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Howay The Lads
Another week flies by, another seven days in which battle was joined at the top of the Official UK Singles Chart with a two-way race for the top only resolved beyond all doubt by the time the later sales numbers arrived. Week 2 of this particular ding-dong battle ended the same way as the first, with Lewis Capaldi's Someone You Loved edging ahead of Calvin Harris' Giant to enjoy a second straight week at the top of the charts. Capaldi meanwhile is in the unusual position of enjoying what back in the day I used to call a halo hit, a second chart single which floats around in the aura of the first. In this case, it is his prior release Grace which this week comes agonisingly close to handing the Scottish singer side by side Top 20 hits, rising instead to another brand new peak of Number 21.
It means yet another week at Number 2 for Calvin and collaborator Rag'N'Bone Man as the single continues to fulfil what looks increasingly like its destiny as the eternal bridesmaid. Not that this is an unfamiliar position for this particular Scotsman to be in. For all the talk of his multiple Number One hits in a decade-long career, Calvin Harris has had his fair share of Number 2 singles as well. Assuming Giant progresses no further it will be no less than his seventh Number 2 hit single, a total which includes an astonishing four in a row which he clocked up as a lead artist during 2011 and 2012. As we noted last week, this is Rag'N'Bone man's second Number 2 single. His debut hit Human actually ended up in the runners up slot three times, twice over Christmas 2016 and then again a few weeks later in the wake of the Brit Awards ceremony.
For the first time in what feels like months there is no Ariana Grande single in the Top 3. The final place is instead taken up by Mabel who after spending no less than four weeks locked in place at Number 5 climbs two and sees Don't Call Me Up reach it's highest placing to date. I'll keep hammering home the point until it happens, the closer she edges to the top of the charts the closest we come to something that has never happened before in British chart history. Mother and daughter each enjoying Number One hit singles.
The Rock Never Seemed That Camp To Me
This week's highest new entry belongs to an act who are not only enjoying their biggest ever hit single, but indeed their first in almost ten years. The Jonas Brothers owe their fame largely to the world of the DCOM - the Disney Channel Original Movie - Long-form musical programming from the American network spawned a series of hit franchises at the end of the 00s. High School Musical gave us our first exposure to Vanessa Hudgens and Greatest Showman performer Zac Efron. Meanwhile, the Camp Rock series of movies introduced not only Demi Lovato but also Joe, Kevin and Nick. Attempts to launch them as stars in this country came to little, their only hit of note being S.O.S. which reached Number 13 in June 2008. The group finally appeared to have come to an end in 2012 when the recording of a planned fifth album was aborted following what was described as a "deep rift" in the band, the handful of tracks completed eventually bundled as part of a 'farewell' live album instead. That appeared to be that, Joe Jonas instead going on to form funk-pop band DNCE who enjoyed worldwide success with the single Cake By The Ocean which reached Number 4 in this country in 2016.
Well, now they are back. The Jonas Brothers appear to have put aside whatever differences caused them to part seven years ago and with little pre-fanfare this week released their big comeback single Sucker. And what a comeback it is. The single this week smashes its way into the Top 10, charting at a hugely impressive Number 6 to become far and away the biggest Jonas Brothers single ever. With their late 00s popularity having never extended beyond a small hardcore and certainly never being large enough for them to penetrate the singles chart with any kind of consistency it is impossible to credit nostalgia for this chart performance. Sucker is plainly and simply a terrific pop-rock track (co-written by Ryan Tedder), one which injects a much-needed dose of energy into the Top 10 and which has charted largely on its own merits. The fact that it represents a chart comeback for an act most people had largely forgotten is really just a footnote. This is a global smash hit asserting its credentials with a very strong first-week performance. A Top 10 fixture for the next few weeks? Here's hoping. Priyanka Chopra and Sophie Turner in the video can't hurt either.
Lights Ablaze For Him
Back to British talent, and the owner of the Number One album this week is Tom Walker whose debut release What A Time To Be Alive more than lives up to expectations and flies straight to the top of the charts. Tom Walker technically counts as Scottish too, given that he was born in Glasgow. Quite aside from the fact there are Scotsmen occupying the Top 2 places on the singles chart for the second week running, It means we also have Scottish acts at the top of singles and albums charts simultaneously for the first time since 1994.
The release of the album has had a hugely beneficial impact on the chart form of his current single. Just You And I continues its chart advance, moving up to Number 8, now just one place behind the Number 7 peak of its predecessor Leave A Light On. Speaking of that first hit, it is rapidly turning into the kind of chart single which refuses to die. Again thanks to the album it climbs this week to Number 37, this now its fifth time as a Top 40 hit, all of which have come within the last 10 months. As per the rules, Walker's album is permitted one more chart single, the Zara Larsson duet Now You're Gone which charts at Number 88.
Tripping In Finesse
It's reception may have been a bit limper than either artists were expecting, but Cardi B and Bruno Mars' Please Me is at least staying alive. Having dipped to Number 20 last week the single now rebounds seven places to almost reclaim the Number 12 it hit during its first week onsale. This climb we can easily attribute to the availability of the track's video which finally hit YouTube this week.
One Week Wonder Of The Week
They seem to arrive on a weekly basis, so it seems only appropriate to note that rap hit of the week lands neatly at Number 18 with a brand new entry for Roddy Ricch and a couple of friends. This one is very much a translatlantic offering, Mr Ricch a 24-year-old Californian here enjoying his first ever British chart success. Accompanying him on How It Is are Londoners Yxng Bane and Chip, the latter making the Top 40 after an extraordinarily long absence. His last Top 40 hit of any kind was his guest role on the Wiley hit Reload which reached Number 9 in March 2013. Yxng Bane has been this high in the charts far more recently of course, but this is easily his biggest chart success in a year, following his role on the Banx & Ranx track Ansaphone which reached Number 5.
In another week when media organisations and other interested parties started insisting on a somewhat Stalinist rewriting of history to erase the musical contributions of a performer being smeared in death, it amuses me to note that the still incarcerated YNW Melly continues to climb the charts, the accused murderer reaching a brand new peak of Number 20 with the still terrifically ironic Murder On My Mind. Ignore the idiots on Twitter who want to dictate what you can and cannot listen to. As Mr Melly has demonstrated, music fans are more than capable of separating art from the artist. As it should be.
One to watch for next week: Bally by Swarmz featuring Tion Wayne which rockets up the Top 100 with a 54-32 leap. There's also a similarly large jump enjoyed by Sigrid's latest single Don’t Feel Like Crying which after four weeks around finally edges its way into the Top 40 at Number 34. The much-hyped Norwegian singer has had to show the patience of a saint to enjoy a second chart hit, this finally giving her another Top 40 entry to follow 2018 Number 10 hit Strangers.
It would be remiss not to finish without acknowledging the aftermath of the tragic death this week of Prodigy frontman Keith Flint. Along with his bandmates he sustained a career which dated from the height of the rave craze in the early 90s and was still enjoying hit singles well into the 21st century. Demand for the group's music following the midweek news means that their singles collection Their Law returns to the album chart at Number 13 with their classic album The Fat Of The Land following hard on its heels at Number 26. The group's most recent album No Tourists which topped the charts at the end of last year is at Number 35. Posthumous hit singles for famous acts are slightly hamstrung by the fact that they are almost inevitably on permanent ACR, but there was still enough demand for their 1996 Number One hit Firestarter (easily Keith Flint's finest moment as a lead performer) to return to the singles chart at Number 58. To put that in proper context, it sold enough copies to rank as the 8th biggest-selling single of the week, although that still only amounts to about 8,000 copies. It doesn't take much these days.