ChartChatUK

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Chart Chat Edition 814 : Christmas No.1 Contenders

Chart Chat Edition 814 – Christmas Number One Contenders 2015

Introduction

For those reading this for the first time, Chart Chat has been in existence for over 16 years. We completed eight hundred editions reviewing the weeks charts and new releases before deciding it was time for a change of format.  Now we will be looking at new music ahead of its release, and it won’t always feature tracks released as singles. I have learned in recent years that the best music does not always make the charts, and to renew my love of music I have had to look to broader horizons.

 

This years race for the Christmas no.1 is wide open with the X Factor winner due to release their single the week before the festive rundown so just who are the artists who are catching the bookies eyes this year.

 

X Factor Winner – ‘Forever Young’ (EVENS)
Despite the series finishing slightly early this year the winners single is still leading the betting. Last year saw Ben Haenow take the festive top spot with ‘Something I Need’ following on from Sam Bailey’s success a year earlier with ‘Skyscraper’. In fact the X Factor winner won the annual race each year between 2005 and 2008 before Rage Against The Machine capitalised on a public protest vote to defeat Joe McElderry. This year the winner looks set to be one of Che Chesterman, Louisa Johnson and Lauren Murray though as Fleur East will testify the runner up can often end up enjoying more success. It appears that the winner of this years competition will sing Bob Dylan’s classic ‘Forever Young’ but that may suit some contestants more than others. With no other major contender declared at this stage it is possible that it could hold on for the second week that it would need to claim the coveted Christmas top spot.

 

Adele – ‘Hello’ (6/1)

While this track has already topped the charts it is quite possible that this will still be hanging around by then.  With streams now forming a significant part of chart return data it should fare well over the coming weeks although whether it will have the strength to return to the top spot remains to be seen. Her album has been breaking records over the past few days and is bound to find its ways into a few Christmas stockings particularly given the fact that it is not due to be available on music streaming services. The video to this track has been viewed an astonishing 451m times since it was made available at the end of October. In addition to ‘Hello’ her album track ‘When We Were Young’ has also been performing well with a version recorded at the Church Studios being viewed over 20m times. As such that could also put in a late bid for the number one position.

 

John Williams – ‘Star Wars Theme’ (6/1)

Each year it seems there is an anti X Factor single, but few have come close to replicating the success of Rage Against The Machine in 2009. AC/DC reached the top five with ‘Highway To Hell’ in 2013 but last year Iron Maiden missed the top forty altogether with ‘Number Of The Beast’. This year a Facebook group has acquired over 425k members and is aiming to take on the X Factor winner on Christmas week. Few will have failed to notice that this December sees the release of the seventh Star Wars film ‘The Force Awakens’ and the publicity surrounding that can only help the success of this campaign. Star Wars fans are a dedicated bunch and I am sure that there will be some serious weight behind this campaign. As things stand the bookies seem to give them a limited chance as 6/1 seems to suggest that they will end up falling just short of the finish line.

 

Eagles Of Death Metal – ‘Save A Prayer’ (6/1)

Shortly after the terror attack in Paris this track saw an upsurge in downloads and was the subject of a social media campaign to get it to the top of the charts. Although it did make the top ten on individual days it’s placing at the end of the week was no.53 and so my feeling is that its best chance may have gone. It has however given the band their highest charting UK single to date, going some twenty places higher than their only other hit ‘I Want You So Hard (Boy’s Bad News)’ which was released back in 2006. Their current album ‘Zipper Down’ reached no.32 upon its release last month and the indications were Given that the band were the ones performing at the Bataclan venue when it was attacked there would be a positive reaction by many fans if this were to climb to the top of the Christmas charts. If it did succeed it would actually improve on the no.2 position achieved by the Duran Duran original back in 1982.

 

Kylie Minogue & James Corden – ‘Only You’ (20/1)

It’s not exactly clear why Kylie has opted to release a Christmas album this year, or why she has asked James Corden to appear on one of the tracks.  However that is exactly what has happened and some bookmakers are quoting odds of 20/1 for this to top the charts. The track started out as a no.2 hit for Yazoo in 1982 but it topped the charts for the acapella band Flying Pickets the very next year. For me the ‘100 Degrees’ duet with sister Dannii Minogue would have made for a better single but I can see why her record label might have seen this becoming a hit. Reaction to the album has been mixed and it only entered at no.12 upon its mid November release but with many fans already owning this on the album there seems little incentive for them to download it again. James doesn’t actually have a bad voice and if this picked up sufficient airplay over the festive period it could yet become a hit single.

