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Ariana Grande gets a month at the top
Ariana Grande's Thank U, Next stays at the top of the singles chart for a fourth week. Take That have another number one album with a new collection.

Ariana Grande extends her stay at the top of the singles chart to four weeks. Take That trounce all opposition to get an eighth number one album.

Ariana Grande completes a month at the top of the singles chart as Thank U, Next gets a fourth week at number one. Little Mix and Nicki Minaj spend another week at number two with Woman Like Me.

The introduction of streaming to the chart and the end of the general practice of allowing radio stations to play new singles as much as two months before they are released have both served to slow down the charts. We have returned to the days when a song would slowly climb the chart, reaching a peak after a few weeks. Indeed, a lot of songs now take two or three months before reaching their peak.

This change to chart behaviour means that it is fairly likely that this year’s Christmas number one is already in the chart. Ariana Grande’s song cannot be ruled out of the running as it continues to top the chart by a comfortable margin. Two other contenders complete this week’s top four. Jess Glynne’s Thursday climbs one place to number three and Halsey’s Without Me is up two places to number four.

Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s Shallow falls two places to number five. Another potential contender for the Christmas number one, Ava Max’s unfestively-titled Sweet But Psycho enters the top ten at number six.

Two parts if the armed forces have lent their name to titles of hit singles and Armed Forces itself is the title of an ELvis Costello album. Status Quo and Kate Bush have both had hits with the word Army in the title while Village People famously described life in the navy. Until now, though, the air force remained unrepresented. That changes with the arrival at number twenty of Airforce by Digdat who should not be confused with a company of the same name which is part of Anglian Water. I shall resist the temptation offered by the fact that today is St Andrew’s Day to say anything about Wet Wet Wet. Dig Dat is described as one of the rising stars of a musical genre known as drill which is unlikely to be connected to the early Radiohead EP of the same name. The list of featured artists - Krept & Konan and K Trap - could almost be an offshoot of the Kardashian clan (or should that be klan?).

When the latest changes to the singles chart rules were announced earlier this year, press coverage focussed on the introduction of video streams and the decision to distinguish between streams by paying subscribers and streams by users of free services. Another change went unnoticed, possibly because it wasn’t mentioned in the Official Chart Company’s press release. Before this new rule, a song that had been put on to the Accelerated Chart Ratio (whereby their streams are only half as valuable as those of songs on the standard ratio) could revert automatically to the standard ratio if its sales increased substantially. That rule no longer applies to songs that are over three years old. This puts all the old Christmas songs at a disadvantage. Nevertheless, Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You enters at number 34 before December has begun.

Two non-festive songs also re-enter the top forty. Lady Gaga’s Always Remember Us This Way is at number 39 and Jason Derulo, David Guetta, Nicki Minaj and Willy William are at number 40 with Goodbye.

It has been observed here before that Greatest Hits sets have become a lot more difficult to sell since the advent of downloads and, even more so, streaming. The advance of technology has made it very easy for consumers to create their own compilations. One way of addressing this is to release a Greatest Hits set as part of a package with a new album as Olly Murs did recently. This can be seen as an extension of the earlier practice of including a couple new tracks on a compilation to supplement the older material. In most cases those “new singles” never got a proper release.

Another option is to re-record the songs in some way. For a deceased artist (or one who is considered a little too old to be dragged back to the studio) an increasingly popular tactic is to add an orchestral backing to the original vocals. Only last week Buddy Holly and Cilla Black both entered the top forty with collections which had received that treatment. Roy Orbison has joined them this week as will be reported below.

Take That have gone for a sort of hybrid version. The band (still reduced to a threesome) have re-recorded some of their hits for the new collection, Odyssey, but have also recorded some new songs. And, yes, they all have an orchestral backing. The album includes songs from their initial period of success as well as songs since their highly successful comeback in 2005. Therefore, the collection includes the throwaway pop of It Only Takes A Minute and Could It Be Magic as well as the more mature Rule The World and The Greatest Day (which was at number one exactly ten years ago).

By the end of Sunday, the collection had already achieved combined sale of nearly 90,000 copies Of these, just under 4,000 were downloads and stream-equivalent sales accounted for fewer than 1,000 copies. The rest were physical sales (CD, vinyl and even a cassette version). Those 90,000 sales meant that it had already beaten Arctic Monkeys’ Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino to record the highest weekly sales of any album this year.

The album finished the week with over 100,000 combined sales, giving the band their second chart-topping compilation and their eighth number one album in total. Those sales might normally be enough to make a second week at the top highly probable. However, releases today from Clean Bandit and The 1975 will both be challenging for the top spot next week.

Michael Bublé’s Love falls to number two after a week at the top. The Greatest Showman regains its customary place in the top three at number three. Little Mix fall to number five with LM5.

While it seems unlikely that Cliff Richard will be invited back into the studio to re-record early hits such as Move It for a revamped hits album he continues to release new material. That said, his new album, Rise Up, does contain four old songs where he is accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) so we may yet hear a near-octogenarian rocking it again. The album enters at number four to give him a 45th top ten album and a 64th top forty hit.

The RPO turn up again at number eight on Unchained Melodies, a new collection featuring the vocal talents of the late Roy Orbison. Orbison’s best known songs were given the orchestral treatment in a previous collection, so this one comprises lesser-known songs and those more associated with other singers. These include Unchained Melody (an interpretation more in line with the original chart-topping version by Jimmy Young), The Great Pretender and even Danny Boy. The only songs on the album that are more readily associated with Orbison are Blue Bayou and She’s A Mystery To Me.

A documentary on Orbison’s life, which recounts a number of tragedies to befall the singer as well as concentrating on his impressive musical output, will be shown again on BBC4 next Friday (7 December).

After a couple albums alongside Michael Ball, Alfie Boe is back on his lonesome for his latest collection, As Time Goes By. The most famous version of the song was performed by Dooley Wilson in the 1942 film Casablanca. That version became an unexpected hit in the UK at Christmas 1977. Boe’s album, a new entry at number ten, also includes Ain’t Misbehavin’ and the ornithologically dubious A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square.

Since Rita Ora’a debut album, Ora, was released in 2012, the Anglo-Kosovan singer has enjoyed a string of hit singles but a second album has been conspicuous by its absence. The inclusion of so many of those hits on the album, Phoenix, makes it part way to being an unofficial Greatest Hits set. The fact that so many of the songs have been available for so long may be one reason why the album can only enter at number eleven. Eurovision fans may be disappointed to learn that the album does not include a version of Rise Like A Phoenix.

Not for the first time the man born Daniel Hernandez, who performs under the daft name 6ix9ine, has been in the news for the wrong reasons. He appeared in court on Tuesday to plead not guilty to racketeering charges. The impending charges - and the fact that he had been remanded in custody - had delayed the release of his album Dummy Boy. That album finally saw the light of day late in the week. It enters at number thirty while a song from the album, Kika fetauring Tory Lanez, enters the singles chart at number 38.

The release of two new Abba songs, initially expected to happen some time this year, has now been delayed with no definite release date. In the meantime, fans of one of Sweden’s most successful brands have to be content with older collections. Abba Gold returns to the top forty yet again at number 38.
Published on: 2018-11-30 by Suedehead2 || 52489 Views
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