Official Charts Company data has already revealed the impact of Covid-19 on music consumption: streaming rebounding after an initial lockdown dip, as well as a physical sales slump
But the RAJARs move at their own pace, so Music Week’s Q1 ...
"Hands up to the sky, I'm about to fly".
Not every superstar collaboration amounts to the sum of its parts, and in a world where everyone jumps on a track with everyone else eventually, many supposedly dream pairings have failed to capture public imagination.
Then there are the songs which for whatever reason work, something sparks and magic ignites. It is into the latter category that Rain On Me by Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande falls. The latest single release from the former's forthcoming Chromatica album, it storms (no pun intended) to the top of the charts with a chart sale of 70,132 of which 60,234 arrive via sales-equivalent streams. It is the fourth-highest weekly sale for a No.1 single so far this year and the highest total for five weeks, this on the back of the track enjoying the biggest single day of streams globally we have seen all year.
By strange synchronicity it is the sixth No.1 single for both women. Rain On Me returns Gaga to the top of the charts for the first time since Shallow (another duet) in November 2018. Ariana Grande returns to the summit for the first time since her two hits 7 Rings and Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored took turns at the top in February 2019.
Grande now also has the curious distinction of having featured on every one of the last three all-female multi-artist singles to top the charts. Rain On Me is the first No.1 single by a female duo since her own Problem (with Iggy Azalea in tow) topped the charts in 2014. That single was followed to the summit a few months later by Bang Bang on which Jessie J, Nicki Minaj and Ariana herself shared equal billing.
Finally, this is the first No.1 single to reference liquid precipitation in its title since Mint Royale's Singin' In The Rain, which was at the top of the charts almost exactly 12 years ago this month.
Some sympathy should be extended to DaBaby and Roddy Ricch as despite a 6.7% increase in sales they exit the No.1 position after two weeks with Rockstar sliding to second place (61,258 sales the highest of its six week chart career to date). Both the top two singles remain head and shoulders above the rest of the Top 10, whose sales were so tightly packed during the week it anyone's guess as to where they would eventually land.
In order then they are: Rover by S1mba featuring DTG (No.3, 37,787 sales); Say So by Doja Cat (No.4 34,083 sales); Death Bed by Powfu featuring Beabadoobee (No.5, 34,026 sales); Toosie Slide by Drake (No.6, 33,865 sales); Savage by Megan Thee Stallion (No.7, 31,277 sales); Dinner Guest by AJ Tracey featuring MoStack (No.8, 28,791 sales); Blinding Lights by The Weeknd (No. 9, 28,475 sales); and Stuck With U by Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber (No.10, 26,833 sales).
With that final chart placing Ariana Grande, who has now had two chart hits with one-off duets in the space of three weeks, becomes the second female artist this year to claim simultaneous Top 10 hits singles.
The sole Top 10 departure is 6ix9ine's Gooba which collapses 10-23, its chart sales down by 25% week on week to 17,775.
The story of this week's albums chart is the head to head battle between KSI and The 1975 and indeed to a certain extent it played out in the singles listing too, even if the eventual outcome was reversed. KSI's Dissumulation album spawns its allocated three chart singles in the space of existing hit Houdini (up 41.4% week on week) which sits at No.15 with 22,334 sales alongside newcomer album cuts Cap (No.24, 17,496 sales) and Killa Killa (No.27, 15,853 sales). Seven more KSI tracks are excluded from the published chart but would otherwise all sit between positions 38 and 53. Meanwhile tracks from the new The 1975 album also speckle the singles chart. If You're Too Shy (Let Me Know) rises back to No.33 (13,547 sales) and is joined by Tonight (I Wish I Was Your Boy) at No.56 (8,813 sales).
Also new this week are Raw, a teaser cut from Aitch's forthcoming album, which is at No.57 with 8,585 sales; Daechwita, a cut from Agust D's Top 10 album, at No.68 with 7,425 sales and Hickory Dickory Dock by Fredo which clocks in at No.72 with 6,968 sales.
Singles sales are up 2.05 week on week to 21,671,053. Paid-for sales rally slightly and stand at 595,630, a rise of 2.43% over last week. For those curious those paid sales are almost entirely downloads, just 2,386 of them accounted for by physical copies and most of those are back catalogue. Of this week's Top 75 singles just two registered any physical sales at all – Blinding Lights which sold 26 copies and Before You Go which sold 3.
