The charts of 2016 are a still pond into which a stone occasionally falls. This makes them fairly tedious to follow week to week, but at least the big stuff stands out. The Official Charts Company are well aware of this, and of the need to remind the public of the chart’s ostensible function as a barometer of public mood. So it didn’t take long after Prince died before the OCC put out an excitable announcement, which several papers dutifully parrotted, that he was on course to have a number 1 hit. Which he wasn’t, but we’ll come back to that.
First, this month’s actual number ones. “I Took a Pill in Ibiza” by Mike Posner hung on for another couple of weeks, managing a total of four. And then we had “One Dance” by Drake featuring WizKid & Kyla, which doesn’t have a video, so you’ll have to make do with Spotify.
It looks as if we’re deeply embedded in one of the slowest chart eras for years. The main reason for that, of course, is that the charts are increasingly determined by streaming data rather than sales. And while sales measure how many people were interested enough to buy a track in the first place, streaming data is more interested in how long they keep listening to it.
In many ways this is a good thing for the chart, because it puts an end to the days when you could engineer a number one by releasing your single in a quiet week and relying on fan base sales. In that sense, a chart position is arguably more meaningful than it’s been in quite some ways. But in other ways, it’s a problem, because there simply isn’t very much happening, which doesn’t greatly serve the chart’s other role of promotion.
So when we left off at the end of February, “7 Years” by Lukas Graham had been at number for three weeks. It went on to stay there for another two, so evidently this rather maudlin reflection on ageing has more appeal than I can comprehend. Perhaps it’s the video. Maybe it reminds people of Wayne’s World.
Posted on Sunday, February 28, 2016 by Paul in Music
Now, One Direction had a good run. Five albums over four years. That’s a decent lifespan for their ilk. But if you’re in a boy band, you should have an exit strategy. At some point, you stop being boys. And growing with the audience is easier said than done, because you tend to be the sort of thing the fans make a point of leaving behind as they get older. Look at Take That – consigned to the “vaguely embarrassing” file until the audience were old enough not to be so self-conscious about liking them.
And if you’re a member of One Direction, you probably noticed that the media long since established the conventional wisdom that, come the inevitable split, the successful one – the really A-list one – was Harry Styles. Good news for Harry Styles. Less thrilling for the other four.
Posted on Friday, January 29, 2016 by Paul in Music
Well, what an interesting month. I think this year we’ll loosen up the format and go a bit more freeform, yes? Alright.
So. We left off with the Christmas chart, and with the Lewisham & Greenwich NHS Choir at number 1 with “A Bridge Over You”. Normal service was swiftly resumed as “Love Yourself” by Justin Bieber, which had already been number one for three weeks, returned to the top for a further three. Admittedly, that’s during the normal early-January dead season for new releases. But since Bieber also had the immediately preceding number one (“Sorry”), the NHS Choir wind up as the sole week of respite in nine weeks of Justin Bieber.
Posted on Friday, November 27, 2015 by Paul in Music
Okay, let’s get this month’s chart post out promptly! Um… new Watch With Father post probably over the weekend or early next week, and some sort of state of the X-books type thing maybe in the pipeline too. I know.
Meanwhile, hope you like the words “Justin Bieber”, because they’re going to be cropping up a lot.
A second week at number one, and this is a juggernaut of a record. Justin Bieber, stuck at number two for the second week, would normally have walked it to number one with his sales of 48,000 and his 4.41m streams. But Adele shifted 121,000 and had streams of 5.78 million. Nobody was going to match that. And nobody really tried, with the highest new entry coming down at 10 for “Focus” by Ariana Grande.
Posted on Wednesday, September 30, 2015 by Paul in Music
So then. As promised when I stopped the weekly chart posts, I’m going to do a monthly round-up of what’s been in the singles chart – plus, in this case, the last two charts of August, since I didn’t cover them either. That’ll cover the number 1 singles and a brief run-down of what else has made the top 40 during this period, picking out anything actually notable. Annoyingly for my purposes, it’s been a period with a heavy turnover of number one singles…
21 August 2015: Jess Glynne, “Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself”
Posted on Sunday, August 16, 2015 by Paul in Music
Some housekeeping to start. 2015 is continuing to be a remarkably lethargic year for the singles chart – which seems to be in part a consequence of adding streaming data, which (mildly) favours records with enduring appeal and squeezes out what would otherwise have been one-week entries at the lower end of the top 40. That also means that the records that are making the top 40 are tending to be less interesting on the whole. That being the case, I’m thinking of putting this feature on hiatus for a bit, or perhaps converting it to a monthly round-up or something. Instead, I thought I might do some posts on CBeebies, the BBC’s channel for young children. Because I see a lot of CBeebies these days. And several people have actually said they’d read it…
39. Tough Love featuring Ginuwine – “Pony (Jump On It)”
If you were expecting Cilla Black to show up in this week’s singles chart, then let’s get your disappointment out of the way now. “Anyone Who Had A Heart” did sell for a few days following her death at the start of the week, but it lands at 41, just outside our remit here. Instead…
36. Shaggy featuring Mohombi, Faydee & Costi – “I Need Your Love”