrigo to occupy the rest of the Top 3, Vampire inevitably rebounding to No.2 while its already-released follow-up Bad Idea Right storms back into contention one place behind, besting the No.6 with which it opened its account back in August. The pair are joined by the album's final permitted hit as Get Him Back plants itself smartly at No.7 to become her seventh Top 10 single. For those keeping track it is another song about an utter jerk who she can't get out of her head, but she doesn't say "fuck" at any point in the song. Meaning her writers are slipping.
Upward progress this week is being made by Kenya Grace with Strangers which nips nicely from 20 up to 12, and to a lesser extent but no less pleasingly City Boys by Burna Boy which jumps 32-23. And if you are wondering why that means I've skipped over the rest of the Top 20 it is because all the other hits of the moment are going nowhere fast.
The ever-expanding universe of the BTS solo singles grants us the second biggest new hit of the week as Slow Dancing marks the chart debut of V. Yes, you heard me, V. It is a track from Kim Tae-hynug's debut six track EP Layover, although oddly enough it is not the lead track on the collection, instead a mere fourth on the running order. The arrival of the Korean star will mean some careful planning of chart databases given he shares his single letter name with a British boy band who enjoyed a brief run of hits back in 2004, including two Top 10 hits. Good luck separating those in future.
While on the topic of solo spin-offs that aren't quite as big a deal as you might expect, the floundering story of the Little Mix solo careers takes another stagger forward with the arrival of at No.28 of My Love as the second chart hit for Leigh-Anne nolongerPinnock. It is the follow-up to Don't Say Love which made a spectacular debut at No.11 back in July before making an equally spectacular tumble down the charts. An attempt to give this new hit slightly longer legs is you suspect behind the inclusion of Ayra Starr on guest vocals on this hit and in its favour it hasn't suffered from quite the level of overhype as its predecessor and is in truth the best new pop record of the week. Nonetheless, the received wisdom that the Little Mix girls are automatically destined for huge levels of solo success just isn't playing out in reality.
It has been 17 years since the Rolling Stones last had a Top 40 hit single, but this week they make their first appearance in these pages since Rain Fall Down reached No.33 in December 2005. The new hit is called Angry, the lead single from what will indeed be their first full-length album of new music since A Bigger Bang, home to that aforementioned last hit and which also hit the stores back in 2005. Is it any good? Well yes, as Rolling Stones singles go, and the Sydney Sweeney-starring video has turned plenty of heads. The three surviving members of the band all have an average age of almost 79 which is itself a chart record.
We mentioned Cardi and Megan above and by a strange coincidence they are back together once more, although their attempt to recapture lightning in a bottle with another sexually explicit duet has this time around fallen on deaf ears, Bongos debuting at No.35. But it is still a hell of a way to bow out for another week.