10 To The Top

Friends, we made it.

As great as the desire is to tell a different story, to weave the tale of an entirely new No.1 single, there is still room left for one last achievement. The week may well have begun with the usual teases of early sales flashes suggesting a close race or a changing of the guard at last, the last seven days panned out precisely the way they have for the last two calendar months.

No.1 on the Official UK Singles chart for the tenth week in a row is Sprinter by Dave and Central Cee. But that was the push needed to elevate the biggest rap hit in chart history into the ranks of the biggest singles of the last few years. Ten weeks at the top draws it level with Flowers by Miley Cyrus as the longest-running No.1 single of 2023 so far, and level too with As It Was by Harry Styles as the second longest-running chart-topping hit of the decade. Only Bad Habits by Ed Sheeran with 11 weeks to its name can boast a better chart record than that trio.

But Sprinter, just like all long-running No.1 hits of its ilk, is destined to fall by the wayside no so much because of a decline in overall popularity (although that has clearly now set in) but because after sidestepping the problem a few weeks ago it has finally declined in streams for three consecutive weeks. ACR rules come into play and it is all but a given that something new will be occupying the very top rung of the charts this time next week.

I don't know about you, but I can hardly wait.

Doll Fail

So will the new No.1 single be a Barbie movie song? For the second week running songs from the hit soundtrack dominate the Top 10, three of the Top 5 singles having some kind of doll connection, although all have declined from their previous sales peaks. Billie Eilish's What Was I Made For continues to lead the way and holds firm at No.2, Dua Lipa's Dance The Night clinging on at No.3. These two along with Nicki Minaj's Barbie World are the only ones in the Top 10 however, Charli XCX's Speed Drive dipping to No.11, although she has this week teased the release of a proper video for the track so this story may well not be over yet.

Barbie-mania has however already made one curious bit of history. For the third week running Barbie: The Album sits comfortably atop the Compilations chart, but for the past two weeks this has meant it has shut out the latest volume in the Now That's What I Call Music - No.115 - from its traditional place at No.1. Assuming this situation persist this will actually be something of a first. Since the inception of the Compilation Albums chart in January 1989 every single numbered Now That's What I Call Music release has strolled to the top of the listings. Volume 115 may well become the only Now! album since Volume 4 way back in 1984 to not reach No.1 on whatever chart it is eligible for (prior to 1988 there was no compilations chart and Various Artists albums competed on the main listings).

There's a subtext here, for this isn't quite a level playing field. Soundtrack albums are the only entries on the compilations countdown to have their streams count towards their sales - this a side effect from the rule change a couple of years ago which relegated them from the main Artists chart. So Barbie: The Album has an inbuilt advantage over everything else - Now 115 included.

Plug It In

Arriving in the Top 10 after a four week climb is Disconnect from Becky Hill and Chase & Status which hauls itself to No.9. It is, perhaps surprisingly, only the fifth Top 10 hit single for the 29-year-old single, her second however in the last two years following her participation on Crazy What Love Can Do which peaked at No.5 during an extended chart run last year. Her co-credited production duo have however had to wait far far longer for a hit of this magnitude, this their first credited Top 10 single since Count On Me also reached No.5 way back in 2013. If things progress as they are doing the pair could well end up with side by side smash hits, their own Baddadan, a new entry last week, makes terrific progress with a surge to No.21.

For a nasty moment it looked as if D.O.D.'s rather gorgeous So Much In Love was going to be one of those wasted potential hits, this after it fell back to the 20s after appearing to peak at No.17 three weeks ago. But no, the Sigala-esque production has now gained a second wind and moves to a new peak of No.16. And rightly damn so.

See Her Walking Down The Street

New entries? Well there are one or two. The biggest release of the week is Paint The Town Red from Doja Cat which sparks into life at No.20 as the follow-up to the rather underperforming Attention which bombed out at No.37 in late June. Like its predecessor, the track is another single from her forthcoming fourth album and takes its cue from the Bacharach and David classic Walk On By, sampling Dionne Warwick's recording of the song along the way. Warwick's original recording (the song was penned for her in the first place) reached No.9 in 1964 but it was eventually to be bettered by two 90s cover versions, the first by Sybil who took the song to No.6 in 1990 and subsequently Gabrielle whose equally faithful take peaked at No.7 seven years later. In between there have been chart covers by The Stranglers (No.21 in 1978), The Average White Band (No.46 in 1979) and D-Train (No.44 in 1982).

The Mop Up

The only other new entry inside the Top 40 is Telekenisis from Travis Scott/SZA/Future which appears at No.31 having been starred-out last week but now chart-eligible after it becomes the third biggest of all the hits from the American's album. I just report on the rules, I don't make them.

The race to top the Official UK Albums chart was this week quite an intriguing one, a literal neck and neck battle between two contrasting album releases. Runners-up are Welsh metal rockers Skindred with their eighth album Smile. No.2 for them is phenomenally impressive given their previous chart best was the No.26 peak of their previous release Big Tings back in 2018. They have never had a chart single.

But they were only beaten by the small matter of 149 sales, this the gap between them and eventual winner Cian Ducrot with his debut album Victory. That's the smallest margin of victory since February 2020 when just 144 sales separated Justin Bieber and Lewis Capaldi. Commiserations go to The Sherlocks whose independently released People Like Me & You topped the first sales flashes but then faded and eventually came to rest at No.4.