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Chart Watch Weekly - November 1st 2021

James Masterton's Chart Watch Weekly
After the storm, the calm as we get a brief respite from superstar activity. Plus some other superstars who actually rather underperform.
In Chart Watch Weekly this week:
  • Adele halves in size.
  • Sir Elton is eight up on the other side.
  • News from abroad.
  • The Monday midweeks. It’s properly Ed week.

Never Mind
It would have been too much to expect a repeat of last week’s record-mangling shenanigans and indeed so it proves, as just over 50% of the first week audience for Adele’s Easy On Me melted away overnight. However, that still means she is No.1 for a second week by some comfortable margin. For the second week running we have a chart-topping record that clocks up over 100,000 sales. To be precise Adele had 103,194 chart sales this week, 6,266 of those coming from paid downloads (there’s no physical single to buy just yet) and the remainder as a result of another strong streaming performance. Her total of 11.42m is one of the 30 highest weekly reaches in the short history of the format so far. A bit like extreme weather events, the number of occasions when singles reach the 10m+ mark is becoming more and more common. That for me is the mark that separates the truly massive hits from the rest, and you’ll note that there have been four of these - Drivers License, Good 4 U, Bad Habits and Easy On Me - so far this year.
The New Boys
It was a phenomenally quiet week for new singles overall. No new tracks enter the Top 10 this week, either as new entries or climbing up from below. That means continuing frustration for My Heart Goes (La Di Da) from Becky Hill & Topic which is No.11 for a second week running but also for The Anxiety whose virally surfaced hit Meet Me At Our Spot makes a large sales jump but is still confined to the No.12 position. It would be fun to see the single reach the Top 10, as one half of the group is of course Willow Smith who famously reached No.2 with Whip My Hair in 2010 when she was a mere 10 years old.
The week’s highest new entry is the big comeback single from Swedish House Mafia. The trio of Axwell, Steve Angello and Sebastian Ingrosso went their separate ways in 2012 with their farewell single Don’t You Worry Child (which ironically ended up their most successful track ever and which topped charts across the world, including on these shores. Although in truth they never really stopped working together, with Axwell ^ Ingrosso charting four hits together in 2015 and 2017. But anyway, the full trio are official back together again. Their big comeback single features The Weeknd on a track which, let’s not be coy about it, sounds exactly like the stuff the Canadian has been peddling for the past two years. But he has a formula and is sticking to it.
Moth To A Flame enters at No.15, landing itself 19,853 chart sales along the way.
Swedish House Mafia and The Weeknd - Moth To A Flame (Official Video)
Swedish House Mafia and The Weeknd - Moth To A Flame (Official Video)
There are some other rather fine new hits around this week, ones which I hope don’t end up lost in the mix as some superstar album releases are inevitably going to dominate proceedings over the next few weeks. Check out the Craig David and MNEK collaboration Who You Are (this week’s No.39) if you haven’t already.
My favourite new song of the week though is the new entry at No.52. Better Days from NEIKED, Polo G and Mae Muller has a similar vibe to Benee’s lockdown smash from last year Supalonely combining rap with disco revival on a still quite melancholy track to compelling effect.
It finally means British singer Muller has a chart credit to her name. She’s been on the “one to watch” radar for a couple of years now with an album to her name already (Chapter 1 which came out in 2019), but so far nobody has found the right vehicle for her. This is the second time this year she’s been parachuted into a hit in waiting as she also featured on the flop Billen Ted single When You’re Out, but the curse of Wellerman put paid to it as it sank without trace despite extensive airplay on stations such as Capital.
NEIKED, Mae Muller, Polo G - Better Days (Official Video)
NEIKED, Mae Muller, Polo G - Better Days (Official Video)
Take It Now Or Leave It
Ok, we have to mention it as people were emailing me excitedly about the prospect even before the charts were revealed last Friday.
Not content with unleashing two new recordings upon the world, Abba released a third track ahead of their new album last week. The only trouble was that it wasn’t very good. The rockabilly inspired Just A Notion actually dates from 1979, or at least the vocals do, a track originally recorded for but left off the tracklisting of their Voulez Vous album. The 2021 version retains the singing but has had its instrumentation entirely reworked. Yet the number of people who cared appeared to be counted on the fingers of rather less hands than before. The track crashed into the charts at No.59 to almost certainly become Abba’s lowest-charting single ever in this country. Prior to today their career nadir was the No.38 scaled by I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, their third chart single in this country and in that curious dead time they endured between Eurovision triumph and true stardom.
As I noted in Music Week though, this was an off-cut, a low-key teaser release to continue to whet the appetite for the forthcoming album. It wasn’t intended to be a smash hit and so really we should hardly be surprised that it did not become so.
ABBA - Just A Notion (Lyric Video)
ABBA - Just A Notion (Lyric Video)
At Least He Put Some Clothes On This Time
Photo: Rocket Entertainment
Photo: Rocket Entertainment
For the second time in a fortnight Elton John got to pose with a No.1 Award trophy, this after his new album The Lockdown Sessions (home to recent singles chart-topper Cold Heart) shot to the top in what was admittedly a rather quiet week for new albums.
So he now has eight No.1 albums to go with his eight No.1 singles, this the first time he’s reached the top of the long players chart since Good Morning To The Night (co-credited with Pnau) crept to the top in 2012.
Nugget Of The Week
The most curiously viral track of the week passed under the radar for most, given that in the end it didn’t really impact the charts.
Stevie Nicks’ Edge Of Seventeen has never been a UK hit in its own right, despite being one of the more famous solo works from the sometime Fleetwood Mac vocalist. Destiny’s Child borrowed its opening guitar riff for Bootylicious and it was the direct inspiration for Miley Cyrus’ Midnight Sky hit.
It started to pick up online steam this past week largely thanks to being used in the now withdrawn John Lewis insurance advert. Hence it impacted the iTunes chart (through downloads) and was gaining traction on Spotify too. In the end this was only enough to chase it to No.86, although as an ‘oldie’ the track was subject to ACR rules with its streams converting to half the value of contemporary hits. Without that restriction it would have probably made the Top 40 and become Nicks’ first proper chart hit for 15 years.
Across The Atlantic
Adele is comfortably No.1 on the Hot 100 for a second week, Easy On Me shedding its audience in a similar fashion to in Britain but with 61.5 million radio airplay audience impressions, 31.8 million streams (down 41%) and 23,100 downloads (down 69%) it ensures that every one of her American No.1 hits has enjoyed at least two weeks at the top.
There’s just one change in the Top 10 as we swap Doja for Doja, Kiss Me More exiting and swapping places to Need To Know which makes the Top 10 for the first time.
Moth To A Flame, the biggest new international hit of the week, could only debut at No.27 in America.
A Land Down Under
ARIA
Here's this week's Top Ten singles on the #ARIACharts featuring @Adele, @eltonofficial, @DUALIPA, @pnau, @thekidlaroi, @edsheeran, @swedishousemfia and more.

