Posted on Wednesday, January 16, 2013 by Paul in Music
We’ll get to the rest of last week’s comics in due course; for now, let’s get up to speed on the chart. The music industry’s festive season shutdown is finally over, and normal service is resumed! Well, kind of.
And the first new entry of 2013 is, appropriately enough…
Futurebound, you see! New year! No? Oh, please yourselves. It’s a poppy little drum and bass track with crossover potential, and judging from the midweeks, it’s going to climb. This is the follow up to the “All I Know”, which made number 29 last May. No idea who Baby Blue is, beyond the glaring obvious fact that she’s a singer and rapper.
38. Bon Jovi – “Because We Can”
Well, here’s somebody taking advantage of the quiet patch on the release schedule.
Bon Jovi haven’t had a hit since 2009, when “We Weren’t Born To Follow” reached number 25. But it’s not like Bon Jovi ever stopped having hits. This is their 42nd top 40 hit in a chart career that began in 1986 when “You Give Love a Bad Name” reached 14 – yes, only 14. They’ve had 16 top ten hits spread over a twenty year period, and in fact quite heavily weighted towards the later years – they did quite well in the years just before the download era, when they were the sort of band whose fan base would regularly give them strong first week sales that never crossed over to a wider audience. The same applies here; this was at number 20 in the midweeks, on the strength of frontloaded sales from the fan base. And once they’d got their copies, well, it kind of stopped selling.
Somewhat against my better judgment, though, I kind of like this. Utterly old-fashioned, of course, but then what else do people want from a Bon Jovi single? As someone pointed out (I forget where), the chorus actually feels weirdly like something fun. might have written, except filtered through a Bon Jovi arrangement. And that guitar line is really quite good, be honest.
Yes, again. A number 3 hit many moons ago now, this too had a brief resurgence thanks to some guest appearances on TV over the break.
32. Haim – “Don’t Save Me”
Haim – it’s pronounced “Hime”, apparently – are the Haim sisters Este, Danielle and Alana. There’s also a drummer, who is not a Haim, but makes up for it by being called Dash Hutton, suggesting that he may have started life as a lesser known toy from the Buzz Lightyear range. It’s a nicely 1980s-retro number which has been picking up some support in indie circles. The single actually came out in November, but it picks up a surge of late sales this week after Haim topped the BBC’s annual “Sound of [Insert Year Here]” list, which evidently carries more weight than you might expect – and perhaps also shows that when nothing new is being released, strange things happen on the chart.
27. David Guetta (featuring Taped Rai) – “Just One Last Time”
This has notionally been out as a single for a few weeks, but nobody paid it much attention over the Christmas period. It’s the ninth single from his album “Nothing But The Beat” – the second to come from the deluxe version – and diminishing returns may finally be setting in. It sounds much like you’d expect from the ninth single from a David Guetta album – much like the previous eight, in other words, but a professional job for all that. “Taped Rai” are apparently a vocal duo from Sweden, but beyond that, there’s not much info on them.
26. Jake Bugg – “Lightning Bolt”
A second hit for the teenage throwback, who rather surprisingly claims that Bob Dylan is “not a major influence”. Perhaps it’s the voice; sing this in a different accent and you could see it more as a piece of trad songwriting, albeit with its lo-fi “surely I’ve heard this somewhere before?” feel very much front and centre. Good single, though, and I love that organ hook.
Like the Haim single, this is an odd record to be charting now; it came out back in April. Bugg did a few TV appearances over new year, and I can only assume he took the opportunity to plug this song.
This made number 35 just before Christmas when she performed it on X Factor, but promotion of the single has finally kicked properly into gear, and so it returns to the chart now for a more serious run. It’s going to climb next week.
This track from the “Cruel Summer” album reached number 25 back in October, but presumably it’s getting a full scale single release, since Radio 1 has put it back on the playlist and it’s making its way back up the chart. Still no video for it, though.
20. Vato Gonzalez vs Lethal Bizzle & Donae’O – “Not A Saint”
Despite the name, Vato Gonzalez is a Dutch DJ – confusing matters further, his real name is apparently Bjorn. This is the belated follow-up to his single “Badman Riddim”, which made number 7 in July 2011. UK rapper Lethal Bizzle gets his biggest hit since “Pow! (Forward)” just missed the top 10 back in 2005.
