Disappointing but not remotely surprising reports today say Marcus Collins is one doomed-to-fail single away from being abandoned by his record label.
The 2011 X Factor runner-up rush-released an album of half-baked original songs and divisive cover versions in March, just three months after the talent search’s Grand Final in December. It charted at No. 7 but was in the Top 40 for only three weeks, and lead single ‘Seven Nation Army’ entered and peaked at No. 9.
It sold 24,343 units in its first week – which, in fairness, is more than Pixie Lott’s Young Foolish Happy (18,503) and The Saturdays’ On Your Radar (18,044) shifted in the same time period, but these talent show graduates have a lot of sink-or-swim pressure on them with debut albums, and Collins is sinking quite quickly – particularly when you compare his sales to those of his predecessors.
The Daily Star Sunday reckons that it’s basically now a case of either new single ‘Mercy’ being a hit, or the idea of a second album being released by Sony being chucked out the window. A source says:
“Marcus’s sales have been really disappointing. Although his album went in at number seven, it only spent three weeks in the Top 40. No-one expected him to flop but he’s one of the most unsuccessful runners-up in the show’s history. He has to pull it out of the bag with his second single. If that bombs, there’s unlikely to be a third.”
The song is not in the Top 100 radio airplay or TV airplay charts at the moment, so the signs ain’t good.
Well whadyaknow… a rush-released record that fails to meet its artist’s potential does not make for chart success after all. Who knew?!
Marcus Collins is so serious about the pop thing he’s even got musical notes shaven into his hair!
Following the mixed reaction of his début single ‘Seven Nation Army’ he’s come back fighting with ‘Mercy’ a self-written track from his eponymous album, and it’s a big, confident brass-driven strut complete with sassy backing singers, a swanky bar and a baby blue suit jacket.
Says Marcus: ”No-one wants to see misery at the moment. Smile. Make people smile with you. And do songs that make people smile. We’ve never needed that more than at the moment.” (You know; politics, economy, petrol, Tulisa’s sex tape etc etc)
There are a record number of X Factor finalists’ albums in the UK charts this week, with eight.
The Top 75 plays host to two records from Olly Murs, the new release from Marcus Collins, and pre-existing efforts from Rebecca Ferguson, One Direction, Matt Cardle, JLS and the one THE ONLY Mary Byrne.
8. Marcus Collins – Marcus Collins (24,343 sales, new entry)
14. Olly Murs – In Case You Didn’t Know (13,507 sales, up from 20)
18. Rebecca Ferguson – Heaven (10,399 sales, up from 31)
28. Mary Byrne - …With Love (6,766 sales, up from 40)
34. One Direction – Up All Night (5,561 sales, down from 30)
46. Olly Murs – Olly Murs (3,842 sales, up from 67)
55. JLS – Jukebox (3,066 sales, down from 53)
57. Matt Cardle – Letters (2,961 sales, up from 75)
As Marcus Collins’ album looks set to become the lowest-charting debut LP by an X Factor runner-up so far, the time has come to look at how other silver medallists have done by comparison.
From G4 back in 2004 to Rebecca Ferguson in 2010, the runner-up has tended to be more successful than the winner in most cases. Some only last a while, and some go on to tirelessly churn out one every year (that’s you, JLS).
Let’s take a look at how the show’s back catalogue of almost-winners got their post-talent show careers off the ground.
Interesting how all but two of them named their first album after themselves…
2004: G4 – G4 First week chart position: #1 First week sales: 245,000 (rank: 1st) Compared to winner: Steve Brookstein’s Heart and Soul also got to No. 1, but sold only 50,989. And now: The pop-opera quartet G4 were eventually broken apart by in-fighting, but enjoyed an extremely lucrative mainstream career that lasted a hell of a lot longer than Steve Brookstein’s.
2005: Andy Abraham – The Impossible Dream First week chart position: #2 First week sales: 176,000 (rank: 3rd) Compared to winner: Shayne Ward’s self-titled effort sold 201,266 to debut at No. 1. And now: Andy represented the UK at Eurovision in 2008, around the same time he released a Best Of (!!!) and a third studio album within one month of each-other. He hasn’t released anything since.
2006: Ray Quinn – Ray Quinn First week chart position: #1 First week sales: 127,000 (rank: 5th) Compared to winner: Leona Lewis doesn’t need any introduction, does she? Her album Spirit shifted 375,872 in seven days, before selling gajillions around the globe. And now: Ray won Dancing On Ice in 2009 and appeared in the West End in Dirty Dancing last year.
2007: Rhydian – Rhydian First week chart position: #3 First week sales: 90,000 (rank: 7th) Compared to winner: Leon Jacson’s Right Now sold 37,197 in its first week – the lowest opening sale for a winner’s album. And now: Rhydian is still recording. He left Sony after his second album stalled at No. 25, but signed a new deal with Conehead and released a Top 40 album in 2011.
