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Eminem scores a chart double
Eminem makes a surprise return and tops both the singles and album charts.

A tight race at the top of the singles chart but Eminem has the number one album by a fairly comfortable margin.

Oscar Wilde once wrote “There’s one thing worse than being talked about, and that’s not being talked about”. People such as Piers Morgan and Katie Hopkins have made a career by following the logic of that comment. In the world of music, Eminem has done the same. For most of his career he has been accused of writing homophobic lyrics. Now he seems to have decided that he needs to up his game to continue to get the attention he craves.

Eminem’s new album, released unexpectedly last week, includes a track whose lyrics are seen by many as making light of the terrorist attack at the Manchester Arena in May 2017 after an Ariana Grande concert. While some people will defend him on the grounds of freedom of speech, it can confidently be said that if, for example, Stormzy wrote lyrics which appeared to make light of the September 11 attacks, there would be widespread calls from Americans for him to be banned from entering the USA.

At the start of the week I had considered limiting my comments on Eminem’s new album to a single sentence mentioning both the album and any tracks that had entered the singles chart. The fact that the album has gone to number one has made that rather difficult so you get a bit of a rant against him instead. Freedom of speech is a vital part of democracy but that doesn’t necessarily make it OK to make statements that are apparently deliberately designed to cause offence to people affected by a horrific crime.

This all serves as an introduction to a very close race at the top of the singles chart with a track from the Eminem album as one of the contenders. Perhaps surprisingly, the Eminem track in question is not the one featuring Ed Sheeran but Godzilla which features Juice Wrld who died of an accidental overdose last year. Sheeran himself is still involved as Own It, his track with Stormzy (and Burna Boy) is another of the contenders. To make things even harder for anyone trying to write a chart commentary in advance of the final chart being published, there was a third contender in the shape of Roddy Ricch’s The Box. Even The Weeknd’s Blinding Lights couldn’t be completely ruled out.

By the time all the numbers had been crunched Eminem finished at the top of the pile. It is worth noting that Thursday’s streaming figures are still estimated as the streaming companies continue somehow to be unable to report the real figures in time for inclusion in the chart. Therefore, it is possible that the real figures would have produced a different outcome.

Godzilla becomes Eminem’s tenth number one single and it comes nearly twenty years after his first. His debut hit My Name Is peaked at number two in 1999 so he narrowly misses out on becoming the first artist to have number one singles in the 1990s, 2000s, 2010s and 2020s.

As is to be expected, two other Eminem songs make the top forty. Once again, it would have been more if the Official Charts Company (OCC) hadn’t introduced a limit. Those Kinda Nights (the one with Ed Sheeran) is at number twelve and Darkness (no featured artist) is at seventeen. The song which has caused all the controversy is one of those excluded by the three-song limit which at least means the BBC didn’t have to make a decision on whether to play it in the Chart Show. Eminem has now racked up a total of 45 top forty singles.

Roddy Ricch moves up to number two with The Box, narrowly behind Eminem and just ahead of Stormzy and Ed Sheeran at number three with Own It after three weeks at number one. The Weeknd’s Blinding Lights climbs to number four and Lewis Capaldi’s Before You Go falls to number five.

By one of those strange coincidences which crop up from time to time, the next new entry is a song called Ei8ht Mile which brings to mind the name of Eminem’s first Hollywood film, 8 Mile. This particular effort, a new entry at number nine, comes from Digdat who gets his fourth top twenty single and his first top ten hit.

Last year the Jonas Brothers surprised many people when their first single for a decade, Sucker, became their first top ten hit. Whether they ever get a second remains to be seen. Their latest effort, What A Man Gotta Do, enters at number 33.

The 1975 continue to be one of the few vaguely rock-oriented bands still capable of getting a top forty single. They enter at number 35 with Me And You Together Song to bring their tally of top forty hits up to nine. Their singles chart peak continues to be the number fifteen position achieved by The Sound in 2015.

