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Chart Watch Weekly - July 18th 2022

James Masterton's Chart Watch Weekly
<obligatory heat reference here>
The becalming of the singles charts means a good opportunity to sit and properly appraise the current crop of hits. And by and large they are all quite wonderful. So we continue to share the love of hits both here and abroad along with wondering if it is really true that the final embers of the legacy of X Factor Mark I are being fanned by the sixth place act from the 2012 series alone.
Also sending the mercury creeping up:
  • The Great Clock Stop Of 2022
  • Dolce My Vita baby
  • Calvin Harris is set for the highest new entry

Everything Is Beautiful
I won’t lie, this was one of those weeks where you average music blogger has to sit and scratch their head to work out just what kind of story to tell. We’ve seen singles charts that are far more becalmed that this one in the recent past, but the present countdown is, shall we say, devoid of surprises. Everything is pretty much where it was expected to be.
So in line with expectations we have a second week at No.1 for LF System, Harry Styles remains immovable in the Top 2 (of which more in a moment), George Ezra is making summer shine a place below and meanwhile Beyonce is treading water while we await a video for Break My Soul. All well and good.
But there were still some interesting moments. The release of Burna Boy’s Love Damini album meant he took a major step towards the proper mainstream with the ever intriguing Last Last accelerating into the Top 10 for the first time at No.7 and as we predicted last week, his Ed Sheeran duet For My Hand became the week’s highest new entry at No.30.
Burna Boy - Last Last [Official Music Video]
Burna Boy - Last Last [Official Music Video]
Meanwhile, after weeks of it threatening to happen this week finally broke the seal on the golden summer of Ella Henderson. As we approach the tenth anniversary of her debut as a fresh-faced 16-year-old X Factor contender she is the most prominent voice on two simultaneous Top 10 hits - David Guetta’s Crazy What Love Can Do at No.8 and Nathan Dawe’s 21 Reasons at No.10.
While rumours abound that Channel 5 might be in talks to revisit the franchise, the recent demise of Little Mix means that Henderson (despite coming nowhere near winning the semi-disastrous 2012 season) is effectively the only “discovery” of the talent show currently performing. Although TV presenters Ryan Clark and Marvin Humes may have a few words to say about relative levels of celebrity.
Nathan Dawe x Ella Henderson - 21 Reasons [Official Video]
Nathan Dawe x Ella Henderson - 21 Reasons [Official Video]
Everybody Reset
The chances of there being any kind of dramatic shakeup on the charts in the next few weeks were dramatically diminished by a strange statistical quirk. The singles market rose by the not insignificant matter of 4% week on week, and this all appears to have been to the benefit of those tracks at the very head of the market. Every single one of the Top 15 singles this week enjoyed an increase in streaming consumption - and for several of them that meant a reset of their ACR clocks, the three week consecutive decline in sales that results in a ratio change for hits older than 9 weeks now paused for a large number of hits.
That’s primarily to the benefit of the larger than usual number of slow burners in the upper reaches, Last Last is 9 weeks old, Crazy What Love Can Do is 14 weeks old and 21 Reasons is 11 weeks old. None of them actually deserve to have their legs cut off right at this moment, and it won’t happen to any of them.
But this is also to the benefit of some other long-runners. Lizzo’s About Damn Time is six weeks removed from its No.3 peak but is still loitering around the Top 10. Meanwhile As It Was by Harry Styles is the kind of single which would ordinarily be on its way out. With 10 weeks at No.1 to its name and a further five shuttling between 2 and 3 it is precisely the kind of track that ACR was designed to gently usher out of the way. It has overstayed its welcome and the charts need to be freed from the obsessive streaming of the Harry Stans. But that isn’t set to happen any time soon. And just like its parent album the track is sat, poised, waiting for a void to open to help propel it to No.1 once more.
Don’t rule anything out.
USA! USA!
