Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2014
by Paul in Music
It’s time for the annual Brit Awards chart. This has become a regular feature of the download era, as the primetime awards show reminds people of records they’d forgotten to buy, or actually allows them to download live performances that duly propel songs back into the chart. Even though the ratings were the lowest in years, they’re still enough to have some impact on the lower half of the top 40.
39. The Arctic Monkeys – “Do I Wanna Know”
Originally a number 11 hit last June. The Arctic Monkeys won Best British Group. Oddly, this isn’t the song they performed on the show – that was 2012’s “R U Mine?”, which re-enters at 55.
36. Lorde – “Royals”
A number 1 back in November, of course. Lorde won Best International Female. She did perform this song on the show, but as a medley with Disclosure’s “White Noise”. That performance is available for download, but it’s listed separately on the chart (and we’ll be coming to it in a bit). The result, naturally, is to split Lorde’s sales on this song. Her current single “Team” is still hanging around at 31.
35. Ellie Goulding – “Burn”
A number 1 last August. Goulding won Best British Female, and she performed this on the show. Her current single “Goodness Gracious” climb 36-26 this week, while “How Long Will I Love You” is at 25, so she’s got three hits this week.
33. John Newman – “Love Me Again”
A number 1 last July. I’m not honestly sure why this one is back, though, since he didn’t win any awards, nor did he perform this on the show. It was nominated for Best British Single, I guess.
32. M.A.D. – “Fame & TV”
M.A.D. is the amateur-hour boy band who got to number 37 last year with the outrageously cheap “Toyboy”. This was at number 12 in the midweeks, suggesting at first glance that they might have experienced a surge of popularity. As the final placement makes clear, no such revelation has occurred. In fact, they’ve attempted to hype their way into the chart by begging their limited fan base to buy this song in eight different version. This was a common tactic in the 80s, until the chart rules were altered to ban it by limiting the number of different formats that could be counted towards a single placing. The download-era chart counts all versions of a song together, though, making the tactic viable again.
Fans buying all eight will have the joy of experiencing the original mix, an acoustic version, what appears to be a version featuring only one of them on vocals, a piano version, a version in Welsh (yes, seriously), a live version from a TV show (which is basically the acoustic version again), a radio edit (because the original is 2:52 so clearly needed a bit of trimming), and an instrumental backing track.
23. Beyonce – “XO”
Performed on the Brit Awards, though she didn’t actually win anything. This song already made 24 a few weeks back, but had flared out and left the top 40. Theoretically, this is meant to be her current single, but the British are stubbornly determined to buy “Drunk In Love” instead, and it climbs 20-12 this week.
21. Bastille & Rudimental – “Pompeii/Waiting All Night”
This is a download of a live medley performance from the Brit Awards. “Pompeii” made number 2 nearly a year ago, while “Waiting All Night” was a number 1 in April. It’s a bit bolted together; we’ve seen rather neater mash-ups out of the Brits in the past.
As I’ve mentioned, the chart rules allow multiple versions of a song to be counted together (as long as they’re by the same artist). But from the chart’s perspective, this is neither “Pompeii” nor “Waiting All Night”, but something else. This results in a splitting of sales, as the Rudimental track lands at 42 and the Bastille original re-enters at 20 – right next to the live version.
So, is it time yet for a regular, ordinary new entry?
17. Tegan and Sara featuring The Lonely Island – “Everything is Awesome”
Nope. This is the theme tune to The Lego Movie, a deliberately off-kilter mock-conformist anthem which insists that literally everything is awesome. The film is great – if you don’t love a movie where Batman is a brooding adolescent who only works with black bricks and makes Skrillex-style dub step with the lyrics “Darkness! / No Parents!”, then I don’t know what to say to you.
Tegan and Sara are Canadian identical twins now onto their seventh album, who have hitherto made no impact whatsoever in the UK. (Well, their last album got to number 38, but seriously, have you seen the stuff that gets to number 38 on the album chart?) Internationally, their biggest hit is “Closer”, which went platinum in Canada in 2012.
The Lonely Island are a comedy trio who’ve made several albums in the US but aren’t particularly well known over here, because we don’t get Saturday Night Live over here. It’s one of those strange US TV institutions that is just too specifically American to be successfully exported, no matter how big the guest stars. (See also: pretty much all late-night chat shows.)
4. A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera – “Say Something”
The artist credit rather makes it sound as if Christina Aguilera has left the planet and is now duetting from orbit. Actually, when I first saw this listed, I assumed it was probably a charity record of some sort. It’s not; A Great Big World are a duo from New York. Their breakthrough song in America was “This is the New Year”, which, Wikipedia informs me, was performed on Glee, “and was used as the theme tune for MTV’s I Used To Be Fat“.
This song has been a hit internationally, and was originally recorded without Christina Aguilera. In fact, her contribution remains surprisingly low key; she’s just harmonising with the existing song. And it does add something.
This is her biggest UK hit since she appeared on Maroon 5’s “Moves Like Jagger” three years ago; she hasn’t been this high up with one of her own singles since 2006.
1. Sam Smith – “Money on my Mind”
This is Sam Smith’s first solo release, but he was the singer on “Latch” by Disclosure (number 11 in 2012) and “La La La” by Naughty Boy (number 1 last year). Perhaps predictably, his solo material turns out to be in similar territory to John Newman, but it’s a grower. Musically, at least. Lyrically, it’s basically a less irritating version of Jessie J’s “Price Tag”. It doesn’t look to be on course for a second week.
On the album chart, Brits albums are rebounding all over the place (and are too numerous to bother listing separately). Otherwise, the release schedules keep a discreet distance.
- “Bad Blood” by Bastille, which has been out for a year, jumps from 10 to 1 on the strength of their Best Breakthrough Act award.
- “Peroxide” by Nina Nesbitt at 11. Debut album for the Scottish songwriter, probably best known for her debut single “Stay Out”, which just missed the top 20 last April.
- “Weird Kids” by We Are The In Crowd at 24. Described by Wikipedia as a pop punk band, the single actually sounds more like My Chemical Romance. It’s their second album, the first to chart in the UK. Single: “The Best Thing (That Never Happened)”.
- “The Whippoorwill” by Blackberry Smoke at 30. A Southern rock band. This is their third album, but the first to do anything in the UK. Single: “Shakin’ Hands with the Holy Ghost”.