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Ariana Grande positions herself at No 1
Ariana Grande gets her seventh number one single and Bruce Springsteen has his twelfth number one album.

Ariana Grande goes straight to number one with her new single. Bruce Springsteen tops the albums chart.

Ariana Grande proves once again that she is one of the few artists currently able to go straight to number one as her new single, Positions, does exactly that. Such is her popularity at the moment that she has even managed to do it with a song that is, frankly, rather uninspiring. It is Grande’s third number one single of 2020 including her collaboration with Lady Gaga. No other artist has even managed two number ones as a credited artist this year. It brings Grande’s total up to seven number one singles.

Last week’s number one, Internet Money’s Lemonade, slips to number two after just a week at the top. If it doesn’t return to the top it will be the eighth one-week number one of the year, including the Lady Gaga / Ariana Grande collaboration mentioned above.

Positions is one of three songs to go straight into the top ten this week. Twenty years ago that figure would have been unusually low but it is now a fairly rare occurrence, made even rarer by the fact that none of them are tracks from a newly-released and much-streamed album by a major artist.

The higher of the remaining two top ten new entries is KDI’s Really Love at number three. KSI’s first chart success came with Lamborghini in 2015 but he had to wait four years for further top forty success with Down Like That. Since then he has been a more regular visitor to the charts; Really Love is his ninth top forty hit. Of the two featured artists Craig David is the more recognisable. He made his chart debut back in 1999 and enjoyed nearly a decade of success. After several years away from the charts he made a surprise return in 2015 with the top ten hit When The Bassline Drops and then working with Bastille in 2017 on I Know You which reached number five. Now he is back again with an even bigger hit, his first appearance in the top three since All The Way in 2005. Really Love also features Digital Farm Animals who have had two previous top forty hits.

Wes Nelson and Hardy Caprio climb two places to number four with See Nobody. Tate McRae’s You Broke Me First slips two places to number five.

Little Mix continue to be one of the more enduring winners of X Factor. Nine years after they won the show they get their sixteenth top ten hit (and their second of the year) with Sweet Melody at number eight.

Outside the top ten there are a further three new entries in the top forty and the first is from another X Factor winner. James Arthur won the show the year after Little Mix but, after some initial success, looked all set to follow many of his predecessors on the road back to obscurity. That all changed in 2016 when he returned with a chart-topping single and album. He enters at number 24 this week with a track from that four-year-old album, Train Wreck. It almost goes without saying that its new-found popularity is because of Tik Tok.

Anyone who thinks that there are more than enough London rappers in the charts these days will be less than thrilled to see the presence of Central Cee at number 37 with Loading. They will probably be even less thrilled if they listen to it.

Those haters of rap may be more interested in the week’s final new entry, at number 39. At a time when rock bands find it almost impossible to get a top forty hit, Bring Me The Horizon get their third of 2020 (and only their fourth ever, fourteen years after releasing their first album) with Teardrops. It is very different from the last top forty hit with the word Teardrops in the title - that was Emmelie De Forest’s Eurovision-winning Only Teardrops in 2013.

The three new entries in the top ten singles chart are easily outnumbered by the seven new entries in the albums chart top ten. They are headed by the 71-year-old Bruce Springsteen’s twelfth number one album (his eighth this century) Letter To You. The album was recorded with his band during lockdown in his home studios. It was done in the old-fashioned way with the whole band playing together. Most of the songs are new, although the themes are generally not, but there are also three songs which Springsteen wrote in the 1970s that didn’t quite make any albums released at the time. The album could hardly be more Springsteen-esque but his fans won’t worry about that. They will just be left wondering when they will get to see the new songs being played live along with the usual two hours or more of older songs in one of Springsteen’s legendary marathon shows.

It would be somewhat misleading to suggest that this week’s number two album provided Bruce Springsteen’s main competition. He finished so far ahead of the rest of the field that there wasn’t really any competition for the top slot. The contest for second place was rather closer although there was never any real doubt that it would be won by the new album from Damon Albarn’s Gorillaz. Albarn has been releasing new tracks throughout the year and now they, and some new ones, have been brought together in Song Machine Season One - Strange Timez. The cast list of collaborators is an impressive one with the names including Robert Smith on one of the album’s best tracks, Peter Hook with a very recognisable bass line on a track that also features Georgia, and even Elton John. It is Gorillaz’ third number two album. Demon Days from 2005 remains their only number one.

The Essex resort of Southend-on-Sea is not exactly the first place people think of when asked to list towns that have spawned several successful bands. However, the town has produced Procol Harum, Busted, Eddie and the Hot Rods and the Kursaal Flyers whose big hit opened with the line “Little does she know that I know that she knows that I know she’s two-timing me” and also gave us the immortal line “I knew that she’s seen me ‘cos she dropped her bikini, the one that I got her in Rome”. Sarfend (to use the local vernacular) has also given us Nothing But Thieves whose debut album reached number seven in 2015. They have finally got round to releasing a follow-up and Moral Panic lands at number three.

Another band who have tried to keep themselves busy in the unusual circumstances thrown up by this extraordinary year are Stockport’s Blossoms. They should have spent part of their summer supporting The Killers at various stadiums around the country and are still hoping to do so next year instead. In the meantime they have been recording songs in isolation, a mixture of new versions of their own songs and covers of songs such as Every Day I Write The Book (Elvis Costello) and Paperback Writer, originally recorded by a popular beat combo from Liverpool.

