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Chart Watch Weekly - November 22nd 2021

James Masterton's Chart Watch Weekly
A brief pause in the relentless parade of superstar new releases meant a window to re-evaluate an old one. But when is a ten minute long track not a ten minute long track? When we get picky about charts rules, that’s when.
In Chart Watch Weekly this week:
  • A merger that was Swiftly dealt with.
  • The people with their lights up are breaking stuff already.
  • Do Italians live in the same world as the rest of us.
  • The Monday midweeks. Adele country, of course.

Shake It Up
Official Charts
The Official Singles Chart is live! See this week's Top 10 below 👇 and check out the full Top 100 here 👉
Another week of Adele v Ed played out at the very top of the singles chart this week, with the same result as before. This is music’s equivalent of Federer v Djokovic as we grow bored of the same matchup and want something different. Which may happen before Christmas, you never know.
But the main story of the week was the release by Tayor Swift of her Red Taylor’s Version) album, her note for note cover of her original 2012 release which marked her transition from notable country crossover star to full-blown mainstream pop sensation.
Needless to say, it shot straight to No.1 to become her eighth chart-topping album in succession, a run that stretches back to the original release of Red in 2012. The new album made it to No.1 this time around with a higher sale than the 2012 edition did, demonstrating once more the power of the special edition. Although the meme that circulated quoting people who had bought the Target exclusive version in the States and failed to spot that it was pressed at 45rpm was one of the more entertaining of the week.
The electronically constructed nature of many of its tracks led to some interesting ethical debates online over the point at which a song becomes a “re-recording”, given that you can effectively press ‘play’ on the old sequences and generate them again note for note. But all that passed under the radar in favour of the attention drawn to one track in particular as Taylor Swift turned what was already one of her masterpieces into a true magnum opus. But that did mean nobody knew exactly how to treat it.
Midweek Madness
The first sight any of the general public get of the developing singles market each week is Radio One’s broadcast of the First Look chart on a Sunday evening. This is entirely done for the BBC’s benefit, as they demanded to have some kind of chart property to broadcast on a Sunday teatime, having struggled to fill the slot with anything audience-grabbing since the charts moved to Friday publication in 2015. But it is an utterly ridiculous chart to compile, based on just two days of sales and generally just one day of streaming data (from Friday) as the DSP’s rarely if ever submit their numbers on time for the daily chart to be compiled each morning.
It also means it is thrown together over the weekend, before most decision makers have had a chance to note any anomalies in the way records are listed and request corrections. This was highlighted last week when the First Look chart came out listing Taylor Swift’s All Too Well in two places - the new 10 minute version in the Top 3 and the original edit lower down.
Much to the disappointment of those of us who set about compiling stories about two different versions of the same song by the same artist charting concurrently, by Monday this situation had been corrected. Either the record label put in a word or it was realised that to separate them was a mistake. Sales and streams for the two “Taylor’s Version” edits of All Too Well were combined from that point out, instantly boosting the single up the midweek tables and freeing another of Red’s tracks to chart.
It meant everyone had to pretend the stuff we all talked about midweek never took place. But that isn’t uncommon. The Monday albums chart midweek press release often notes the possibility of some album or other making the Top 20 only for its sales to turn out to be completely front-loaded and for it to sell hardly anything else the rest of the week and be completely invisible come Friday. Keep an eye out for it, this happens far more than you might think.
Goes On Forever
All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor's Version) (From The Vault) (Lyric Video)
All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor's Version) (From The Vault) (Lyric Video)
So with its two versions suitably and appropriately merged, All Too Well (Taylor’s Version) shot straight to No.3, Taylor Swift’s biggest hit since Willow also had a cup of coffee in the Top 3 in December last year following the release of her Evermore album. Which led to more than one person asking me, did this make it the longest ever track to become a Top 3 hit?
As the video above illustrates, the full-length version of the song clocks in at 10 minutes and 12 seconds, which is longer than Oasis’ All Around The World, at 9 minutes and 38 seconds still to this day the longest track to top the charts.
But if we are going to be pedantic (and show me a chart nerd who isn’t) the singles chart does not list All Too Well (10 minute version) as the No.3 record of the week. It lists All Too Well (Taylor’s Version) - the more manageable single length edit. And that means the normal version is technically the lead track. The 10 minute edit commanded the lions’ share of both sales and streams and was clearly the one that most people were interested in hearing, but the chart records only have it as an alternate version, the 12-inch cut if you like.
So you can count it as a record holder if you really want. But the record books won’t necessarily acknowledge that. In much the same way that Bill Ray Cyrus didn’t perform on the No.1 hit Old Town Road and Saint Jhn’s Roses had nothing to do with remixer Imanbek. Because the published charts do not acknowledge this.
Across The Atlantic
billboard charts
.@taylorswift13's "All Too Well (Taylor's Version)" is officially the longest No. 1 hit of all time, at 10 minutes, 13 seconds.

