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Nov 28

Charts – 27 November 2020

Posted on Saturday, November 28, 2020 by Paul in Music

It’s a month to Christmas, and you all know what that means. But regular service hasn’t quite packed in just yet.

1. Ariana Grande – “Positions”

That’s five weeks, though the margins are getting smaller. “34+35” is already being promoted as the next single; it climbs 17-13 this week, though it already made the top 10 as an album track in the week of release. Not quite her longest – “Thank U, Next” managed six. The top 3 is static, with Billie Eilish at 2 and Little Mix at 3. “Levitating” by Dua Lipa climbs 10-5.

8. Miley Cyrus featuring Dua Lipa – “Prisoner”

Ah, Miley Cyrus videos – never knowingly subtle. This continues the 80s throwback approach of “Midnight Sky”, which is still sitting in the top 10 at number 7. And Dua Lipa’s “Levitating” climbs to 5. Miley Cyrus’s singles chart record is patchy – the occasional huge hit and a whole load of middling places – but this style seems to be working for her.

9. Shawn Mendes & Justin Bieber – “Monster”

This is the second single from Mendes’ upcoming album, and thanks to the high profile guest, it comfortably outperforms lead single “Wonder” (which peaked at 20, and is currently at 25). Not especially memorable.

10. BTS – “Life Goes On”

The South Korean boy band are now regular fixtures in the UK singles chart, though they tend to be an old-fashioned fanbase act whose records enter high and crash out. But their previous single “Dynamite” was an exception – it entered high at number 3, dropped ten places the following week, and then hovered around number 20 for ten weeks. (It re-enters this week at number 37.)

“Life Goes On” is a bold choice of single for this market, being a mid-paced number in Korean, aside from a few lines of English in the chorus. But who listens to verse lyrics? It’s their second top ten hit, at any rate.

The parent album “Be” enters the album chart at number 2 – they’ve had two previous number 1s, and I’d have expected this to be a third, but apparently this week’s number one album was just too fearsome a competitor.

“Whoopty” by CJ climbs 24-12, and “All I Want for Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey climbs 31-14. At least we’re less than a month from Christmas now. “Paradise” by Meduza featuring Dermot Kennedy climbs 20-18 and here we go for 2020…

20. Wham – “Last Christmas”

Originally a number 2 hit in 1984 (when it spent five weeks stuck behind “Do They Know It’s Christmas”). It’s been back every year since 2011, and made the top three in the last three years.

Number 24 is “Get Out My Head” by Shane Codd, climbing from 30.

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

Originally the Christmas number 2 in 1987 (behind the Pet Shop Boys’ version of “Always On My Mind”), and returning to the chart for the sixteenth consecutive year. Bear in mind, a lot of that was during the pre-streaming era when people actually had to buy it each year.

“Fairytale of New York” is now also accompanied by the annual grumbling from right wing columnists about the BBC’s radio edit. The correct position on this is straightforward. “Fairytale” wasn’t intended as a family singalong. It’s performed in character. The language is in character. But it’s language that would get muted on daytime airplay in any new release and it doesn’t get a pass just because it’s “Fairytale of New York”, which has drifted into a festive standard role for which it was never designed. The radio edit is mildly weaker but only very mildly. And the complaints involve a wilful conflation of censorship with daytime radio edits, which would lead to the logical conclusion that we ought to be playing the uncensored version of “WAP” in daytime because it’s better. (It is, but that’s not the point.)

“Golden” by Harry Styles climbs 29-27.

30. Post Malone featuring Swae Lee – “Sunflower”

Originally a top 10 hit over Christmas 2018, but that’s a coincidence – it’s here because of a TikTok meme connected with the release of the new Spider-Man game on PS5.

33. Shakin’ Stevens – “Merry Christmas Everyone”

Tragically, this video has been remastered to remove the painful, awkward tract of silent travel at the start, which was always the best bit. “Merry Christmas Everyone” was the Christmas number 1 in 1985, and it’s charted every year since 2014.

