analysis

Charts analysis: Can Meghan Trainor usurp Taylor Swift at the singles summit?

Taylor Swift’s Anti-Hero is No.1 for the fifth week in a row (47,851 sales, including 1,824 digital downloads), with the record it dethroned, Unholy by Sam Smith & Kim Petras, also standing its ground at No.2 (41,049 sales) for the ...

Charts analysis: Dermot Kennedy scores second No.1 album

It’s a great week for Dermot Kennedy who simultaneously scores his second No.1 album with Sonder, and his fifth Top 20 single with Kiss Me. Sonder’s first week consumption of 25,748 units (14,661 CDs, 4,479 vinyl albums, 1,498 cassettes, 1,387 digital downloads and 3,723 sales-equivalent streams) is 28.35% above the 20,061 sales that earned him a No.1 debut with Without Fear, a little over three years ago.    That was the first proper album for the 30-year-old singer/songwriter, although an eponymous January 2019 set comprising previously released tracks was a single sale away from making the Top 75 the week that Without Fear opened at No.1, and has gone on to sell 93,237 copies to date, whilst Without Fear went platinum last month, and has secured to-date sales of 302,976 copies. Hailing from the village of Rathcoole near Dublin, Kennedy is one of just 15 acts born in the Republic Of Ireland to have a No.1 album in the UK. The others, and the order and year in which they first achieved it, are Val Doonican (1967, dethroning The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band), Gilbert O’Sullivan (1973), U2 (1983), Sinead O’Connor (1990), Enya (1991), The Cranberries (1994), Boyzone (1995), The Corrs (1998), Ronan Keating (2000), Westlife (2000), The Script (2008), Niall Horan (2020), Inhaler (2021) and Fontaines DC (2022). Between them, they have had 45 No.1 albums, which have spent 78 weeks at No.1. The population of Ireland, at a little over five million, is about 2.5 times that of Northern Ireland, but the latter country has produced just two UK No.1 albums both by Ash (first in 1996, and again in 2001).     With the holiday season beginning to have a major influence on the chart, a new selection of winter and Christmas songs, Silver Bells, debuts at No.4 (9,327 sales) for Andre Rieu & The Johan Strauss Orchestra. 9,251 of those sales are for the CD/DVD edition, with digital downloads of 56, and sales-equivalent streams of just 20. After first grazing the chart in 2000 – reaching No.51 with Celebration! - Rieu didn’t return for another decade, but he has made up for lost time and Silver Bells is his 26th Top 75, 13th Top 10 and seventh Top 5 album. Dubbed the “world’s first classical superstar” and “the king of the waltz”, the Dutch violinist and bandleader is 73.  Queen’s 13th studio album and sixth No.1 when first released in 1989, spawning five Top 30 hits – a rare feat in those days – The Miracle has been re-released with extra material, including previous unreleased tracks, alternate takes, demos and interviews, and is back in the chart for the first time in nearly 33 years, re-entering at No.6 (7,834 sales). Arriving more than five years after their last album, Canadian rock quartet Nickelback’s 10th studio album, Get Rollin’, debuts at No.8 (7,129 sales), becoming their seventh Top 10 and ninth Top 75 entry. Their last album, Feed The Machine, debuted at No.3 on sales of 17,332 copies in 2017. Nickelback's first two albums fell short of the Top 100 here but third album Silver Side Up became their only