analysis

Charts analysis: LF System hold on at singles summit with Afraid To Feel

The longest-running No.1 by an act from my former home city of Edinburgh since The Bay City Rollers spent six weeks at the top of the chart with Bye Bye Baby in 1975, Afraid To Feel secures its fifth straight ...

Charts analysis: Beyoncé lands fourth No.1 solo album

Beyoncé’s first new studio album in more than six years, Renaissance makes its anticipated debut atop the chart, with first week consumption of 31,064 units – more than the rest of the top five combined – made up of 5,122 CDs, 2,772 vinyl albums, 3,356 digital downloads and 19,814 sales-equivalent streams.    Bringing to an end a run of 10 consecutive weeks when the chart was ruled by British males, Renaissance is the 40-year-old American’s seventh solo studio album, and the follow-up to 2016’s Lemonade, which stormed to the summit on sales of 73,392 copies on debut - quite an achievement since it dropped without notice on the second day of the trading week (Saturday), without physical formats, without a prior charting single and in the immediate wake of Prince’s death, which saw him posthumously occupy the No.2, No.3 and No.4 slots behind her. Renaissance, on the other hand, was announced in June, has been represented on the singles chart by Break My Soul for the last seven weeks, and has been released on vinyl and CD – with no fewer than 32 variations of the box set version of the latter attracting sales, according to OCC data – so the fact its introductory frame is 57.67% below that of Lemonade is a little disappointing. Renaissance is Beyoncé’s fourth No.1 solo album, following Dangerously In Love, which sold 113,117 as it opened atop the list in 2003; 4, which sold 89,211 copies when it debuted at No.1 in 2011; and the aforementioned Lemonade. She also reached No.1 as a member of Destiny's Child, whose third of five studio albums Survivor scorched to pole position on sales of 117,967 in 2001. Beyoncé’s biggest-selling album is her third studio set, I Am…Sasha Fierce, which sold 38,010 copies debuting at No.10 in November 2008, had its highest sale of 102,536 copies four weeks later when ranking No.24 in the Christmas chart, and eventually peaked at No.2 on its 39th week in the chart. Home to four Top 10 singles, its consumption to date is 1,836,494 units. Dangerously in Love has sold 1,312,386 copies; 4 has sold 862,600; 2013’s eponymous Beyonce, which reached No.2, has sold 736,678 copies; Lemonade has sold 515,835 copies and B’day has sold 755,148 copies, split between the original No.3 2006 album (483,108 sales), and a 2007 revamp, which was different enough to be charted separately, reaching No.8 and selling 272,040 copies.  Beyonce also had two million selling albums with Destiny’s Child, 2001 chart-topper Survivor – their third album - selling 1,130,983 copies, just ahead of their second album, 1999’s The Writing’s On The Wall, which only peaked at No.10 but has sold 1,120,878 copies.  While Renaissance required the input of scores of writers and producers, sampled dozens of tracks by other artists and was very high-profile, the week’s second highest debut – Surrender by Maggie Rogers - is just the opposite. Without a hit single to her name, 28-year-old Rogers from Maryland wrote and produced every track on her second album, Surrender, with just a trio of collaborators, and used no samples on the set, which debuts at No.6 (4,282 sales). It is the follow-up to her introductory album, January 2018 release Heard It In A Past Life, which debuted at No.25 (3,695 sales) and has thus far sold 37,171 copies. Harry’s House is No.2 for Harry Styles for the second week in a row and fifth time in all (10,131 sales), while Ed Sheeran’s = (Equals) is No.3 for the