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Chart Watch Weekly - April 11th 2022

James Masterton's Chart Watch Weekly
If you are in some way triggered or distressed by the words “Harry Styles” then you are probably advised to look away now. Because we are going to be mentioning him a great deal.
Also in this week’s oddly comprehensive smart speaker answer to all your chart questions:
  • I’ve counted the moves. And there aren’t many of them.
  • Something happens in America for the first time in 30 years.
  • A German Top 20 single that you can’t unsee.
  • Midweeks. Harry v Harlow.

All Hail Harry
Is Harry Styles a superstar?
He was always treated like one, right from the moment One Direction hit the “pause” button. He was the de-facto frontman, or at least the one who generally grabbed all the headlines, he was lead heart-throb, he was the one granted first bite at the solo cherry. And his debut single Sign Of The Times was unveiled to the public in a manner that indicated we were all to bow down and appreciate his majesty.
But we know what happened next. The single spent a week at No.1, for sure, but everything else from his self-titled debut album was a resounding flop. The loyal fans were still there, but few others among the general public cared.
Which is why the more measured approach to his second album Fine Line paid off. The music was left to breathe on its own merits, the most notable product of that being Watermelon Sugar, the global smash of the summer of 2020 and which came back for another wander around the charts a year later, returning to the Top 30.
So this time around the excitement surrounding his new single As It Was, the first cut from his forthcoming third solo album, was legit. A new Harry Styles single was a big deal. Because his last one was.
So here are a few salient facts about Harry Styles’ new hit:
  • It enters the chart at No.1 with a huge sale of 94,140 (of which a mere 3,034 were via paid downloads). A bigger sale than any other single has achieved so far this year and indeed the biggest weekly performance of any of his solo singles to date (Sign Of The Times did 62,900 in its sole week at No.1).
  • It is his second No.1 single, making him the only 1D star to have topped the charts more than once (ZAYN is in fact the only other member of the group to have ever hit the summit).
  • It is bloody short, running just 2:47, second only to Where Are You Now as the briefest of all the current Top 10 singles.
  • It is astonishingly derivative, in the sense that it is sat atop The Weeknd’s trademark tinkling 80s synthpop revival bandwagon. Meaning that “superstar” Harry Styles is suddenly not in his own space but crammed into one owned by someone else.
The latter point has gifted him a smash, but from this listener’s perspective it makes absolutely no sense at all.
Harry Styles - As It Was (Official Video)
Harry Styles - As It Was (Official Video)
Settle Down
We really need a proper name for this phenomenon, perhaps we should call it “settling”. Those times when the Great British Public (around whose tastes we presume the singles chart is constructed) settle for what they know in the same proportions and as a result the singles chart does its own form of settling.
This week we thank heavens for Harry Styles giving people like me something to talk about, because new entries aside, the upper end of the singles chart displays precious little movement. If this was Australia I’d be mocking it with enthusiasm.
Within this week’s Top 40 there are:
  • 5 non-movers (fully 4 of them in the Top 10).
  • 10 singles that have moved just one place up or down.
  • 11 singles that are within 2 places of their positions last week.
  • 5 singles which have moved 3 places.
  • 2 more which have shifted 4 rungs.
Not counting the three artists that have debuted inside the Top 40 (Harry Styles at 1, Lil Tjay at 16, Shawn Mendes at 32 that leaves just four songs that have made larger chart moves:
  • ArrDee’s Come And Go down five places at No.34.
  • Birthday Cake by Dylan Conrique which leaps 52-37.
  • Beg For You by Charli XCX down 9 places at No.36.
  • The Joker And The Queen by Ed Sheeran which plunges 30-40.
So all hail Birthday Cake, the viral track recorded by the teenaged American singer as a tribute to a friend’s late mother and which is unique amongst every single Top 40 track this week in showing anything resembling large forward momentum. Things are set to be shaken up on this Friday’s brand new chart, but goodness me this was heavy going.
Dylan Conrique - Birthday Cake (Music Video)
Dylan Conrique - Birthday Cake (Music Video)
La La La La La America
No shock, but still no less impressive for all that. Harry Styles debuts at the top of the Hot 100 with As It Was as the 59th song in American chart history to open its account at the very summit.
