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Chart Watch Weekly - May 9th 2022

James Masterton's Chart Watch Weekly
This edition of the newsletter is brought to you by the expression “stressed and sexy”, a status which has been baffling friends in my WhatsApp all week, but with which you will probably end up very familiar if the Lizzo single continues its glorious upward trajectory. But wait, I am getting ahead of myself once more.
In this week’s melting pot of music lava:
  • The hold-steady record holders.
  • Lizzo goes large.
  • America sees the Future.
  • Some rubbish rap is top in Italy.

Sitting Down Here
🎧🎵🎶 James Masterton (Official Visualiser)
Chart nerds stat of the week:

Peru by Fireboy DML and Ed Sheeran this week becomes only the fourth single in chart history to spend four consecutive weeks at No.6.

Full Chart Watch piece coming soon...
The most absorbing takeaway from this week’s British charts was perhaps not Harry Styles’ fifth week at No.1, nor even the way for the first time in four weeks we had a single enter the charts inside the Top 10 (Future’s Wait 4 U at No.8). No, it was the fun fact that Peru by Fireboy DML and Ed Sheeran this week spent a fourth consecutive week at No.6. And that’s enough to equal the all-time record.
Spending an extended period of time at the same mid-table chart position is quite the trick, given that your sales have to be not only consistently in the same range for the entire period, but always in exact proportion to those singles around you. It is of course far easier in the modern era given the way hits will often settle in place with streaming audiences and be played in largely consistent amounts for an extended period.
Nonetheless, Peru is one of only four singles to have lasted for an entire lunar cycle at this specific chart position. The record was first set as long ago as 1965 by The Nashville Teens with Tobacco Road and it wasn’t equalled until 2016 when Don’t Let Me Down by The Chainsmokers pulled off the same trick (although this wasn’t its chart peak as it had reached No.2 a month earlier). More recently Joel Corry’s Sorry spent four weeks at its own No.6 peak in 2019.
In truth, we only know this thanks to the diligent work of some deeply committed chart fans on music forums who sat down and worked out the full list some years ago. But it is because of that I can note that the all-time record for “most consecutive weeks at a Top 75 chart position outside the Top 10” was equalled earlier this year when Doja Cat spent five consecutive weeks at No.14 with Woman.
However, this wasn’t actually the single’s peak. At the end of that run it climbed a place, before settling back for a further fortnight at No.14.
The only single ever to peak outside the Top 10 for a five-week run only does so on a technicality. That was Robert Palmer’s Looking For Clues which is listed as having spent five weeks at No.33 at the end of 1980. But this was the pre-Gallup era when BMRB didn’t produce a chart over the New Year week and the record books simply duplicate the final pre-Christmas countdown to fill the gap. So Palmer’s fifth week was a “phantom” week. Although we still regard the No.1 singles of that period as having an extra week at the top, so there’s no reason why his non-mover can’t count as well.
One final fact before I let this topic go. Did you know that no single has ever spent more than a fortnight at No.60, No.65 or No.75? You’ll be watching out for this from now on.
Hell, It's Good
Amid all our moaning about the top end of the charts being stagnant, there is always room to celebrate the new stuff making waves. The precise circumstances behind dramatic leaps in consumption aren’t always easy to divine (at least not without asking awkward questions about the possible undue influence of the higher profile streaming playlists), but it is hard not to admire the work that has gone into finally activating Lizzo’s comeback single About Damn Time. Britain largely ignored it to begin with, the single moving 60-67 in its first two weeks on the listing. But damn if it didn’t explode this week. Alan Jones in Music Week’s analysis suggested appearing on The One Show helped, although I’m not sure the One Show audience are the kind of heavy streamers that would cause the single to materialise at No.27 on the audio streaming chart from nowhere. Although it is certainly true that About Damn Time rocketed 37-6 on the sales table. So maybe there was truth in it.
In any event, there’s something joyful about seeing Lizzo back in the charts. Aside from her musical chops she’s such a fantastic funny actress that her videos are eminently re-watchable.
Lizzo - About Damn Time [Official Video]
Lizzo - About Damn Time [Official Video]
Where Are You Lady
It will continue to change and evolve over time, but it is still sometimes hard to escape the fact that the vast bulk of the chart-bound streaming market is in the hands of a specific youth demographic who don’t necessarily respond to popular culture touchpoints in the same way the rump of the sales market always used to.
There was no starker illustration of this than the rapturous reception that greeted the midweek unveiling of Lady Gaga’s new single Hold My Hand, her contribution to the soundtrack of the new Top Gun: Maverick movie. Everyone on my timeline who is any kind of music fan was raving about it. Or perhaps I just follow a large number of Gaga Monsters, go figure.
It shot straight to No.9 on the sales chart after just a few days of being available. But it barely registered any streams, meaning the single was only able to command a sale of 2,970. Way short of any possible Top 75 chart placing. Last Friday it grew an official video which may have an effect but (spoiler alert!) it still hasn’t registered in the midweek Top 40 updates.
I’m also intrigued to see what happens to the chart prospects of Britain’s Eurovision entry, Sam Ryder’s Space Man is quite astoundingly rated as one of the favourites for this year’s competition. In days of yore the UK Eurovision entry would have made the charts well in advance of the contest. So far progress for Ryder’s track has been sluggish. It had a brief run in the sales chart back in March when it was first selected for the contest, peaking at No.13. But perhaps surprisingly for a single by a man who was first discovered performing on social media it has failed to gain any streaming traction at all and so remained outside the published charts. What if, heaven forbid, he actually wins on Saturday? Where will Space Man end up in two weeks’ time?
Bear in mind that Britain’s last Eurovision winner Love Shine A Light actually had a rather perfunctory chart run in 1997, didn’t top the charts and failed to revive the career of Katrina And The Waves in the way that was planned. But then again, Maneskin. Eurovision can have a chart impact. It merely requires the stars to align
Sam Ryder - SPACE MAN - United Kingdom 🇬🇧 - Official Music Video - Eurovision 2022
Sam Ryder - SPACE MAN - United Kingdom 🇬🇧 - Official Music Video - Eurovision 2022
La La La La La America
We take a glimpse into the Future on the US charts this week as the aforementioned rapper goes one stage further than his low level gatecrashing of the Brtish Top 10. His album I Never Liked You crashes to the top of the Billboard 200 (it came in second in this country) and he duly becomes only the fifth artist to debut at the top of both singles and albums charts simultaneously as Wait 4 U storms to No.1 on the Hot 100.
Billboard’s statisticians are most taken with the presence of Drake on the track, giving the Canadian his own 10th No.1 single (it is Future’s second). It means Drake further extends a large number of records that he holds for Hot 100 debuts:
billboard charts
.@Drake extends the following #Hot100 records this week:

