analysis

Charts analysis: The Weeknd returns to singles summit

Sometimes you make your own luck. After just one week on accelerated decline, Blinding Lights by The Weeknd earns itself an unprecedented instantaneous automatic reset. With its streams boosted back to full sales value, the long-running hit single hurdles back ...

Charts analysis: Keep Calm and carry on - 5SOS beat Dua Lipa to No.1

It was the head to head albums chart battle nobody quite anticipated but perhaps one that we badly needed.  Unexpectedly, it is 5 Seconds Of Summer who are top of the charts this week, the late addition to their tally of a larger than usual number of direct sales helping them overcome what had grown to be a sizable deficit by the time of the final midweek flashes. The Australian group's fourth studio album Calm takes them to No.1 for the second time, debuting at the top with 34,941 sales of which all but 3,739 were paid purchases. That total is even more impressive when you consider that despite the benefit of housing a sizeable hit single (something Calm lacks) their last album Youngblood only debuted at No.3 in 2018 with a first week sale of 16,040. The group's other No.1 album was their second release Sounds Good Feels Good, which debuted at the top in 2015 with a sale of 42,459. She may then have ended up the week's runner-up but it was still only by the narrowest of margins. Home to three of this week's Top 10 singles, Dua Lipa's second album Future Nostalgia debuts a week earlier than scheduled in second place with a chart sale of 34,390 – just 551 copies behind. That's the second time this year that a hair's breadth has separated the Top 2 on the albums chart, Justin Bieber triumphing with Changes by just 150 copies over Lewis Capaldi back in February. Future Nostalgia is still Dua Lipa's highest-charting release to date, eclipsing the No.3 that her self-titled debut eventually climbed to just over two years ago. Said album also enjoys a sales boost of its own this week, climbing 28-19 (2,778 sales) to occupy its highest rung since September last year. To date it has accumulated 603,754 sales. We are used to rap and urban acts endlessly cross-pollinating in a never-ending set of collaborative permutations. For three otherwise unconnected performers to release an entire album in tandem is something entirely new, and such is the novelty of Insomnia is that it propels the team of Skepta, Chip and Young Adz straight into the charts to complete an all-new Top 3. The 12-track album is credited with 12,0005 chart sales, but naturally the overwhelming majority of these (10,207 to be precise) come via streaming activity. Insomnia is Skepta's third Top 10 album, also the third for Chip (albeit his first since 2011 when he was still billed as the more juvenile-sounding Chipmunk), but the first solo albums chart credit for Young Adz. As a member of D-Block Europe he's performed on three Top 10 mixtapes all within the past 12 months. Absent from the studio for a full seven years, grunge legends Pearl Jam make a dramatic return to the upper end of the albums chart this week with their eleventh studio offering Gigaton. The album is this week's No.6 with 7,052 sales. The follow-up to 2013's Lightning Bolt, it is their 9th Top 10 album in all. Following a series of hiccups regarding the date of its planned release, Partynextdoor's third album Partymobile finally hit the road this week and chugs to a halt at No.7 (52,77 sales). That's enough to make it the Canadian performer's highest charting release of his career. His last release Partynextdoor 3 - P3 peaked at 11 back in 2016. Brand new at No.16 is ADHD from Joyner Lucas, a sale of 2,919 handing the American rapper his first hit album on the British charts. Also debuting is American singer-songwriter Brian Fallon who lands at No.32 (1,970 sales) with Local Honey. Successfully maintaining a solo career alongside his work as lead singer of The Gaslight Anthem, American singer-songwriter has charted with two albums to date and this week adds a third to his tally. A new name to the albums chart is Cavetown, the alias of 21-year-old YouTube performer Robin Skinner from Oxfordshire. After three self-released albums Sleepyhead is his major label debut, the promotional clout of Sire Records propelling him to No.52 (1,504 sales).  The Orb grab a 13th chart album at No.62 with Abolition Of The Royal Familia (1,366 sales). It is the first chart album for the club legends since No Sounds Are Out Of Bounds hit No.51 in July 2018. Finally, there is the pleasant sight of a chart debut for Polish pianist Hania Rani whose debut album Esja makes a belated chart appearance at No.65 (1,343 sales) almost a year after it was first released. Her second album Home is pencilled in for release next month, although like so much else at present that could well be subject to change. After several weeks of nerves the artist albums market stabilises a little, rallying 2.9% week on week to sit at 1,526,808 with physical, streaming and download sales all rising – the latter by a full 29.7%. Compilations are by contrast down 5.4% at just 79,526 with attributed streams now representing a full 41.26% of the market.