 

Cilla Black – ‘You’re My World’ (20/1)

This is another song which is the subject of an internet campaign although with just 12k members it would appear to be someway behind the Star Wars campaign. The track originally topped the charts in 1964 and made a return earlier this year when it reached no.91 following her death. The group have requested that EMI also produce a limited run of CD singles to accompany the release as this would help to boost sales amongst those fans who may not choose to download music. As with the Eagles of Death Metal track you have to feel that the peak momentum behind this track has been and gone but at this time of year anything can happen (and it usually does!). It was also requested that any profits from sales of the track go to Great Ormond Street hospital but whether that will happen has yet to be confirmed.

 

John Lennon – ‘Imagine’ (20/1)

This has appeared in the running this year for two or three different reasons. Firstly it would have been John’s 75th birthday this year but the song took on additional significance following the Paris terrorist attack. Not only do the lyrics resonate about the whole world living as one but an unnamed pianist played the track outside the Bataclan theatre following the terrorist attacks there. The track first charted in 1975 when it made no.3 but it became his third chart topper in the weeks following his death in 1980. It was then later reissued in 1988 when it peaked at no.45 but it had another top three run in 1999. It has sold 1.64m copies over the years and is one of the top twenty best selling singles in UK history. I’m not sure that it can top the charts some forty four years after it was first recorded even if the sentiments ring as true today as they did back then.

 

The Lewisham & Greenwich NHS Choir – ‘A Bridge Over You’ (20/1)

This song is already available but has been the subject of a social media campaign to get it to the top of the charts. The choir first appeared on Gareth Malone’s TV show ‘Sing While You Work’ where they finished runners up in the competition and they first released the video to this track two years ago. The track sees a mash-up of Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ and Coldplay’s ‘Fix You’. The Facebook campaign has over 150k members already and the video has been viewed over 100k times on YouTube. Charity singles can often perform well and if everyone who has signed up for the campaign downloaded both versions (the Radio Edit and the Extended Version) then it would probably sell enough to top the charts. As I mentioned earlier this years top spot is very much a wide open race so if this group can gather some momentum in the weeks that lay ahead then they could well be in with a shout.

 

The Killers – TBA (100/1)

No significant odds being offered on this year, but it wouldn’t be Christmas without a brand new track being released from the band. For me last years Jimmy Kimmel collaboration ‘Joel The Lump Of Coal’ was one of my favourites although I think that their Neil Tennant and Elton John due ‘Joseph Better You Than Me’ has to be their best Christmas song to date. So far only ‘Don’t Shoot Me Santa’ has charted, reaching no.34 back in 2007. Other tracks released to coincide with Yuletide have included ‘Christmas In LA’, ‘I Feel It In My Bones’, ‘Boots’ and ‘Happy Birthday Guadalupe’. I will be keeping an eye out for the video which will be coming over the next few days and will certainly be downloading the track once it has become available. Brandon Flowers released his latest solo album earlier this year so fingers crossed for some new material from the band at some point next year.

 

Other Contenders

Other tracks / artists who could be considered in the running include ‘Echoes Of Merry Christmas Everyone’ by Shakin’ Stevens, ‘Christmas In The Air (Tonight)’ by Scouting For Girls, ‘Alone On Christmas Day’ by Phoenix featuring Bill Murray, ‘Christmas Without A Prayer’ by Sparks and ‘The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)’ by Blake & Shirley Bassey.

 

So who will triumph this year? The chart itself is on Christmas Day so it looks set to be a year to remember.

 

 

Ian Anderson (@ChartChatUK)

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22 November, 2015 Posted by | ChartChat | Leave a comment

Chart Chat Special : David Bowie – ‘Blackstar’ (Released 20.11.15)

Last time around his comeback single ‘Where Are We Now?’ appeared without warning and was released to download on the same day. It peaked at no.6 and in doing so gave him his highest charting single since ‘Absolute Beginners’ back in 1986. The accompanying album ‘The Next Day’ soon went straight in at the top and despite his reticence to tour David Bowie was well and truly back on the musical map.