number one in 2002 - taking 25 weeks to get there - and is their only million seller, with a to-date sale of 1,135,225, driven by the success of breakthrough single How You Remind Me. The rest of the Top 10: Midnights (3-2, 22,011 sales) by Taylor Swift, Only The Strong Survive (2-3, 9,540 sales) by Bruce Springsteen, Her Loss (4-5, 8,641 sales) by Drake & 21 Savage, Diamonds (8-7, 7,159 sales) by Elton John, = (6-9, 6,782 sales) by Ed Sheeran and Harry’s House (7-10, 6,750 sales) by Harry Styles. It is noticeable that while Harry Styles’ album, Harry’s House, is in the Top 10 for the 27th week in a row since release, One Direction colleague Louis Tomlinson’s Faith In The Future takes a second week 1-25 plunge on consumption of 3,319 units. Also exiting the Top 10 are: A Family Christmas (5-11, 6,371 sales) by Andrea, Mateo & Virginia Bocelli, The Highlights (9-13, 5,635 sales) by The Weeknd, Curtain Call: The Hits (10-14, 4,829 sales) by Eminem.  Two of the most prolific accumulators of chart albums – one dead, the other alive - return this week. On release digitally for nine weeks without charting, the soundtrack to the new David Bowie documentary Moonage Daydream (No.20, 3,770 sales) has now been released on CD, with a cornucopia of rare, previously unreleased and remixed tracks and provides the late legend with his 73rd Top 75 album (75 including Tin Machine). Meanwhile, the venerable Neil Young, who turned 77 earlier this month, has his 68th chart entry with his 42nd studio album - and 15th with Crazy Horse - World Record, debuting at No.45 (2,355 sales).  Chicago heavy metal band Disturbed end a run of three consecutive Top 10 albums with 10th studio set Divisive, their first album for more than four years, becoming their seventh charted release at No.17 (4,225 sales). Also new to the Top 75: Respect The Come Up (No.12, 6,213 sales), the second chart album for Mancunian rapper Meekz; And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow (No.27, 3,208 sales), the fifth album and second chart entry for 34-year-old Californian singer/songwriter Weyes Blood; Diamonds & Rhinestones: The Greatest Hits Collection (No.40, 2,579 sales), a career-encompassing compilation of songs by Dolly Parton, that delivers her 22nd chart album; and Crooks & Queens (No.59, 1,925 sales), the first chart entry for Irish/Mancunian rapper Jordan (McCann). The subject of a newly expanded edition to mark its 40th birthday, Michael Jackson’s seminal 1982 album Thriller is a re-entry at No.18 (4,082 sales). Last in the Top 75 in 2016, and at its highest chart position since it reached No.7 immediately after Jackson’s death in 2009, Thriller has cumulative UK sales of 4,299,257 - or 4,701,914 if we include Thriller 25, the 25th anniversary version of the album, which was charted separately, debuting and peaking at No.3 in 2008.  Now That’s What I Call Music! 113 debuts atop the compilation chart on first week consumption of 14,420 units (12,926 CDs, 1,494 digital downloads). The 48-song set thus achieves a (very slightly) bigger opening that its immediate predecessor Now! 112 - which sold 14,308 copies when it debuted at No.1 16 weeks ago - but fails to match 2021 equivalent Now! 110, which debuted at No.1 exactly a year ago on sales of 22,712 units.  Overall album sales are down 0.19% week-on-week at 2,111,064, 9.56% below same week 2021 sales of 2,334,124. Physical product accounts for 444,677 sales, 21.06% of the total.  