For the full weekly charts data, subscribers can click here.
Two hot acts, two much in-demand new releases, but ultimately only one runaway winner.
Debuting at the top of the charts by the comfortable margin of some 6,763 sales is Notes On A Conditional Form, the fourth studio album by The 1975. It means they maintain their 100% albums chart record, their previous three studio works all having made similarly instantaneous journeys to the top of the charts upon release. Ever-diminishing sales returns are naturally a sign of the times we live in, but for the record we can note that their self-titled debut sold 31,538 copies in its first week, I Like It When You Sleep... 58,378 and A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships 50,209. Notes On A Conditional Form by contrast moved 34,245 units, of which 24,476 were physical copies.
Unable to make good on his early week form then was multidiscipline star KSI, but he can still boast the second biggest album of the week, landing in the runners-up slot with Dissimulation which posts an impressive first week sale of 27,472, of which 19,332 are attributed to audio streams. Although billed as the rapper's first full studio album it is actually his fourth chart entry overall following extended play releases Keep Up (No.13 in January 2016) and Disstracktions (No.31 in September 2017) along with New Age, his collaborative work with Randolph which landed at No.13 just over a month ago.
No.12 alongside Lil Baby on Drip Harder in 2018, and No.24 with his own Drip Or Drown 2 in 2019, 26-year-old rapper Gunna now makes the Top 10 for the first time with his second full studio album Wunna. The third-highest new entry of the week, it reaches No.5 with a sale of 5,882 copies.
He's already appeared on seven chart albums (two of which reached No.1) as a member of Korean boy band BTS, but this week it is the turn of rapper and producer Min Yoon-gi alias Agust D to make his solo debut. His second mixtape D-2 lands with a bang at No.7 with a chart sale of 5,059 copies, propelled inevitably by members of the ARMY who make up BTS' extended dedicated fanbase. The album's self-titled predecessor has notched up 4,685 sales since its 2018 release, adding 190 to that total this week - the most in fact since its second week on release.
There was a nine-year gap between the release of Tim Burgess' first and second solo albums, but the sometime Charlatans frontman is now on something of a roll, I Love The New Sky now his fourth album in under seven years. It is brand new to the charts this week at No.31 with a sale of 2,380. Burgess has grown his brand into something of an online star during lockdown, his nightly Twitter listening parties of albums old and new prompting absorbing conversation, often featuring the original performers themselves.
With a man in a beanie hat grabbing headlines all week, it seems only appropriate that the original knitted headwear fashion icon should be back in the charts himself. Banana Skin Shoes is the ninth studio album by Badly Drawn Boy, his first complete work since he performed the official soundtrack to the 2012 movie Being Flynn. It peels away from the chasing pack at No.34 with 2,127 sales.
Repeating a tactic she has used once before, Carly Rae Jepsen’s 2019 album Dedicated this week spawns a companion release. Arriving with little pre-promotion Dedicated – Side B features 12 unreleased tracks, all products of the sessions which produced its predecessor. The original Dedicated opened its account with 2,963 sales. Side B starts out with 1,801 copies and charts this week at No.42.
Returning to his own material following 2019's Guy, a tribute to his songwriting hero Guy Clarke, Steve Earle & The Dukes land a 19th chart album with brand new release Ghosts Of West Virginia, an album of songs which form the soundtrack to Coal Country, a drama documentary about the Upper Big Branch mining disaster in 2010. The album is No.61 this week selling 1,548 copies.
Described in marketing as "the biggest band you've never heard of", Andy & The Oddsocks are a vehicle for long-serving Cbeebies presenter Andy Day and a collection of musician friends. Originally formed three years ago as part of an anti-bullying campaign the group feature in their own show on the channel and even took to the stage at Glastonbury last year thanks to Emily Eavis whose children are fans. Now the five-piece make the charts for the first time with the album Who's In The Oddsocks, the follow-up to Who Invited This Lot which has sold a cumulative 2,246 copies since it first appeared in 2017. The new album charts at No.64 and opens its account with 1,518 sales.
Hot new product always has the effect of waking the market up. Albums sales rise 4.47% week on week to 1,842,868. Paid sales stand at 392,814, nudging streaming to below 80% of the total once more.
For the full weekly charts data, subscribers can click here.