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Feb 25

Charts – 23 February 2014

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.

For example…

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”.

Bring on the comments

  1. Paul F says:

    I’m surprised Tegan and Sara have never done well in the UK album charts; I’ve been a fan for about a decade now (since hearing one of their songs on the Veronica Mars soundtrack).

    If I hadn’t seen their name on it, I REALLY wouldn’t have guessed they’d done “Everything Is Awesome”.

  2. Omar Karindu says:

    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.)

    I’m curious about whether Craig Ferguson’s chat show is on the radar, especially since he occasionally does things like build an entire episode around interviewing Stephen Fry.

  3. kelvingreen says:

    Omar, I don’t think Ferguson’s show is on any channels over here so he’s probably as well known as the rest of the hosts. Although he is/was Scottish I don’t think he had much of a notable career here before he went to the US so I don’t think he’s that well known, although he may be a household name north of the border.

  4. The Lonely Island aren’t completely unknown. They’ve had some major Youtube hits – originally the fantastic ‘Jizz In My Pants’ and, more recently, ‘YOLO’ with Adam Levine. Also, Andy Samberg was in BBC3’s Cuckoo and now in Brooklyn Nine-Nine, one of E4’s main comedy imports.

  5. Paul says:

    Craig Ferguson was vaguely known on the alt comedy circuit in the 1980s but was pretty much a jobbing actor by the time he left for the US. His equivalent going the other way – an American actor who came to the UK and suddenly became a successful comedian and chat show host – would be Ruby Wax, and I don’t think the Americans have ever been that interested in her UK work. (I think Reginald D Hunter is in a similar position, as a pure stand up comic.)

  6. kingderella says:

    Everything may not be awesome, but Tegan & Sara certainly are. I was convinced that their biggest hit so far (in general) was “Feel it in my Bones” (where they technically are only featured artists). Looking it up now, I realize that that song wasn’t much of a hit at all. I don’t know why I thought that. It’s a good track, though:

  7. Daibhid Ceannaideach says:

    I’ve got to admit that even though I was a regular viewer of Craig Fergusson’s BBC Scotland sketch show, and also saw him as Oscar in the Glaswegian Odd Couple (and met him and Gerard Kelly afterwards!), to me he will always be Lister’s Confidence.

    (My favourite line from the sketch show was about Scottish burger bars; something like “You can train them staff to say ‘Would you like fries with your order, sir?’ for as long as you like, but at the end of the day they’re still going to say ‘Ya want chips wi’ that?'”)

  8. orangewaxlion says:

    Weirdo fact, there are some localized adaptations of SNL actually. SNL South Korea was the only one I’ve ever heard of before but it’s actually pretty new, only on their 5th season.

    I mostly know of it from the K-pop community but it seems like given that hook it’s doing relatively well and sticking to the basic format (actually live, on a Saturday night, with a celebrity guest host) though it seems like their regular cast is more absurdly beautiful while the American versions have been willing to cast older/less conventionally groomed/”funnier looking.”

  9. Paul says:

    The format is perfectly exportable (in theory, at least); it’s the content that’s too local, particularly if there’s any serious reliance on topical comedy.

    In practice, UK attempts to directly adapt the format of Saturday Night Live or late night talk shows have failed pretty consistently. Their influence tends to be more indirect – the inexplicable convention that all celebrity interview shows require a desk, for example.

  10. Daibhid Ceannaideach says:

    The localised SNL page doesn’t mention the British attempt – Saturday Live, later Friday Night Live, possibly because it wasn’t an oficial adaptation. These days it’s mostly remembered as “What was the show Harry Enfield was Loadsamoney in?” (Not Stavros, because no-one remembers Stavros, peeps.)

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