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The Weeknd reclaims the number one spot.
The Weeknd climbs back to the top of the singles chart with Blinding Lights. There is a fierce battle at the top of the albums chart.

The Weeknd returns to the top of the singles chart once again. Dua Lipa and 5 Seconds Of Summer pull out all the stops in an effort to get the number one album.

After two weeks at number two, The Weeknd’s Blinding Lights climbs back to number one to get a third spell at the top. As anticipated in last week’s ramblings, streams of the track increased by enough last week to see the song restored to the Standard Chart Ratio so that its streams were worth the same as those of its only serious rival, Saint Jhn’s Roses.

For most of chart history, returns to number one within the same chart run have been relatively rare although they have become more common in recent years. For a song to get a third spell at the top used to be almost unheard of. It happened twice in the 1950s but didn’t happen again until 2014 when Pharell Williams’ Happy twice climbed back to the top after being displaced. Since then, Justin Bieber’s What Do You Mean? (2015) and Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s Despacito (with some Bieber thrown in) have both repeated the feat. Blinding Light’s now becomes the third song featuring a Canadian to bounce back to the top for a second time.

Saint Jhn’s Roses falls to number two after a fortnight at the top. Dua Lip has two songs in adjacent places for a third week in a row as Physical climbs two places to a new high of number three while Don’t Stop Now also climbs two places, to number four. She also has the highest new entry of the week with Break My Heart at number six. Don’t Stop Now has spent 21 of its 22 chart weeks in the top ten, sixteen of them in the top five.

Joel Corry slips one place to number five with Lonely.

After returning to the top ten last year with Bounce Back, Little Mix are back in the charts once more with the more promising title Break Up Song. We can but hope. Bounce Back maintained the former X Factor winners’ record of achieving at least one top ten single each year since their debut in 2011. By entering at number nine, Break Up Song continues that run for another year.

Just occasionally an act is persuaded to change their name, even if only temporarily, in the wake of world events. For example, Massive Attack became known simply as Massive at the time of the Gulf War in the early 1990s. Jahron Braithwaite has chosen not to reconsider his use of the moniker Partynextdoor even though such an event might currently end in the neighbours calling the police. He enters at number twelve this week with Believe It. The song features Rihanna who has been absent from the chart for a few years after a long period of dominance. She had at least one top ten hit every year from 2005 to 2017 apart from 2014 when Can’t Remember To Forget You stalled at number eleven. Even that year started with Monster (alongside Eminem) in the top ten.

What could be worse than a collaboration between Skepta and Chip (formerly known as Chipmunk? Easy - a whole album of those two with one-third of D-Block Europe added for good (or bad) measure. Just to pile on the misery, two of the tracks have entered the top forty. Waze is at number eighteen with Mains at number 32. One of Skepta’s previous hits was with What Do You Mean? Unlike the Justin Bieber song of the same name referenced above, this effort didn’t even get to the top of the chart once. Bieber does, however, get a name-check in Waze.

What could be an improvement on a Megan Thee Stallion record featuring Cardi B? How about a Megan Thee Stallion song without Cardi B? If only. Hot Girl Summer (the collaboration with Cardi B - and Ty Dolla $ign) was poor but Savage, a new entry at number 28, is utterly atrocious. Its only redeeming feature is that it is only just over two-and-a-half minutes long. It is the second top forty hit called Savage this year following one by Mist. With two songs called Falling also charting, we have had two duplicated song titles in just over three months of 2020 so far.

When JP Saxe released his song If The World Was Ending last autumn, the title would not have raised an eyebrow. If truth be told, not many people even noticed the song’s existence and it didn’t enter the UK charts until the beginning of this year. It has been climbing steadily since then while the title has taken on a rather different meaning. Torontoan (is that the right word? Torontunian?) Saxe initially took after his father by playing the cello but has now turned to popular music and he makes his top forty debut at number 38 with the help of American singer Julia Summers. Summers had two top ten hits in 2017, one of them as featured vocalist on Clean Bandit’s I Miss You. She also co-wrote Justin Bieber’s Sorry.

This week gave some good ammunition for people who think that some artists still set great store by getting a number one album with two new releases battling for the top spot. Both 5 Seconds Of Summer and Dua Lipa (and their record companies) made a lot of effort (or as much as is possible at a time when many methods of promotion are not allowed) to finish the week on top.