sixth week in a row and 12th time in all (7,301 sales). With its 40-week tally climbing to 732,425, = moves to the top of the 2020s rankings for the first time, toppling Adele’s 30, which dips 50-67 this week, with 1,633 sales, raising its 38-week tally to 731,414. Sheeran remains behind Adele in career album sales – but it’s close there too, with Adele on 12,509,203 and Sheeran on 12,328,300. The rest of the Top 10: The Highlights (5-4, 4,895 sales) by The Weeknd, Sour (6-5, 4,422 sales) by Olivia Rodrigo, Greatest Hits (8-7, 4,177 sales) by Queen, Gold Rush Kid (7-8, 3,997 sales) by George Ezra, Gold: Greatest Hits (10-9, 3,983 sales) by ABBA and Curtain Call: The Hits (12-10, 3,8409 sales) by Eminem. That’s a 75-week high for The Weeknd, a 14-week high for Olivia Rodrigo and a 50-week high for Queen.  Last week’s No.1, The Theory Of Whatever, dives to No.36 (2,348 sales) for Jamie T. Also exiting the Top 10 are Last Night In The Bittersweet (9-21, 3,089 sales) by Paolo Nutini and Entering Heaven Alive (4-155, 1,005 sales) by Jack White. Having regained the rights to their catalogue, Yorkshire indie trio The Cribs – 41-year-old twins Gary and Ryan Jarman, and their 37-year-old brother Ross - have released much-expanded ‘definitive editions’ of the first three albums, namely their eponymous and previously uncharted 2004 debut; The New Fellas, which reached No.78 in 2005; and breakthrough album Man’s Needs, Woman’s Needs, Whatever, the first of their string of six unbroken Top 20 albums, which peaked at No.13 in 2007. All three are in the Top 20 this week, with Man’s Needs… matching its original peak at No.13 (3,693 sales), while The New Fellas and The Cribs make their first ever Top 75 appearances, at No.20 (3,192 sales) and No.23 (3,012 sales), respectively. Despite their modest chart peaks, they are among the band’s four biggest sellers, with Man’s Needs… on 109,701 sales, The New Fellas on 67,545 and The Cribs on 44,055. Their fourth album – Ignore The Ignorant (No.8, 2009), which saw the trio augmented by former Smiths legend Johnny Marr – is their second biggest-seller on 72,773 sales.  Thirty-one years since their eponymous first album – not to be confused with their eponymous second album – peaked at No.71, electronic dance duo Orbital’s 30 Something debuts at No.19 (3,290 sales). The 12th charted title for the sibling duo – 58-year-old Phil Hartnoll, and his 54-year-old brother Paul – it consists of new songs, re-recordings and remixes.  BBC2 celebrated Kate Bush’s resurgence last Saturday (30 July), screening clips show Kate Bush At The BBC, documentary The Kate Bush Story: Running Up That Hill – both from 2014 – and her 1979 Christmas special. Its consumption increasing 56.22% as a result, her 1986 compilation The Whole Story rebounds 65-28 (2,700 sales). Now That’s What I Call Music! 112 debuts atop the compilation chart on first week consumption of 14,308 units (12,102 CDs and 2,206 digital downloads). The 48-song set thus achieves a (slightly) bigger opening that its immediate predecessor Now! 111 - which sold 14,197 copies when it debuted at No.1 16 weeks ago - but fails to match 2021 equivalent Now! 109, which debuted at No.1 a year ago last week on sales of 20,886 units. The re-released Now That’s What I Call Music! 12 – No.1 on the regular album chart for five weeks in 1988 before being swept aside by Kylie Minogue’s debut album, Kylie – debuts at No.2 (4,717 sales), despite the 32-track original being reduced to 31 tracks by the absence of Phil Collins’ In The Air Tonight in its 1988 remix version by Ben Liebrand. Overall album sales are up 0.28% week-on-week at 1,959,211, 11.46% above same week 2021 sales of 1,757,795. Physical product accounts for 295,565 sales, 15.09% of the total.   

