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Feb 2

Charts – 29 January 2021

Posted on Tuesday, February 2, 2021 by Paul in Music

We’re getting back to a normal number of new entries on the singles chart, as the post-Christmas promotional cycle gets back into the swing of things. Whether the records themselves are normal… well, that’s a separate matter.

1 Olivia Rodrigo – “Drivers Licence”

Three weeks, and it’s not even close – she beats the number 2 single by three to one. That number 2 track is “Without You” by The Kid Laroi, climbing from 5. And then…

3. Nathan Evans featuring 220Kid & Billen Ted – “Wellerman”

Sea shanties, then. This is the 19th century New Zealand whaling song that went viral on TikTok. Nathan Evans is an amateur – he works for the Post Office – but it seems that the zeitgeist of early 2021 is all about the sea shanties. Seems a bit Sugar Ape to me, but then I’m not a social media sensation. A straight version of the song by the Longest Johns – recorded before the song went viral – reached number 37 last week. The Nathan Evans version is also available in the original form, but officially the lead version is the above remix by 220 Kid & Billen Ted which… well, it’s better than you’d expect from a cash-in remix of a viral sea shanty, at least. It’s also under two minutes, which is wise. 220 Kid has had a hit before – “Don’t Need Love” reached number 9 last spring. Production duo Billen Ted weren’t credited as artists on that record, but apparently had a hand in it.

It’s a long way down to the next new entry, so deep breath… “Paradise” by Meduza featuring Dermot Kennedy climbs 6-5. That’s enough to make it Kennedy’s highest-placed single (beating “Outnumbered”).  “Good Days” by SZA climbs to 13 after two weeks at 14. “The Business” by Tiesto climbs 16-14 – that’s enough to make it his highest placed single since “Jackie Chan” in 2019. “Streets” by Doja Cat climbs 20-18.

20. Fredo – “Back to Basics”

This is the lead single from his next album, which is produced by Dave. And I do like the beat. The album is out this week, and the midweeks indicate that he’ll have three completely different tracks on the singles chart as a result. Maybe not the best choice of single, then, but it doesn’t really matter in the long run.

28. Sabrina Carpenter – “Skin”

There are broadly two angles being used to promote Olivia Rodrigo’s “Driver’s Licence”. One is that the song is a universally appealing classic. The other is that it plays into the soap opera lives of Olivia Rodrigo and other people you’ve never heard of from the Disney Channel. According to that narrative, the boy who dumped her is her High School Musical: The Musical: The Series costar Joshua Bassett, and the other girl (“You’re probably with that blonde girl / Who always made me doubt / She’s so much older than me / She’s everything I’m insecure about”) is Disney alumnus Sabrina Carpenter. Officially, Rodrigo’s line is not to comment, but she’s also said that the song was inspired by an actual break-up, and she’s only 17, so it’s not like there’s a long list of candidates.

And so we’re getting answer records from Bassett and Carpenter, both of whom also affect to claim that their records are not about anyone in particular. Bassett’s “Lie Lie Lie” – which surprisingly missed the midweek charts on Monday – is a more general exercise in disputing an ex’s version of a messy break-up. “Skin” is specifically about being the subject of somebody else’s song, which makes it very hard to read independently of “Driver’s Licence”. But it doesn’t work on that level either, because what Carpenter has ended up releasing is a record in which she repeatedly insists that she won’t let things get under her skin, while whingeing at length about a record that only mentioned her in passing. If this is a pre-existing song, then pressing it into service for this purpose was ill-advised. The midweeks have it dropping out of the top 40 next week.

35. Billie Eilish & Rosalia – “Lo Vas A Olividar”

This Spanish-language song is from the soundtrack of HBO show Euphoria, and it’s a pretty good showcase for both artists as singers. Making her debut in the UK singles chart, Rosalia is a big star in her native Spain, where she’s had six number 1s since 2018. The language barrier has limited her appeal in the rest of Europe, but she’s also had a number one in Argentina and Mexico, and a track last year with Travis Scott did quite well in non-Anglophone markets. The midweeks have this dropping straight out of the top 40 next week, which suggests that Billie Eilish’s name will sell a track in Spanish, but only up to a point. 

37. Riton x Nightcrawlers featuring Mufasa & Hypeman – “Friday”

This is set to climb – the midweeks have it at 23. Riton had top 20 hits in 2016 and 2019. The higher one is “Turn Me On”, which got to 12. This track is based on a sample from “Push the Feeling On” by the Nightcrawlers, which reached number 3 in 1995. As usual, the version being sampled is the Mark Kinchen remix (the one that was pushed as the lead mix in the UK and featured in the video), which bears very little resemblance to the original Nightcrawlers track. Kinchen is still active under the name “MK”, and has had several hits over recent years.

38. Glass Animals – “Heat Waves”

This indie track has been out for months – I’ve posted this video before, when the parent album “Dreamland” reached number 2 in the summer. At the time, it only reached number 63 as a single. It’s having a resurgence after becoming a hit in Australia, though the midweeks suggest it’s not getting much further.

The video was filmed in the height of the first lockdown, as you might guess from the last minute – the conceit for the rest of it was to ask all the neighbours to film the singer walking through the streets on their phones, and contribute the footage.

40. Raye & Rudimental – “Regardless”

And finally, this. It’s a bit of a departure for Rudimental, based on the sampled hook from iio’s “Rapture” (number 2 in 2001). The title does indeed appear in the chorus, and is not a knock at Raye’s previous collaborator Regard. The midweeks have it hanging around, but not making much more progress.

Over on the album chart, the number 1 is “Post Human: Survival Horror” by Bring Me The Horizon, which reached number 5 last October, but has now been given a physical release. Hardly a sign of a healthy album market when you can get to number one with a months-delayed physical release, is it?

2. Bicep – “Isles”

The only other new entry this week is from Northern Irish duo Bicep, whose previous album only got to number 20 – it’s worth a play.


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