Don McLean's "American Pie (Parts I & II)," at 8 minutes, 37 seconds, held the mark for nearly a half-century, beginning in January 1972.
Billboard, as they so often do, take a more pragmatic approach and tend to list singles based on the version that is driving their chart position. So it is the ten minute version of All Too Well that they regard as having flown to No.1 and in the process setting a new record as the longest No.1 hit the Hot 100 has ever seen.
Red (Taylor’s Version) also charges to the top of the Billboard 200. That’s incredibly the third time she has debuted at the top of both singles and albums chart simultaneously. No other artist has ever managed it more than once. All 26 of the album’s tracks land somewhere on the American singles chart, Taylor Swift setting a new record for chart debuts in a single week. Drake still holds the “most concurrent hits” record with 27, but not all of those made the chart at the same time.
A Land Down Under
Taylor Swift is present and correct at the top of the Australian charts too, making Britain actually something of an outlier in not sending All Too Well straight to the top - and just imagine how it would have looked if the two versions weren’t combined after all and the single finished some way down the Top 10.
There’s a larger than usual number of new entries to the Australian Top 50 this week, although Taylor Swift tracks account for the vast majority of them. The albums chart sees Taylor, Abba, Ed and Silk Sonic occupy the Top 4 but new in at No.5 is Things Take Time, Take Time the third studio album from Australian singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett. She’s No.31 on the charts in Britain too, but remains distressingly under the radar outside of her native country, at least for now.
Courtney Barnett - Rae Street (Official Video)
Courtney Barnett - Rae Street (Official Video)
Oh Italy, don’t ever change. They aren’t totally resistant to the biggest international hits of the moment. Cold Heart is Top 10, Adele is at No.12 and Ed Sheeran is at 17 and 19 with Shivers and Bad Habits respectively, but Italian pop music continues to merrily plough its own unique furrow.
Salmo by Kumite continues its near-unbroken reign at the top of the Italian charts with a sixth non-consecutive week at No.1, the run only interrupted by they brief appearance of Adele’s Easy On Me a few weeks ago. However coming up a close second is Pastello Bianco, a track by rock band Pinguini Tattici Nucleari which has been kicking around since the end of last year but which has only now caught fire on the charts. Their name translates as “Tactical Nuclear Penguin” meaning they are effectively named after the Brewdog ale.
Pinguini Tattici Nucleari - Pastello Bianco (Testo / Lyrics)
Pinguini Tattici Nucleari - Pastello Bianco (Testo / Lyrics)
Midweek Teases
OK now let’s face it there is only one story in town this coming week. The release of 30 and Adele’s big comeback after six years away from the albums chart. As expected she is running away with the chart battle, Monday’s update giving her a massive sale of almost 167,000 to outsell the rest of the Top 40 put together. The only real question is whether she will top ABBA’s sales total from a week ago to land the fastest-selling album of the year.
Her singles performance will however be equally fascinating. Bearing in mind Adele’s last work came out in 2015 prior to the explosion of the streaming market, we have yet to see just to what extent new tracks of hers will get streamed in their first week. The First Look countdown on Sunday gave her three singles in the Top 3 to answer that question quite emphatically, however Monday’s update has seen that position change slightly, despite data from the DSPs having now caught up a little.
So Easy On Me looks like extending its reign at the top, but Oh My God is the next most popular single (currently No.2) with I Drink Wine following (presently No.4). But between the two Shivers continues to more than hold its own meaning there is a good chance that 30 notwithstanding we are set to see another Adele+Ed 1-2 on this week’s singles chart.
Adele - Oh My God (Official Lyric Video)
Adele - Oh My God (Official Lyric Video)
Other big new entries are set to land in the shape of D-Block Europe and Central Cee’s Overseas and the Children In Need single from Anne-Marie and Niall Horan Everywhere which presently ranks at No.12 but which I suspect is set for a further slide given that CiN was so last Friday night.
I noted in the Chart Watch piece this week that the window for singles to establish themselves in an invisible holding pattern while the Christmas madness takes place is rapidly closing. Both Mariah Carey and Wham! are set for Top 30 places on the new chart this Friday. It is coming whether we like it or not.
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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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