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Nov 13

Charts – 10 November 2023

Posted on Monday, November 13, 2023 by Paul in Music


I mean, really?

1. The Beatles – “Now and Then”

Okay, so. This was at number 42 last week because it was released in time to get 10 hours of streaming registered for last week’s chart. That would have been an artificially low placing, because only a few streamers report data that late, and the figures for the others would have been estimated from their data earlier in the week (which, in the case of a last minute release, is zero).

However, it’s not number one thanks to streaming. Its chart score is equivalent to 78,200 sales, which includes 38,000 physical copies, and a further 10,000 odd downloads. No record has sold that volume of physical copies since the 2014 X Factor winner, because that’s just not how regular audiences consume music any more. Obviously, something that can be marketed as a last Beatles single appeals heavily to an audience who rarely pay attention to new releases and haven’t updated their format preferences in 20 years or more.

This thing sold 19,000 on vinyl, for god’s sake.

Now, to be fair, without the sales, it would still have done well. It is number 1 on the streaming chart – but intriguingly, it’s only number 6 on the audio streaming chart, which means its placement has been helped heavily by the views for the video above. Video streaming doesn’t carry so much weight for the main chart (because it’s almost entirely ad-supported), and so the streams for this track would have got it to number 4 on their own. That’s still pretty good.

All this makes it seem like a fanbase record that will plunge next week – but it’s still at number one in the midweeks, so while I’d still be surprised if it sustained that much interest for a whole two weeks, it should hang around for a bit.

It sets a new record for the longest gap between number one singles, which previously stood at 44 years following Kate Bush’s unexpected number 1 last year. The Beatles’ last number one was in 1969 (“The Ballad of John & Yoko”), so the record now stands at 54 years. That’s not impossible to beat, if something odd activates from the back catalogue, but it’s unlikely to happen with new material any time soon.

Admittedly, this is a broad definition of “new”, since the song is based on a 1970s demo, plus material recorded by George Harrison when the other Beatles made an abortive attempt to complete it in the 1990s. The promotional line is that the 1990s attempt was abandoned because the quality of the recording was too poor, and that modern AI has allowed it to be cleaned up to a useable standard. George Harrison had previously been reported saying that he just didn’t think it was a very good song either, but we’re assured that it was mainly the recording quality he had an issue with – and the released version does mess about with Lennons’ demo, cutting out the entire pre-chorus and adding a new bridge.

Ultimately, all that really matters is that people accept it as a Beatles track, and repurposing the lyrics for career retrospective purposes seems to have done the trick in that regard. And it’s growing on me; it’s at least good enough to take the weight of being the “last Beatles record”.

A moment’s sympathy for cässo, who would otherwise have finally made it to number 1 with “Prada” this week.

6. Jung Kook – “Standing Next To You”

This is the release week single from his album “Golden”, which enters at number 3. It’s very Michael Jackson. All three singles from this album made the top 10 – this is the lowest of the three. If the other two are anything to go by, it might stick around for a few weeks in the mid-table… at which point it’ll get swamped by Christmas records whatever happens. His previous single “Seven” re-enters at 35.

7. Taylor Swift – “Cruel Summer”

This was number 3 two weeks ago, but last week it was disqualified under the three song rule thanks to her album release. With the “Taylor’s Version” tracks all on their way down the chart, it reclaims its rightful spot in the top 10 as a technical re-entry.

18. Olivia Rodrigo – “Can’t Catch Me Now”

The position is because this isn’t a regular Olivia Rodrigo single – it’s a track from the soundtrack to the new Hunger Games film. It’s actually very good, but I assume it’s going to wind up being seen as a siide project.

28. Jax Jones x D.O.D. x Ina Wroldsen x The Blackout Crew – “Won’t Forget You”

This came out a couple of weeks ago credited simply to Jax Jones, D.O.D. and Ina Wroldsen, but the Blackout Crew mix has been reclassified as the lead version now that it enters the top 40. This is the original version. The Blackout Crew mix is… well, it’s Scooter, basically.

