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Dec 28

Charts – 28 December 2018

Posted on Friday, December 28, 2018 by Paul in Music

It’s the post-Christmas chart, covering the week that straddles Christmas itself.  Nothing new is released in Christmas week, and the streaming services are dominated – up until Christmas Day itself – with people hammering the Christmas playlists.  So it’s time for the annual weird chart, where the Christmas songs march to the top, all of them set to vanish this time next week.  There are a bunch of chart entries, though they’re all caused by the festive flood.

But we kick off with the new number one…

1.  Ava Max – “Sweet But Psycho”

Well, this was expected.  LadBaby’s Christmas Number One drops to number 21.  That’s the third-largest drop from number one ever – “Three Lions” dropped from 1 to 97 (not a typo) earlier this year, when England got knocked out of the World Cup.  The 2015 Christmas Number One, “A Bridge Over You” by the Lewisham & Greenwich NHS Choir, fell to number 29 in its second week.  But it’s hardly unexpected.  Not only was the LadBaby single a novelty record, but it was driven by sales rather than streams, and the whole narrative was about being Christmas Number One.  So the sales were inevitably going to plummet after the Christmas chart came out, and indeed they do.

That leaves Ava Max to formally claim the number one position that she didn’t quite manage last week.  The record has been out for ten weeks now, and it’s climbed 77-60-47-32-13-6-2-2-2-1 to get here.  It still reminds me of “Bad Romance”, but it’s grown on me as a song in its own right.  Since this is Ava Max’s first UK hit of any sort, it also technically adds her to the list of true one-hit wonders (one number one and nothing else, ever), though obviously that doesn’t mean a great deal at this stage.  For what it’s worth, the other acts who got added to that list in 2018 are Dan Caplen (one of the guests on Rudimental’s “These Days”), Lil Dicky (for “Freaky Friday”), and LadBaby (who’s obviously likely to stay on it).

Further down the top ten, it’s the march of the Christmas singles.  “All I Want For Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey climbs 4-2, matching its peak from last year, and its original peak from 1994.  Bear in mind that as an archive track its streams are downweighted compared to Ava Max, so there’s a definite argument to be made that she’s the rightful number one.  “Last Christmas” by Wham! climbs 7-3, and “Fairytale of New York” by the Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl climbs 11-4 – its highest position since 2007.  Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas” climbs 13-6, beating last year’s peak and reaching its highest position of the streaming era.

“It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas” by Michael Bublé climbs 16-7, the first time it’s made the top 10.  It belatedly gives him a third top ten hit to follow “Haven’t Met You Yet” (2009) and “It’s A Beautiful Day” (2013).  “One More Sleep” by Leona Lewis climbs 19-8, the first time it’s been in the top ten since its release in 2013.  “Merry Christmas Everyone” by Shakin’ Stevens climbs 20-9, its highest position since its release in 1985.  “Step Into Christmas” by Elton John climbs 18-10, the first time it’s ever made the top 10.  That gives Elton his 31st top ten hit.

There’s some videos coming, honestly.  Stick with us.

“Driving Home for Christmas” by Chris Rea climbs 22-11, again an all-time peak.  I think this is his highest chart position since “Road To Hell (Part 2)” reached the top 10 in 1989.   Wizzard’s “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday” climbs 24-12, again its highest position of the streaming era.  “Santa Tell Me” by Ariana Grande climbs from 23 to 13, reaching an all-time peak four years after release.

“Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” by Brenda Lee climbs 21-16, and Slade’s “Merry Xmas Everybody” climbs 36-17.  “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” by John & Yoko and the Plastic Ono Band climbs 29-18, , while “Wonderful Christmastime” by Paul McCartney climbs 35-20, both reaching streaming-era peaks.

22.  Darlene Love – “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”

The streaming services’ Christmas playlists continue to breathe life into vaguely recognisable but hitherto overlooked tracks.  They seem to be responsible for the renewed interest in Ariana Grande and Leona Lewis’s Christmas singles, and now here’s a track from the Phil Spector Christmas Album.

This is Darlene Love’s second UK hit single, though she’s also the lead singer on “He’s A Rebel” (number 19 in 1962), a spoiler version by Spector which was rush-released under the name of the Crystals despite the minor technicality that they had nothing to do with it whatsoever, and only found out about it when they heard it on the radio.  Love’s other hit single, for which she did get a credit, was “All Alone on Christmas”, a song from the Home Alone 2 soundtrack which reached number 31 in 1992.

23.  Katy Perry – “Cozy Little Christmas”

An actual new release – but it’s still a Christmas single.  And it’s exclusive to Amazon Music!  (The video above is a 45 second excerpt.)  Who wouldn’t sign up to Amazon Music for a Katy Perry Christmas single in 2018?  It’s her first appearance on the chart since guesting on Calvin Harris’s number one “Feels” last year.