The Australian band held a fairly healthy lead in the week's first update with their album Calm but Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia was always expected to outperform 5 Seconds Of Summer (5SOS) on streaming. That expectation proved to be the case as the two albums were neck and neck by Wednesday's update with 5SOS ahead by a whisker. The momentum remained with Dua Lipa for a further day and she had taken a clear lead by Thursday’s update.

With all record shops forced to close, supermarkets attaching little importance to entertainment products at this time and Amazon adopting the same approach, it was perhaps surprising that both artists’ managements and record companies tried to promote physical sales with price reductions and other inducements. Thankfully, they stopped short of offering free toenail clippings with every copy but I can’t help wondering whether they thought about it.

If the race was decided by the critics. Dua Lipa would have won an easy victory. The reviews of Future Nostalgia have been overwhelmingly positive and it is indeed a very good uplifting pop album, something we could all do with at the moment. It will clearly have outsold the 5SOS album several times over by the end of the year.

However, the charts are not decided by the critics. They are decided by the British public and they have put 5 Seconds Of Summer at number one by a few hundred copies. It is their second chart-topping album following Sounds Good Feels Good in 2015.

Dua Lipa’s debut album entered at number five in June 2017 before eventually climbing to number three some nine months later. Future Nostalgia makes its entrance at number two. In the absence of any obvious rivals it is likely to climb to number one next week. Calm, on the other hand, will almost certainly drop out of the top ten and may not even stay in the top twenty.

Over 12,000 of Calm’s sales were on cassette. It is unlikely that many of those cassettes will ever be played. Dua Lipa’s figures were far more slanted towards streaming so the best-selling album has triumphed in a close contest although Future Nostalgia was the week’s best-seller on vinyl.

Insomnia, the Skepta / Chip / Young Adz collaboration mentioned above, enters at number three. Partynextdoor enters at number seven with Partymobile. Hasanyoneshowhimwhatthespacebarisfor?

After a week at number one, The Weeknd’s After Hours falls to number four. Lewis Capaldi is at number five with Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent.

If uplifting pop a la Dua Lipa is not your thang, perhaps you would be more interested in some old-fashioned grunge from Pearl Jam. After their debut album, Ten, peaked at number eighteen in 1991, Pearl Jam went on to reach the top ten with eight of their following nine albums. The exception was the more experimental Riot Act which only got to number 38 in 2002. Their eleventh studio album, Gigaton, becomes their ninth top ten hit, entering at number six.

American rapper Joyner Lucas released his first mixtape in 2011 but has only now released his debut full-length album, ADHD. Featuring contributions from, inter alia, Chris Brown and Timbaland, the album enters at number sixteen.

Leading Bruce Springsteen impersonator Brian Fallon enters at number 32 with his third solo album, Local Honey. Such is the mutual admiration between Fallon and Springsteen that they each joined the other on stage at Glastonbury in 2009 when Fallon was with his band The Gaslight Anthem.

Regular readers of this commentary will have seen frequent references to compilations such as Abba Gold and Oasis’s Time Flies collection re-entering the top forty. Queen’s Greatest Hits and Fleetwood Mac’s 50 Years - Don’t Stop have maintained a constant presence in the top forty since the start of the year.

One reason why they are now doing so well in the charts is the streaming rules. When a song is streamed, that does not just make a contribution towards the singles chart. It is also added to its parent album and where applicable, one greatest hits collection. If an act has several particularly popular songs, that can all add up to a significant number of “sales”.

Last week's chart saw a number of compilations reach higher positions than they had done for several months. That trend continues this week. It seems that people are using their extra time at home to listen to old, familiar tunes. Perhaps people choosing music to have in the background while they work from home feel that familiar music is less of a distraction from what is supposed to be their main priority than something new.

This week the Queen and Fleetwood Mac compilations climb even higher with Queen at number twelve and Fleetwood Mac at seventeen. Queen’s Platinum Collection returns at number 33 while Fleetwood Mac’s most famous studio album, Rumours, climbs to number 29. Michael Jackson’s Number Ones collection is back at number 40. Many compilations and other classic albums are on the ascendance lower down the chart and it would be no surprise to see more of them in the top forty in the coming weeks.

George Ezra returns at number 35 with Staying At Tamara’s and XXXTentacion’s Question Mark re-enters at number 38.
Published on: 2020-04-03 by Suedehead2 || 7213 Views
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