It's So Funny
For the fourth week running We Don't Talk About Bruno is the nation's No.1 single, as 8.5m streams propel it to a sale of 59,904, comfortably distant from the rest of the market with its nearest challenger Peru some 20,000 copies behind. The longer the success of the song continues the more intriguing it becomes. Surely this was only ever destined to a novelty hit, a passing fad to see out January. It's not a proper pop song, it is a ditty from a children's movie. But no, here we are, the Encanto soundtrack is the biggest deal on the planet right now, its songs racing up charts all over the world (the damn thing is also No.1 in America lest we forget). Such a situation has never developed before, at least not at this level. There was after all enormous interest in the songs from Frozen back in 2014, but as I noted a few weeks ago even the long-running and near-ubiquitous Let It Go never once climbed higher than No.11 on the charts. This was however just prior to the streaming era kicking in. Would Frozen have actually been a bigger deal if we were properly tracking listening habits back then? The first streaming chart ever compiled was in July 2014. Let It Go was No.31.
Meanwhile in the eternal hunt for trivia to flag up about the No.1 single of the moment, consider this:
In the 69 yrs & 3 mths of the UK singles @officialcharts, only 2 songs with titles starting We Don’t Talk… have made #1. Until today, Cliff Richard had sole claim to be the longest-running of them, but the cast of #Encanto have now equalled his 4 weeks. @scott_mills @ChartUpdate— Chig (@chigworld) February 11, 2022
Handing In My Old Fogey Cards
A confession. When I first saw that the highest new entry of the week was set to be a collaboration between ArrDee and Aitch I was not filled with breathless anticipation. ArrDee I can stomach, most of his hits so far have actually been worthwhile and mildly diverting, even to someone not particularly into that genre of music. But my deep-rooted loathing of Aitch knows few bounds, the baby-faced rapper from Manchester for me yet to demonstrate anything resembling performing talent or anything that would make me want to voluntarily endure any of his inarticulate burblings, regardless of how many hits he has had.
Yet shock horror, the pair's new single War is actually incredibly good. Is it the jazz-inspired underscore, is it the fact that the poetry isn't as impenetrable as usual, or is it the way the two men have dialled down their usual posturing and actually produced a single of some merit. You decide.
War crashes straight in at No.6, giving ArrDee his fourth Top 10 single in the space of a year - curiously enough at least for now the third of these to peak in sixth place. The track is a far more impressive return to chart form for Aitch, the Mancunian's first appearance in the Top 10 in nearly two years, March 2020's Rain his last single to even come close to charting this high.
Thanking My Parents, Ayn Rand and God
Gauging the precise degree to which Tuesday night's Brit Awards ceremony has influenced the charts this week is more than a little tricky. These days it comes at precisely the wrong point in the chart week, far too late to have a serious impact on this week's countdown, far too early for it to do so next week given all the immediate interest will have inevitably evaporated away by this weekend.
Liam Gallagher's new solo single Everything's Electric was always going to chart somewhere in mid-table, but it isn't impossible to think he picked up a few more sales and streams after debuting it properly at the award ceremony midweek. The first chart single from the former Oasis and Beady Eye frontman since Christmas 2020's All You're Dreaming Of, it reaches No.18 to become his highest-charting solo release to date - unless of course you count 2002's Scorpio Rising on which he was the guest of Death In Vegas and which peaked at No.14. In any event this is a one-week wonder, appealing to long term fans only and destined for a quick chart exit.
It is over on the albums chart that you can possibly pick apart some of the Brits influence, even if the ceremony had nothing to do with the No.1 album of the week. That goes to Bastille, Dan Smith's group landing their third No.1 album with Give Me The Future, five and a half years after Wild World became their second.
So who did benefit from the Brits? Possibly Ed Sheeran, Equals landing an 11% boost to climb to No.2, and perhaps inevitably Adele who only climbs a place to No.4 but sees her consumption increase by 16%. Show closer Dave is perhaps the biggest winner, although the return of Psychodrama to the Top 10 at No.7 for the first time since its release in 2019 is more to do with a vinyl reissue than anything else. His more recent We're All Alone In This Together merely climbs to No.22.
You'll note there is no sign anywhere of Little Simz, despite the organisers ramming her down our throats and surely convincing the casual audience tuning in that she is the biggest British urban star of the moment. Suggesting that nobody is actually buying that narrative any more than they actually buy her (award-winning) music. But more on that in the newsletter on Monday.
Back to this week's new entries, the Top 30 is graced by a returning Tate McRae, she of 2020 smash You Broke Me First but who has struggled to meaningfully follow that up (her last single Feel Like Shit limped to No.52 back in November). So the No.25 entry of She's All I Wanna Be is at the very least the first stage in an attempt to "break" the Canadian teenager as a solo star for real.
Nicki Minaj hasn't exactly been quiet for the past couple of years, collaborations with 6ix9ine and Jesy Nelson having helped her into the higher end of the charts, but Do We Have A Problem represents her first Top 40 single as a lead artist since 2019 as it opens its account at No.31. Co-star on the single is Lil Baby, last seen in these pages back in September when he participated on Drake's Girls Want Girls.
Bringing up the rear is the late Juice WRLD who apparently still has unreleased material in the vaults, Cigarettes is new at No.37 as a teaser for the forthcoming The Party Never Ends project. And finally at No.40 is a single of which I suspect we'll hear a great deal more over the next few weeks as Where Did You Go meshes the talents of Jax Jones and MNEK and if this isn't Top 5 by the first day of spring then there is something seriously wrong with the world.