So, here’s a shocker. After 4 weeks at No 2 and seemingly losing chart points last week, Lissie’s ‘Hollywood’ has rebounded to earn its first week at No 1. Hannah Lou Clark’s ‘Cowboy Joe’ drops to No 2 after six weeks on top, and is not the most successful debut hit of all time after all. Unless it rebounds itself next week. ‘Hollywood’ is something of a ‘triumph over adversity’ song, with a real theme of learning from pain, which fits quite well with some of the events we have seen in the Olympics. That last line “You don’t own me” is an absolute killer, particularly because I still can’t quite work out if it is real defiance or a cry in the dark. Increasingly the former, actually. Now we really do need to try and find out why Lissie does not play this song in her live show – she is a superb artist and it seems a bit churlish to not see her for that reason only. So if anyone knows her, can you steer her in the direction of this blog please? I’ll tweet her too and see if she lets me know.
The big guns are massing meanwhile behind Sara Hartman’s wonderful pop hit ‘Satellite’ at No 3 and Tegan and Sara’s ‘Stop Desire’ at No 4. We were expecting big things of course from Ray BLK and Stormzy, who leap to No 6 with ‘My Hood’, and from Adele whose ‘Remedy’ has hit the Top 10 as well this week. Rather less expected was the superb success for Nieves and ‘Broken Oars’, which has enjoyed a very impressive move from No 12 to No 5. Now, I like a good heartbreaker, but ‘Broken Oars’ is possibly the most desolate, devastatingly tragic song I have heard in years. “We can’t live like this – the telly, the curtains, our union in bits” – it kind of gets worse from there. The whole landscape of the song is stunningly evocative, and Brendan Dafters’ strong accent is the perfect accompaniment. It’s utterly brilliant. One question – why ‘Nieves’?
So, what else is going on? Well, after last week’s surprise highest new entry for Demi Lovato (‘Body Say’ drops this week, just to make the point) I have tweaked the process for determining the entry position for the new songs to give those likely Top 40 hits a bit of a boost. They have been circulating on the Heatseekers Chart for three or four weeks after all. There are a few songs which have directly benefitted from this move, notably ‘Impossible Tracks’ from The Kills (a glorious love song, even if “I was carried away… I was moving too fast on impossible tracks” also has some echoes this week) which is the highest new entry at No 48. Banks and ‘Fuck With Myself’ at No 52 is another very solid debut, and there is a first chart hit for Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes, whose riotous hardcore track ‘Snake Eyes’ arrives at No 70. Carter’s vocal sounds very reminiscent of Arctic Monkeys’ Alex Turner to me.
And in massive contrast, I don’t think I should leave the Singles Chart this week without admitting to probably my biggest guilty pleasure of all. And I have a few – Girls Aloud (particularly ‘Call The Shots’), ‘Broken Strings’, Amy McDonald (seriously, she’s great – what has happened to her?) – but you cannot beat a bit of Britney, can you? Yes, Britney Spears has come slinking back into chart action with ‘Make Me…’, featuring a rap from G-Eazy, and it is well up to scratch. Her dramatic personal problems and some of her odd decisions have made her an easy target for mickey-taking, and my own view is that the quality of some of her music (and of her vocal) has been underestimated as a result. I can take or leave ‘Baby One More Time’ and its near identical twin ‘Oops I Did It Again’, but the Spears discography also includes such monumental songs as the wonderful pure pop ‘Born To Make You Happy’, the unbelievably uncool ‘I’m Not A Girl (Not Yet A Woman)’, the criminally ignored ‘Perfume’ and her best song, the outstanding ballad ‘Everytime’ (complete with gut-wrenching video). ‘Make Me…’ might not be in that class, but after she seemed to be sinking into Las Vegas residence hell a la Celine Dion at around the time of the release of ‘Britney Jean’, this is a return to form with a bit of an urban edge to it. Her ninth album is expected later this year.