Posted on Monday, September 29, 2014
by Paul in Music, Uncategorized
It’s another very quiet week for new releases. But we do have a genuine moment of chart history that will live on pub quizzes for years to come. And here it is now.
33. Meghan Trainor – “All About That Bass”
What’s so important about a Meghan Trainor single entering at 33? Simple – it only came out yesterday. Which is outside the chart window. There’s been extended promotion for this one, it’s going to be a massive hit, and it will leapfrog to number 1 on Sunday. (Which is not a record, before you ask.)
No, the important thing is that this record was released to streaming services several weeks before it went on sale. It’s currently at number 4 on the streaming charts, and thanks to the recent change in chart rules, that counts towards its chart position.
Which makes this the very first record to reach the top 40 on streaming data alone, with sales of zero.
The record, then. It is, obviously, a vaguely doo wop thing about body confidence. It’s already been number one in the US and it’s done well across Europe. Meghan Trainor is a songwriter who’s previously written for various Nashville acts, though she’s actually from Massachusetts. This is her debut major label release, but she self-released a couple of albums in 2011. You can find them on YouTube if you really want; from a quick skim, they’re pretty much major label songwriter demos, so you can see how she got into that.
We aren’t finished with this song. But first…
25. Shift K3Y – “I Know”
The follow-up to “Touch”, which made number 3 in April. As before, Shift K3y is an unusual case of a producer who does his own vocals, so for once there’s a reason for the track having no featured artist credit. The video is… vaguely creepy, if you ask me, and I’m pretty sure that isn’t what they were going for. It was 13 in the midweeks, so it’ll be gone quickly.
13. Power Music Workout – “All About That Bass”
It’s been a while since we had one of these. If you hype a record for long enough before its UK release – and also release it elsewhere in the European Union, at which point your publisher will apparently start licensing cover versions – then people will produce knock-off covers to either take advantage of the demand or just hope for confusion purchases. Hence the appearance at number 13 of Power Music Workout.
In fact, Power Music Workout are among the least objectionable practitioners in this area, since this is not a clone version; it’s a cover designed for use in workout classes. It might pass for a rather uninspired dance mix, but it’s not a straight copy; it can claim with a reasonably straight face to be a genuine cover version, and I can genuinely imagine people buying it to use in exercise classes. It’s actually still in the iTunes top 40 right now, so some people really do seem to be buying it because they want it. (Unsurprisingly, Power Music Workout are not on YouTube, but if you really want to hear it, it’s the soundtrack on this video.)
Another cover of the song is sitting at number 70, credited to Meghan Tonjes – which may well be a case of confusion purchases. But Tonjes is a YouTuber who’s been releasing records for a while; the name is a genuine coincidence, and hers is an acoustic version that again bears very little resemblance to the original arrangement.
Obviously, when a song has enough anticipation to get into the charts in three versions in the week before it’s released, you can figure it’s going to be big.
1. Jessie J, Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj – “Bang Bang”
This was released in America a while back to promote a reissue of Ariana Grande’s album. That reissue hasn’t come out yet in the UK, so instead it’s being used here as the lead single from Jessie J’s next album. It’s a Max Martin song, and the chorus is pretty strong, but…
The thing about Jessie J is there’s something terribly contrived sounding about her – she always sounds to me like she’s imitating mannerisms she’s picked up somewhere else. She’s a collection of tics picked up from stage school and a record collection, basically. And when you put her next to Nicki Minaj, who is phoning it in but can out-charisma Jessie J even while mostly thinking about what she’s going to have for dinner… well, that’s not good either.
But hey. Number 1. And it’s a third number 1 for Jessie J, following “Price Tag” and “Domino” – both of which were in 2011, so it’s been a while. Ariana Grande gets her second number 1 following “Problem” from July. Appallingly, this is the first Nicki Minaj single to make number 1 in the UK – though since her previous biggest UK hit was the number 2 single “Starships”, it’s not as though the British have ever shown tremendously good taste in their Nicki Minaj selections.
On the albums chart, a busier week.
- “This Is All Yours” by Alt-J at 1. The follow-up to their debut “An Awesome Wave”, which got to 12 in 2013 and won the Mercury Music Prize. Single: “Hunger of the Pine”. (Caution: contains scenes of symbolic archery.)
- “Popular Problems” by Leonard Cohen at 5. My mum used to listen to Leonard Cohen when she was a student. And at the age of 80 he’s still going. He seems to be having a late-career revival of sorts – his previous album also made the top 5, something he hadn’t done since 1969. Single: “Almost Like The Blues”.
- “Syro” by the Aphex Twin at 8. His first album since 2001’s “Drukqs”, and the first time he’s made the top 10 – his previous peak was 11 with 1994’s “Selected Ambient Works Vol II”. It’s still the Aphex Twin, not much has changed, but the reviews have been very positive. Single: “minipops 67 [120.2][source field mix]”.
- “Different Shades of Blue” by Joe Bonamassa at 9. Blues rock guitarist. He fairly churns out the albums these days – this is his sixth album in three years. Single: “Different Shades of Blue”.
- “Cheek to Cheek” by Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga at 10. Yes, really. It’s an album of jazz standard covers, so if you want to hear Lady Gaga singing something completely different from normal, it’s got that. Single: “Anything Goes”.
- “Growing Up in Public” by Professor Green at 12. That’s not hugely encouraging. The single “Lullaby” is still at number 8, but a bit of rebuilding needing done here, I think.
- “The Violet Flame” by Erasure at 20. Their sixteenth studio album. The last one missed the top 40 entirely, but then it was a Christmas record. Single: “Elevation”.
- “Strut” by Lenny Kravitz at 21. Hey, he’s still going too! Single: “The Chamber”.
- “Miss Saigon – Original Cast Recording” at 25. I’m assuming this in the charts because of a 25th anniversary show by the original cast. Otherwise, bit random.