Like I Like My Coffee

Double chart queen a week ago, Taylor Swift has to be content with retaining her crown on just one of the two charts, although at one stage it looks like she would be ejected from both.

For now, The Tortured Poets Department retains its lead at the top of the Official UK Albums chart, Swift becoming the first artist in some considerable time to spend two consecutive weeks at No.1. That's oddly reminiscent of that extraordinary run which lasted from mid-2020 to mid-2021 when she became the only artist in 10 months to have an album that enjoyed more than seven days at the summit. Such is the power of the Swifties.

That alas means we are denied the spectacle of the Pet Shop Boys enjoying their first chart-topping record in 30 years, although Nonetheless still becomes their first No.2 record since 1995s b-sides compilation Alternative. Although as colossal chart nerds themselves, Tennant and Lowe will be the first to note that changing sales patterns mean a No.2 record in 1995 and a No.2 record in 2024 have no direct equivalence in terms of sales. But at the end of the day you can still only beat what is in front of you, so bravo them.

Last week I hinted that a short-lived No.1 run for Taylor Swift at the top of the Official UK Singles chart was a possibility, but I had genuinely no inkling as to what would eventually replace her. After just three weeks on release Espresso from Sabrina Carpenter percolates nicely to the very top of the market, handing the American star her first ever No.1 single on these shores. The bubblegum-disco groove (masking a surprisingly dark lyric) oozes class and charm for sure, but given the singer's own past chart form and given heck, the prevailing musical tastes of the year to date, I would for all the world never have pegged this as a No.1 single. Chances are then we are about to see this replicated across Europe. Carpenter herself is utterly thrilled by the news:

It was however a close-run thing. Just 484 chart sales separated the songs at 1 and 2 on the singles chart, the tightest chart race since Miracle by Calvin Harris and Ellie Goulding topped the charts by a mere 267 sales exactly one year ago.

For those keeping track, yes that does mean yet another American singer at the top of the British charts, and continuing the run which means British acts have been shut out of the No.1 position for 18 weeks in a row. That's by no means a record, but in this modern era it still remains quite startling. It certainly appears to be the longest local shut-out since 1991 when successive No.1 hits from Cher (American), Color Me Badd (American), Jason Donovan (Australian), Bryan Adams (Canadian) and U2 (Irish) contrived to occupy the No.1 position between them for 27 weeks in a row.

Get Boozing

In a neat bit of symmetry, three of the last four No.1 singles all line up in a row underneath Sabrina, with Taylor Swift (2), Hozier (3) and Benson Boone (4) all clinging doggedly onto life. The glaring absence is Beyonce's Texas Hold 'Em which alas succumbs to ACR this week and tumbles to No.27.

Competing the Top 5 is Atemas with I Like The Way You Kiss Me, the producer once more notably the only British act in the whole of the Top 10.

Beyonce may have left us for now but there is still some black country (and I don't mean Dudley) in the Top 10 as Shaboozey's lurch last week proves to be no one-off. A Bar Song (Tipsy) is now a certified smash with a jump to No.6. And it maintains the total bizarro world that 2024 has turned into. Alt-rock and country dominating popular tastes since January. As if to prove how far the pendulum has swung, take Aitch who a couple of years ago was more or less guaranteed Top 3 with everything he farted out. His new joint Famous Girl is this week a new entry at No.78.

She Can't Help It

The highest new entry of the week is… Taylor Swift. This was always going to happen, the tight margins between all of the tracks from her album meant that there was a good chance they would do the chart hokey-cokey with each other. So of her three hits from last week Fortnight (No.2) and Down Bad (No.10) survive, but title track The Tortured Poets Department has seen its streams tail off. That means I Can Do It With A Broken Heart now qualifies for the singles chart and appears at No.8 after being starred-out between 4 and 5 last week. Purists (and Mr Gerrymandered) from the comments will see this as justifying their grumbles. But given a choice between this and the sight of TayTay clogging up all the Top 14 spots on the Hot 100 in America, which absurdity do you prefer?

These Hits

Lower down we have the fun sight of Natasha Bedingfield occupying consecutive chart places with songs from 20 years ago. Unwritten, the revived hit that refuses to die, is at No.21 while the extraordiary Badger remix of These Words has overcome its stall from last week and jumps to a new peak of No.22. It still remains an insult to the original, but a stream is a stream.

Another hit to keep and eye on is Million Dollar Baby, the debut chart hit from American rapper and singer Tommy Richman. The online viral success lands smartly at No.31 and while like everything else these days it is vanishingly brief (running just over two and a half minutes in the single edit), I'm fairly certain it is due for greater things.

Why Don't You Call Me

And finally, after several weeks bubbling under the Top 40, numerous items from the back catalogue of the late Amy Winehouse return to the charts for the first time since her sad death in 2011. This is all prompted by the biographical drama film Back To Black which may not have been without its share of controversy but which has served to spark new interest in some of her biggest past hits. Back To Black itself is at No.39, but most notably one place above is the track that despite being a cover version is arguably her signature hit. Mark Ronson's version of Valerie (originally written and released by The Zutons) is this week's No.38, its highest chart placing since March 2008 at the tail end of the original chart run which saw it peak at No.2 in October 2007. In a cute moment of synchronicity, The Zutons themselves have a new album out and The Big Decider is this week's No.7, their comeback fourth album maintaining their 100% record of Top 10 records.

Oh yes, and while total market figures are more of an industry obsession, it is worth noting that the singles market this week set a new record of 29.8m sales (this number based on all streams converting at their original 1:100 ratio rather the ones that make up singles chart rankings). Meaning we are only a small step from the milestone of the first ever 30 million sales week.