Charts analysis: Four weeks at the summit for LF System

It is now the longest-running No.1 by a Scottish act since Lewis Capaldi spent seven weeks at the summit in 2019 with Someone You Loved, but consumption of Edinburgh duo LF System’s maiden hit, Afraid To Feel, dips 20.35% week-on-week to 48,932 units (3,029 digital downloads, the rest from sales-equivalent streams) on its fourth week at the apex. That’s its lowest sale for six weeks, and the lowest for a No.1 single for 21 weeks. It is now facing a real challenge to its supremacy in the form of new Central Cee cut Doja, which dashes to a No.2 debut on consumption of 39,832 units after being extensively teased pre-release on TikTok. His highest charting single to date, it is the 24-year-old Londoner rapper’s 16th Top 75 entry and fourth Top 10 hit, and is both his own and the current chart’s briefest recording with a playing time of just 97 seconds which are, nevertheless, loaded with controversial lyrics.  His shortest hit, highest-charting song and biggest seller hitherto is 2021 single Obsessed With You, which ran for 108 seconds, reached No.4 and has consumption-to-date of 654,328 units.  Central Cee has a second platinum single in the form of his Overseas collaboration with D-Block Europe, which reached No.6 in February, and has sold 621,652 copies so far. By coincidence, D-Block Europe – for whom Overseas is the only Top 10 hit - have also dropped a new single, namely Fantasy. Although it becomes their 35th hit four years to the week after the release of their first, Yxng Base collaboration Gucci Mane, it makes a muted debut at No.49 (9,226 sales). Easing 2-3 on its 17th consecutive appearance in the top three, As It Was slips below 40,000 sales for the first time, but with consumption of 39,067 units in the week the Harry Styles track is the first 2022 release to achieve a million sales. Ending the week on 1,033,448 units, it is the 68th track to secure a seven-figure sale in the 2020s. Styles’ 11th million seller in all (including six with One Direction), it reached the figure a day after Seventeen Going Under became the 67th of the decade and the first yet for Sam Fender. Falling 16-17, Seventeen Going Under sold 18,325 copies in the week to raise its cumulative tally to 1,017,457.  The Top 10 was devoid of arrivals or departures in the last frame for the first time in 20 weeks. Doja’s arrival shakes things up… but only a bit, with single place declines on falling sales the standard for almost all of the top tier, encompassing Green Green Grass (3-4, 36,078 sales) by George Ezra, Last Last (4-5, 33,213 sales) by Burna Boy, Break My Soul (5-6, 30,175 sales) by Beyonce, Crazy What Love Can Do (6-7, 28,408 sales) by David Guetta, Becky Hill & Ella Henderson, About Damn Time (7-8, 25,042 sales) by Lizzo and Running Up That Hill (8-9, 24,437 sales) by Kate Bush but not IFTK, which holds at No.10 (22,089 sales) for Tion Wayne & La Roux.  21 Reasons (9-11, 21,811 sales) by Nathan Dawe feat. Ella Henderson exits the Top 10. Guitar Songs is the umbrella title for a new two track single from Billie Eilish that unexpectedly dropped last Friday. Her first new hits for nearly a year, both songs make the chart, with TV opening at No.23 (15,127 sales) and The 30th at No.33 (11,794 sales). They raise her overall tally of hits to 21, and her Top 40 entries to 17. Their release also excites demand for her albums with Happier Than Ever (42-28, 2,573 sales) and When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go (72-51, 1,898 sales) the most obvious benefactors. Happier Than Ever’s jump coincides with its first anniversary. It sold 38,855 copies debuting at No.1 last year, has never fallen lower than No.65 in its 52-week run on the chart, and has consumption to date of 190,005 units.   