As already mentioned. Eminem’s Music To Be Murdered By (yes, even the title is in questionable taste) becomes the first album to enter at number one this year. It is his tenth successive number one album. The only album not to top the chart is his debut Slim Shady LP which got no higher than number nine but has spent far more weeks on the chart than any of his subsequent studio albums. It is his second singles and albums chart double following The River (which did feature Ed Sheeran) and Revival in 2017. His 30 weeks at number one in the albums chart put him in joint tenth place in the all-time table alongside Take That.

Before the surprise release of the Eminem album the contest for to spot in the albums chart was expected to be between new albums from Bombay Bicycle Club and The Courteeners. Even Eminem’s fiercest critics would probably accept that he was unaware that Manchester band The Courteeners were among the acts to perform at a Manchester Arena’s benefit gig after the terrorist attack along with Blossoms and Noel Gallagher. Nevertheless, his release could definitely have been better timed.

Every one of The Courteeners’ first five studio albums, as well as a reworked version of their 2008 debut St Jude, has reached the top ten but none of them has made it to number one. Their new set, More Again Forever, looked to be in with a chance of finally getting them to the top of the chart. Their first-week sales would normally have been enough for a number one in January but they were unable to beat Eminem and finish at number two, still making it their highest ever chart placing.

The other major new release of the week, Bombay Bicycle Club’s Everything Else Has Gone Wrong, failed to put up as strong a challenge as anticipated, particularly given that their last album, So Long See You Tomorrow, went to number one. That album’s title perhaps gave a hint of the subsequent announcement (some two years later) that the band were on an “indefinite hiatus”, frequently code for “we have split up”. Six years after that album, tomorrow has finally come and the album, a little patchy to my ears, enters at number four some way behind the top two and just behind Lewis Capaldi’s Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent at number three. Stormzy is at number five with Heavy Is The Head.

Although she hasn’t had a major hit single since the end of 2018 / beginning of 2019 (You Should Be Sad climbs eleven places to number 26 this week), Halsey gets the highest albums chart placing of her career with Manic at number six. She fares a lot better with another female singer songwriter Gabrielle Aplin whose third album Dear Happy is at number 24. In between those two we have former member of Eternal and former Wag Louise Redknapp at number eleven with Heavy Love, her first studio album since 2000’s Elbow Beach.

When Mac Miller died in September 2018, he was already working on the follow up to Swimming which had been released the previous month. Indeed, work was sufficiently advanced for the album, Circles, to get a posthumous release. Swimming initially entered at number 37 before dropping straight out of the top 100. However, it returned at number seventeen immediately after his death. Circles outperforms it by entering at number eight.

It is not uncommon for these ramblings to include a comment about how somebody with a decent real name nevertheless chose to adopt a pseudonym for their music career. This week’s example is Channel Islander Alex Crossan who has opted to style himself as Mura Masa.The producer / songwriter / instrumentalist’s eponymous debut album reached number nineteen in 2017. His second release, R.Y.C., is at number 23.

Oscar Wilde once wrote “We have really everything in common with America nowadays except, of course, language”. That has often been paraphrased as “Two nations divided by a common language”. That, and the general culture of the two countries, is well illustrated by reactions to the word Magnum. To Britons, it is an ice-cream, sometimes said to have been invented with help from Roger Moore. To Americans, it is a gun although not one carried by James Bond. Some music fans, on the other hand, will immediately think of the rock band from Birmingham. Forty years after their first top forty album they enter at number 36 with their 21st studi album, The Serpent Rings.

An appearance on Graham Norton’s show last week has given Michael Kiwanuka’s latest album a boost. Kiwanuka re-enters at number seventeen.
Published on: 2020-01-24 by Suedehead2 || 1359 Views
Comments (2)
Crazy Chris
24 Jan 2020 - 17:42
BuzzJack Platinum Member
Group: Members
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Joined: 7 Mar 2006 - 18:22
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Well done to Eminem.
25 Jan 2020 - 14:15
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Joined: 15 Dec 2019 - 18:26
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Woah! Great.
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