24.  Sia – “Santa’s Coming For Us”

This is from the Christmas album that Sia released last year, which only made number 39 first time around.  Given the otherwise generic lyric, the hint of menace in the title is presumably (and disappointingly) unintentional.

26.  Boney M – “Mary’s Boy Child / Oh My Lord”

Back again, after reaching number 29 in its first streaming era appearance last year.

28.  Justin Bieber – “Mistletoe”

Well, that’s a bit more left field.  Justin Bieber’s 2011 Christmas single reached number 21, probably not helped by the inexplicable decision to release it in October.  This is the first time we’ve seen it since, and it’s not exactly crying out for a revival, though I guess you can see why somebody would throw it into a Christmas playlist for a bit of variety.  It’s also the only lead credit Justin Bieber’s had on the top 40 all year, though he did guest on a DJ Khaled single.

29.  Andy Williams – “It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year”

This wasn’t a single when it was recorded in 1963, so it didn’t chart until the download era.  This is the third year running that it’s made the top 40, though it’s also the lowest peak.

30.  Michael Jackson & The Jackson Five – “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”

From the Jackson 5’s 1970 Christmas album “Christmas Album”, this hasn’t reached the top 40 before – it did get released as a single in 1972, but it only made number 43.  I assume the record label is responsible for the current credit singling out Michael Jackson.  The song was first performed by Eddie Cantor in 1934, and has previously been a hit for the Carpenters (number 37 in 1975) and Bruce Springsteen (number 9 in 1985).

31.  Bing Crosby – “White Christmas”

Recorded back in the 40s, this made number 5 when it was reissued upon his death in 1977, and also returned briefly to the chart last year, making number 22.

36.  East 17 – “Stay Another Day”

The Christmas number one of 1994, “Stay Another Day” is routinely played as a Christmas song, but it hasn’t returned to the top 40 (or even come close) until now.  Although the single was plainly gunning for the Christmas number one slot, and a bit of jingling and chimes was added for the occasion, the song itself has no Christmas content whatsoever; it’s actually a song about the death of Tony Mortimer’s brother.  It’s a good track, and at this point probably the main thing that East 17 are remembered for.  “Stay Another Day” is somewhat uncharacteristic of their output, most of which sounded more like this.  You might think that some of their bolder wardrobe choices have aged poorly, but to be honest most of them didn’t look fantastic at the time either.

37.  Kelly Clarkson – “Underneath The Tree”

A 2013 Christmas single which reached number 30 on release, and number 32 last year.

38.  Mud – “Lonely This Christmas”

The Christmas number one of 1974, making its first appearance of the modern era.  As their appearance might indicate, Mud were mainly a glam rock band – their other number one that year was “Tiger Feet” – but “Lonely This Christmas” is basically an Elvis Presley pastiche.

39.  Idina Menzel featuring Michael Bublé – “Baby It’s Cold Outside”

In chart terms, Idina Menzel is best known for “Let It Go” from Frozen, which hung around for ages. But this is from her 2014 Christmas album – it reached number 79 on first release, and this is the first time we’ve seen it on the top 40.

“Baby It’s Cold Outside” was written by Frank Loesser in 1944, originally as a something which he performed with his wife at parties.  It was used in a film in 1949, when it won an Oscar.  It’s been covered to hell and back, but the only other version to reach the UK singles chart was by Tom Jones and Cerys Matthews in 1999 (which reached number 17).  The song has been increasingly controversial in recent years; audiences of the 40s would have read it as the woman wanting to stay and worrying about what people will say if she does (“My sister will be suspicious / My brother will be there at the door… / There’s bound to be talk tomorrow / At least there will be plenty implied…”) but if taken at face value without the period context, it does sound a bit a creepy, and I remember being uncomfortable with the Tom Jones version when it came out.

One reason for pushing this version in playlists may be that it’s sanitised: “Say, what’s in this drink” has been changed to “Say, was that a wink?”, and there are other less obvious changes.  This is not to the song’s advantage.

Over on the album chart, The Greatest Showman Cast Recording is still at number 1 after more than a year on release, celebrating its twenty-fourth in total at the top.  The only person mad enough to release an album this week was…

33.  21 Savage – “I Am > I Was” 

His third album, his first to chart.  You might recall his guest appearance on Post Malone’s 2017 number 1 “Rockstar”, or his single week at number 40 guesting on Cardi B’s “Bartier Cardi” which got him off the one-hit-wonders list.

Bring on the comments

  1. GenkiAkuma says:

    I gotta say, I enjoy reading these. While I predominantly come for the comic reviews you write, your commentary on these charts is fascinating!

  2. Paul says:


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