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Dec 16

Charts – 15 December 2017

Posted on Saturday, December 16, 2017 by Paul in Music

It seems that a lot of you have had the Spotify Christmas playlist on repeat.  Let’s have a look at this week’s top 40 and have a think about what you’ve done.

1.  Ed Sheeran – “Perfect”

But first, “Perfect” lands a second week at the top.  It only needs one more to hang on for Christmas.  And Sheeran wants that badly enough to keep putting out extra versions of the track.  This week, it’s “Perfect Symphony”, a duet with Andrea Bocelli.  One for the mums and dads, apparently.  It’s a completely ridiculous record; Ed Sheeran songs lend themselves to understatement, and a tenor is not understatement.

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Dec 9

Charts – 8 December 2017

Posted on Saturday, December 9, 2017 by Paul in Music

Oh, here we go.  Christmas time.

1.  Ed Sheeran – “Perfect”

In case you were in any doubt that Ed Sheeran would like to be Christmas Number One please, here’s the audio for the Beyonce version, now on YouTube with snowfall throughout.  It’s not an especially good version of “Perfect”, mind you – Ed Sheeran trades in unassuming sentimentality, and there’s something wonkily incongruous about Beyonce wrestling with his run-on sentences.  But here it is anyway.

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Dec 8

Iceman #6-7 – “Champions Reunited”

Posted on Friday, December 8, 2017 by Paul in x-axis

Yes, I know issue #8 is out now, but it’s a totally different story.  So let’s cover this two-parter quickly.

The Marvel Legacy remit requires this to have something to do with past continuity.  As it happens, that works out quite well, because what Sina Grace mainly wants to achieve in these two issues is to give Iceman a reason to quit the X-Men and move to Los Angeles so that his series can go its own way.  That’s fair enough; if he’s going to anchor his own title, there’s a lot to be said for prising him away from the team.  And it fits with the book’s general theme of Bobby trying to establish a new social life for himself outside the X-Men.

Fortunately, old continuity provides a perfectly serviceable reason for Iceman to visit Los Angeles, because apparently Black Widow is dead this week (Secret Empire or something – it really doesn’t matter), which is a good enough reason for Iceman to attend a Champions reunion.  That’s the sum total of the continuity callbacks in these two issues, which is fine. The other Champions get plenty to do, even if most of it is acting as a collective sounding board for Bobby, but there’s no need to descend into any of the detailed history, and the story wisely avoids doing so.

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Dec 3

Old Man Logan #25-30: “Days of Anger”

Posted on Sunday, December 3, 2017 by Paul in x-axis

Stories like “Days of Anger” come along every so often – stories which seem to be competent, properly paced, sensibly constructed, and generally solid, yet manage to fill six issues without ever appearing to be about anything in particular.  They always leave me with the nagging sense that I’m probably missing something, since there’s no denying that effort has gone into them.  But eventually I’m forced to concede defeat and conclude that the good-looking parts haven’t added up to anything.

This is the first arc for the new creative team of Ed Brisson and Mike Deodato.  Brisson’s not familiar to me, but he’s written some well-received indie books.  Deodato is the workhorse he always was; not always exciting but generally a sound storyteller, which is what we get here.  He’s from the school of artists who barely try to make Logan look old, but his heavy use of screentone certainly gives the book a distinctive feel.

Given that the original Wolverine is back in circulation following Marvel Legacy, taking over Old Man Logan feels like a thankless task – there’s a definite sense that we’re just counting down the months until the inevitable return of the real thing.  But in the meantime, “Days of Anger” starts off with what seem like sensible enough ideas.

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Dec 2

Charts – 1 December 2017

Posted on Saturday, December 2, 2017 by Paul in Music

Yup, we’re definitely in the dead period before Christmas…

1.  Camila Cabello featuring Young Thug – “Havana”

That’s five weeks, the longest run since “Despacito” back in the summer.  It’s very close – a mere 1,000 notional sales ahead of Rita Ora – but it’s a fifth week for all that.

“Perfect” by Ed Sheeran edges up 4-3, finally beating the peak of its first run from the spring; the “Perfect Duet” version with a weirdly miscast Beyonce came out on Friday, so he’s clearly angling for the Christmas number one.  “Man’s Not Hot” by Big Shaq moves 6-5, and “I Miss You” by Clean Bandit featuring Julia Michaels jumps 11-6 to restore Clean Bandit’s top 10 strike rate and become Michaels’ biggest hit (her own “Issues” only got to 10).  “17” by MK moves 16-10, technically becoming his biggest hit too.  In theory that used to be “Always”, which reached number 12 in 1995, but this does require you to ignore “Push The Feeling On” by the Nightcrawlers, which was basically his record by the time it was remixed for mass consumption.