Number 34 is “Loading” by Central Cee, which first entered at 37 a few weeks back.

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

This made the top 40 for the first time (years after its release) in 2016, and reached number 7 in 2018. Doggedly, it still doesn’t have a video.

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

The Christmas number one of 1984. It’s made the top 40 annually since 2015, and it reached the top 10 in the last three years.

39. Fumez the Engineer, A92 & Offica – “Plugged In Freestyle”

Chart debut for all these guys. A92 are an Irish drill collective, not a scene with which I can claim any familiarity. I’m not quite sure why Offica gets a separate chart credit, since he’s a member of A92. (He’s the guy in the impractical mask.)

On the album chart…

1. Michael Ball & Alfie Boe – “Together at Christmas”

Yes, this beat BTS. Hardly surprising – it’s their third number one as a duo, the others being “Together” (2016) and “Together Again” (2017). And 2019’s “Back Together” reached number 2. Nothing like a good strong brand, is there?

Number 2 is BTS. In one of those canary-in-the-mineshaft signs about the state of the album market, number 4 is “Folklore” by Taylor Swift, which spent three weeks at number 1 in August and was still just clinging on at the bottom end of the top 40. It leaps 37-4 because of its belated vinyl release. Doesn’t take much these days.

5. Neil Diamond & The London Symphony Orchestra – “Classic Diamonds”

No, not another of those albums where old vocal tracks are smothered in strings – this one features new vocals from Neil Diamond, making it more of a legitimate orchestral greatest hits album.

7. Iron Maiden – “Nights of the Dead – Legacy of the Beast”

Live album recorded in Mexico City last year. They regularly get studio albums into the top 10, but it’s still quite impressive to get there with a live album

13. Pink Floyd – “Delicate Sound of Thunder”

Box set reissue of their 1988 live album (which originally got to number).

18. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – “Idiot Prayer – Nick Cave Alone at Alexandra Palace”

I’m not quite sure why the artist credit includes the Bad Seeds, because this is indeed a release of the live streamed solo performance that Nick Cave gave back in July.

19. The Cribs – “Night Network”

Ooh, ouch. The Cribs haven’t missed the top 10 with a studio album since 2007, so this is lower than you’d have predicted.

24. Josh Groban – “Harmony”

Also surprisingly low – Groban’s last three albums made the top 10.

27. Tim Minchin – “Apart Together”

Tim Minchin is best known as a comedian, and for comedy songs, but his debut studio album is completely straight. Naturally, an existing profile with musical associations doesn’t hurt him.

31. Jamie Cullum – “The Pianoman at Christmas”

Miles below his normal position (which would be low teens), but it’s a Christmas album, so that’s to be expected.

39. Loski – “Music Trial & Trauma – A Drill Story”

London rapper. This guy’s been around for years and keeps just missing the top 40 on both the singles and album charts – his previous album got to 41, his last single got to 43. This time he scrapes over the line.

Bring on the comments

  1. BringTheNoise says:

    That’s a fantastic and concise explanation of the whole Pogues “controversy”. I would go so far as to call it the best response to the whole situation, if The Pogues (or at least, whoever runs their Twitter account) hadn’t told Laurence Fox to “[f]uck off you little Herrenvolk shite” even though he was encouraging people to buy their song!

  2. K says:

    The Groban mystery is easily answered by the fact that Groban’s last three albums had not only “deluxe edition bonus tracks” but also a second, even more elusive tier of bonus tracks tied firmly to physical formats. It seems this year has left him a little short on material, resulting in total format parity, which ends up letting down sales.

    Speaking of format parity, I hope you’re watching closely for the results of McCartney’s format gamesmanship to bid for a #1 album…

    As for the “controversy,” perhaps there is no room for logic here any longer. Anything can be denied these days by lies and sophistry except for irrational wants, so perhaps it just comes down to who can be more irrational in wanting their way.

  3. Joe S.Walker says:

    Re Taylor Swift, it should be noted that the vinyl version of her album comes in eight different colours each with a different cover. There are possibly people who’ve bought all eight.

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