This time around couldn’t be more different with ‘Blackstar’ receiving it’s world premier across TV channels. A sprawling ten minute song, this is a far cry from his radio friendly singles in the 1980’s. The video opens with an astronauts suit and a woman with a tail who discovers a jewel encrusted skull inside the outfit.

Bowie makes his first appearance blindfolded alongside dancers who appear to be shaking in an involuntary manner. It is a striking image, and a little disturbing! Things take a different turn after five minutes with Bowie singing “something happened on the day he died” over a very different musical backdrop. For two minutes the track takes a calmer and more pop based direction with his blindfold now gone. Lyrically we find the line “I’m a blackstar” on repeat while visually we move to three scarecrows tied to what appears to be a form of crucifix. However his blindfold returns at the end of the video as a group of women dance around the skull.

Musically this shows he has lost none of his sense of adventure, and we look forward to his album of the same name which is set for release in January 2016. Who else would dare to release a ten minute single, particularly one with such a stunning video?

19 November, 2015 Posted by | ChartChat | Leave a comment

Chart Chat Edition 813 – W/C 09.11.15

Chart Chat Edition 813 – Week Commencing 6th November 2015

Introduction

For those reading this for the first time, Chart Chat has been in existence for over 16 years. We completed eight hundred editions reviewing the weeks charts and new releases before deciding it was time for a change of format.  Now we will be looking at new music ahead of its release, and it won’t always feature tracks released as singles. I have learned in recent years that the best music does not always make the charts, and to renew my love of music I have had to look to broader horizons.

So what have we been discussing in the Chart Chat offices this week?

Ben Haenow – ‘Ben Haenow’ (Album)

During the several months that elapse between X Factor series it can be easy to forget just who the previous years winner was. I confess I had to look up Sam Bailey’s name and she only won in 20131 The initial omens for last years winner suggest that he may struggle and lot will depend on the performance of this album. While his debut single ‘Something I Need’ topped the charts last year the follow up ‘Second Hand Heart’ only entered at no.21 though his performance on this weeks X Factor did see the track increase it sales. While Ben claims he decided against recording a full on rock album as it wouldn’t be what the fans who voted for him wanted to hear I would question that decision as I think his voice would sound better against such a backdrop. Ben is a talented performer with great energy and vocal talent but only time will tell if this album is enough to secure him a career in music.

Enya – Dark Skies Island (Album)

One of my favourite things about Enya is that she doesn’t churn out the same thing year after year.  Instead each album is considered and well crafted, and to illustrate this ‘Dark Skies Island’ comes some seven years after ‘And Winter Came’. Since ‘Shepherd Moons’ in 1991 each of her albums has been released in November or December and this album proves to be no exception – perhaps her music just suits this time of year. The album is described by Enya as having a theme of journeys, although she has been keen to point out that it is not a themed album as such. Once again we see snippets of Loxian language (which was created by her lyricist Roma Ryan) on the tracks ‘The Forge Of Angels’ and ‘The Loxian Gates’ and overall the results will be one which serves to delight her fanbase. With 75m sales to her name already this can only add to that already impressive tally.

Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames – ‘Swan Songs’

It’s always nice when an artist takes their own decision to bring the curtain down on their career rather than having that decision made for them.  That is the case on offer here with legendary jazz and blues star Georgie Fame who releases an album of twelve brand new songs to draw a line on what has been a phenomenal career. My favourite tracks on offer here include the Calypso led ‘De Carribean Way’, the brooding big band number ‘The Lurper’ and the closing song ‘The Ship’ which was written by Mike O’Neill. Although he achieved three no.1 hits during the 1960’s he has not appeared on the chart since 1971 when he teamed up with Alan Price on the hit single ‘Rosetta’. This is a fine collection of songs which will provide great pleasure to those who purchase and listener to it. His talent will certainly be missed in the years which lay ahead.