A major overhaul of the singles chart in July 2017 saw the introduction of ACR and the rule which restricts artists to a maximum of three concurrent hits in a primary capacity. The latter tinkering was in order to prevent scenarios such as that four months earlier when Ed Sheeran placed a record nine tracks in the Top 10 simultaneously – all from his Divide album. Five years and two weeks after the rules’ introduction, we have a new record for most simultaneous Top 75 hits since that time… and, wouldn’t you know it, it’s achieved by Ed Sheeran. Sheeran has no fewer than seven songs on the chart this week – his three as primary artist: Bad Habits (39-41, 10,069 sales), Shivers (49-50, 8,699 sales) and 2Step (53-57, 7,491 sales) – plus four where his status is as a featured guest. These are: For My Hand (35-32, 11,967 sales) with Burna Boy, Peru (42-51, 8,692 sales) with Fireboy DML, Bam Bam (57-64, 6,641 sales) with Camilla Cabello and new entry Are You Entertained, a collaboration with American rapper Russell Vitale aka Russ.  Debuting at No.47 (9,409 sales), it is Sheeran’s 66th hit and Russ’ first – 2019 No.9 hit Gun Lean was also credited to Russ, but that’s British rapper Russ Millions. With 30 weeks of 2022 gone, Sheeran has already spent 145 weeks in the Top 75, boosting his career tally to 1,337 – the most of any artist in chart history. After going viral on TikTok, Under The Influence – a track from his 2019 album Indigo – becomes Chris Brown’s 68th hit. Debuting at No.63 it sold 6,674 copies in the week, raising its career tally to 155,283. The seventh and final new entry to the Top 75 is Ku Lo Sa – A Colors Show (96-75, 5,685 sales), the first hit for Nigerian afrobeats star Oxlade.  Last week’s two fastest climbers continue to impress. Up 69-25 last week, Steve Lacy’s introductory Top 40 hit, Bad Habit, now jumps to No.18 (17,771 sales). Meanwhile, TikTok continues to power Snap, the Armenian entry to this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. The track, which finished 20th in the competition, jumped 67-43 last week for Rosa Linn and now sprints to No.26 (13,734 sales) to become the second highest-charting of six hits from the competition this year, eclipsing the No.38 peak of the winner, Ukrainian entry Stefania by Kalush, and trailing only the UK entry and competition runner up, Space Man, a No.2 hit for Sam Ryder. Last week’s highest new entry, Stay With Me, improves 29-22 (15,162 sales) for Calvin Harris, Justin Timberlake, Halsey & Pharrell Williams. I said it was Pharrell’s 27th hit last week – it is actually his 34th, including eight with N.E.R.D. not one as I suggested. Forty-three weeks after its release and three weeks after its previous peak of No.75, Wet Dream climbs 81-74 (5,725 sales) for Wet Leg. It thus matches the peak of their only other Top 75 entry, Chaise Longue, which reached the position in April. The only other hit in chart history entitled Wet Dream was also a slow burner for reggae artist Max Romeo. It didn’t chart for some time, and even when it did, it took 12 weeks to reach its peak position of No.10. It succeeded primarily due to word of mouth – radio wouldn’t entertain playing something with such a rude title, and it used to be skipped on Radio 1’s chart countdown, where its title was never mentioned, with floundering DJs spouting only a variant of ‘a record by Max Romeo’ to identify it. Although it was the only hit by Max Romeo, its digital era sales of 19,160 place it third in his canon, just below War Ina Babylon (23.530 sales) but far behind Chase The Devil (129,924 sales), which provided a sample and much of the melody for The Prodigy’s 1992 No.5 hit Out Of Space.     There are also new peaks for: I Ain’t Worried (13-12, 21,401 sales) by OneRepublic, Stay The Night (15-14, 19,327 sales) by Sigala & Talia Mar, Ferrari (40-36, 11,446 sales) by James Hype & Miggy DeLa Rosa, Big City Life (41-37, 11,389 sales) by Luude & Mattafix, All For You (45-44, 9,942 sales) by Cian Ducrot, Words (72-62, 6,678 sales) by Alesso & Zara Larsson, and 2 Be Loved (Am I Ready) (74-73, 5,756 sales) by Lizzo. Singles consumption is down 2.82% week-on-week at 23,635,402 units, 6.90% above same week 2021 consumption of 22,109,866 units. Paid-for sales are up 0.38% week-on-week at 330,558 – 16.94% below same week 2021 sales of 397,994.  

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