Check out https://t.co/bfON5BRaDU for all of this week's charts. https://t.co/Ps6HGEQunc
It is a different story in Australia as Swedish House Mafia shake up the established order and smash straight into the Top 10.
The most notable locally-originated new entry on the otherwise moribund Aussie charts is On My Knees, a track taken from the newly-released fourth album from electropop trio RÜFÜS DU SOL which arrives at No.43. Their biggest Australian hit to date was You Were Right which climbed to No.22 back in 2015.
RÜFÜS DU SOL - On My Knees (Official Music Video)
RÜFÜS DU SOL - On My Knees (Official Music Video)
Euro-vision
OffizielleCharts
Auf den letzten Metern überholt Ed Sheeran („Shivers“) seine Landsfrau @Adele („Easy On Me“) und holt sich die Krone der Offiziellen Deutschen Single-Charts zurück. Den höchsten New Entry landen Jamule & @miksu___ /Macloud („Normal für mich“, #13). https://t.co/AyEhuzAANw https://t.co/QSe5zDuOHy
Yeah, what they said. For those who cannot translate, there is something of a shock at the top of the German charts, Adele deposed from the top after just a single week of glory as Ed Sheeran regains his chart crown.
Their highest new entry is the latest single from German language rapper Jamule, this is their No.13 single this week.
Jamule - Normal für mich (prod. by Miksu/Macloud) [Official Video]
Jamule - Normal für mich (prod. by Miksu/Macloud) [Official Video]
Midweek Teases
Next week is where it should start to get very interesting indeed. This is of course Ed Sheeran week, with his new album Equals set to debut very strongly at No.1. By the close of play on Sunday the album had already accumulated over 80,000 chart sales meaning it seems almost certain to sail past the six-figure total Coldplay managed last week to become the fastest-selling album since er, the last Ed Sheeran release.
But the singles chart is where it gets crazy. Ed Sheeran of course is the main reason we have the rule that restricts artists to three concurrent chart hits, owing to the way he blew away the rest of the market back in 2017 and nearly managed a clean sweep of Top 10 hits. Just as when No.6 Collaborations Project was released, he will end up straining that rule to its very limits.
But the added complication is the continuing presence of Easy On Me at the top, meaning we have a genuine superstar on superstar collision on our hands. You will have seen the early chart update indicating that the Weeknd-alike track Underpass Graffiti is the most popular of all the tracks on the new Ed album. That remains the case so far, however both Easy On Me and Shivers are both very close behind meaning there is as it stands a genuine three-way race to be No.1 this coming Friday.
The big wild card though is Bad Habits which, as you might imagine, has also enjoyed a jump in its consumption since the release of the album. The summertime smash has been loitering around the Top 10 for the past few weeks despite being relegated to ACR status, such is its continuing popularity online. As it stands the older hit is at No.5 on the current midweeks but it is hard not to rule out the possibility that it will be granted the kind of discretionary ACR reset that has been handed out to similarly surging hits from newly released albums - that’s the reason Coldplay’s Higher Power returned to the Top 30 last week after all. Should that happen it raises the possibility of an Ed Sheeran Top 3 clean sweep. But then again, if you are only going to lift the single a couple of places, is there any need for a reset?
All will be revealed at the end of this week. Oh yes, and the two most popular chart ineligible cuts from the album so far are First Times and Tides. Although there’s no certainty that either would make the Top 10 if the Ed Sheeran rule wasn’t in place.
If you have enjoyed this newsletter, please tell everyone you know. Share this email with a friend, tweet a link or post on Facebook about it. A reminder that the archive of all my past chart columns until March 2020 is online at the main chart-watch.uk site which you should pay a visit sometime.
Don’t forget the new UK charts are announced by Radio One from 5pm every Friday, can be seen in full on officialcharts.com and musicweek.com, and subscribers to the latter can read my exclusive chart analysis from 6pm that day.
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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. The deep dive facts there just wasn't room for in the magazine and a summary of events taking place worldwide.

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