Kylie – ‘Christmas’ (Album)

Many artists have recorded Christmas albums over the years and now Kylie is set to add her name to that list. This collection contains an interesting mix of tracks ranging from a posthumous duet with Frank Sinatra on ‘Santa Claus Is Coming To Town’ to the rather questionable inclusion of James Cordon on her cover of Yazoo’s ‘Only You’. Iggy Pop also pops up with an appearance on ‘Christmas Wrapping’ while fans who pick up a copy of the deluxe format will also find her duet with Dannii Minogue on ‘100 Degrees’. It’s good to find less obvious covers such as ‘2000 Miles’ on her along with the more expected standards ‘It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year’ and ‘Let It Snow’. So all in all credit is deserved for avoiding what could have been a cliched collection and producing an album which will keep Kylie fans happy until her next album which should land at some point during 2016.

Matt Berry & The Maypoles – ‘Live’ (Album)

Although he is better known for his acting and voiceover work Matt Berry and his band the Maypoles have carved themselves a reputation in music circles. Having released five studio albums he is now back out on tour during December and has this live album to promote as well. Opening track ‘The Innkeeper’s Song’ is packed full of funk while the popular ‘Snuff Box’ clocks in at over seven minutes. Other favourites to be found on her includes ‘Solstice’ (from his ‘Kill The Wolf’ album) which also passes the seven minute mark as does closing track ‘The Pheasant’.  He was the opening act for Steven Wilson at his Royal Albert Hall concert earlier this year and his popularity is illustrated by the kind of venues he is filling on this tour. In my opinion this is exactly the kind of CD that should be filling up peoples Christmas stockings this year!

Public Service Broadcasting – ‘Sputnik / Korolev’ (Single)

In my opinion it is much better to listen to the ‘Race To Space’ album in its entirety Public Service Broadcasting are releasing the track ‘Sputnik’ alongside ‘Korolev’ as a double a sided single. While ‘Sputnik’ initially existed a seven minute plus epic it has been shortened to a four minute radio edit for this release while new mixes of the track include the Peter Dundov Remix, the Eagles & Butterflies Remix, the Blond:lsh Remix and the Plugger Remix. The band are about to undertake an extensive tour of the UK concluding at Brixton Academy in London on the 29th November. The live show which goes with the album is bound to be spectacular and the growth in their fanbase over the past year suggests that they are on the verge of becoming truly big. For now this is an interesting set of mixes which should secure them some airplay over the coming weeks.

Queen – A Night At The Odeon : Hammersmith 1975 (Album)

This album celebrates the most bootlegged concert of Queen’s career and as the title suggests was recorded at the Hammersmith Odeon forty years ago. At the time of this concert it wasn’t known just how big Bohemian Rhapsody would be hence why it appears fourth in the set list with a reprise coming seventh. If the same concert had happened in 2015 it would surely have been an encore! The set contains their classic hits ‘Killer Queen’, ‘Seven Seas Of Rhye’ and ‘Keep Yourself Alive’ alongside a cross section of their early material and a cover of ‘Jailhouse Rock’.  There are various packages of this release to suit different fans pockets with the most expensive being a super deluxe version which retails at over £300. This will be a must for long term fans and collectors of the band while offering an interesting insight into the band during their 1970’s prime.

Roger Waters – The Wall (Album)

This set of songs began life all the way back in 1979 when Pink Floyd’s album topped the charts and it went on to form the basis of some elaborate stage shows in the two years that lay ahead.  However the shows only ever played in four cities and ‘The Wall’ was not seen again until 1990 when Roger played alongside an all star cast at the site of the former no mans land of the Berlin Wall. Then in 2010 the show returned once more to delight a whole new set of fans alongside the stalwarts who had enjoyed previous incarnations. Fans who enjoy the music should check out the feature film DVD / Blu-Ray of the same name which is released later this month along with a series of bonus features. Of course the music has been played and heard many times before but it still makes the hairs on the back on my neck stand up on end.

Next Week…

Other artists releasing new albums in the coming weeks include Adele, Fleur East, Johnny Marr and Train while repackaged releases come from Ed Sheeran, Gregory Porter, Olly Murs and Simply Red. Meanwhile in terms of singles we can expect to hear from Adam Lambert, David Bowie, Idlewild and Leona Lewis. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter (@ChartChatUK) and please keep an eye out for our next edition which will be with you very soon.

Ian Anderson (@ChartChatUK)

9 November, 2015 Posted by | ChartChat | Leave a comment