These Days Remembered
A fight! A battle! A two-way tussle!
Yes, they don't come along all that often, but this week there was genuine intrigue surrounding the ultimate destination of the No.1 album with what at first turned out to be two releases vying for supremacy.
It all began on Monday with the very first official midweek update, the usual first opportunity we have to understand the potential outcome of the albums chart. A Kiss For The Whole World by Enter Shiraki, we were told, was in the lead. But with just 400 sales in it there was a very good chance that Fuse by Everything But The Girl could overtake it.
At this point things went a bit nuts, as everyone paid close attention to the fact that the aforementioned veteran duo had in fact never enjoyed a No.1 album before. And suddenly they were in close contention to do so with their first studio album together in fully 24 years. The group themselves cottoned onto this, their social media transforming from "oh the reaction to our new release has been so wonderful, thank you for your support" to "BUY IT NOW, WE MIGHT GET TO TOP THE CHARTS".
Sure enough the hype worked. The next official update when it arrived on Wednesday put Ben and Tracey in the lead by the small matter of 600 copies and there was much rejoicing. Only for Official Charts to come along and spoil the mood on Thursday by announcing the lead had switched again. At which point we all held our breath and waited for Friday to draw back the veil on the final tally.
So here it is. Enter Shikari have this week's No.1 album, A Kiss For The Whole World storming the market with 13,513 copies sold. Absorbingly that's a full 4,000 more than they had registered by the last full figures we were privy to on Wednesday, indicating that they too were playing a long game with a late drop of some extra physical product. For all the hype over the prospect of EBTG breaking their chart duck it is easy to overlook that this too is Enter Shikari's first No.1 album after a sixteen-year wait.
That means the No.2 album of the week is… not the Everything But The Girl album. Nicking in at the last moment is one of this year's Record Store Day drops, The 1975's Live With The BBC Philharmonic Orchestra - the belated commercial release of a 2016 performance originally taped for radio broadcast and which has been available online almost ever since. That leaves Fuse languishing sadly at No.3, its 11,977 sales just 1,600 behind the market leader. But alas a miss is as good as a mile. And let's be honest, it would have made for a wonderful story had it managed to top the charts. It is still the highest-charting Everything But The Girl album ever, beating out 1996 release Walking Wounded which peaked at No.4.
They're Back Baby
On the singles chart we have a surprise that isn't really a surprise, the exhaustion of the physical copies of Lewis Capaldi's Wish You The Best meaning it was unable to sustain the momentum and slides to No.3. That opens the door for Miracle by Calvin Harris and Ellie Goulding to gracefully return to the top of the charts, the song belatedly enjoying a third week at the summit. As I have noted many times in these pages, that which was uncommon has now become normal. Between 1969 and 1993 no single enjoyed two back-to-back spells at the top of the charts. With this movement this week 2023 becomes the 15th year in a row that at least one No.1 single has performed the trick - a run dating all the way back to 2009.
The changing of the guard also hands David Kushner the No.2 single he was denied a week ago as Daylight proves to be no one week wonder and duly climbs a place. The gap between the two singles is negligible - a mere 267 chart sales the difference. The Top 5 is rounded out by Libianca holding firm with People at No.4, and the alarmingly evergreen Calm Down by Rema which continues to confound. The afrobeats smash has escaped the ACR axe again and again and this week climbs back a place to No.5 in what is now its 17th straight week as a Top 10 single (its 19th in total), fully 35 weeks into its chart run. There seems little chance it is ever going to be low low low low low low low.
Return Of The Old
Weeks of steady climb mean that React by Switch Disco and Ella Henderson is now rewarded with a place in the Top 10 as the club track moves 12-8 to become the only new arrival this week. By an extraordinary coincidence then at the same time as we have a No.1 single directly inspired by the work of the late Robert Miles, we have a Top 10 single that explicitly interpolates one of his compositions, React based heavily around the melody from his 1996 smash hit Children. You'll notice Miles even gets a credit on the YouTube embed of the video and indeed on services like Spotify. Its chart listing the only place the late producer doesn't get a credit it seems.
At Sixes And Sevens
The highest new entry frustratingly tops out at No.11 as Tony Soprano 2 becomes far and away the biggest hit single yet for Courtney "Nines" Frecklton. The Harlesden-born rapper had previously only ever reached a high of No.25 with Airplane Mode released back in September 2020.
It has nothing to do with the work of John Lennon specifically, but The Weeknd has acknowledged that his new single is indeed named in honour of the former Beatle's famous posthumous double album Double Fantasy. A collaboration with Future, the atmospheric track serves as the opening gambit from his new album, his soundtrack to the HBO series The Idol of which he is the musical consultant. This may have a longer chart life than its opening suggests, the single gently debuting at No.14.
Draw Back Your Bow
Speaking of longer chart lives than anyone could have predicted, Cupid from Fifty Fifty is doing what practically no K-Pop single has ever done before, growing virally beyond its first week debut to slowly and steadily climb the charts. It is now a Top 20 single for the first time as it edges upwards to No.18. And there is still life in it yet I'm sure.
Eight months after Hold This propelled him into the Top 40 for the first time Hstikkytokky is back with a second hit, Twust becoming the producer and songwriter's biggest personal success to date as it lands at No.21.
There's a final gathering of new arrivals just at the bottom end of the Top 40. Leading the way is RAYE whose follow up to No.1 hit Escapism finally creeps into the Top 40 after a five week climb as i debuts at No.35. One place below is Tyler The Creator alongside Kali Uchis with See You Again, a track which dates back to 2017 but which has - you guessed it - started to enjoy some TikTok virality and now belatedly becomes a hit single.
Back From The Body Shop
Unholy may have been a global smash and responsible for briefly kickstarting Sam Smith's career again, but the credit was in some ways misplaced as the hyperpop single was actually far more representative of the work of his credited collaborator on the single, German performer Kim Petras. That said, she lands herself her second British chart hit this week with the startlingly mainstream sounding synthpop hit Alone, a track featuring a Nicki Minaj jump on to give it that extra certain something. The lowest new entry of the week is actually the best pop record of the bunch, even if that is mostly due to its being based on a lift of DJ Jurgen's 1999 hit Better Off Alone.
So let's recap. Switch Disco's hit is based on Children. David Guetta's Baby Don't Hurt Me is based on What Is Love? from Haddaway and Kim Petras is using Better Off Alone as inspiration for her record. Three 2023 hits all centred around samples from 1990s Eurodisco. The old times are back again!