Most Top 10 Entries: Extends his record to 55
Most Top 40 Entries: Extends his record to 147
Most Total Entries: Extends his record to 262
Most Top 10 Debuts: Extends his record to 40
Future - WAIT FOR U (Official Audio) ft. Drake, Tems
Future - WAIT FOR U (Official Audio) ft. Drake, Tems
A Land Down Under
There have been some pleasing changes at the top end of the ARIA charts in the last two weeks. Many of the usual suspects are still hanging around, and the Harry Styles/Jack Harlow hegemony continues to hold steady there just as it does here. But the arrival of a brand new Kid Laroi track means he is lodged neatly in the Top 4, outperforming his own year-old predecessor. Thousand Miles debuted at No.21 here last week and has since tumbled to 29. That’s not to write it off completely, but he is almost needless to say a bigger deal in his home country.
And oh look, Masterton’s current favourite obsession Big Energy is comfortably Top 10 in Australia too. But Britain is catching up.
Pasta Their Best?
The Eurovision Song Contest is of course taking place in Rome this Saturday so the FIMI Twitter feed has gone a bit berzerk about it. The home nation’s entry Brividi by Mahmood & Blanco is already charting healthily there (it was No.1 the last time we checked into the Italian charts back in February) and is presently at No.6 on the latest countdown. No.1 on the Italian charts though is this plaintive ditty, all performed by what the internet tells me is the “emerging rapper of the moment” Rhove.
Rhove - Shakerando (prod. Voluptyk)
Rhove - Shakerando (prod. Voluptyk)
Midweek Teases
It is still Harry v Jack at the top of the charts next week, although the gap between the two is narrowing. Harry still seems a lock for a sixth week at No.1. As i hinted earlier Lizzo’s About Damn Time is showing no sign of losing any of its new-found momentum and should gatecrash the Top 5 as some most welcome new blood near the top of the singles market.
There’s an all-new Top 5 on the albums chart in prospect with Arcade Fire some distance out in front with We. Jack Harlow’s Come Home The Kids Miss You is at present only tracking No.8 but it is set to scatter a couple more of its tracks somewhere inside the Top 40 with Churchill Downs leading the chart at around No.16 as of Monday night. It is set to be yet another in the ever-growing list of Drake credits. And perhaps next week I’ll talk about the strange way it is very easy to mis-count the number of hits the alarmingly prolific droner actually has.
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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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