Commentary from the Office: SA Top 40 (6 November 2020)

After only a week at #1, 'John Vuli Gate' (Mapara A Jazz, Ntosh Gazi, Calona) falls to the global powerhouse that is Ariana Grande. Last week, we predicted that 'positions' would make the top 10 on the aggregated chart within two to three weeks. Instead it has smashed its way to #1 in only seven days, a gain of 35 slots.

'Uthando' (Soa Mattrix, SoulfulG, Shaun101) holds station at #2, with a very similar ff-index to last week. (The ff-index is a general measure of popularity with reference to the #1 track; a difference of 0.010 between successive tracks in the Top 40 would indicate ideal mean performance.) 'Mood' (24kGoldn ft. iann dior) clocks in at #3, while 'WAP' (Cardi B ft. Megan Thee Stallion) falls a place to #4, mirroring its gradual demise on the global charts. Last week's #1, 'John Vuli Gate', is down four positions to #5 after a lukewarm showing on Apple Music.

The biggest loser this week is 'Dance Monkey', the ubiquitous Tones And I track. It has lost nine positions and this week clocks in at #28 (ff-index = 0.393; compared to last week's score of 0.220). Despite charting on Saturday radio countdowns recently, the new Tones And I offering 'Ur So Cool' is nowhere to be seen on South African streaming charts.

The unexpected re-entry of Post Malone's 'Circles' last week has been somewhat maintained; last week it notched up an ff-index of 0.471. This week it languishes with an index of 0.550, which should equate rought to a drop of around eight to ten positions. However, 'Circles' only suffered a loss of three positions, as a result of particularly strong performances at the top of the chart.

Positions #5, #6 and #7 were very closely fought (separated by an index score of 0.001), as were positions #9 to #13 (five tracks separated by 0.013). Overall, the chart shows a skew in ff-index, implying that the top positions were extremely popular, while the remainder of the tracks suffered in comparison. This implies a heavy listenership skew in favour of high-ranking tracks, at the expense of #9 (ff-index = 0.141) and lower.

The week-that-was saw the extremely successful release of Wizkid's Made in Lagos (Starboy/RCA/Sony). Although Wizkid didn't make it into the Aggregated Top 40, it is surely only a matter of time: 'Ginger' (ft. Burna Boy) already sits at #41 on the Aggregated Top 100. The album is already making deep inroads on the Apple Music platform, and also debuted at #10 on Spotify's worldwide ranking of album releases.

One of the most interesting features of Wizkid's arrival on the charts is the fact that almost every track on the album charting in the Apple Top 100. The general feeling of the Firefinch office is that the perky 'Ginger' and 'Blessed' (ft. the ever-present Damian Marley) are the likely high-charters from the album. Also keep an eye out for 'Longtime', which has as a featured artist the British grime rapper Skepta.

Much in the same way that Made in Lagos has burst onto the charts with multiple tracks, so 'positions' is dragging along multiple tracks from Ariana Grande's new album, Positions (Republic). The lead single has now made good on its threat of hitting #1, and also holds the top slot on the Billboard Hot 100. The second single release, '34+35', is possibly the spiritual successor to 'WAP', at least in terms of lyric content. Barely a week old, '34+35' sits five slots outside the Top 40, after a particularly strong showing on Apple Music. 'POV' is perhaps another song from this album likely to make a commercial impact over the next few weeks.

Another big international release from the end of last week was Sam Smith's Love Goes (Capitol). At present, his highest position in South Africa is for the track 'Diamonds', which lies at #47. Expect major urban-radio playlisting of Mr Smith's efforts within the next few weeks.

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