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Dec 8

Charts – 7 December 2018

Posted on Saturday, December 8, 2018 by Paul in Music

So much for the theory that if we give less weight to the streams of older tracks, the chart won’t be clogged up with old records this Christmas, then!

1.  Ariana Grande – “Thank U, Next”

Five weeks, and the chart compilers are crediting it with a new record for weekly streams – 14.9 million.  This is misleading: the previous record was 14.2 million, held by Ed Sheeran, but that was before video plays counted towards the chart.  And since Ariana Grande’s video streams stand at over 7 million in a week, it’s pretty clear that if we were comparing like with like, Ed Sheeran would still be ahead.  But more of Ariana Grande later.  Meanwhile…

4.  Dalton Harris featuring James Arthur – “The Power of Love”

Yes, it’s the 2018 X Factor winner – and the very fact that his single came out in the first week of December probably tells you all you need to know about the diminished state of the show these days.  There’s no pretence here of gunning for the Christmas number one, and the show is emphatically past its commercial peak – but it still does far better than anything else ITV feel they could put in the slot, so it looks set to stagger on for years to come.

All of the finalists would have released duets with previous X Factor winners had they won (hey, remember when you liked the show more?).  Some X Factor winners and high placing finalists have had significant chart careers – Leona Lewis, Alexandra Burke, JLS, Olly Murs, Little Mix, and James Arthur are the obvious ones.  But Arthur is the last in that category, and he won in 2012.  He’s still having hits – his version of “Rewrite the Stars” climbs into the top 10 this week – but the fate of those who came after makes less encouraging reading.

Sam Bailey (2013) never had a follow-up hit single, and her second album only reached 33.  Ben Haenow (2014) made a guest appearance on a Kelly Clarkson single that reached number 21, and released a single album before getting dropped.  Louisa Johnson (2015) had a few follow-up singles, including a top ten hit with Clean Bandit, but she never released an album before getting dropped earlier this year.  Matt Terry (2016) did a guest verse for the UK version of an Enrique Iglesias single, and released an album that got to number 29.  And Rak-Su (2017) released a follow-up single that stiffed at number 39.

Harris is a particularly weird case because he’s been here before – he won a similar show in Jamaica in 2010 and had a degree of success in that country before vanishing into obscurity.  Second time lucky, eh?

Oh yes, the song.  “The Power of Love” was a number one for Frankie Goes to Hollywood in 1984, when it was a Christmas release, complete with nativity video.  It was also a number one for Gabrielle Aplin in 2012.  It’s not the identically-named song by Jennifer Rush (covered by Celine Dion), nor is it the one by Huey Lewis & The News.

10.  Mark Ronson featuring Miley Cyrus – “Nothing Breaks Like a Heart”

The lead single from the next Mark Ronson album.  His last solo lead credit was “Uptown Funk” back in 2014, but he also had a Silk City single in the top ten earlier this year.  Miley Cyrus was last in the top 10 in 2014 when she was one of a string of guests on’s “Feelin’ Myself”.  As usual with Ronson, it’s both polished and a little bit arch.

14.  Wham! – “Last Christmas”

It’s the first week of December and the floodgates are open.  So much for the idea that downweighting the streams of old tracks would stop them racing up the singles chart like they did in the last few years.  Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You”, which re-entered last week at number 34, vaults to number 6.  And here’s good old Wham, back in the chart for the eighth year running.  “Last Christmas” was originally a number 2 hit in 1984 (when it spent five weeks stuck behind Band Aid).

17.  Meek Mill featuring Drake – “Going Bad”

Meek Mill is a Philadelphia rapper who’s only previously made the album top 40.  His new album “Championships” enters at number 33 this week – not great by his standards, as the previous two albums made 13 and 21.  But it still gets some attention on cherrypicked tracks, and what do you know, it’s the Drake guest appearance that makes the top 40.  By my count, this is Drake’s thirteenth top 40 hit single of 2018.

18.  The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl – “Fairytale of New York”

Here we go again.  Originally Christmas number 2 of 1987 (it was beaten by the Pet Shop Boys’ version of “Always on my Mind”), “Fairytale of New York” has returned to the chart every Christmas since 2005 (the dawn of the download era).

