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Jan 15

Charts – 15 January 2021

Posted on Friday, January 15, 2021 by Paul in Music

It’s still a quiet week for new entries, but we do have the first big hit of 2021 to deal with.

1. Olivia Rodrigo – “Drivers Licence”

Stop me if any of this sounds familiar. Olivia Rodrigo is a 17-year-old singer and actress who has spent several years as a teen star on the Disney Channel, now breaking with the Disney brand by releasing her first mainstream single. It’s even got swearing! It’s also very good indeed. This is her own song – the only other credited writer is producer Daniel Nigro – and it’s a really strong debut. You probably won’t be surprised to hear that she cites Lorde as an influence.

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Jan 9

Charts – 8 January 2021

Posted on Saturday, January 9, 2021 by Paul in Music

This is the strange chart, the one where all the Christmas records vanish simultaneously, and a flood of records rush up the chart to fill the gap. The chart this week contains no fallers at all, and 19 re-entries – relatively few of them are reaching new peaks, and I won’t be mentioning those again, but suffice to say that it’s the sort of week when “You Broke Me First” by Tate McRae, which peaked at number 3 in October, rebounds from number 74 to number 9.

There are, however, quite a few genuine new entries on this chart – mostly the tracks that got swamped out of the top 40 by the Christmas releases, finally making it into the chart.

1. Little Mix – “Sweet Melody”

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Jan 2

Charts – 1 January 2021

Posted on Saturday, January 2, 2021 by Paul in Music

This is a little unexpected. This chart period includes Christmas Day, but it also includes the six days following. And normally the Christmas records tail off sharply once Christmas itself is passed. So I assumed we’d start to see the clear out this week. Instead, festive domination continues for a further week, and…

1. Wham! – “Last Christmas”

…”Last Christmas” sneaks a week at number one before the season ends. It hasn’t been a number one before – it was the Christmas number 2 in 1984 behind Band Aid. That’s 36 years ago, setting a new record for the longest time between entering the charts and reaching number one. (The previous record holder was Tony Christie’s “(Is This The Way To) Amarillo”, which reached number 1 as a charity re-issue 33 years after it first charted.)

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Dec 26

Charts – 25 December 2020

Posted on Saturday, December 26, 2020 by Paul in Music

The chart falls on Christmas Day itself, meaning that the official Christmas Number One is the one announced on the day, covering the week of sales and streams up to Christmas Eve. As always, a bunch of last minute releases make a push for number one in the final week, ranging from the well meaning and charitable to the, er… well, you’ll see. Perhaps most surprisingly, a new version of “Holy” by Justin Bieber, with added vocals by an NHS choir, fails to get real traction and lands at number 41 – while a different Bieber track entirely makes it into the top 10. Strange times.

1. LadBaby – “Don’t Stop Me Eatin'”

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Dec 18

Charts – 18 December 2020

Posted on Friday, December 18, 2020 by Paul in Music

It’s not quite the Christmas number one. This year, Christmas Day falls on a Friday, and so the chart will be announced on the day itself. The last minute novelty and charity releases aren’t out yet; the Christmas songs have already flooded the chart, and there’s no room for them to climb any further.

1 Mariah Carey – “All I Want for Christmas is You”

That’s two weeks at number one. It’s entirely possible that she could hold on for Christmas Day. Wham!’s “Last Christmas” remains steady at number 2. But to stop us being completely becalmed, here’s a surprise release.

3. Taylor Swift – “Willow”
15. Taylor Swift – “Champagne Problems”
19. Taylor Swift featuring Haim – “No Body No Crime”

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Dec 12

Charts – 11 December 2020

Posted on Saturday, December 12, 2020 by Paul in Music

Welcome to a Christmassy, but rather static, chart. After the deluge of Christmas records that charted last week, there’s only one more joining them – perhaps because there’s no space, with Christmas records now accounting for more than half the top 40. And lo, the inevitable has finally happened.

1. Mariah Carey – “All I Want for Christmas is You

“All I Want for Christmas is You” was number 2 at Christmas 1994 – the number 1 that year was “Stay Another Day” by East 17, which hasn’t proved as enduring on the chart, but was a perfectly worthy winner. It’s resurfaced in a big way during the streaming era, making number 2 for the last three years. Bearing in mind that it’s an archive track, which means its streams are permanently on a lower weighting compared to new releases, it’s a remarkable achievement for it to get to number one.

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Dec 5

Charts – 4 December 2020

Posted on Saturday, December 5, 2020 by Paul in Music

There’s a school of thought that says the singles chart shouldn’t get overrun with Christmas singles every year, because it exists to promote new music. There’s a degree of truth to this. The chart exists because the music industry funds it. And the music industry funds it because they see it as a useful promotional tool. And until streaming came along, nobody expected the charts to tell us that people kept playing records they already owned.

But. The charts only work as a promotional tool because they’re not perceived as a promotional tool – or at least, because they’re perceived as some objective measure of popularity. In a streaming era, where sales are dwindling into irrelevance, you’re talking about measuring the music that people listen to. And in December, they listen to Christmas records.

God, do they listen to Christmas records.

1. Ariana Grande – “Positions”
13. Ariana Grande – “34+35”
16. Ariana Grande – “Santa Tell Me”

I mean, not all of them. Some of them are still listening to Ariana Grande’s “Positions”, which has now been number one for six weeks. Further down the chart, “34+35” climbs back to 13 (still below its initial peak). And the third track from her album… ah, that vanishes. Because the chart rules only allow three tracks by the same lead artist at one time, and… well, here’s “Santa Tell Me”, again.

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Nov 28

Charts – 27 November 2020

Posted on Saturday, November 28, 2020 by Paul in Music

It’s a month to Christmas, and you all know what that means. But regular service hasn’t quite packed in just yet.

1. Ariana Grande – “Positions”

That’s five weeks, though the margins are getting smaller. “34+35” is already being promoted as the next single; it climbs 17-13 this week, though it already made the top 10 as an album track in the week of release. Not quite her longest – “Thank U, Next” managed six. The top 3 is static, with Billie Eilish at 2 and Little Mix at 3. “Levitating” by Dua Lipa climbs 10-5.

8. Miley Cyrus featuring Dua Lipa – “Prisoner”

Ah, Miley Cyrus videos – never knowingly subtle. This continues the 80s throwback approach of “Midnight Sky”, which is still sitting in the top 10 at number 7. And Dua Lipa’s “Levitating” climbs to 5. Miley Cyrus’s singles chart record is patchy – the occasional huge hit and a whole load of middling places – but this style seems to be working for her.

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Nov 23

Charts – 20 November 2020

Posted on Monday, November 23, 2020 by Paul in Music

Another quiet week on the singles chart, beyond a couple of major releases…

1 Ariana Grande – “Positions”

Four weeks, though apparently this one was very close – the equivalent of just a few hundred sales. “34+35” and “POV” are still on the chart, at 17 and 19 respectively.

2. Billie Eilish – “Therefore I Am”

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Nov 14

Charts – 13 November 2020

Posted on Saturday, November 14, 2020 by Paul in Music

Ah, are we into the pre-Christmas lull already?

1. Ariana Grande – “Positions”
22. Ariana Grande – “POV”

For the second week running, Ariana Grande charts with the maximum three tracks from her new album. “Positions” spends its third week at number one – admittedly without much in the way of competition. “34+35” drops from 9 to 18. And we get one of those awkward quirks of the chart rules, as “POV” overtakes “Motive” as the third-placed track from the album, and elbows it off the chart entirely thanks to the quota rule. Since “POV” was disqualified under the same rule last week, technically it becomes this week’s highest new entry, but it’s all a little artificial.

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