Still Sprintin'

Funny how times change. 20 years ago this summer these pages were full of excitement about the extended chart-topping run of Where Is The Love by The Black Eyed Peas, its six weeks at the top the kind of residency that hadn't been witnessed for nearly a decade. And it was something all chart watchers never thought we'd see again.

Fast forward to today and this week we can note that Sprinter from Dave and Central Cee is once more the nation's No.1 single, now an immovable fixture at the top of the singles market for seven weeks in a row. And yet it is still for all that only the third longest-running No.1 hit of the year.

If from this you gather I am rapidly running out of anything newly constructive to say about the current No.1 hit you are perfectly correct. But it is still being streamed far more than any other and so still sits pretty at the head of the market. Meanwhile, it remains resolutely unpurchased. 354 people downloaded a copy of the single in the past seven days.

Despite a challenge from the biggest new hit of the week the current hegemony of the Top 2 remains intact. Vampire by Olivia Rodrigo is the (blood-stained) bridesmaid for the third week in a row.

Smooth Like Butter

As an everyone-is-equal ensemble, BTS technically don't have a lead singer. But if you had to single out any one of the group as the most recognisable, the one with his most distinct identity, the one even a non-fan would be able to pick out - the Pikachu of the group if you will - then it would be Jeon Jung-Kook. Better known mononymiously as Jungkook in the band but (for strange cultural reasons) as Jung Kook as a solo performer. Having taken his first steps outside the band as a guest on Charlie Puth's near-miss Left And Right in 2022, the 25-year-old Korean singer takes his bow as the biggest fledgling to fly the BTS nest so far as his debut solo single (albeit one with Latto in tow as a guest star) Seven crashes in at No.3.

That it has done so is impressive, when it debuted in the Top 3 of the First Look chart last Sunday I was reasonably confident that was a false position, the single propelled there by fan support and early purchases. But no, it held its own across all formats, ending the week as the fifth most-streamed track of the week as well as topping the old-school sales chart in some style. Alas for all that the track isn't actually very good, a rather stodgy tuneless slice of mid-20s pop which is virtually indistinguishable from - yes - Charlie Puth himself. Much though has been made of the way the song is thematically similar to Craig David's Seven Days single from 2000, although Jung Kook is made of far greater stamina given his song is about doing it to the girl for the entire week rather than taking the full seven days to seduce her. Perhaps he just skipped that part.

Official Charts are trumpeting the single's entry as the "highest-ever new entry for a solo Korean star" which is fair enough. And it is hard to argue against the notion, even though this is one of those occasions where a superlative is created for the sake of it. Let's see what happens from this point on. The prediction skills that failed me at the weekend are also wondering just how much of a one week wonder this is. You will note that BTS' three biggest hits as a collective all also peaked at No.3, meaning Jung Kook hasn't managed to break that particular jinx.

While Seven is Jung Kook's record we should though pay due attention to Latto, for although she appears for just a few lines towards the end and quite patently recorded them all down the line, this marks her own Top 3 debut, blowing away the No.22 peak of her criminally underrated Big Energy hit which enjoyed a long mid-table chart run with a No.21 peak a year ago. Meanwhile, with Peggy Gou still enjoying a consistent run in the Top 10 and with hits by Fifty Fifty and Blue Jeans lower down there are no fewer than four South Korean acts on the Top 75 together, I'm told this the first time this has ever occurred.

The Berzerker

Man of the week as far as the albums market is concerned is J Hus, his latest joint Beautiful And Brutal Yard ended up as far and away the most-streamed album of the week. And in the absence of any strong selling new release the path was clear for it to power its way to the top of the charts, taking the rapper to No.1 for the second time in his career. All 17 of the album's tracks were streamed enough to justify chart placings, but of course as we all known only three are allowed to chart. The already-successful Who Told You suffers slightly from coming up against the Jung Kook juggernaut and so slips to No.5, but it is joined by new entries Militerian at No.23 and Masculine at No.24.

The American end of things is maintained by not only the presence of Latto in the Top 10 but now Gunna as his surprising crossover hit Fukumean finally makes good on its promise and reaches a new peak of No.7.

Smooth Crotch

The long-awaited release of the Barbie movie has done little to calm the fevered speculation over it, talk now moving on to just what its feminist intentions are. But there's little doubt that the Mark Ronson-curated Barbie: The Album soundtrack is making just as big a cultural impact. The album has already spawned two hits: Dua Lipa's most there Top 20 hit Dance The Night, and Nicki Minaj and Ice Spice's flailing Barbie World (although that reaches a new peak this week and hits No.20 for the first time). They are however joined this week by the startling addition of What Was I Made For by Billie Eilish which slams into the chart at No.10. You can see why this has turned out to be the movie's biggest hit so far, the American star slipping back into full on No Time To Die mode with a wistful piano-led ballad that you suspect makes even more sense in the context of the plot itself. The 23rd Top 75 hit for the cult performer who blows alarmingly hot and cold with her chart performances, this is her ninth Top 10 hit, her first since Happier Than Ever reached No.4 almost two years ago.

Hurry Hurry Lover

Based on online chatter alone Troye Sivan's new single Rush might have been expected to be one of the bigger new hits of the week. For the moment however it has to be content with a No.24 entry, although that is more than enough to give the Australian star the biggest hit he has ever enjoyed as a lead artist and indeed his second-biggest chart hit of any kind in this country, second only to the Lauv single I'm So Tired on which he was co-billed and which reached No.8 in 2019. Friends and I were debating just what the melody of the track's chorus reminded us of. Only to finally realise it was - of all things - Baby Jane by Rod Stewart. Check it out, you cannot unhear it once it has been pointed out. 

Lighter Crew Checking In

If anyone is keeping a list of the artists and producers that Becky Hill hasn't collaborated with then we can now check Chase & Status off the list. Her second chart entry of 2023 is Disconnect which arrives neatly at No.26, the follow-up to the slightly underperforming (to say the least) Side Effects which was never quite able to make good on its potential and flamed out at No.35 a couple of months ago.