Chart Watch is brought to you by the kind generosity of its patrons. Thanks this week to Michael Duffy, Stewart Lennox, 'Carlbob' and the ever-awesome Mark And Sarah Talk About Songs podcast. Fancy joining their ranks? Click the button to your right and become a patron today.
This week's Number One single is one of those surprises that should be no surprise really. Having trailed in the midweek tallies all week, Funky Friday benefits from the late arrival of YouTube streaming data to the running totals to sneak in at the death and give grime rapper Dave his first ever taste of chart-topping success.
The television channel Dave is so named because practically everyone knows a Dave, and he's a great bloke to boot. Who knows, maybe this informs the decision of Londoner David Omoregie to use the mononym for his own performing work. It's a moniker that somehow manages to be almost anonymous and yet distinct at the same time. Little by little, the grime performance has been edging towards the mainstream for a couple of years now. Dave first came to popular attention in late 2016 when Drake's endorsement of his track Wanna Know sent it into the lower end of the singles charts. He followed that with the "extended play" track collection Game Over which eschewed its self-released nature to crash into the album charts at Number 13 in November last year. The collection also spawned the single No Words which gave him his first major chart hit, the track climbing to Number 17 at the start of this year. What sets him apart for me is the way his delivery is so precise, so distinct, that you don't have to expend too much effort to follow what he is saying. He eschews heavy patois for straightforward language and you cannot help but warm to any of the tracks he puts out.
So it almost goes without saying that with that kind of buildup, Dave was always on the verge of something big. March's one-off release Hangman was perhaps more low-key than it deserved, peaking at Number 30 in its week of release. No such fate befalls his new single. Funky Friday wasted little time barging its way to the summit of the streaming market. The rapper was enthused with the prospect of making it to the top of the charts and spent most of the week encouraging followers to do everything to help him - who says the artists themselves don't really care about their chart placings. Nobody, not even a boy from the mean streets of Streatham, is immune to the thrill of seeing themselves rocket up the singles chart.
Our first UK number 1. Speechless. One of the best weeks of my life, I don’t have enough words to thank everyone who’s helped us get here and been a part of this. But this is for us. Not for me... pic.twitter.com/lowykfejCb— SANTAN (@Santandave1) October 12, 2018
Honourable mention has to go to Dave's co-rhymer Fredo who also gets a credit on the track. To date he has just two minor chart entries to his name (Change, Number 63 in November last year; Rappin' and Trappin', Number 70 in February), although he also features on the cult Stay Flee hit Ay Caramba which not entirely coincidentally reaches a brand new chart peak of Number 32 this week on what is now its third run inside the Top 40.
It may not have escaped many people's attention either that this is the second "Friday" track to top the charts this year, following on from Lil' Dicky's Freaky Friday which enjoyed a week in the sun back in the spring. They are the only two chart-topping hits to reference the fifth day of the week in the entire 66-year history of the UK charts. Only three other Number One singles have mentioned days of the week in their title:
I Don't Like Mondays (The Boomtown Rats, 1979)
Saturday Night (Whigfield, 1994)
Sunday Girl (Blondie, 1979)
We should also note the existence of Craig David's 7 Days, a Number One hit in 2000 which contrives to mention the whole week in its lyrics.
Eight Days A Week
To date there have been 11 different Monday hits (New Order's Blue Monday has been a hit on four separate occasions), 6 Tuesday songs (the Rolling Stones charting with both studio and live versions of Ruby Tuesday), 30 Saturday hits, 28 referencing Sunday (including famously five simultaneous versions of Never On Sunday in October 1960) and now 23 Friday hits (plus one Sting EP with Friday in the title). The most unpopular day of the week for use in song titles is Wednesday, The Undertones' 1980 Number 11 hit Wednesday Week the only chart single ever to reference hump day in its subject matter. By a strange coincidence, the charts next week should play host to the Jess Glynne album track Thursday which will itself be only the third ever chart single to mention that particular day.
Back to Dave's single though, and much has been made of the way Funky Friday is a track devoid of both chorus and hook, its impact relying entirely on the insistent musical backing and Dave's own clever wordplay. But the single is also notable for being entirely self-released, appearing on Dave's own Dave Neighbourhood label and charting without the benefit of any big label promotional muscle. As if to prove the old rules about pop music simply need no longer apply, a track which has done everything unconventionally is the biggest and most significant hit single of the week.
Promise You Nothing
It does mean that at least for the moment the Number One run of Promises comes to a grinding halt at five weeks. That's not to say there isn't a chance of it reclaiming the title in seven days time as I remain slightly sceptical of the chances of Funky Friday maintaining its initial momentum. It tops the charts on the strength of its opening week streams which account for just over 50,000 of the 54,000 chart sales the single registered. And yes, that does mean the Number One single of the week only actually 'sold' 4,000 copies, far and away the lowest paid-for sale to date of any single claiming to be top of the charts. It is only Number 12 on the old-fashioned sales countdown. In the meantime, the ACR clock is ticking under the chart run of Promises. This is its 8th week on the Top 100 and the second in succession its chart sales have fallen. One more week of decline and it will be relegated in week 10, ending its run at the top of the charts for good.