Hot of the press (Billboard literally tweeted the graphic three minutes before I turned to this part of the newsletter) the Top 10 of the Hot 100 has a curiously familiar ring to it. Those are indeed the same 10 singles as last week, with just one or two of them in a slightly different order than before.
As It Was now notches up an 10th week at No.1 (the total of all four of its runs at the US summit), matching the 10 week total achieved by Adele’s Easy On Me earlier in the year to become the longest-running American chart-topper by a British act since Ed Sheeran landed himself 12 weeks with Shape Of You back in 2017. The all-time record for a British-made single is the 14 weeks that Elton John spent trapped at the top with the sodding Diana record back in 1997.
Even the Billboard 200 albums chart has a strangely familiar ring to it. Bad Bunny’s Un Verano Sin Ti (home of current No.6 hit Me Porto Bonito) is at the top for its own fifth non-consecutive week.
A Land Down Under
There is no shifting Kate Bush from the summit of the Australian charts (come on guys, we’ve all moved on from that novelty) - but this is the country that still refuses to stop streaming Kid Laroi’s Stay as it hits the first anniversary of its release. So go figure.
The one new arrival here is OneRepublic’s I Ain’t Worried, a track which is steadily creeping up the British charts (now at No.14 here) but which is making rather heavier work of matters in America. It has oddly transcended the Top Gun : Maverick soundtrack from which it was taken and is now working as a standalone pop hit in its own right.
Quando Vivo Solo Per Noi
There are many things I’m happy about this week.
One of them is that our swing by the Italian charts has come around in the regular rotation, and their No.1 single is the same as it was last time. And I don’t care that it has featured in these pages before simply because La Dolce Vita by Fedez, Tananai and Mara Sattei is one of those Euro hits that you just cannot shake. One of those summertime foreign language hits that just cries out to transcend national barriers - if only there was the kind of outlet for them that used to exist. Twenty years ago there was a veritable glut of Euro novelties in the British charts, largely propelled there by the staff of TV jukebox station The Box who took some delight in breaking the most unlikely of hits.
I know people in the music industry who are convinced this could become a holiday crossover. It just needs the playlisting will to make it all happen.
In the meantime enjoy once again the song that has topped the Italian charts for the past six weeks and is going nowhere fast.
“A life without love won’t ever be good for me because
I don’t know how to tell you no when I live only for us.”
Fedez, Tananai, Mara Sattei - LA DOLCE VITA (Official Video)
Fedez, Tananai, Mara Sattei - LA DOLCE VITA (Official Video)
Midweek Teases
It is presently too hot to move, a sentiment shared by most of the chart singles of the moment. That means a third week at No.1 for LF System and Afraid To Feel is on the cards, the entire Top 4 seemingly set to remain static - although watch out for further moves by Crazy What Love Can Do to challenge that particular hegemony.
You suspect the label would have preferred a contemporary hit single to accompany it (Good Luck limped to No.45 in the spring and Overthinking bombed out at No.88 a week ago, meaning last summer’s Let Them Know is the only hit it contains) but Mabel’s About Last Night album is presently tracking at the top of the albums chart midweeks although it’s mere 6,000 sales to date (most of which are propelled by physicals) means that once more the door is open for Harry Styles to sneak in at the death - just like he did this week.
For new singles action you have to cast your eye down at the lower end of the Top 40 but there are plenty of new and up and coming hits that are all vying for breakthroughs. The prospective highest new entry is another meeting of big names, Calvin Harris able to command the vocal talents of Justin Timberlake, Halsey and a returning Pharrell Williams for what clearly has designs on being the sound of the summer holidays. But it is starting slow, No.30 on the early midweeks. And it doesn’t hold a candle to Feels. I’m sorry but it doesn’t.
Calvin Harris - Stay With Me ft Justin Timberlake, Halsey & Pharrell (Official Video)
Calvin Harris - Stay With Me ft Justin Timberlake, Halsey & Pharrell (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 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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