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Chart Watch Weekly - January 17th 2022

James Masterton's Chart Watch Weekly
It’s the weekly newsletter that only occasionally goes out a day late. Blame both your genial host but also Billboard who didn’t get around to updating the US charts until Tuesday lunchtime. I’m honour bound to bring it to you.
In Chart Watch Weekly this week:
  • Kids! Learn the alphabet! And some interesting vocabulary too!
  • Foreign charts mirror our own (just for a change), just how far does Gayle’s empire spread?
  • Are we about to see Disney at the top of the charts? It’s a whole new world.

What The Fudge
Swearing in pop. We are kind of inured to it these days, several decades of relentless potty-mouthed rappers have largely taken the edge of any guy daring to drop an f-bomb on record. Perhaps the first hip-hop stars had a free pass, barely suppressed anger was after all what drove many of their lyrics. Nonetheless not everyone was paying attention. Those of certain age will remember Jay-Z being blindly scheduled to perform mid-evening at Live-8 back in 2005 and in the process breaking the all-comers record for use off the oedipal compound on prime time television.
Even so, to have a track with swearing at its core was still notable. Eamon’s Fuck It (I Don’t Want You Back) in 2004 and Cee-Lo Green’s 2010 hit that we are all supposed to pretend was called Forget You grabbed their share of headlines in their day. If the word is incidental then nobody seems to notice or are. ZAYN talked about “fuckin’ in, fighting on” in Pillowtalk in 2017 but attracted little comment
Lately it is the ladies of this parish who have been doing the heavy lifting. Demi Lovato’s “I wanna fuck” was amusingly self-censored on the main mix of Clean Bandit’s Solo in 2018 but then last year Olivia Rodrigo dropped the f-bomb on two different hits, both of which also topped the charts.
However they were but flesh wounds compared to the mortal blow for female decorum struck by American teenager Gayle who this week ascends mightily to No.1 with ABCDEFU. She’s had a nine week climb and has seen her patience rewarded, the single actually first made No.2 at the start of December, was nudged out of the way by Christmas songs but now finally grabs at least one week of glory, trading places with Adele who won the head to head battle a week ago.
GAYLE - abcdefu (Official Music Video)
GAYLE - abcdefu (Official Music Video)
It has also been said many times over but it bears repeating here. Gayle is the first non-British singer since Olivia Rodrigo to top the UK charts in 30 weeks, this the first time since the start of July last year than neither one of Ed Sheeran, Adele or Elton John performs on the No.1 single.
Lauren Spencer-Smith has been famous for some considerable time.
Keith Urban & 11 year old Lauren Spencer-Smith WOW crowds live in concert in front of 20,000+
Keith Urban & 11 year old Lauren Spencer-Smith WOW crowds live in concert in front of 20,000+
All things being equal she should have romped to victory when she got a Golden Ticket at the American Idol auditions in 2020. Yet she fell at the first hurdle in the live shows that year, eliminated in the very first one.
Since then though the British-born Canadian resident has been quietly building her following online, one of a number of up and coming singers who have used Tik Tok as their platform for viral fame. So after consulting her following as to just what her first single should be she self-released Fingers Crossed a few days into January. From nowhere it shot to the top of the iTunes table and raced up Spotify’s listings too. No.90 last week after a few days of sales it this week rockets to No.4 - perhaps not quite as far as some (including me) were speculating, but enough to make it one of the most notable debuts of the new year.
Speculation that it might become this year’s Drivers License may also be wide of the mark. First midweek flashes didn’t even have it pegged for a place in the Top 10 this week, although the single has rallied since now that more streaming data is available. Either way, it remains one of the most compelling ballads you have heard for some time. Or at least since you last heard Lewis Capaldi’s Before You Go on the radio.
Lauren Spencer-Smith - Fingers Crossed (Lyrics)
Lauren Spencer-Smith - Fingers Crossed (Lyrics)
Across The Atlantic
This wasn’t the main reason the newsletter was late this week, but Billboard did indeed fail to meet their usual Monday evening deadline of posting the headline news for the Hot 100. So we’ve had to wait until now to find out that…
…things move slowly in the States. Adele is still No.1, this now the ninth week at the top of the Hot 100 for Adele and Easy On Me. The song’s numbers remain consistent, 101.2 million radio airplay audience impressions, 15.1 streams (down 4%) and 6,000 downloads. But will it be Gayle, Encanto or even Kodak Black who eventually replaces her?
The highest new entry is Gunna & Future’s Pushin P, a track taken from the former’s DS4Ever album. The single impacted the UK charts as well, but making a lowly No.40 compared to its instant Top 10 success in America.
Gunna & Future - pushin P (feat. Young Thug) [Official Video]
Gunna & Future - pushin P (feat. Young Thug) [Official Video]
A Land Down Under
Change is afoot in Australia. Although Cold Heart still reigns supreme, you’ll notice Gayle is steadily moving closer and is up to No.2 this week. Two new singles impact the Top 10, although they are familiar ones to us with Lauren Spencer-Smith tugging on Aussie heartstrings too and The Weeknd replicating his global impact with Sacrifice as taken from his new Dawn FM album. We Don’t Talk About Bruno is also coming up on the ropes and is just outside the Top 10.
Absorbingly there’s one viral hit in the making where Australia appear ahead of the curve Edamame by bobno$ and Rich Brian is poised to explode everywhere (it is new at No.89 on the UK charts this week) but is already inside the Australian Top 40 and rising fast.
bbno$ & Rich Brian - edamame (Official Video)
bbno$ & Rich Brian - edamame (Official Video)
In der letzten Woche hat sie erstmals den Thron der Offiziellen Deutschen Single-Charts erklommen - und da bleibt @whoisgayle („abcdefu“) auch heute. Sie wehrt den Angriff von Gzuz & Bonez („Wenn ich will“) ab, die auf #2 den höchsten Neueinstieg hinlegen.
Gayle ascended to the top of the German charts a week ago and remains there in style. I wonder if they are playing the unexpurgated edit on the radio on the continent given it doesn’t quite have the same impact in a foreign language.
New in at No.2 though is a track that is possible incomprehensible no matter what the language. German rapper Gzuz has what I believe is one of his biggest hit singles to date as a solo artist (he was previously a performer with hip-hop collective 187 Strassenbande).
Gzuz feat. Bonez MC - Wenn ich will
Gzuz feat. Bonez MC - Wenn ich will
Midweek Teases
Boy, are we set for an amazing story if the present situation persists to Friday. The Encanto soundtrack single We Don’t Talk About Bruno has been steadily creeping up the charts for the past fortnight but now appears to be set for a sensational climb to No.1. Until now the only Disney movie ever to have spawned - even tangentially - a chart-topping single was Lilo & Stitch from whose official soundtrack Gareth Gates’ take on Suspicious Minds was taken - although much more about that in the Chart Watch column at the weekend.
The Encanto soundtrack may well wind up with two singles in the Top 5 as Surface Pressure continues its own chart climb.
The Wombats are currently in the lead in the race to top the albums chart, Fix Yourself, Not The World has a sale of nearly double its nearest rival - at least for the moment.
The Wombats – Everything I Love Is Going To Die (Official Video)
The Wombats – Everything I Love Is Going To Die (Official Video)
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The new UK charts are announced by Radio One from 4pm every Friday, can be seen in full on and, and I’m now back on 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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