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Ariana Grande remains at number one
Ariana Grande gets a fifth week at number one with Thank U, Next and The 1975 get another one album. The annual influx of Christmas song into the chart is well under way.

Ariana Grande stays at the top of the singles chart for a fifth week. The 1975 complete a hat-trick of number one albums.

Ariana Grande’s Thank U, Next continues to dominate the singles chart, grabbing a fifth week at number one. It is the fifth of this year’s chart toppers to spend at least five weeks at the summit. It’s sales have been boosted this week by the release of the video which established a new record for views in its first 24 hours.

In a bid to gain some free press coverage this week, the leading streaming platform put out a press release listing the most popular artists of the year so far. Ariana Grande was the most streamed female artist worldwide so far. In the UK, the most streamed female artist is Dua Lipa; she is currently in fourth place worldwide.

Unsurprisingly, Drake is the most streamed male artist worldwide. Ed Sheeran is the most streamed British artist worldwide despite not releasing an album in 2018. Imagine Dragons are the most streamed group so far, ahead of Korean popsters BTS.

Ava Max climbs four place to number two with Sweet But Psycho, maintaining its challenge to top the chart at Christmas. Halsey climbs one place to number three with Without Me. Jess Glynne falls to number five with Thursday.

For a number of years the race for the Christmas number one looked like becoming a thing of the past as the year’s X Factor winner crushed all the opposition. Indeed, the winner of the show was installed as the bookies’ favourite to top the chart long before anyone knew who that would be or what song they would massacre. The first challenge to that order came in 2009 when a campaign was launched to get Rage Against The Machine’s Killing In The Name to number one instead. That campaign proved successful, although X Factor winner Joe McElderry did get to number one the following week.

In later years a charity single sometimes managed to beat the X Factor winner. The inclusion of streaming data in the charts and the declining audiences for the programme have made it harder for winners to score an instant number one single. The date for the final has got steadily earlier with this year’s taking place last weekend. The winner was someone called Dalton Harris and his single was duly released immediately after the show. The choice of song this year was Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s 1984 number one The Power Of Love, a song covered just a few years ago for the John Lewis advert. Somehow Harris claims not to have known either version.

The original version saw Frankie Goes To Hollywood become only the second act (after fellow Liverpudlians Gerry and the Pacemakers) to reach number one with each of their first three singles. It was also one of three songs called The Power Of Love to reach the top forty within the space of a few months. One of them was by Huey Lewis and the News (and was featured in the first Back To The Future film); the other one was famously awful.

Following the precedent set last year, the winning act is no longer considered to be a big enough draw on their own. Therefore, Dalton Harris is joined by the 2012 winner James Arthur whose career had looked destined to be rather short-lived until he returned to chart action in 2016. They also stick to tradition by inserting extra syllables into words that don’t need them. This latest version of The Power Of Love enters at number four.

Following the precedent set last year, the winning act is no longer considered to be a big enough draw on their own. Therefore, Dalton Harris is joined by the 2012 winner James Arthur whose career had looked destined to be rather short-lived until he returned to chart action in 2016. This latest version of The Power Of Love enters at number four.

As mentioned here last week, the latest changes to the singles chart rules seemed designed specifically to exclude some of the old Christmas songs from the chart in December. The main problem for many chart-watchers is not with the perennial favourites such as Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You or The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl’s Fairytale Of New York. They were successes in their own right, returning to the chart each year based on sales alone. The bigger issue is with songs which pick up a lot of passive streams simply because of their inclusion on playlists.

Once again, then, it is those two songs - with the addition of Wham’s Last Christmas - that lead the way. Mariah Carey jumps 28 places to number six after entering last week. Wham make their first appearance of the year at number fourteen with The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl at number eighteen. The latter song has reached the top twenty every year since 2005.

About a decade ago the BBC decided to blank out a couple words of the Pogues song. That decision was met with widespread ridicule, leading to a swift reversal by the corporation. This year the debate has been revived. The controversy mainly centres around the choice of word to rhyme with maggot. Supporters of the word being banned (particularly at times when children are likely to be listening) argue that the word is still used as a derogatory term for gay men and that its use in a popular song gives it some legitimacy. Others argue that it should be seen in context and that it is a word (regardless of its meaning) that might well have been used in a slanging match between two people at the time the song was written.

Sadly Kirsty MacColl is no longer with us meaning that it is not possible to take up the suggestion that the line should be re-recorded as “You scumbag, you maggot, you taped over Taggart”, a line that would have been just as appropriate at the time as the actual line. The song’s writer, Shane McGowan, has issued a statement explaining that MacColl’s character si supposed to be a nasty person and that the word is in keeping with her character. Nevertheless, he has not joined the chorus of people expressing outrage at the word being censored.

Anyway, back to the chart and, in particular, the remaining festive re-entries. Band Aid’s Do They Know It’s Christmas reappears at number 26. A group of firefighters has recorded a new version of the song to raise money for firefighters’ charities and for the original cause of famine relief. There is no sign of that version anywhere near the top forty so far.

Michael Bublé’s It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas is at number 30 and another Michael B, Michael Barratt (better known as Shakin Stevens) is at number 36 with Merry Christmas Everyone. Brenda Lee’s Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree, probably the clearest example of a song benefitting from playlists, is at number 39.

Perhaps the most unfortunate victim of the three year rule is Ariana Grande’s Santa Tell Me. The song is only four years old and reached its peak of number 28 last year. This week it is at number 35.

Any reference to “Amy Winehouse’s Valerie” is inevitably met with a chorus of “It’s not her song, it’s by The Zutons”. Mark Ronson must be tempted at that point to shout “Hey, what about me?”. After all, Winehouse’s version appeared on an album of cover versions produced by (and credited to) Ronson. Two more of those songs (Kaiser Chiefs’ Oh My God with vocals from Lily Allen and Radiohead’s Just sung by Alex Greenwald) also reached the top forty.

