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Mar 28

Charts – 23 March 2018

Posted on Wednesday, March 28, 2018 by Paul in Music

So, those rule changes last year that were planned to speed up the chart – how are those working out for you?

1.  Drake – “God’s Plan”

“God’s Plan” heads up a static top four, with Rudimental spending their seventh week at number 2.  It now shares the record for the longest run at number 2 – the unlucky co-champions are “I Swear” by All-4-One and “Moves Like Jagger” by Maroon 5.

Drake gets nine weeks at number one, though we’ve still got another four weeks to go before he matches Ed Sheeran’s interminable run this time last year.  But that almost certainly isn’t going to happen, for several reasons.  It’s only kept a marginal lead for the last couple of weeks.  It peaked several weeks ago.  And next week it will be ten weeks old.  And ten-week-old tracks which are several weeks past their prime get their streams downweighted.

This rule was meant to operate unobtrusively to give lingering records a helpful kick out of the door.  If you’re paying attention, you can spot when tracks that were already starting to drift down suddenly lurch down.  But not many people notice that.  It’s a bit more glaring when it happens to the number one single – and it’s particularly glaring when you look at the midweek chart update and discover that “God’s Plan” is currently set to spent nine weeks at number one before dropping straight out of the top ten.  Oops.

At best, this suggests that the rule is operating as something of a blunt instrument.  But it also raises the lurking questions that have plagued the chart in the streaming era, such as “what exactly is the chart meant to be measuring anyway?”  You can make a fair argument that historically the sales chart was tracking new interest in a single, and that beyond a certain point, streams can reasonably be viewed as just repeated plays by people whose enthusiasm for the track has been registered many times already.  On the other hand, you could make the case that the charts only used sales as the best available proxy for popularity; that streaming is a better reflection of real popularity; that if the picture that streaming presents is unbelievably dull, then maybe that’s because reality is unbelievably dull; and that if people really cared principally about new tracks making an impact, they’d pay attention to the Official Trending Chart, which they manifestly don’t.

Further down, just two new entries this week…

16.  Lil Dicky featuring Chris Brown – “Freaky Friday”

Welcome to novelty hell.  Lil Dicky, getting his first hit, is a comedy rapper.  He’s been doing this for years, and he certainly qualifies as an actual rapper rather than a comedian having a stab at rapping.  This, um, high concept affair is a single about swapping bodies with Chris Brown, featuring the actual Chris Brown.  In fact, it’s mostly Chris Brown.  While it certainly sounds commercial enough – it’s got a hook, it’s produced by DJ Mustard – it sure seems like something designed primarily to exist as a viral video.  But since YouTube plays don’t count towards the chart, it wouldn’t be here on that alone.  Still, while I’ve got to acknowledge that Brown enters into the video with enthusiasm, he’s not, shall we say, a name that says “light comedy” to me.  And don’t get me started on the closing cameos…

31.  XXXTentacion – “Moonlight”

From one charmer to another, though the actual music, which is lo-fi glitch rap, is rather more pleasing.  The album “?” enters at number 3 over on the album charts, and makes a respectable showing on the singles chart.  The single “Sad” climbs to 20, and there’s a third track, “The Remedy for a Broken Heart (Why Am I)” down at 53.

This week’s climbers:

  • “Paradise” by George Ezra climbs 12-5, to become his second-biggest hit (behind “Budapest”, obviously).
  • “The Middle” by Zedd, Maren Morris & Grey moves 10-9.
  • “Meant to Be” by Bebe Rexha featuring Florida Georgia Line climbs 20-12.
  • “Lullaby” by Sigala & Paloma Faith climbs 19-13.
  • “Sad” by XXXTentacion climbs 28-20.
  • “Bad Vibe” by M.O, Lotto Boyzz & Mr Eazi climbs 27-23.
  • “Love Lies” by Khalid & Normani climbs 30-24
  • “What I Wanna” by Mostack climbs 36-33.

On the album charts, The Greatest Showman OST is still at number 1 after eleven weeks, though that’s really nothing compared to the fact that Ed Sheeran’s ÷ is cheerfully sitting at number 2, in its fifty-fifth week on release, never having dropped below 6.  XXXTentacion’s enters at 3, but we’ve had that, so…

5.  The Fratellis – “In Your Own Sweet Time”

The Fratellis haven’t been this high up the album chart for a decade, and that was when they were still having hit singles.  The single is pleasingly perky, slightly to my suprise.

8.  The Decemberists – “I’ll Be Your Girl”

There’s a name I haven’t heard in a while.  Didn’t these guys do a Rushmore-styled video that kept showing up on MTV2 overnight?  Ah yes, “16 Military Wives”.  That was better than “Severed” above, which is a bit of a trudge, to be honest.  Still, this is the first top 10 appearance for the Decemberists, who’ve been around since 2002 but didn’t make the album top 40 in Britain until 2011.  It’s their eighth studio album, and only the third to chart here.

9.  Fickle Friends – “You Are Someone Else”

Debut album of indie pop, though they’ve been releasing singles since 2014.  The emphasis is firmly on the “pop”.  Slightly surprised they’re not being pushed harder as a singles act, to be honest.

12.  The Magic Gang – “The Magic Gang”

More indie, but this time firmly in the guitar pop division (retro-harmonics department).  They’re good at it, mind you.

16.  Alexandra Burke – “The Truth Is”

The X Factor winner of ten years ago belatedly releases a third album, nearly six years after the last.  She’s been doing a lot of musical theatre in the interim, and she made the final of Strictly Come Dancing last year.  To be fair, the previous album only got to 18, so the long gap hasn’t actually cost her that much.

21.  Kim Wilde – “Here Come The Aliens”

Kim Wilde?  She hasn’t had a hit album since 1992!  And it’s not because she hasn’t released any – “Now & Forever” (1995), “Never Say Never” (2006), “Come Out and Play” (2010), “Snapshots” (2011) and “Wilde Winter Songbook” (2013) all vanished without a trace.  There must be a generation out there who’ve only heard of her because the Comic Relief version of “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” gets dusted off every year.

Most of those recent albums did moderately well in Germany, though even the Germans drew the line at the Christmas album.  I’m not quite sure why she’s suddenly registering in the UK again; perhaps a change of label has improved her marketing.

Bring on the comments

  1. Steve Lacey says:

    How much traction have The Decemberists got as a result of the Hamildrop Ben Franklin’s Song? I’d kinda forgotten that they existed until that hit, and have certainly been streaming their new album whereas I would likely not have noticed if they hadn’t done the Hamilton release…

  2. Mike says:

    Is there another blog anywhere that is still updating regularly like this? One has to hand it to Paul.

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