As well as their own recordings Blossoms’ album In Isolation includes contributions from other acts from north-west England - The Coral, Miles Kane and Courteeners. The album has been packaged together with a live recording of a homecoming gig last year where they played their then forthcoming album Foolish Loving Spaces and a few older songs. Foolish Loving Spaces was released earlier this year and spent a week at number one. In Isolation / Live Fro The Plaza Theatre, Stockport enters at number five.

At this point, it is very tempting to resurrect an old joke and say that I am typing this bit, about another album recorded by a band from north-west England over the period of lockdown, slowly for the benefit of people who don’t read very fast. Yes, we’ve reached the bit about the new album from Slow Readers Club. It is not possible to say whether this is an exclusive club of just one slow-reading member or whether there are at least two as there is no apostrophe in their name.

The band hail from Manchester and two of their members are brothers so there is clearly no chance of them ever being compared with any other band. Their new album, 91 Days In Isolation, enters at number 33.

A full decade after their last studio album, Faithless return with All Blessed at number six. While it is a perfectly decent album, it is rather subdued when compared with classic songs such as God Is A DJ and We Come 1.

There was a time when I could rely on the opportunity to comment on Joe Bonamassa’s prolific workrate as he seemed to have a new album out every few months. However, he has somehow been absent from the albums chart for a whole two years. Panic not, he is still making music and he enters at number seven this week with Royal Tea. It is his fifteenth top forty album since 2009 and the fifth to enter the top ten. We shouldn’t forget the four top forty albums he has recorded with Black Country Communion in that period.

After two albums with Aled Jones, Russell Watson is back on his lonesome for a new compilation, 20, to mark twenty years since his debut album. It is a new entry at number ten.

Following in the footsteps of Christine & The Queens we have another French-based soloist recording under a name that sounds more like a band although Kate Stables, recording as This Is The Kit, is actually British. She makes her top forty debut with Off Off On at number 21.

The latest Gold collection, and one of the most inappropriately named, comes from the Nolans who had some chart success with their brand of pap in the 1980s. Their Gold collection is at number 25.

The horror show that is the Kidz Bop Kids are back with their latest album. Among the songs to be brutally murdered on Kidz Bop 2021 are Blinding Lights (how was that allowed to happen?), Rain On Me and Toosie Slide (which at least deserves to be murdered). It is a new entry at number 36.

Melody Gardot’s Sunset In The Blue completes this week’s new entries at number 40.

Despite the seven new entries in the top ten Lewis Capaldi’s Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent is still there. It spends its 76th consecutive week in the top ten at number eight. Harry Styles’ Fine Line returns to the upper tier at number nine.

So, what happened to last week’s number one album? Did The Vamps avoid the ignominy of beating their own record for the biggest fall from number one? That question was effectively answered in Monday’s update when they were nowhere to be seen in the top 100. In fact, they had fallen from one (the best possible score for a single hole in golf) to 147 (the highest break possible in a frame of snooker without a free ball). That spectacular drop seemed to spark a degree of panic at theri record company so they attempted to salvage at least a second week in the top 100. They succeeded in that aim although they have still shattered their own record by plummeting to number 72. Oops.

In the summer of last year, there was a news story about a former composer who, although living with dementia, was still able to enjoy music and recognise songs that he had written many years earlier. One of the reasons I was particularly interested in the story because the man in question, Paul Harvey, had joined the staff at my school when I was in the third year (now known as Year 9). I was never lucky enough to be in his class but he proved to be an instant hit with people who were. His reputation was further enhanced when we found out that he had enjoyed some success as a composer. After overseeing a production of Benjamin Britten’s Noye’s Fludde he then co-wrote original school productions with a drama teacher.

The story got a new chapter this month when his son reported that Paul was still able to perform his old party trick of improvising a tune based around four random notes. He demonstrated this skill for the BBC cameras and the Beeb then commissioned a full orchestral arrangement of the improvised tune. That arrangement was played back to Paul along with an extra surprise, a message from his favourite composer Stephen Sondheim. That assed to earlier messages recorded by some of his former pupils including Nick Eede (from the year above me) whose band Cutting Crew had a top five hit in the UK (and a US number one) with (I Just) Died In Your Arms.

The orchestral piece was released as a single earlier this week to raise funds for the Alzheimer’s Society and Music For Dementia. As it was never likely to be streamed heavily, its chances of making the chart were always slim and it has, indeed, not made the top 100. However, it is at number four in the sales-only chart and well worthy of a mention here.
Published on: 2020-10-30 by Suedehead2 || 1855 Views
Comments (2)
30 Oct 2020 - 18:00
If you're too shy let me knooooooow
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Nothing But Thieves' second album Broken Machine reached #2 in 2017 btw! That was the follow-up to the debut tongue.gif
30 Oct 2020 - 19:16
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"When she finished her laundry she was all in a quandary
And made for the street like a hare
Her escape was so urgent, she forgot her detergent
And dropped all her clean underwear"

Cue the full orchestra and Hallelujahs!

Kursaal Flyers, classic!
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