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Chart Watch Weekly - January 10th 2022

James Masterton's Chart Watch Weekly
The statute of limitations for saying “happy new year” has officially passed, so let’s skip that. Charts around the world are enjoying their annual reset now that the flood of festive singles has subsided. But does this mean room for exciting new hits to take their place, or just reheated older ones? Find out here!
In Chart Watch Weekly this week:
  • Take it Easy, there’s a good reason why Adele has shot back up the table.
  • A Disney movie tugs at everyone’s heartstrings and its soundtrack is the first big sensation of the year.
  • France does its own thing, thank goodness.
  • It is - surprisingly - still Adele vs Gayle for next week’s honours.

Ring In The Old
We begin this week with a short (I hope history lesson).
In summer 2019 Official Charts tweaked their rules slightly, reducing the threshold for a single to qualify for an automatic ACR reset from a streaming increase of 50% plus market variance down to 25% plus market variance.
The tiny flaw in this only became apparent in the first week of 2020 when the usual collapse of the singles market (as Christmas streamers went away) meant that any track enjoying a 9% jump in its streams over the previous week would qualify. And a large number of long-standing chart hits did so, resulting in a Week 2 chart that was, by and large, a flashback to the previous autumn.
So last year they did things a bit differently, suspending the automatic reset process in Week 1 but instead inviting labels to nominate tracks they were intending to work a bit more in January. This notably propelled tracks by Dua Lipa and Tate McRae back into the Top 10.
This year the problem would not have been quite so pronounced, the market actually “only” shifting down 9% compared to last week (although anything more than 2% is very unusual normally). That would still have meant anything with a 16% jump in streams would get a reset but I believe nominations were instead opened once more.
The most prominent beneficiary of that? Easy On Me by Adele which rockets back to No.1 from the very bottom end of the Top 40. I went over all the statistical implications of that in the main Chart Watch piece at the weekend, so there is little need to duplicate matters here, suffice it to say that after effectively having its run at the top cut short by the Ed and Elton Christmas single, Adele’s epic resumes its No.1 run with an 8th week at the summit.
Justice served or an act of cynicism? You decide, particularly given it comes at the exact same moment that her label announced that Oh My God is now the next single from 30 and will get its own video.
Adele - Easy On Me (Official Video)
Adele - Easy On Me (Official Video)
The fun twist is that languishing at No.10 on the above Top 10 and still stuck on ACR status is Ed Sheeran’s former No.1 single Shivers. If that had been nominated for a reset as the most-streamed track of the week last week it would have overtaken Easy On Me and sensationally returned to No.1 after a 13 week absence. But that would have been taking the piss, right?
Let It Go
One consequence of end of December charts being clogged up with festive oldies is that the industry by and large takes six weeks off at the end of the year, it being pointless pushing new product at a time when it will struggle for visibility on the singles charts. It means that whilst the charts at the start of January have an eerily familiar ring to them as the same songs as before continue to circulate, there is plenty of room for things to slip under the radar.
One such release is the soundtrack of the new Disney animated film Encanto which appears to be well on its way to duplicating some of the success of Frozen almost a decade ago. Top of the compilation charts, the album spawns three Top 40 hits (and would almost certainly have had more, but for the movie cast being considered the “artist” for chart rules purposes.
We Need To Talk About Bruno is the biggest deal so far, soaring to this week’s No.4. But also worthy of note is Jessica Darrow’s Surface Pressure, No.85 last week but No.14 this time around.
Jessica Darrow - Surface Pressure (From "Encanto")
Jessica Darrow - Surface Pressure (From "Encanto")
Recapping The Holiday
For those who spent the season either under a rock or in a drunken stupor (and who could blame you for the rock thing) during the two weeks of the holiday the usual predictable events took place.
Ladbaby were of course Christmas No.1 but to general surprise hung on for a second week in the Top 30 over the new year (only the second of Mark Hoyle’s charity efforts to have a chart life longer than seven days). You suspect that fact that it was itself a Christmas themed single probably helped.
For the new year chart we were spared the sight of a golden oldie nicking a week at the top, as Ed Sheeran and Elton John’s Merry Christmas sneaked back to No.1 instead. It is nowhere to be seen on the chart this week, although that’s not so much because its sales weren’t high enough, just that it now ranks as Ed Sheeran’s fourth-biggest track and as such is disqualified from the listings. It would otherwise still be just inside the Top 40.
Across The Atlantic
Boringly Mariah Carey spent the Christmas holiday lodged at the top of the Billboard Hot 100, so the new chart they announced today represents their own new year reset.
Adele returns to No.1 now that Mariah Carey has slung her hook, meanwhile Heat Waves reaches a new peak and makes the Top 3 for the first time. We Don’t Talk About Bruno is a smash over in America just as it is here, but look at Cold Heart which finally is making headway in America after a comparatively slow burn. It makes the Top 10 for the first time, causing Billboard to get very excited about the fact that Elton John is now one of only a select handful of acts to have had Top 10 hits in four distinct decades. He’s back after quite a gap too - this is Elton’s first such hit in America since Candle In The Wind 97 - fully 25 years ago this year.
Perhaps the most notable new arrival in the US Top 10 is Kodak Black’s Super Gremlin which was originally released in October as a track from the Halloween-themed compilation album Sniper Gang Presents Syko Bob & Snapkatt: Nightmare Babies but which after two months of slow burn is turning into a notable success in its own right.
Britain has so far remained immune to its carefully concealed charms. Kodak Black is best known here for his 2018 hit Zeze which made No.7.
Kodak Black - Super Gremlin [Official Music Video]
Kodak Black - Super Gremlin [Official Music Video]
A Land Down Under
Australia also suffered the indignity of Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You topping the pile at the end of December, marking the fourth year running this has happened. After that brief interruption however Cold Heart has resumed its position at the top of the table, largely followed by the usual cast of regulars.
The most notable new hit of the year down under (no pun intended) is a track that has started to make waves in Britain as well. DJ Luude’s reworking of Men At Work’s Down Under (a global smash which topped charts virtually everywhere in 1983) benefits from a new vocal contribution from the group’s original lead singer Colin Hay, giving the new mix a seal of official approval. It is No.48 on the ARIA charts this week as a new entry, six places below its present position in Britain.
Luude - Down Under (Feat. Colin Hay)
Luude - Down Under (Feat. Colin Hay)
Euro-vision
Le SNEP
🇫🇷 9 productions françaises sur les 10 albums en tête du classement annuel 2021 : ceux que vous avez le plus achetés, téléchargés ou écoutés en streaming audio au cours des 12 derniers mois ! 🎶🎧💿