11.  James Arthur – “Naked”

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Nov 29

Charts – 24 November 2017

Posted on Wednesday, November 29, 2017 by Paul in Music

I suspect we’re now in the pre-Christmas phase where not much happens – a bit too early for anyone hoping to score in the Christmas period, a bit too late for anyone hoping to get in a regular promotional campaign before the festive break.

1.  Camila Cabello featuring Young Thug – “Havana”

Four weeks, and still leading by a comfortable margin.  “Silence” by Marshmello featuring Khalid is up 5-3, and “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran finally makes it back to number 4 – its peak from back in March, when it was charting as an album track.  “Man’s Not Hot” by Big Shaq moves 8-6, and “Blinded By Your Grace – Part 2” by Stormzy featuring MNEK jumps 12-7.  Not quite his highest chart position, but it’s getting close.

9.  Selena Gomez & Marshmello – “Wolves”

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Nov 26

Generation X #3-9

Posted on Sunday, November 26, 2017 by Paul in x-axis

We are distressingly far behind on Generation X, so you’ll forgive me if I crash through a bunch of issues in one go in order to catch up.  These aren’t a single storyline – in fact, it’s pretty much four stories.  But at the same time, Generation X is settling into a teen soap mode, with different characters taking turns in the driving seat.  So maybe it’s for the best to look at them in the round, since of this batch, only issue #4 really operates like a team book.

In fact, despite the title, and the continuing appearance of characters from the original Generation X (Husk shows up in these issues, to join Chamber and Jubilee), there’s no actual Generation X team here.  What there is is Jubilee’s school class, who have been singled out as the kids who probably aren’t going to make it as X-Men and will have to be gently channelled into some other sort of productive life, if only anyone could think of what that might be.  They don’t even get costumes, just school uniforms.

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Nov 18

Charts – 17 November 2017

Posted on Saturday, November 18, 2017 by Paul in Music

Nice quiet week.  We start with…

1.  Camila Cabello featuring Young Thug – “Havana”

Three weeks at number one, and there’s not much more to say about that.  If you’re into statistical quirks, you might be interested to note that it’s not number one on the pure sales chart, or on the pure streaming chart; but what it does have is a balance between both sources.   The streaming number one is “Rock Star”, and the sales number one is “Anywhere” by Rita Ora, which climbs 5-2 to become her biggest hit since “I Will Never Let You Down” reached number 1 in 2014.

7.  Eminem featuring Beyonce – “Walk On Water”

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Nov 16

All-New Wolverine #22-24: “Hive”

Posted on Thursday, November 16, 2017 by Paul in x-axis

The backlog needs hammered through, so let’s knock this one off quickly.

This is something of an extended coda to the previous storyline, in which a space virus infected Roosevelt Island and Laura saved the day because her healing powers conveniently let her absorb and kill the virus.  That still leaves the stray plot thread of why a girl plummeted to earth with a space virus asking for Laura in the first place.  Since the alien girl died of the virus, Laura can’t simply ask her.  And so Laura and Gabby head into space with the Guardians of the Galaxy to retrace her steps and find out what was going on.  In other words, it’s a three-issue team-up with the Guardians of the Galaxy.

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Nov 14

Charts – 10 November 2017

Posted on Tuesday, November 14, 2017 by Paul in Music

In which three tracks from the same rather dull album all make the top 40, and I am relieved that the rules don’t allow any more.

1.  Camila Cabello featuring Young Thug – “Havana”

So low-budget vertical videos primarily intended for Spotify playlists are going to be a thing, then?  Okay, though YouTube isn’t best suited to handle them.  Can’t really complain, since I thought the main video was pretty bloated.  As a visual, I prefer this one.  Anyhow, Cabello gets her second week at number one.

“Too Good at Goodbyes” by Sam Smith (a former number one) rebounds from 7 to 3 on release of the parent album, and “Anywhere” by Rita Ora climbs 11-5.  “Man’s Not Hot” by Big Shaw jumps 20-11 in its seventh week on chart, as the official video seems to have reinvigorated it.  “Wolves” by Selena Gomez & Marshmello edges up a spot to number 15, and Khalid’s “Young Dumb & Broke” moves 19-17. (more…)