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Dec 20

Chart – 16 December 2016

Posted on Tuesday, December 20, 2016 by Paul in Music

Well, this is interesting.  This is the chart before the Christmas number one.  In recent years it’s tended to be quiet – the regular record industry shut down for Christmas, the last-minute novelty singles and charity releases waiting for their one-week surge.  But this year we have a more normal chart, notable if anything for having a couple of high profile new releases.  Has the record industry decided that maybe, with the charity releases hobbled by the addition of streaming data to the charts, this might just be the year when a regular release gets to be Christmas number one again?  If the midweek charts are to be believed – and they’ve been notably less accurate this year – then the answer is “yes”.  (This is also likely to be the point where the general public twig to just what a difference streaming has made to the chart.)

1.  Clean Bandit – “Rockabye”

But first, Clean Bandit celebrate six weeks at number one.  That means it overtakes “7 Years” and “Cold Water” to have the second longest run this year.  (Obviously, there isn’t time for it to beat Drake’s 15-week monopoly.)  It has a perfectly realistic chance of hanging on for Christmas.

2.  Louis Tomlinson & Steve Aoki – “Just Hold On”

For those of you who don’t have these names at your fingertips, Louis Tomlinson is a member of One Direction.  For his solo debut, he’s gone for the generic EDM style of 2016, which is admittedly a change for him, but it’s not a record that would particularly stand out if it didn’t have his name attached to it.  He did promote it on the X Factor final, which will have helped.  He’s dedicated the release to his mother, who died of leukaemia at the start of the month, and you can’t exactly be cynical about that.

It’s far and the way the biggest hit for Steve Aoki, whose previous peak was number 25 in 2011 for “No Beef”.

3.  Matt Terry – “When Christmas Comes Around”

That’s the 2016 X Factor winner’s single.  Obviously, the post-victory performance above is a bit shambolic, so if you actually want to hear it, here’s the Spotify link.  It’s a change of approach: it’s an original track by Ed Sheeran rather than the usual obscure cover, and it doesn’t have the usual .  It’s a Christmas record but not a desperately cheery one – it’s from the “my woman has left me and I’m bloody miserable at this otherwise happy time” school.  “For the down and outs / The broken layabouts / What will they do now that Christmas comes around?”  There’s a few bells in the bridge, but he’s singing about his “soul is on the brink”.  There is no epic choir.  There is no key change.  There is a lot of acoustic guitar.  It is, I repeat, an Ed Sheeran song.

Number 3 is very respectable, particularly since the single only came out on Sunday night and so it doesn’t have a full chart week.  Whether it has sustained appeal to make it to number one in a full chart week is another matter, but it certainly has a decent shot.

5.  Rag’n’Bone Man – “Human”

Up another three.  This is going to do well into the new year.

12.  Zara Larsson – “I Would Like”

Up nine, so it’s now overtaken her previous single “Ain’t My Fault”.

16.  ZAYN & Taylor Swift – “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever”

Another X Factor alumni plus Taylor Swift plugging… the soundtrack of Fifty Shades Darker?  Maybe the ship has sailed on this one, because this feels like a low chart position for the names involved.  Or maybe it’s just a bit average and the promotion hasn’t fully kicked off yet – it only has a lyric video at this stage, after all.  One factor is that it wasn’t on Spotify for most of the first week, which will have cost it a chunk of streaming.

23.  Little Mix – “Touch”

Their next single, but although they did it on the X Factor final, it still doesn’t have a video or anything else on YouTube.  So early days.  The midweeks show this climbing massively.

30.  J Cole – “Deja Vu”

The highest placed of a flurry of tracks from his album (out this week) which are cluttering the lower end of the top 75.  This isn’t officially a single, so it seems to be just a similar thing to what happened with the Weeknd’s album, though a bit further down the charts.  This particular track is the subject of a feud between producers: the beat is strikingly similar (to put it politely) to Bryson Tiller’s “Exchange”, which came out six months ago.  Both tracks use a common sample – from “Swing My Way” by KP and Envyi – but the treatment of it goes beyond that coincidence.  However, the producers of “Deja Vu” say their track was made first and have an explanation of how it could have been copied the other way round.  It’s tremendously exciting.

36.  Wizzard – “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday”

Up one place, and surprisingly the only Christmas record climbing within the top 40 this week.  And yes, the title is “Everyday”, not “Every Day”.  No, I don’t know why.

37.  Chris Rea – “Driving Home For Christmas”

The video for the original release doesn’t seem to be on an official YouTube account, so because I’m a good boy, here’s the D-list-celeb-laden video used for the 2009 charity re-issue in aid of Shelter.  This is the only Christmas single to enter the top 40 this week.  The track was released in 1988 but didn’t make the top 40 until 2007.  It returned in 2012, and then again last year, when it unexpectedly got as high as 29.

39.  Lady Gaga – “Million Reasons”

Well.  At least she’s still having hits, I guess.  The video only came out midweek, to be fair, but recall that the lead single from the album, “Perfect Illusion”, entered at 12 before dropping straight out of the top 40.

On the album chart:

  • “Together” by Michael Ball & Alfie Boe climbs to number 1, which is unusual.  Michael Ball has been here before, with his self-titled debut in 1992.  Boe’s previous best was number 6, for “Alfie” in 2011 and “Storyteller” in 2012.  Boe also cropped up on backing vocals for the Clint Boon Experience back in 1999, which is worth a listen.  Otherwise, here’s a highlights video plugging the album.
  • “4 Your Eyez Only” by J Cole at 21.  The only new entry in the top 40 this week, and see above re the single.  This is a typical position for his albums, save for 2013’s “Born Sinner” which randomly made the top ten.

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