D.O.D. had a previous hit with “So Much In Love” in June, which reached number 15. Wroldsen’s only previous hits were as a guest singer for Jones himself and Martin Solveig, both in 2017. And it’s the first hit for the Blackout Crew, a group from Oldham who have been around for over 15 years.

36. K.A.D. featuring Kak Hatt – “Just How You Like It”

This week’s minor viral hit – and the midweeks suggest it isn’t going any further – is this obscure dance record which dates itself heavily by referencing lockdown. It’s more of a novelty record than anything else – Kak Hatt has quite an extensive back catalogue on YouTube, and seems to be basically a one-man Goldie Lookin’ Chain with more technical skill. They did play this on Radio 1’s chart show, though the radio edit is, shall we say, aggressive with the scissors.

37. Wham! – “Last Christmas”

Oh, for God’s sake. It’s the second chart of November! We’ve only just had the Hallowe’en records! What’s wrong with you people?

(Deep sigh.)

“Last Christmas” reached number 2 on release in 1984, when it had the misfortune to spend five weeks stuck behind Band Aid. It finally reached number 1 in the first chart of 2021, and had two weeks at number one last year.

40. Mariah Carey – “All I Want For Christmas Is You”

Originally a number 2 single in 1994, this has had three weeks at number 1, at Christmas 2020 and 2022.

This week’s climbers, hoping that they will be the lucky ones who avoid being swept away by the tinsel over the coming weeks:

  • “Prada” by cässo featuring Raye & D-Block Europe climbs 3-2.
  • “Stick Season” by Noah Kahan climbs 10-8.
  • “Liquor & Cigarettes” by Chase & Status and Hedex featuring ArrDee climnbs 18-17.
  • “I Remember Everything” by Zach Bryan featuring Kacey Musgraves climbs 23-19.
  • “On My Love” by Zara Larsson & David Guetta climbs 30-22.
  • “Agora Hills” by Doja Cat climbs 26-23.
  • “Would You (Go To Bed With Me)” by Campbell & Alcemist climbs 36-29.

The nine records leaving the top 40 are:

  • “‘Slut!’ (Taylor’s Version)” by Taylor Swift, which gets disqualified under the three-song rule after a single wee at number 5.
  • “This is Halloween” by Danny Elfman, “Thriller” by Michael Jackson, “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr and “Monster Mash” by Bobby “Boris” Pickett, after last week’s Hallowe’en invasion.
  • “Bittersweet Goodbye” by Issey Cross, which peaked at 19 but lasted a solid 12 weeks.
  • “Too Much” by The Kid Laroi, Jung Kook & Central Cee, which had two weeks peaking at 10.
  • “Adore U” by fred again.., which peaked at 4 and lasted 12 weeks.
  • “First Person Shooter” by Drake featuring J Cole, which peaked at 4 and managed 4 weeks as an album track.

The longest running track on the top 40 is still “Dance the Night” by Dua Lipa, at 24 weeks and counting, but currently at number 30 – not only does she have a new single coming, but the Christmas deluge is bound to displace the song shortly.

On the album chart, “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” by Taylor Swift gets a second week at number 1.

2. Oasis – “The Masterplan”

25th anniversary reissue of their B-sides compilation, which (unusually) does actually contain some of their better songs. It reached number 2 on first release in 1998. “Acquiesce”, the B-side to “Some Might Say”, was released as a single in some markets to promote the album, but the video above was inexplicably made for it in 2006. Oasis were still together in 2006, but they weren’t showing up for this shoot.

Number 3 is “Golden” by Jung Kook, and we’ve covered that.

5. Cliff Richard – “Cliff With Strings – My Kinda Life”

Exactly what you’d expect – an album of songs from his back catalogue reworked with a string section. He still consistently places new studio albums in the top 10 at the age of 83, which maybe tells us as much about the album market as it does about him.

7. Johnny Marr – “Spirit Power – The Best Of”

That’s the best of his solo-credited work, to be clear. All of his solo albums have made the top 10, except for a 2015 live album that somehow only got to number 96.

14. Gregory Porter – “Christmas Wish”

That’s the first time he’s missed the top 10 with an album, but hey, it’s a Christmas record. That’s a side project.

