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Dec 26

Charts – 25 December 2020

Posted on Saturday, December 26, 2020 by Paul in Music

The chart falls on Christmas Day itself, meaning that the official Christmas Number One is the one announced on the day, covering the week of sales and streams up to Christmas Eve. As always, a bunch of last minute releases make a push for number one in the final week, ranging from the well meaning and charitable to the, er… well, you’ll see. Perhaps most surprisingly, a new version of “Holy” by Justin Bieber, with added vocals by an NHS choir, fails to get real traction and lands at number 41 – while a different Bieber track entirely makes it into the top 10. Strange times.

1. LadBaby – “Don’t Stop Me Eatin'”

Only three acts have had the Christmas Number One position three years running – the Beatles, the Spice Girls and now LadBaby. Who says civilisation is in terminal decline?

As in the last two years, this is a charity record for food poverty, based around an old song (“Don’t Stop Believing”, obviously) rewritten with lyrics about sausage rolls. It was quite funny in year one. I thought diminishing returns had set in in year two, but what do I know? This one was boosted halfway through the week by a second version guest starring Ronan Keating, because why not?

Judged as a piece of music, it’s pretty bad – it’s karaoke autotuned with a brick – but that’s hardly the point. I do think the joke has run its course, but it’s sincere and the cause is deserving, so I can’t really begrudge it the number one spot.

Number 4 is “This Christmas” by Jess Glynne, climbing from 9. Incidentally, the Taylor Swift tracks which entered the chart last week have collapsed in week two – “Willow”, which entered last week at number 3, plunges to 37 in a way that we rarely see in the streaming era.

5. The Kunts – “Boris Johnson is a Fucking Cunt”

That’s the radio edit above (and yes, there is one). This is, needless to say, a campaign record, and while we’ve seen spoiler campaigns for Christmas number one before – Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing in the Name”, for example – we don’t often see political tracks pitched at this level, which is of course the joke. It’s 57 seconds long and the lyrics consist of the title repeated. The closest comparison is probably the number 2 appearance of “Ding-Dong the Witch is Dead” in 2013, in response to the death of Margaret Thatcher.

The Kunts is the punk incarnation of the same guy who’s been releasing comedy records for years under the name “Kunt and the Gang”, and he’s had a couple of singles make the lower reaches of the top 75 under that credit (one of which was an attack on Nick Clegg that actually managed to be even less broadcastable). His combination of untransmittable swearing and taboo-shattering bleakness – he’s rather fond of referencing Jimmy Saville, for a start – has not previously commended itself to a mainstream audience, for all the obvious reasons, and the video for the unedited version of the song strays into that territory much more than the record itself.

It’s the first top 40 single to have the C-word in the title, so a watershed in the history of British swearing there. The F-word has shown up in seven previous top 40 titles, and they’re a better group than you might expect: a Babyshambles single from 2005, two different versions of the same Super Furry Animals song in 2004 and 2002, the KLF’s millennium single as “2K” from 1997, the Roy “Chubby” Brown novelty single from 1995 (they can’t all be winners), and way back in 1981, the Dead Kennedys (yes, they had a number 36 hit with that).

“Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” by Justin Bieber climbs 21-8, and “Step Into Christmas” by Elton John climbs 11-10, for its third consecutive year in the top 10. “Driving Home for Christmas” by Chris Rea climbs 13-11, matching its all-time peak from two years ago. “I Wish it Could Be Christmas Everyday” by Wizzard climbs 16-13, and “Santa Tell Me” by Ariana Grande is up 14-11. “Underneath the Tree” by Kelly Clarkson climbs 20-15, which is an all-time peak for it. “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” by Brenda Lee climbs 18-16, and Slade’s “Merry Xmas Everybody” is up 25-17, beating last year’s 19. “One More Sleep” by Leona Lewis climbs 27-18 (still a little behind last year), and “Happy Xmas (War is Over) by John & Yoko and the Plastic Ono Band climbs 30-21 (higher than last year’s 28, but it’s been higher in the streaming era). “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” by Andy Williams climbs 29-23, and Liam Gallagher’s Christmas single “All You’re Dreaming Of” re-enters at a new peak of 24 upon its physical release. “Holly Jolly Christmas” by Michael Bublé climbs 36-25 (the first time it’s been in the top 30). “Wonderful Christmastime” by Paul McCartney climbs 34-26, and more of him later. “Jingle Bell Rock” by Bobby Helms climbs 35-27, a new all-time peak. And “Mistletoe” by Justin Bieber climbs 38-29.

The usual pattern is that the mass streaming of Christmas songs stops abruptly after Christmas day, so these tracks should get in one day of streams next week before crashing. Since more than half of this week’s top 40 is Christmas singles, that suggests we can brace for a spasm next week.

30. Ed Sheeran – “Afterglow”

A last minute release, halfway through the week. It’s the only new single he’s released as lead artist in 2020, and putting it out halfway through the week guaranteed that it wouldn’t be expected to reach number one. It’s not the sort of song you put out as a serious bid for number one in the weirdest week of the year, anyway. Perhaps he’s hoping to capitalise in the post-Christmas lull.

32. Kylie Minogue – “Santa Baby”

This was recorded back in 2010, and had a week at number 38 in 2017, but that’s the sum total of its chart positions until now. It’s not a regular – it only got to number 74 last year – and its appearance this year is a little unexpected.

33. Coldplay – “Christmas Lights”

Making only its third appearance as a festive perennial, this reached number 31 in 2017, missed the top 40 in 2018, and got to 29 last year.

39. Dean Martin – “Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!”

This made its first singles chart appearance last year, when it also managed a week at 39. Martin had a string of big hits in the 1950s, of which this wasn’t one.

So, is anyone going to release an album in Christmas week? Why, yes.

1. Paul McCartney – “McCartney III”

Paul McCartney’s lockdown album becomes his seventh solo number one – though that’s counting 1971’s “Ram”, credited to “Paul and Linda McCartney”, and 1973’s “Band on the Run”, credited to “Paul McCartney and Wings”. The others were “McCartney II” in 1980, “Tug of War” in 1982, “Give my Regards to Broad Street” in 1984, and “Flowers in the Dirt” in 1989. It’s So it’s been over thirty years since the last one, but he still consistently places his new studio albums in the top 5. As with its predecessors “McCartney” and “McCartney II”, he plays all the instruments on this; “McCartney II” used to be viewed as a bit of a mess, but it’s been rehabilitated more recently as everyone realised he’d made a Hot Chip record a quarter of a century early.

Eminem’s “Music to be Murdered By” re-enters at number 7 on the back of a special edition, and the only other people who saw fit to release an album this week were…

31. Shed Seven – “Another Night Another Town”

It’s a Shed Seven live album, finishing off the 2020 charts with a suitable sense of anticlimax.

Bring on the comments

  1. Daibhid C says:

    I agree with you about the same joke three years running.

    But I also think that if someone has to do the same joke three years running, they should stick to it and actually do the same joke three years running. It’s not like he was out of options. “Sausage Roll Dreams Come True”, “It’s Only Sausage Rolls”, “It’s a Long Way to the Shops (If You Want a Sausage Roll)”…

  2. Joe S. Walker says:

    He could finish with “Sausage Rolls (I Gave You The Best Years Of My Life)”.

  3. MWayne says:

    Omg… it’s totally a Hot Chip song… lol.

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