Charts analysis: Saint Jhn grows Roses spell at No.1 to two weeks

On the face of it, it is an easy second week at No. 1 for Saint Jhn with Roses. The remixed rap hit makes short work of the competition with a 13.7% increase in chart sales to 59,859 of which 55,594 (or 92.9%) are sales-equivalent streams. The untouched original version continues to contribute around 4% to the single’s total sales each week.   Yet it is Blinding Lights by The Weeknd which can consider itself desperately unlucky. Thanks to the boost from the release of the singer’s album After Hours streams of the track are up massively, rising from 5.8 million to 8.2m this week – in pure numerical terms the kind of form that normally all but guarantees you a spot at the top of the charts. But this is also the precise moment that the track slumps to ACR, halving the value of its streams. Blinding Lights this week posts a chart sale of 39,133. Without ACR that total would have risen to 72,908 and would indeed have ensured the Canadian was top of both singles and albums listings.   Of some small consolation is the fact that the remaining tracks from The Weeknd’s album utterly dominated the streaming tables this week. Restricted to three chart entries by rule The Weeknd is brand new at No.17 (20,903 sales) with In Your Eyes whilst the previously teased title track bounds 43-23 (18,727 sales), just shy of the No.20 peak it scaled when first released. Meanwhile, a further 11 tracks from the album are ‘starred out’ from the rest of the chart listings, eight of them within the theoretical bounds of the Top 40.   Returning to the rest of the Top 5: The Box by Roddy Ricch is back up to 3 on 37,216 sales although this will slide to ACR next week, and Lonely from Joel Corry advances further to No.4 with 37,027.   For several weeks now I’ve been noting Dua Lipa’s chasing of her own (long) tail as Physical battles to overtake its predecessor Don’t Start Now on the singles chart. This week that moment has finally arrived. Bolstered by a brand new version which features additional vocals from K-pop star Hwasa (from girl group Mamamoo) the single rises this week to No.5 (34,070 sales), putting it 1,184 sales ahead of her older hit which holds steady at No.6. The release of parent album Future Nostalgia this week should have a beneficial effect on both these two hits and brand new single Break My Heart.   This is one of those odd weeks when the identities of the Top 10 singles remain the same. Knocking keenly on the door and surely to make its bow next week is Girlfriend by Mabel which for now reaches a new peak of No.11 (24,962 sales).   With Roses at No.1 we also have Flowers sprouting further down. The track in question is by Nathan Dawe, which accelerates 37.4% week on week to reach a new peak of No.34 (12,615 sales).  Teasing an as-yet untitled new album set to drop sometime in April, Fredo has the honour of the highest new entry not performed by The Weeknd. Having branched out into more melodic flavours with some recent singles the rap star this time returns to a more basic trap production with Scorpion boasting an arresting flute line to carry his words. It hatches at No.37 – his 16th chart hit in a little over two years.  The passing this week of country legend Kenny Rogers at the age of 81 prompted the inevitable posthumous interest in his most famous singles. Leading the way is airplay staple Islands In The Stream, his celebrated duet with Dolly Parton from 1983 which charts at No.63 (7,462 sales). The original release peaked at No.7 in January 1984. Rogers is also at No.66 (7,323 sales) with The Gambler. The singles market overall continues to hold firm, down a tiny fraction week on week to 19,462,107. Paid-for sales were 445,537, this slightly up on last week’s total of 437,067 but continuing to be below half a million for the first time since downloads were introduced to the singles chart. These are the lowest weekly totals since Week 8, 2005 when just 427,985 singles were sold.

Charts analysis: The Weeknd romps to the top of the albums chart with After Hours

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