Almost seven years after Just was a minor hit Ronson had managed just one further appearance in the top forty. He returned to the chart in spectacular fashion, this time with Bruno Mars, on the massive hit Uptown Funk at the end of 2014 before going quiet again. He made an appearance as a featured artist earlier this year and now finally clocks up another hit as the lead artist with Nothing Breaks Like A Heart at number ten. He is joined by Miley Cyrus who has had a fair few hits of her own.

The next new entry comes from Mr Robert Williams. No, not that one. This one is a rapper from Philadelphia who uses the moniker Meek Mill. He released his debut album in 2012 but that only got to number 67. He made his top forty debut with his second album, Dreams Worth More Than Money, in 2015. That album also saw him enter the singles chart for the first time although he fell short of the top forty. In order to get his top forty single he has enlisted the services of Drake as a featured artist. Going Bad enters at number seventeen, giving Drake his 43rd top forty hit. Some of us are still waiting for one of them to be good enough to be described as merely “bad”.

The almost weekly trend of at least one new entry from a current or former jailbird continues with the arrival at number 29 of Mama by 6ix9ine. The people seemingly unconcerned at being associated with someone with his past (and potential future) on this occasion are Nicki Minaj and Kanye West. It should not be confused with the Clean Bandit song of the same name or, indeed, any other song called Mama.

As well as the festive offerings, there is one other re-entry. Tom Walker’s Leave A Light On puts in another appearance at number 31.

The 1975 continue their habit of choosing album titles that are either very short or rather long. Their latest title isn’t quite as sesquipedalian as I Like It When You Sleep For You Are So Beautiful But Unaware Of It, but A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships still lacks the brevity of their eponymous debut release.

As with their previous album it, this is a bit of a mixed bag. There are some very good tracks, some less good ones, and the downright odd. By the time they have released a fourth album, you could probably rearrange the tracks to create three decent albums, each satisfyingly different from its predecessor. The other tracks could safely be ditched. Nevertheless, the album follows its predecessors by going straight to number one.

The Greatest Showman soundtrack climbs back up to number two. Will it return to the summit for Christmas? Michael Buble’s Love slips one place to number three. George Ezra’s Staying At Tamara’s climbs five places back up to number four. Take That’s Odyssey falls to number five after its week at the top.

Two of the RPO-assisted collections climb up the chart. The Roy Orbison collection, Unchained Melodies, is at number six. In even better news, the Buddy Holly compilation, True Love Ways, is at number ten.

Classical singer Katherine Jenkins enters at number seventeen with her latest collection, Guiding Light. The title might suggest that it is a collection of religious songs but it includes versions of Simon and Garfunkel’s Homeward Bound and Stormzy’s Blinded By Your Grace.

Last week Rita Ora missed out on a top ten place with her second album, released after a six-year gap. One potential reason for the underperformance was that the album contained so many tracks that had already been released as singles. The same issue may also apply to Clean Bandit’s second album, released four-and-a-half years after their debut. This time the underperformance is even more stark. New Eyes reached number three. What Is Love limps in at number nineteen.

Irish singer Daniel O’Donnell first reached the top forty albums chart in 1991 and has had at least one top forty album every year since then. He continues that run with just a few weeks to spare as Walkin’ In The Moonlight enters at number 23.

In 1970 Somerset farmer Michael Eavis hosted a small music festival on his farm. The following year he hosted another one, named the Glastonbury Free Festival. Among the artists appearing, in a fairly obscure slot, was a young David Bowie, then a little-known musician who had had a hit single a couple years earlier with Space Oddity. By the year 2000 the festival had become a major event in the culture calendar and Bowie was one of the most revered musicians on the planet. It was, therefore, something of a big deal that Bowie was signed up as one of the headliners on the main stage.

Unfortunately for the BBC, Bowie insisted that only a handful of songs from his set should be shown as part of the corporation’s coverage of the event. That ban is no longer in place and BBC4 recently showed a one-hour selection from the performance. Now there is an album out to give fans to hear more of the performance and watch it on the accompanying DVD, Glastonbury 2000 enters at number 25.

Two Best Of albums enter the top forty this week and it would be hard to find a greater contrast. One of them is by a rock band with a long history of success behind them; the other one isn’t. Def Leppard enter at number 32; Pinkfong, they of Baby Shark infamy, are at number 29.

As well as entering the singles chart ,the other Robert Williams, Meek Mill, enters the albums chart at number 33 with Championships.

Despite statements at the time that the last touring production of Jeff Wayne’s War Of The Worlds would be the final one, it is back again. The classic 1978 album is back in the top forty at number 40.

Ten years ago this week Leona Lewis entered the singles chart at number one with her demolition job on Snow Patrol’s Run. In that same week, the very first Suedehead Chart Commentary appeared on ChC (RIP). It was first posted on Haven early the following year with its debut appearance on Buzzjack coming in April 2009. The average commentary is around 1.500 to 2.000 words long which means that all the commentaries put together now amount to approximately 750,000 to one million words, possibly more. War And Peace is around 600,000 word long. Crumbs.
Published on: 2018-12-07 by Suedehead2 || 48549 Views
Comments (3)
8 Dec 2018 - 10:11
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I'd rather read the combined collection of Suedehead Chart Commentary's than War & Peace.

Just saying:lol:
9 Dec 2018 - 14:35
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Nyah Sky
10 Jan 2019 - 20:56
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Ariana Grande is AMAZING!!!!! Absolutely crushing it!
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