Bravo aux artistes, et merci aux fans ! 👏 https://t.co/vFL1e1pL0V
We start with a fascinating revelation from the French phonograhic industry, 9 out of the 10 biggest albums of last year in France were by local artists. The one outlier? Adele, with the sixth biggest album of 2021 across the channel.
But what of this week? Are the French following the crowd or sending their own local stars to the top?
Le SNEP
Le Top Singles de la semaine est sorti ! 🎧

Classement complet 👉 https://t.co/sLSPTDtlUU

"Jefe" de Ninho reste à la première place 👏 https://t.co/xKZvsmYYly
It is, naturally the latter as Ninho extends his domination of the French singles chart and sees his album Jefe return to the top as well. The French Top 10 is still showing the echoes of the biggest hits of the end of last year, with multiple entries from the likes of Ninho, Naps and Orelsan all of whom enjoyed No.1 runs. Of the international acts, note that Ckay, Elton/Dua and Ed Sheeran make up the rest. Two British acts and one Nigerian. American stars just don’t get a look-in.
Industry News
The end of the year prompted the usual round of annual summaries of the state of the market with naturally enough just about every possible way to spin things in a positive manner used. Here’s the BPI’s annual report, leaning heavily on the fact that they believe more artists are in a position to succeed (i.e. make money) than ever before. Recorded music consumption rose by 2.5% in 2021. 8 of the Top 10 albums of the year were by British acts too.
I’m personally more intrigued by this report from America. Consumption of music there grew by 11.3% in 2021. But the report also contains the following extraordinary revelation:
For the first time since MRC Data began tracking streaming music in 2008, the audio streaming of Current music (music released less than 18 months ago) actually declined. This led to a significant increase in Catalog’s share of the audio on-demand streaming universe, with 70% in 2021 vs 65% in 2020, as consumers reconnected with old favorites or discovered them for the first time through platforms like TikTok. 
Midweek Teases
Hands up, at the start of the weekend I fully expected this week’s singles chart to be a two-way battle between The Weeknd (whose surprise new album Dawn FM seems well on its way to comfortably topping the charts) and Lauren Spencer-Smith, the American singer-songwriter whose self-released Fingers Crossed blasted its way to the top of many sales and streaming tables upon its midweek release last Wednesday.
Instead Spencer-Smith languishes at No.4 with The Weeknd at No.8 with the album’s brand new cut Sacrifice. Instead there’s a titanic battle raging between Adele (yep, Easy On Me still) and Gayle who surely seems destined to have at least one week at the top, having made No.2 either side of Christmas with ABCDEFU.
Meanwhile the Encanto soundtrack hits continue to enchant. We Don’t Talk About Bruno is presently up to No.3 on the latest midweeks with Surface Pressure set to peek into the Top 10 at some point too.
2022 seems set to kick off with intense songs about heartbreak. As well as Fingers Crossed you can expect a new entry lower down the chart (No.35 as of the Monday midweeks) for this piece of melancholia, another release that the artist first teased on Tik Tok at the end of last year and whose 1.5m followers worldwide are now plugging the backside off this much-anticipated single. Crowdsourcing your promotion is the new Sea Shanty. Tell your friends.
David Kushner - Miserable Man [Official Audio]
David Kushner - Miserable Man [Official Audio]
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The new UK charts are announced by Radio One from 4pm every Friday, can be seen in full on officialcharts.com and musicweek.com, and I’m now back on chart-watch.uk with my own detailed charts analysis later that same evening.
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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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