That’s ten weeks, which would normally be a big deal in its own right. But leave that aside. Last week Sheeran swamped the top end of the chart, placing all sixteen albums tracks from ÷ in the top 20, and taking nine slots in the top ten. Now in the past, when album tracks have entered the singles chart en masse, they’ve mostly gone away after the first week. Not so here – Ed Sheeran still has nine slots in the top ten, and the entire album is still placing in the top 30. Which makes my job a lot easier this week, since there’s very little room for anyone else to enter the charts.
For what it may be worth, these are both climbers, going up one place. Everything else is a non-mover in the top three, or going down, mainly thanks to some of the previous top ten hits starting to reassert themselves. But the Chainsmokers and Coldplay (who rebound to 4) are still the only non-Ed Sheeran presence in the top ten. For the second week running.
Yes, granted, this sort of thing only became possible in the streaming era. But we didn’t see this sort of domination when Beyonce released “Lemonade” last year.
Up 13, continuing an impressive upward march in the face of the onslaught. In fairness, records will be getting airplay slightly further down the chart than usual, because, well, you can’t fill an entire radio station with ÷ on shuffle.
Up fifteen, for this week’s highest climber. It now overtakes Alessia Cara’s only previous hit, “Here”, which got to 28 at the start of last year.
35. Bruno Mars – “That’s What I Like”
This would have charted last week except for you-know-what, and an extra push takes it over the line now. It’s the second single from “24K Magic”, after the title track peaked at 5 back in November. He performed it at the Brit Awards, so it’s a little surprising it’s taken this long to make the top 40. On the other hand, Bruno Mars has always struck me as basically just a skilled imitator of existing stuff, and this is 3:30 of him banging on about how much money he’s going to spend on his girl. It’s pretty awful.
36. Julia Michaels – “Issues”
This one would also have made the chart last week in normal circumstances. After that slight delay, Julia Michaels finally gets her first UK hit. She’s another established songwriter for the likes of Fifth Harmony, transitioning into being a performer. This is technically her debut single, but she’s guested on a few tracks that didn’t chart before (most notably, guesting on a Kygo single that bombed last year). The song is fairly middling “we both have issues and we’ll work through them together” job but the mid-pace, somewhat minimal arrangement is mildly interesting – it’s not an obvious choice to launch a solo career with.
37. Steps – “Scared of the Dark”
Yes, this is a new Steps single. For those who may be too young or simply too foreign to remember Steps – and they’re not even the top Apple Music prompt on Safari for “Steps” – they had a run of 14 top ten hits singles between 1998 and 2001, very little of it straying greatly from the formula above. The original gimmick was supposed to be that every track would have its own dance routine which was meant to be simple enough for anyone to do, hence “Steps”. That kind of well by the wayside after a while, though it was in full effect on their number one “Tragedy”. (They had another number one later with “Stomp”, but that’s not so well remembered.) Though the five members were promoted as equals, the two men seemed to be given incredibly little to do after the linedance-themed first single, on which one of them was unwisely permitted to rap. I guess they were doing backing vocals but they certainly never got their moment in the sun.
This is the lead track from their upcoming album “Tears on the Dancefloor”, their first proper album since “Buzz” back in 2000. They did actually put out an album in 2012, “Light up the World”, to capitalise on their reunion reality show, but that was basically a Christmas-themed covers collection. (Wikipedia Classics: “Despite it not being particularly groundbreaking, the album has been highly praised for being technically proficient.”)
On the album chart:
÷ by Ed Sheeran is number 1, obviously, with x at 3 and + at 6.
“Semper Femina” by Laura Marling at 6. That’s her fifth straight album to make the top 10. Single: “Soothing”.
“Hits and Pieces – The Best of Soft Cell & Marc Almond” at 7. Pretty much where their last joint compilation landed in 1991. “Tainted Love” is far too obvious, so here’s “The Days of Pearly Spencer”.
“Different Creatures” by Circa Waves at 11. Indie! Just a place behind their 2015 debut. Single: “Fire That Burns”.