His stats for the States are impressive: 43.8 million streams, 27.2 million radio airplay audience impressions and 10,300 downloads to become easily the biggest week any non-festive single has managed since Taylor Swift’s All Too Well in November last year.
It is Harry’s second No.1 single in the States, the other being - curiously - Watermelon Sugar. Sign Of The Times only made No.4 when first released five years ago.
It is also the first time British acts have landed back to back No.1 singles since 1992, when George Michael and Elton John’s live version of Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me gave way to I’m Too Sexy by Right Said Fred.
That means our cheering on of Big Energy has to pause for at least a week (possibly even two) - but it will get there. And Latto made the British charts at long last this week as well.
A Land Down Under
In the light of the above, it seems only polite to forego our traditional mocking of the Australian chart listing for moving at a glacial pace. But as you can see here it is once more Harry Styles’ world that we are living in as he makes a similar kind of impact in Australia as he has in his homeland, crashing instantly to No.1.
Just as back home this is Harry’s second chart-topping hit after Sign Of The Times (Watermelon Sugar peaked at No.5, but has re-entered there at No.44).
Local Aussie interest comes courtesy of Dean Lewis, best known on these shores for his 2018 No.11 hit Be Alright and who is new at No.29 on the ARIA Top 50 with this new hit single, his first to make the Top 30 in his home country since 2019.
Dean Lewis - Hurtless (Official Video)
Dean Lewis - Hurtless (Official Video)
Sprechen Zie
Shock news from Germany however where Harry Styles is not immediately No.1 and has to content himself with second place. He is denied by the continuing popularity of Sehnsucht which had just debuted at the top of the German charts the last time we checked in, although its run was briefly interrupted by Zeit by Rammstein which had a brief cup of coffee at the top during a limited chart run.
No change at the top does however mean I get to share with you which is new at No.15 on the German charts this week. Bling Bling is the debut music release from genderqueer TikTok performer Twenty4Tim. The single was released on April 1st which had many writers hoping it was an April fool’s joke. But alas this is genuinely for real. The wonderfully provocative video features other European social media influencers such as Katja Krasavice, Micaela Schäfer and Heiko Lochmann. But if I say any more I will have said too much. Just spare it three minutes of your time and never speak of it again.
Midweek Teases
We are possibly set to swap one alleged superstar for another as competition for Harry Styles comes in the unexpected shape of Jack Harlow and First Class. The American trap rapper is for the moment best known for his turn alongside Lil Nas X on Industry Baby but even so, the instantaneous popularity of this release has raised more than a few eyebrows. Just where on earth has all this support come from?
Anyway, Harlow is No.1 on the Monday evening midweeks but there are exactly 499 charts sales between him and Harry meaning this race is not over by a long shot.
Much was made on Sunday night of the possibility of Pink Floyd’s first Top 40 hit in over 40 years as the Ukraine charity single Hey Hey Rise Up posted a strong early sale. Almost needless to say though most of those are front-loaded purchases and although the single seems locked to the head of the iTunes table, that’s meaningless in the grand scheme of things. The track has dived out of the Top 10 as of Monday evening and will only plunge further.
That will almost certainly mean the second-highest new entry will go to David Guetta, Ella Henderson and Becky Hill, the latter directly competing with herself as she features on two simultaneous hits of the moment, although Run (with Galantis) is making heavy work of a journey into the Top 20. New single Crazy What Love Can Do is set to smash its way straight there. I only have one question though, isn’t this just a female version of Head And Heart?
David Guetta & Becky Hill & Ella Henderson - Crazy What Love Can Do (Lyric Video)
David Guetta & Becky Hill & Ella Henderson - Crazy What Love Can Do (Lyric Video)
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James Masterton
James Masterton @chartupdate

From the world famous chart analyst, a weekly roundup of everything fit to print from charts worldwide. Considered coverage of the stories generated by the UK charts along with a summary of events taking place on pop charts in Europe, across the Atlantic, and on the other side of the world.

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