I'm On The Edge
Saturday, October 13th has been designated National Album Day by the music industry, an attempt to drum up some love for the problem child format which has formed the core of label profitability for so long but which is now struggling to retain relevance in the age of the audio stream and the ever-adjustable playlist. It seems appropriate then that the album on top of the charts for the occasion comes from the one format which, this year at least, has rescued it from near-oblivion - the Motion Picture Cast Recording. Taking pride of place this week is the A Star Is Born soundtrack, neatly duplicating that of the soundtrack of the 1977 movie which handed Barbra Streisand a Number One album of her own. In truth, the 2018 version could quite legitimately be credited to Lady Gaga given that she appears on all but a handful of the songs it contains. If we presume this is truly her album then it returns her to the top of the charts for the first time since her third album Artpop climbed to the summit back in 2013.
Needless to say, the impact of the movie hit is felt on the singles chart too. The lead hit Shallow rockets 13-6 to give Lady Gaga her first Top 10 hit single for five years. It also spawns Number 35 hit I'll Never Love Again (another duet between Gaga and Bradley Cooper) and the solo hit Always Remember Me This Way which enters at Number 39.
By a strange coincidence, it is a movie soundtrack which also gives us the second highest new entry of the week on the singles chart. I say "new", Venom is one of a number of tracks from Eminem's Kamikaze album which has to date been starred out due to his exceeding the 3Max rule. Following the release of the Marvel movie to which it is the title track - plus perhaps most importantly an official video - Venom this week accelerates past all his other current hit singles and qualifies for a chart placing for the very first time. entering at Number 16. For those keeping track, this comes at the expense of last week's Number 34 hit Fall which now becomes his fourth-biggest single of the moment and so is ineligible for the charts. Shady's other chart hits of the moment are Lucky You (down at 23) and Killshot (down at 27).
Make Me Feel
The biggest chart jump of the week is the 16-place climb for Back & Forth which sits at Number 21. Succumbing to what appears to be a trend, this track goes out of its way to credit all three contributors in equal measure, so the performing act in question is officially MK x Jonas Blue x Becky Hill. It is a second Top 40 smash in succession for Marc 'MK' Kinchen, hard on the heels of 17 which reached Number 7 during an extended chart run earlier this years. Jonas Blue is also enjoying his second chart hit of 2018, this essentially his follow-up to Rise, a Number 3 hit in the summer. Back & Forth reunites MK with Becky Hill, the singer also the voice of his 2016 single Piece Of Me. It marks a long overdue chart return for the former Voice UK contestant and is now her second-highest credited chart hit to date, eclipsing the Number 28 she reached as the singer on Matoma's False Alarm back in 2016. If you believe in omens then her biggest chart hit ever came the last time she featured on a single with the bizarre "x" credit - Number One hit Gecko (Overdrive) was credited to Oliver Heldens x Becky Hill when it smashed its way to the top back in 2014.
Don't Cry Love
As Benny Blanco's Eastside continues a gentle slide down the charts following its ACR relegation a fortnight ago, the two guest performers on the smash hit are now making waves independently of each other. Khalid's Better continues to make steady progress with a climb to Number 20 and is now his third Top 20 hit of the year. Just below at Number 24, Halsey has the third of this week's new entries as her latest single Without Me hits the ground running. It marks the long-overdue solo singles chart debut for the lady born Ashley Frangipane following no less than four previous hits as a featured singer and despite already having two Top 20 albums to her name. She made her chart debut as far back as 2015 on the Justin Bieber cut The Feeling and followed that with a turn on the Chainsmoker's Number One hit Closer in 2016. 2018 has been her most successful year to date with turns on G-Easy's Him and I (Number 22) and the aforementioned Benny Blanco chart-topper.
Amongst the week's more notable album releases came Drip Harder from rap duo Lil Baby & Gunna which manages enough streams to register a presence at Number 12. It also means a smattering of hit singles as well, the most prominent of which is Drip Too Hard which has been meandering around the lower end of the Top 100 for the last four weeks and which now rockets 60-28. For the uninitiated, "drip" is the new "swag" as the language of Shakespeare continues to evolve in exciting new directions. The Lil Baby & Gunna track is the first drip track to ooze its way into the Top 40, this after Offset and Metro Boomin' ran out of liquid with Ric Flair Drip at Number 67 and Cardi B and Migos could only make Number 41 in April with Drip. Does anyone have a tissue to hand?
There's more rap goodness at Number 34 as 6ix9ine arrives with Stoopid, this his first chart hit since the rather underachieving Fefe hit Number 17 in the summer. Meanwhile, just when you thought it was safe, the Pinkfong novelty hit Baby Shark appears to have gained an unexplainable second wind, rocketing from 51 back to Number 36 after three weeks out of the Top 40. Its chart peak, for now, remains the Number 32 it scaled in mid-September.
Tracking next week's chart battle should be all kinds of absorbing. Funky Friday to retain its crown? Promises to return for one final hurrah? Or are Little Mix still capable of shocking us all?