Charts analysis: Taylor Swift spends fourth week at singles summit

Anti-Hero is No.1 for the fourth week in a row for Taylor Swift albeit with consumption slipping 9.86% week-on-week to 51,851 units (2,031 digital downloads, 49,820 sales-equivalent streams).  Having itself spent four weeks at No.1 prior to being dethroned by Anti-Hero, Sam Smith & Kim Petras’ Unholy has been Swift’s runner-up throughout, and is fading slower, with its consumption in the latest frame of 45,571 units being 12.11% less than Anti-Hero, which it trailed by 17.61% only a week ago. The only bona fide new entry to the Top 10 is Calm Down by Afrobeats star and rapper Rema. Released 39 weeks ago, the track first entered the Top 75 11 weeks ago, and has spent five weeks pottering around the teens – but this week it jumps 16-10 (21,320 sales).   There are new peaks within the Top 10 for Miss You (4-3, 34,412 sales) by Oliver Tree & Robin Schulz; Made You Look (8-4, 33,117 sales) by Meghan Trainor; and Messy In Heaven, which jumps 9-5 (32,439 sales) for Venbee & Goddard, after the release of a Belters Only Vs. Seamus D mix digitally, and a signed CD. Stormzy’s Hide & Seek bounces 10-8 (26,489 sales), while Anne-Marie & Aitch’s Psycho (14-7, 27,275 sales) and Rihanna’s Lift Me Up (12-9, 24,726 sales) return to the Top 10. All have charted higher previously. Rihanna’s uplift is partly due to the box office success of the new Marvel Studios film Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, in which it features. The film’s soundtrack also includes Alone, a new track by Afrobeats star Burna Boy, which debuts this week at No.32 (10,052 sales), becoming his 15th hit; and the Spanish language track Con La Brisa (No.75, 5,733 sales), the first hit for Mexican singer Foudeqush and Ludwig Goransson, the Swedish composer who wrote the film’s original score.            Drake & 21 Savage had three debuts in the Top 10 last week but only Rich Flex remains in the top tier, falling 3-6 (31,331 sales).  There are more precipitous falls for Circo Loco (7-20, 14,221 sales) and Major Distribution (5-23, 13,551 sales). Lewis Capaldi’s Forget Me enters ACR and exits the Top 10, sliding 6-16 (15,950 sales). The highest of six debuts in the Top 75 this week is Out Of Nowhere. The 14th hit for Mancunian rapper Bugzy Malone and the first for 21-year-old DJ/producer TeeDee (Tom Dempsey), Out Of Nowhere opens at No.18 (15,069 sales), equalling the peak of Malone’s previous highest charting hit – 2020’s M.E.N III - and surpassing the No.38 peak ascended by DJ Zinc & Ms. Dynamite’s 2010 hit, Wile Out, on which it is based. Also new to the chart: Firebabe (No.26, 12,236 sales), Stormzy’s 40th Top 75 and 27th Top 40 hit, lifted from his upcoming album, This Is What I Mean; World Cup (No.54, 7,160 sales), the introductory hit for 17-year-old gamer and rapper Darren Watkins from Ohio, under the name IShowSpeed; and 2 Sugar (No.70, 6,071 sales), the 11th hit for Afrobeats artist Wizkid and the first for featured vocalist Ayra Starr, both from Nigeria. Two slow-burning hits by Irish singer/songwriters are on the move this week – with one of them entering the Top 20 for the second time, and the other on the verge of doing so for the first time. Twenty-seven weeks into its Top 75 career, and five weeks after its only previous appearance in the Top 20, Cork native Cian Ducrot’s debut hit All For You returns to its peak, bouncing 23-19 (14,959 sales). Meanwhile, Dubliner Dermot Kennedy’s seventh hit, Kiss Me, jumps 25-21 (13,805 sales) on its 11th frame.   Nearly six years after it was first released, TikTok has triggered a resurgence of interest in The Weeknd’s Die For You, which surpasses its original No.74 peak, advancing 77-69 (6,238 sales) this week.  There are also new peaks for Warm (18-17, 15,308 sales) by K-Trap, Lionheart (Fearless) (30-25, 12,496 sales) by Joel Corry & Tom Grennan, 10:35 (60-39, 8,745 sales) by Tiesto & Tate McRae, Golden Hour (44-40, 8,674 sales) by Jvke, Moving All Around (Jumpin’) (64-46, 8,057 sales) by Schak feat. Kim English, Just Wanna Rock (52-50, 7,366 sales) by Lil Uzi Vert and Sweet Lies (81-61, 6,751 sales, previous peak: 66) by Nathan Dawe & Talia Mar. A little over 10 years after it was first released and three weeks after its cumulative consumption topped two million units, Another Love is enjoying another viral updraft, which see it jump 17-12 (19,877 sales) for Tom Odell – its highest chart placing since it peaked at No.10 in May 2013.  Their 16th annual Christmas chart pilgrimages got under way last week, and they both make further advances this week. I’m talking about All I Want For Christmas Is You, which rises 56-36 (9,422 sales) for Mariah Carey and Last Christmas, up 71-42 (8,324 sales) for Wham!.   We mentioned it last week but OCC celebrated the 70th anniversary of the singles chart on Monday. One of the more interesting lists put together to mark the occasion, incidentally, is the OCC’s ranking of the most-streamed records from each year. Produced in association with the BBC, it excludes Christmas tracks, and has thrown up some unexpected but interesting results.  The 1960s was the most surprising decade. Although the chart was largely dominated at the time by British acts, the No.1 track for eight of the 10 years was by Black American acts, the other two by white British groups. The 1962 champion, although it has never charted, is Cry To Me by Solomon Burke, which has accrued sales-equivalent streams of 328,950. The two British groups to top the 1960s streaming lists were The Rolling Stones, No.1 for 1966 with Paint It Black and The Beatles, top for 1969 with Here Comes The Sun.  The BBC Sounds app includes special shows in which all of the streaming champs are played. Although musically enjoyable, they include some woeful research – in Tony Blackburn’s breeze through the sixties, he played Here Comes The Sun, before claiming that it was “one of Lennon & McCartney’s most popular songs”. George Harrison must be turning in his grave. Playing Tiny Dancer, the 1972 winner, Johnnie Walker said “it only reached No.4 in the UK…when originally released”. In fact, it wasn’t a single then, and has only reached No.70 in the streaming era.      Overall singles consumption is down 0.55% week-on-week at 24,661,823 units, 2.85% above same week 2021 consumption of 23,978,248 units. Paid-for sales are down 1.38% week-on-week at 291,676 – 19.78% below same week 2021 sales of 363,614.  

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