Donae’O – it means “gift from God”, apparently, so he’s clearly a modest soul – is a singer and rapper who’s been releasing records for about five years now but has never previously made any impact on the chart. According to Wikipedia, he’s “known for his single ‘Party Hard'”, but not by me he isn’t.
The “versus” credit is because this is actually a remix of a record that Bizzle and Donae’O originally put out last year, to no chart impact. I kind of prefer the original, to be honest.
12. One Direction – “Kiss You”
Climbing 14 places this week – it’s another single that’s been out for a while but is finally starting to get momentum as the public blearily turns its attention back to regular old pop music. And it’s got a video now! Not a very good one, admittedly, but a video nonetheless. Regardless, it’s a good boy band single, with the sixties verses and the odd way it leans into the chorus at half speed.
6. David Bowie – “Where Are We Now”
The line between lyric videos and regular ones really is becoming blurred, isn’t it?
This is a very unusual release. Out of nowhere, on Tuesday morning (his 66th birthday) David Bowie, who hadn’t released any new material in a decade, suddenly announced that he had made a new album and that this was the lead single from it. Somehow, he had actually managed to keep this entirely quiet. Even more unexpectedly, segments of the media got terribly excited about the release of a new David Bowie album, and both the single and pre-orders of the album shot to number one on iTunes, amid much proclaiming of the return of one of the greatest artists of all time.
It’s doubtful that anyone was expecting quite this degree of response to David Bowie releasing a mid-pace ballad as a surprise comeback single. One could be forgiven for wondering where all these adoring fans have been hiding, given that Bowie was releasing material regularly up until 2003, yet this is his highest chart position since “Absolute Beginners” reached number 2 in 1986. Nor is “Where Are We Now” even a particularly obvious choice of single; it’s a reflective ballad, some might say maudlin, and one that really does depend, with its meanderings about Berlin, on its status as a David Bowie Single. And with the midweek chart showing it at number 30, it seems fair to say that its appeal beyond Bowie’s lapsed fanbase wasn’t spectacular.
There’s another story here, though. “Where Are We Now” was made available as an “instant gratification” promotion – in other words, if you pre-order the album, you get the single now. Singles released in that way have never been counted towards the charts, even if (like this one) they’re also available as regular singles. Technically, the rules only excluded the album sales, and free-standing purchases should have counted. But the data supplied to the Official Charts Company didn’t distinguish between the two and, while it should have been straightforward to separate them, somehow or other this was never done. You have to assume there was some sort of backstage reason for this, as all logic suggests that separate purchases of the track should count towards the singles chart.
The sheer degree of press coverage given to the David Bowie single, however, meant that the prospect of it failing to appear in the chart at the end of the week was going to be profoundly embarrassing to the OCC, who somehow or other managed to remove whatever the obstacle was by the end of the week. There is a lot of spin going on here. The OCC is presenting this as a conventional application of the rules which merely had a technical obstacle; but it’s a technical obstacle that has previously excluded singles by the likes of Coldplay, Madonna and Oasis. This record is being given special treatment, in that sense at least. It will be interesting to see whether the obstacle to counting instant-gratification tracks has been solved once and for all, or whether this really does turn out to be a one-off dispensation for David Bowie.
Still, by establishing that his actual chart position would only ever have made number 6, we have at least avoided the broadsheet newspapers whining that David Bowie was denied his rightful number one by…
It hasn’t got any better since we last mentioned it. This is will.i.am’s second number one as a solo artist (fourth if you count some of his guest appearances). As for Britney, she returns to number one for the first time since “Everytime” in 2004.
I still have no idea what Britney thinks she’s doing with that accent. Is it supposed to be Boston? Didn’t she grow up in Louisiana?
Over on the album chart:
“Our Version of Events” by Emeli Sande is back at number 1.
The “Les Miserable” OST is at 5. I’m not quite sure how this qualifies for the album chart, which has a long-standing rule that excludes “various artists” albums (introduced decades ago to disguise the fact that all Britain’s actual biggest-selling albums are compilations), but I guess crediting it collectively to the Movie Cast is being treated as an artist credit. More on this next week, believe it or not, when Anne Hathaway looks set to have a hit single.
“Wretched & Divine” by the Black Veil Brides is at 20. They’re a Californian rock band with glam tendencies.
“Best of Bowie” by David Bowie is at 25, an obvious side-effect of the media coverage.