So, after considerable difficulty Hannah Lou Clark has finally equalled the record for the most successful debut appearance ever on my chart as ‘Cowboy Joe’ returns to No 1 for its seventh week, with Lissie’s ‘Hollywood’ dropping to No 2 after two weeks at the top. ‘Cowboy Joe’ and ‘Hollywood’ are both losing chart points, so the odds of either being No 1 next week are pretty low. That would seem to open up a bit of a dilemma for me as the obvious song to replace them is Ray BLK and Stormzy’s ‘My Hood’, which has climbed to No 3 this week (overtaking both ‘Stop Desire’ and ‘Broken Oars’). As you all know, ‘My Hood’ is a superb song, and I’d ordinarily be delighted with it at No 1, but for some reason it has disappeared from Spotify this week. When a previous artist decided to withdraw her songs from Spotify, I immediately banned her from my chart! (Hello, Taylor). I’m not going to do the same with Ray BLK, and I still need to talk about this in more detail, but it might be germane to point out that without Spotify, I would never have heard of her or this song. So the evil, monolithic enslaver of popular music creators might not be all bad after all, perhaps.
There are some significant moves towards the top end of the chart from The Kills and ‘Impossible Tracks’ (unsurprisingly, from No 32 to No 21), The Naked and Famous (also unsurprisingly, from No 41 to No 29) and Bear’s Den (as ‘Red Earth and Pouring Rain’ jumps 31 places to No 38), while all of those songs might eventually be usurped by Snow Ghosts who have the highest new entry at No 32 with ‘Vetiver’. Well, ‘Vetiver’ might not usurp ‘Impossible Tracks’, in truth. Meanwhile ‘Heartbreak Hi’ at No 51 is a highly impressive Top 100 debut for Avec Sans, and not too far behind that is a rather suprisingly high new entry for Katy Perry and ‘Rise’. I am not one of those snobs who has a problem with Perry – I actually think she is bloody good at what she does, and some of her songs are pretty much pop perfection (take ‘Firework’ and ‘Roar’ as obvious examples). She can hammer out a top notch ballad (‘Unconditional’) and had a startling No 1 in my chart early in 2014 with ‘Dark Horse’, her collaboration with Juicy J. ‘Rise’ has appeared at a slightly odd time, as it had been linked with NBC’s coverage of the Olympics in the States. Perry has talked about the song’s ability to “inspire us to heal, unite, and rise together”, and the video has a montage of great American performances from the past to further motivate us all. Montages always remind me of ‘Team America World Police’ though, and somehow smaller, more personal acts of courage in the Olympics move me more than more obvious American displays of overemotion in my mind… so with that bunch of cynicism out of the way, I can probably say that ‘Rise’ is going to benefit from not being attached to the Olympics at all as far as I am concerned, and it will stand or fall in my chart on its strengths as a song, pure and simple.
Two more songs I have not mentioned so far deserve a bit of focus this week. First up we have The Invisible, a three piece from London led by Dave Okumu, and including Tom Herbert and Leo Taylor. The band are ‘genre-bending’ apparently (their Wikipedia page lists no fewer than six different genres of music including ‘downtempo’ and ‘synthpop’), and their third album ‘Patience’ includes current chart hit ‘So Well’. This is a lovely melancholic piece of music, with breathy vocals contributed by Jessie Ware – after a few listens it actually gets quite haunting, with its theme (so common in music it seems) of nobody ever really knowing anyone else. Fortunately we have the perfect antidote to all that sadness in Arkells, whose new single ‘Drake’s Dad’, the first release from their fourth album ‘Morning Report’ is new in the Top 100 at No 92 this week. Arkells are best known (to me anyway) for their 2014 hit ‘Leather Jacket’, and ‘Drake’s Dad’ bounces along with a similarly enthusiastic tale of a rather off the wall road trip. It’s all a true story too, apparently – and yes, the ‘Drake’s Dad’ of the title is actually Drake’s Dad – or Dennis Graham who ‘couldn’t have been nicer’ according to the band. How the band bumped into him in a bar in Beale Street, Memphis is not explained. You could be forgiven for thinking that Arkells are all about a bit of a laugh, but then you’ve not heard the next single from ‘Morning Report’. ‘My Heart’s Always Yours’ is a big, ballsy rock ballad that flows over a top notch tune, and is the kind of song that might just push you up to the next level. It is going to be big, I think.