Chart moves can give a misleading impression of which songs are improving in the most significant fashion in the chart. The reason is obvious – while songs in the lower end of the Top 100 can jump 30 or 40 places, it is rather hard to do that if you are already at No 20. A major jump at the bottom end of the survey often doesn’t lead to that significant a final peak position – but a big improvement in chart points within the Top 20 is a very strong indicator of a very high peak. So let’s look at this week’s chart in a slightly different way by namechecking the songs that have made the biggest improvement in chart points this week.
1st – ‘Vetiver’, Snow Ghosts (19 to 8, 233% improvement)
I have been talking about ‘Vetiver’ becoming a major hit for weeks, and this week’s big jump merely proves the point. A song reaching No 8 on just its third week on the chart is a major feat, and ‘Vetiver’ continues to look like a very likely No 1. The harrowing, eerie synths and those gorgeously poetic lyrics make an impact every time you hear the song. Reaching the Top 10 within 3 weeks is not a guarantee of a No 1 however – among the songs that have not reached No 1 after such a fast start in the last year are On And On’s ‘Drifting’ (which reached No 5 on its second week on the chart), Jess Glynne’s ‘Take Me Home’ and The Slow Show’s ‘Breaks Today’.
2nd – ‘So Well’, The Invisible f/ Jessie Ware (38 to 20, 216% improvement)
This song is rapidly turning into a huge hit – which I didn’t expect after ‘Love Me Again’, the first single from ‘Patience’ failed to even crack the Bubbling Under chart. The haunting music, Jessie Ware’s gorgeously pitched, breathy vocal and some searing lyrics create something special. “Conversation is not enough – Just another way for you to stay out of touch”. Songs that tell of how people don’t really know each other are always really potent and powerful and this is another excellent example.
3rd – ‘Closer’, The Chainsmokers f/ Halsey (59 to 29, 209% improvement)
‘Closer’ is doing as well as its current rate of climb suggests (88 to 59 to 29, and the highest climber in each of the last two weeks). The Chainsmokers have sneakily become the hottest electro-dance-pop act on the planet: their three singles (‘Roses’ and ‘Don’t Bring Me Down’ preceding ‘Closer’) have all been massive hits in the States as well as in my chart. Really good electro-pop is often very straightforward, but top notch vocals are a massive boon – look at the colossal (and still uncredited contribution) Iselin Solheim has made to Alan Walker’s two major hits ‘Faded’ and ‘Sing Me To Sleep’. Then there is Foxes and her vocal on ‘Clarity’. Obviously the vocalist has to be female. If you were going to pick a female vocalist, as I’ve said before, you cannot go wrong with Daya or Halsey. All of the Chainsmokers’ hits this year are top class and why it took me a few weeks to wake up to the excellence of ‘Closer’ I have no idea. Top 1o for sure.
4th – ‘My Hood’, Ray BLK f/ Stormzy (1 to 1, 200% improvement)
Yes, this proves my point. ‘My Hood’ reached No 1 last week, but in pure chart terms it was only chalking up as many points as your average No 2. Now it is a clear No 1 after a huge increase in points. I have said a lot about this song before – suffice to say that I still get a lump in my throat every time I hear the line “Through concrete flowers grow”. Take a walk through Catford, or Lewisham, or Deptford and you will see how true that is.
5th – ‘Impossible Tracks’, The Kills (13 to 5, 186% improvement)
I have been singing the praises of ‘Impossible Tracks’ for weeks too, but it has slowed down a little up to last week. This huge leap into the Top 5 has set it right back on course for No 1. It is a toss up frankly which of ‘Impossible Tracks’ and ‘Vetiver’ will get there first. “I’m gonna roll on back on impossible tracks and get carried away”. My money’s on The Kills, for what it’s worth.
What else has been happening? Well, the unsurprising highest new entry is ‘My Heart’s Always Yours’ from Arkells, but a more surprising second highest new entry is ‘Daisy Chain’, a piece of electro genius from the terribly named Loose Meat. Analogue synthesisers and ‘old skool drum machines’ are heavily involved in the creation of this excellent track. Why Loose Meat? No idea, I’m afraid – one to file alongside those mysteries such as why Lissie never plays ‘Hollywood’ live and why the Augustines are about to embark on a farewell tour. Glad we saw them earlier this year when we did. And finally, ‘Cowboy Joe’ is stubbornly hanging around in the Top 5 – it has now spent 12 weeks in the Top 5 (plus another one at No 6). It is about to go platinum (those symbols beside the top selling songs on the chart list? Green for platinum, yellow for gold, red for silver) and it is right up there with ‘Come Alive’ and ‘Through The Cellar Door’ for the year’s top seller now.