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Chart Watch Weekly - March 28th 2022

James Masterton's Chart Watch Weekly
Another week of teasing some life out of the chart movements around the globe beckons. Welcome subscribers new and old to some more musical musings.
In this week’s swamp of sound:
  • Putting a spin on the chart race, even if it does involve drawing back the curtain.
  • Charli XCX is officially Not Rubbish, even if her past album sales were.
  • The US and Australia are still gripped by a heat wave.
  • More impenetrable rap from a chart in Europe.

Move On With Your Lives, Nothing To See
Well, I jinxed that, didn’t I?
One week after waxing lyrical about the resoundingly fresh nature of the British charts and the upwardly mobile trends that are showing up all around, we are stranded with a Top 7 made up of entirely non-movers. It is the most static chart since the week before Christmas when just as today every song from 1-7 remained solidly where it was the week prior.
All of this is course to the benefit of Dave who spends a third week at No.1 with Starlight.
Official Charts themselves have the same dilemma as people like me, attempting to find some kind of spin to put matters, teasing out a narrative about the charts of the week in order to give news organisations a hook on which to hang their headlines.
So this week they went with “Dave holds on at Number One but Aitch and Ashanti could offer up a challenge next week as Baby holds at No.2 and begins to close the gap”. That’s a direct reference to the fact that Baby‘s chart sale this week of 51,316 is a mere 7,326 behind that of Starlight, compared to the 13,451 gap that existed a week ago. And if you choose to believe there is a growing trend there (Dave has peaked, Aitch is still on the way up) then this does indeed help to generate intrigue ahead of next week.
I find it to be a fascinating drawing back the curtain, an addition to the narrative that was never there before. In years gone by there was simply no reference to the underlying numbers (even though they’ve been available in one form or another for over 28 years now). The No.1 and No.2 records were just that, and we the general public had little idea just how close or distant one was to the other. But this is the new information-led age where I guess even pretending nobody actually knows the true numbers would be futile. After all, even midweek updates are now “official” and Radio One even counts down a (largely meaningless) chart of predictions for next week a mere 48 hours after broadcasting the official list.
I Don't Care (I Do)
I’ve laboured the point many times about the odd disconnect between Charli XCX’s breathless PR and the actual level of interest her music generates in her home country. But the fact that this week she is indeed No.1 on the albums chart throws into sharp relief her past lack of success. Her four previous full-length albums reached the dizzy heights of 85, 15, 14 and 33 respectively, while her past mixtapes such as No.1 Angel and Pop 2 (both released in 2017) failed to even graze the published charts.
The sudden success of Crash has been attributed to the fact that this collection is avowedly more “pop” than previous offerings, although Ms Aitchison’s sparse collection of past singles successes includes the likes of Boom Clap, Boys and 1999 none of which are exactly “difficult” and alternative.
As we noted last week current hit single Beg For You enjoys a chart uplift, but even that fizzled out midweek and although it sits at a brand new high of No.24 that is still only five places higher than the No.29 at which it entered eight weeks ago.
Charli XCX is avowedly not rubbish. She makes great pop records. But her PR reach eternally exceeds that of her marketing or her commercial appeal. Making her one of the most fascinating acts of the last ten years.
Crash is, incidentally, the 10th No.1 album from a British act in a row although this too seems to be a run that is set to end given the way Michael Buble has been literally everywhere plugging his brand new release.
Charli XCX - Every Rule [Official Video]
Charli XCX - Every Rule [Official Video]
La La La La La America
Heat Waves is No.1 in America for the fourth week, and at the risk of repeating stats from last week’s newsletter, this does indeed make Glass Animals’ single the most successful hit by a British group on the Hot 100 since Wannabe by The Spice Girls also enjoyed a four week run exactly 25 years ago.
Justin Bieber makes the Top 5 with Ghost at long last, this becomes his 20th Top 5 hit in America. The same number that both Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder managed in their career. And that’s not to ignore the seemingly ubiquitous Stay which is still locked in place at No.2, almost eight months since it first climbed to the top.
The one new arrival to the Top 10 is Doja Cat’s Woman, another phenomenally slow-burner that was first released in mid-August last year and which peaked at No.13 in Britain back in late October. It finally becomes her fifth Top 10 single in the States.
A Land Down Under
Well go Dave! It is a great week for British acts in the Australian charts. Glass Animals remain No.1 for what is now the single’s tenth week in total (in runs a year apart from one another lest we forget), Charli XCX duplicates her British success by topping the ARIA Albums chart, and there gatecrashing the Top 10 is our very own Dave as Starlight goes international and climbs to No.8 in Australia.
It isn’t a specifically Australian hit as such, but it is worth noting the steady progress up the ARIA listings of Elley Duhey’s Middle Of The Night, another of those hits that TikTok has a habit of surfacing. First released in early 2020 it was only at the end of last year that the song’s distinctive lyrics began to make themselves heard in clips on the video platform. Duhey is No.27 and rising in Australia but is making steady progress on a number of other national charts. The single climbed as high as No.50 in Britain last week only to fall back this time around. But this is a story that is by no means over.
Elley Duhé - MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT (Official Video)
Elley Duhé - MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT (Official Video)
The Tour Reaches Iberia
It has been five weeks since we’ve paid a visit to the Spanish charts and as you can discern from the above graphic (depicting last week’s countdown as Spain don’t update their tables until Tuesdays) their No.1 single is the same as last time around as the indescribably boring Cayo La Noche (Remix) retains a stranglehold on the top. The rest of their Top 5 are also singles which have peaked several weeks ago but are still hanging around.
So let’s instead take a look at the fastest up and comer instead, Spain’s current No.6 single Una Noche En Medellin which I hope you don’t need me to translate for you. The performer is 20-year-old trap performer Cris MJ who hails from Chile but who is enjoying his biggest worldwide success to date with this single. What else can I say about it? The bikini-clad woman in the video is hot I guess.
Cris MJ - Una Noche En Medellín (Official Music Video)
Cris MJ - Una Noche En Medellín (Official Music Video)
Midweek Teases
As cynical as I was about the “Aitch is closing the gap” spin put on this week’s chart, the OCC may well have been onto something. The race to be No.1 on this Friday’s countdown is literally neck and neck with just a few hundred sales having separated both Starlight and Baby on the Sunday “first look” and Monday’s more realistic midweek update.
So far each song has had a turn in the lead, Aitch announced as early doors champions on Sunday evening but with Dave retaking a very narrow lead as of this evening. I won’t pretend that isn’t actually quite exciting.
As predicted Michael Buble leads the albums chart midweeks with Higher although Placebo’s Never Let Me Go and Machine Gun Kelly’s mainstream sell out (sic) are both on his tail. Fascinatingly the sad death of Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins has prompted a surge of posthumous interest in his group’s back catalogue, propelling their Greatest Hits back to No.4 from th depths of the chart.
The bunfight to land a place in the Top 10 continues with a number of hits vying for position. Monday midweeks suggest it will be Tiesto and Ava Max’s turn but that could genuinely change between now and Friday. There’s little to report in terms of potentially hot new entries, but it could well end up being a good week for Tate McRae. After fully seven weeks hurtling around the Top 30 She’s All I Wanna Be could finally reach the Top 20 this week, and she will probably end up with two Top 40 hits to her name with teaser single chaotic presently at No.37.
Tate McRae - she's all i wanna be (Official Video)
Tate McRae - she's all i wanna be (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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