The annual controversy over the lyrics of verse two has also been greater this year.  The original lyric is defensible on the level of character and storytelling but undeniably seems uncomfortable when the song is encountered – as it almost invariably is these days – as a beloved entry on a festive playlist.  Or for that matter when it’s played unedited on the radio.  Even the Pogues used alternative lyrics for some TV performances (“You scumbag, you maggott / You’re cheap and you’re haggard”), but there doesn’t seem to be a proper, unobtrusive radio edit available.  And historically, “Fairytale of New York” has also been in the unusual position of provoking complaints when edited versions of the song have been played on the air; there does seem to be an audience segment that sees it as an exceptional case on artistic and national-institution grounds.

26.  Band Aid – “Do They Know It’s Christmas”

The Christmas Number 1 of 1984, which hasn’t always made a huge impact in the streaming era, but made the top ten last year.

29.  6ix9ine featuring Nicki Minaj & Kanye West – “Mama”

Another track from the album “Dummy Boy”, which was a midweek release for the previous chart, and would presumably have got its permitted three tracks into the top 40 if it had had a full week to play with.  “Kika”, the track which scraped in at 38 last week, leaps to 9, giving 6ix9ine his first top 10 hit.

30.  Michael Bublé – “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas”

It is indeed.  Released in 2011, this didn’t make the top 40 until 2016, and surprisingly reached 13 last year.

35.  Ariana Grande – “Santa Tell Me”

Interesting.  This dates from 2014 but didn’t chart at all until last year, when it made 28.  Looks like we might have another perennial on our hands.

36.  Shakin’ Stevens – “Merry Christmas Everyone”

Boy, they knew how to make the opening minute of a video in 1986.  This was another Christmas number one, and it’s been back every year since 2014.

39.  Brenda Lee – “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree”

A number 6 hit at Christmas 1962, this didn’t return to the chart until 2016, and unexpectedly made the top 10 last year.  The song used to be more often heard in the Comic Relief version, but let’s be honest, you’d rather hear the original.

This week’s climbers:

  • “Sweet But Psycho” by Ava Max climbs 6-2.  It couldn’t be Christmas number one, could it…?
  • “Without Me” by Halsey climbs 4-3.
  • “All I Want for Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey climbs 34-6; see above.
  • “Rewrite the Stars” by James Arthur & Anne-Marie climbs 17-8.
  • “Kika” by 6ix9ine featuring Tory Lanez climbs 38-9; see above.
  • “Baby” by Clean Bandit featuring Marina and Luis Fonsi climbs 26-25.
  • “Leave a Light On” by Tom Walker re-enters at 31, two weeks after re-entering at 36; it peaked at 7 back in June.

On the album chart:

1.  The 1975 – “A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships”

Their third album, their third number one.  Unusually for a vaguely indie album, this managed to get three singles into the top 40: “Give Yourself a Try” (22), “Love It If We Made It” (33) and “TooTimeTooTimeTooTime” (26).

17.  Katherine Jenkins – “Guiding Light”

Pop-classical crossover mainstay of 14 years and counting.  Her album chart positions are erratic, but this is at the lower end.

19.  Clean Bandit – “What Is Love”

That seems remarkably low, but then half of its twelve tracks have been out as singles already, and the oldest date back to 2016.  Still, their previous album reached number 3, so this surely has to rank as a disappointment.

23.  Daniel O’Donnell – “Walkin’ In The Moonlight”

The genteel Irish light entertainer is not to everyone’s taste, but he’s been at this since 1988 and he’s not going anywhere.

25.  David Bowie – “Glastonbury 2000”

Self-explanatory live album.  The video above is an excerpt from a 2006 documentary about the festival, hence all the isn’t-Glastonbury-awesome archive footage.

29.  Pinkfong – “Presents the Best of Baby Shark”

… okay.   The title track reached number 32 in August.

32.  Def Leppard – “The Story So Far – The Best Of”

Again, self-explanatory.  Let’s have their number 2 hit “Let’s Get Rocked”, whose video was on the cutting edge of CGI back in 1992.

Number 33 is the Meek Mill album which we’ve already covered, and…

40.  Jeff Wayne – “The War of the Worlds”

Re-entry of the original, for the second time this year, which I think is because of promotion for a new Audible version of the story, using the music.  It doesn’t actually feature the remix of “Eve of the War” which reached number 3 in 1989, but it’s the closest thing there is to a video for anything on the album, so here it is.

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