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Jan 20

Charts – 18 January 2018

Posted on Sunday, January 20, 2019 by Paul in Music

The singles chart is getting back into the swing of things.  The album chart… very much isn’t.

1.  Ava Max – “Sweet But Psycho” 

That’s four weeks at number one, but at least some other records are marching on her.  “Nothing Breaks Like a Heart” by Mark Ronson featuring Miley Cyrus climbs 3-2, which is Miley’s highest position since 2014 (when she was one of a ton of guests on’s “Feelin’ Myself”).  “Wow.” by Post Malone climbs 4-3, equalling the peak of his previous single “Sunflowers”, which in turn is still hanging around at 5.

4.  Sam Smith & Normani – “Dancing with a Stranger”

Mmm, smooth.  The sort of smooth I struggle to pay attention to.  Smooth like a recently resurfaced car park.  Smooth.  It’s better on headphones, to be fair.

Sam Smith needs no introduction.  Normani Hamilton gets her second solo chart credit – the first one was on Khalid’s “Love Lies”, which reached number 12 last year.  (By an odd coincidence, we’ll be seeing Khalid again later on.)  She’s a former member of Fifth Harmony, who had a couple of top five hits in 2015-6.  So it’s been a while since she was this far up the chart.

7.  Calvin Harris & Rag’n’Bone Man – “Giant”

There’s a name I’d almost forgotten about.  Rag’n’Bone Man’s 2016 hit “Human” was excellent and reached number 2; the follow-up reached number 13 in spring 2017; and we haven’t heard from him since.  He’s got the sort of big soulful voice that can round out a Calvin Harris production, and this is pretty good – though I’m still not sure what I make of that artificial-sounding brass riff.

Number 8 is “Play” by Jax Jones and Year & Years, climbing from 11.

9.  Gesaffelstein featuring The Weeknd – “Lost in the Fire”

Oh, now this is quite good.  Musically, at any rate – lyrically, verse 2 is distinctly questionable.  Gesaffelstein is a French producer getting his first chart credit, though he had a hand in Kanye West’s “Black Skinhead”, a minor hit in 2013.  Supposedly the name “Gesaffeltstein” is a combination of “Einstein” and “Gesamtkunstwerk”, though that doesn’t really explain where the “affel” bit comes from.  A “Gesamtkunstwerk” is literally a “total work of art”, but the connotations are more along the lines of “multimedia artwork”.  This is the second single from his second album – the first single was the instrumental “Reset”, which didn’t chart but is also worth a look.  “Lost in the Fire” is a rather more commercial proposition, but it’s also the first time we’ve seen The Weeknd in nearly a year, which probably goes a long way to account for its presence in the top 10.

13.  Westlife – “Hello My Love”

The skies will rain blood, the oceans will boil, and Westlife will have hits again.  Ireland’s uber-bland boy band dominated the charts at the turn of the century, and they’re back for a 20th anniversary reunion.  They’re also putting out some new material which, mercifully, doesn’t sound much like Westlife.  Instead, it sounds more like Ed Sheeran, which isn’t surprising, because he wrote it.  In fact, underneath the arrangement, the chorus is not a million miles distant from “Castle on the Hill”.  It’s a better single than you might expect, but it’s not like we’re short of people doing acceptable takes on Ed Sheeran’s acceptable cast-offs.

“Options” by NSG featuring Tion Wayne climbs 25-14, which makes me happy.

25.  Catfish & The Bottlemen – “Longshot”

Huh, indie rock.  We don’t get much of that in these parts.  It’s not bad, either, though the video is very much one of those ideas that probably seemed better on paper and winds up being mainly a showcase for the drone pilot.

29.  Lewis Capaldi – “Someone You Loved”

So this is a little unusual.  Capaldi made his top 40 debut last week when “Grace” unexpectedly appeared – unexpectedly because apparently it’s actually the previous single and this is the one that’s meant to be the main focus of promotion at the moment.  This week things are back on script, as “Grace” drops out of the top 40 and this takes its place.  The studio version is actually a piano and strings arrangement, but I prefer the guitar version above (which is the only proper video for the song, anyway).

“Gun Lean” by Russ rebounds from 39 to a new peak of 34.

36.  Flipp Dinero – “Leave Me Alone”

It’s his first hit single.  He’s a New York rapper without much in the way of mainstream input until this became his breakout hit in America last year; there’s been some minor international spillover, of which this is part.

38.  Khalid – “Saturday Nights”

Finally, we’ve got this Khalid track, scheduled as a (somewhat belated) second single from his album “Suncity”, which came out back in October.  It’s not officially a single till the end of the month, so it’s off to a promising start.

Over on the album chart, literally nothing is happening, because still nobody is releasing any albums.  Predictably, The Greatest Showman Soundtrack is still number 1, for a 27th (non-consecutive) week in total.  This isn’t exactly unheard of  – Adele’s “21” managed a total of 23 weeks, Ed Sheeran’s “Divide”, 20.

But it’s still the highest number of the modern era and the seventh-highest ever.  One more week, and it’ll be joint sixth with “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”.  After that, “Please Please Me” (30 weeks) and “Bridge Over Trouble Water” (33) are realistically in reach.  Beyond that, you’re going back to soundtrack albums from the very early days of the album chart.  “The King And I” had 48 weeks at number 1, “The Sound of Music” had 70, and “South Pacific” was at number 1 for a mindnumbing 115 weeks between 1958 and 1961.   That’s surely unbeatable, but Greatest Showman is on course to take its place somewhere in the all-time top five at this rate.

Bring on the comments

  1. K says:

    There’s a new Vangelis album out tomorrow, and it looks tailor-made for the UK album charts. To say nothing of the new Trevor Horn album of orchestrated 80s pop songs.

    Interested in seeing how far these get.

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