23. Caroline Polacheck – “Desire, I Want To Turn Into You”

This is her fourth solo album (on top of three that she recorded as a member of Chairlift), but the first to chart in the UK.

31. Lana Del Rey – “Lust For Life”

Originally a number 1 album in 2017, this has been reissued on clear vinyl for… some reason.

35. George Michael – “Twenty Five”

I have no idea what this is doing in the top 40 – it’s a career retrospective album released in 2006 and it hasn’t had a re-issue. Maybe it’s been discounted somewhere.

39. Van Morrison – “Accentuate the Positive”

It’s a covers album. Van Morrison albums get wildly inconsistent chart positions. His previous album got to number 16, but the one before that got to number 62 (most likely because the Covid-19 denialism put off all but his most dedicated fans).

Bring on the comments

  1. Eric G says:

    “Now and Then” successfully hits the level of second rate Beatles song, in my opinion. Which is miles better than we had any reason to expect, honestly. I would have guessed “misconceived future trivia answer” as the likely quality level before I heard it.

  2. Mark Coale says:

    The surprise might be the previous “last new Beatles song” (free as a bird?) didn’t make it to number one.

  3. Ryan T says:

    Predictions have Now and Then at number 10 in the US with Cruel Summer returning to number 1.

    Fascinating that Desire, I Want to Turn Into You charted this week – it’s been out since February, though a new non-album single (‘Dang’) was released recently. Did they not do a full UK release for 9 months? I can’t imagine that’s the case. Odd.

  4. Eric G says:

    @Mark Coale… I think Real Love was the last one, not Free as a Bird. Not 100% certain.

  5. Ryan T says:

    To answer my own question: apparently Polachek is also debuting on the US top 100 this week and the cause of both is a delayed vinyl reissue. I’m a little surprised it didn’t chart in it’s initial release, at least on the low end but there we are.

  6. Mike Loughlin says:

    I’m glad “Now and Then” isn’t bad, because “Free as a Bird” and “Real Love” (from Anthology 2, thus the more recent release) sucked. I’ve never cared for Jeff Lynne’s music, but he has less of his fingerprints on this song than the two previous, which he produced.

  7. Mark.Coale says:

    I don’t even remember that other Beatles song.

  8. Jason says:

    “so the record now stands at 54 years. That’s not impossible to beat, if something odd activates from the back catalogue, but it’s unlikely to happen with new material any time soon.”

    If my calculations are correct, the earliest it could happen with new material is 54 years from now. Somebody check my math.

  9. SanityOrMadness says:

    So, who’s expecting Free As A Bird and Real Love to get remastered rereleases as singles, sold as being powered by the same “AI enhancement” technology as Now & Then, to sound “exactly as we always intended” after this? (With collectors editions aplenty, of course)

  10. Joe S. Walker says:

    “Now And Then” sounds at least like a coherent piece of music, unlike “Free As A Bird” which sounded like a fragment from Lennon’s dustbin tarted up with a load of fake nostalgia.

    I wonder will Taylor Swift have another Number One in 54 years’ time, i.e. 2077 when she’ll be 88 years old.

  11. Taibak says:

    I actually liked “Real Love” a lot better than “Free as a Bird”. It wasn’t trying so hard to be a valedictory for the Beatles and didn’t have Paul’s intrusive choruses.

  12. Taibak says:

    Mike: That’s because Lynne had very little to do with “Now and Then”. He produced the 1995 sessions, but the only thing they used from that was Harrison’s guitar part.

  13. Miyamoris says:

    @Ryan T: I’m gonna assume Polachek gained some traction through strong critical acclaim and gradual word-of-mouth. It’s a pretty good album.

  14. Dave says:

    “Video streaming doesn’t carry so much weight for the main chart (because it’s almost entirely ad-supported)”.
    This encapsulates very well how meaningless the chart system has become.

  15. Daniel Wheeler says:

    Wham seems to be gettimg a lot of new stuff on Netflix so it stands to reason George Michael’s stuff gets re-evaulated by newer generations who are only aware kf him because of his controversies.

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