So I will, I assure you, get to the last outstanding X-Axis review – which is the “Enemy of the State II” arc from All-New Wolverine – pretty soon. But let’s do the topical post first. It’s taken fourteen weeks, but Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” finally throws in the towel. It goes down in the record books as the fourth longest-running number one in chart history, behind the 15 weeks of Drake’s “One Dance” and Wet Wet Wet’s “Love Is All Around” and the 16 weeks of Bryan Adams’ “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You”. There are still seven Sheeran songs on the chart this week, but they’re all going down, and “Dive” and “Supermarket Flowers” bid the top 40 farewell.
1. Harry Styles – “Sign of the Times”
So, something different at last! Harry Styles has been One Direction’s anointed solo star for a while now, and the solo career starts here. This epic Bowie-style throwback is not quite what you may have been expecting.
It goes without saying that One Direction were the top boy band of their generation, but they actually had less luck than you might think when came to reaching number one. Of their 18 top 40 hits between 2011 and 2015, only four actually reached the top – “What Makes You Beautiful”, “Little Things”, “One Way Or Another (Teenage Kicks)”, and “Drag Me Down”. And one of those was a charity single.
But Styles is now the second member of One Direction to have a solo number one. The first was Zayn Malik, whose debut single “Pillowtalk” entered at number one in February 2016. His chart performance since then has been unspectacular, but it’s interesting to note that “Pillowtalk” actually did a lot better than “Sign of the Times” in its first week, both in sales and in streams. “Sign of the Times” might have wider crossover appeal – though “Pillowtalk” spent two months in the top ten, so it was hardly a one week wonder. But right now, it doesn’t look set to repeat Sheeran’s epic run at the top (thank heavens).
Up one place, after re-entering the chart last week.
18. Rag’n’Bone Man – “Skin”
We’ve had this before – it entered the chart back in February, and first climbed to number 18 at the start of March, before dropping out of the top 40 entirely. Now, at long last, they’ve got around to releasing the video and actually promoting it as a single, so it’s developed a second wind. It’s a good enough record, but it still suffers by comparison with “Human”, which is still hanging around at number 19 this week.
This has had a really odd chart run – 28-34-40-26-27-20. Part of that is because it was shunted down by the album deluge for a couple of weeks, but it does seem to be finally gathering momentum. Lorde now gets her second top 20 hits, four years after the first.
22. The Chainsmokers – “Paris”
Here’s another one getting a second wind after the (very) belated release of the video. “Paris” already peaked at number 5 back on 9 February and had fallen down as far as number 38 by the time the video showed up. But since then it’s rebounded 38-29-28-22, which seems to merit a mention.
27. Martin Solveig featuring Ina Wroldsen – “Places”
Solveig is one of those odd artists who has hits regularly enough to stick in the mind, but sees his records disappear without trace almost as often. This is his sixth top 40 hit, the first coming way back in 2004, and the most recent in summer 2015. He hasn’t even released an album since 2011.
Technically, this is the first chart hit for Norwegian singer Ina Wroldsen, a member of the electropop duo Ask Embla. However, she was also the uncredited singer on “How Deep is Your Love” by Calvin Harris & Disciples, which made number 2 in 2015.
Talking of which…
34. Disciples – “On My Mind”
Funny how these things work, isn’t it? This is the third hit for Disciples, after the aforementioned Calvin Harris collaboration and 2014’s “They Don’t Know”. It could go a lot further.
On the album chart:
÷ by Ed Sheeran is still at number 1, for the sixth week.
“Memories – Do not Open” by the Chainsmokers enters at 3. We’ve had one of their singles above.
“Infinite” by Deep Purple at 6. Shall we take as read my usual comment about how a declining album market is leaving veteran acts at the top of the chart because their fans still buy albums? This is the twentieth Deep Purple studio album, and the highest placing since “Perfect Strangers” back in 1984. Video: “All I Got Is You”.
The Moana OST recording climbs to number 7 to make the top 10 in its fifteenth week on the chart – a very unusual climb.
“Pure Comedy” by Father John Misty at 8. First time he’s made the top ten. Video: “Pure Comedy”.
“Let Me Fly” by Mike & The Mechanics at 9. This is basically a new band that Mike Rutherford formed around 2010, laying claim to the vacant name. Roachford is in it. It’s their second album, and the first time any incarnation of the band has made the top 10 since 1995. Track: “Don’t Know What Came Over Me”.
“The Far Field” by Future Islands at 18. Synthpop band who finally charted in Britain with their fourth album in 2014. This is the follow-up, and it charts much higher. Video: “Ran”.
“All-AmeriKKKan Badass” by Joey Badass at 23. That’s a slightly higher position than his last single. The title is apparently intended as a reference to the mixtape “AmeriKKKan Korruption” by his late friend Capital Steez, which in turn was referencing Ice Cube’s better-known “AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted”. Video: “Land of the Free”.
“Wolves” by Rag’n’Bone Man at 24. Not the currently-promoted solo album – that’s “Human”, which spent two weeks at number one in February. This is a re-issue of a 2014 EP, but it’s not charted before, so it counts as a re-entry. Video: “Lay My Body Down”.
“Golden Days” by Brian May & Kerry Ellis at 27. Ellis is a musical theatre singer who’s been working with May for years. Video: “Roll With You”.