2008: JLS – JLS First week chart position: #1 First week sales: 200,000 (rank: 2nd) Compared to winner: She didn’t match JLS, but Alexandra Burke’s Overcome still shifted a strong 132,065 to land at No. 1 in its first week. And now: JLS are still on top of their game and are currently recording their fourth (yes FOURTH) studio album whilst preparing for their latest arena tour.
2009: Olly Murs – Olly Murs First week chart position: #2 First week sales: 108,000 (rank: 6th) Compared to winner: Joe McElderry’s Wide Awake charted at No. 3 with 39,405 sales in its first seven days. And now: Olly has started 2012 with his first arena tour, and returned to The X Factor last year to present The Xtra Factor with Caroline Flack. He’s released three No. 1 singles.
2010: Rebecca Ferguson – Heaven First week chart position: #3 First week sales: 128,000 (rank: 4th) Compared to winner: Matt Cardle’s Letters was released two months prior, shifting 70,896 to chart at No. 2. And now: Rebecca is almost at the end of her first headline tour (check out our live review from last night). Heaven went platinum within a fortnight and has sold around half a million copies. It’s due for release in the US in May.
2011: Marcus Collins – Marcus Collins First week chart position: #7 First week sales: 24,343 (rank: 8th) Compared to winner: Little Mix are still recording their debut opus. And now: Marcus’ album will receive its finalised chart placement this Sunday.
This month’s Attitude sees Marcus Collins talking about how he came out to his family during The X Factor.
The singer, who releases his début album Marcus Collins on Monday (March 12), said he wanted to tell his grandparents about his sexuality before they read about it in the press.
He says: “I spoke to them and they were like, ‘It doesn’t matter. Gay, straight, win, lose or draw, you’re still our grandson and we love you’.”
He also opens up about the sob story he kept hidden on the show, arguing that he wanted the attention to remain on his singing rather than his past.
“I knew if I said, ‘I grew up in a council flat, just me and my mum, we had nothing. My mum’s had cancer, I thought I was going to be orphaned and out and on my own,’ people would be like, ‘So what? Sob story, he’s just making it up’.”
He continued: “I didn’t want to do that. It had nothing to do with anything. Yeah, it just made me work harder, but so what? Everyone works hard. So I was very conscious not to do a big sob story.”
Attitude is on sale now. Read my review of Marcus’ album here.
By now, most people are well aware that X Factor runner-ups have a proven track record of beating the winners in terms of sales figures. In fact, Shayne Ward and Leona Leiws are arguably the only champions in the show’s eight-year history to not be outperformed in the charts by the contestants they trounced in their respective Grand Finals.
So Marcus Collins is no doubt keen to follow in the footsteps of Rebecca Ferguson, JLS, Olly Murs, and even Rhydian by sticking it to Little Mix with his debut album. So keen in fact that it arrives on shelves a mere 13 weeks after the final of last year’s competition, trailed of course by that divisive cover of ‘Seven Nation Army’.
The major plus point about this self-titled collection is that Marcus is clearly a proficient songwriter. It’s obvious that he’d built up a fair amount of experience before auditioning for the ITV talent search, and that churning out a handful (8, to be precise) of toe-tappable ditties in a restricted time-frame has not been too much of a challenge for him.
‘Love & Hate’ is the stand-out, and comfortably knocks the spots off of ‘Seven Nation Army’. There’s also some lovely subdued crooning on ‘Don’t Surrender’, some head-invading “do-do-do”-ing on ‘That’s Just Life’ and some attitude-ridden strutting on ‘Mercy’; and the other two covers, ‘Higher and Higher’ and ‘Tightrope’, are done to a fairly good standard as well.
But the downside of bringing it out so soon is that it does feel a little under-cooked. Marcus’ voice is, as most of us already know, a technically powerful weapon that can leap up and down the octaves like the best of them. But if you’ll pardon the pretentiousness, there’s not a lot of heart in it. It’s as if he went “Look, I can write songs!”, then rushed out to a studio, scribbled down some decent lyrics, recorded a quick demo and handed it in straight away.
So as a kind of ‘starter’ album that teases the sort of thing Marcus could be capable of with more time and attention, this album is just fine for now. But don’t be surprised if his long-term prospects suffer in the event of Little Mix bringing out an absolute barn-stormer in a couple of months’ time.
I’ve had a listen to Marcus Collins’ debut album (review to follow), and it’s a lot better than I was expecting to be, considering the hasty time-frame in which it’s been recorded.
So his (or rather his label’s) decision to release ‘Seven Nation Army’ as the lead single is a perplexing one, especially considering – as expected – the music-buying public aren’t completely convinced by it.
Midweek sales figures released today show the track just outside the Top 5 at No. 6, behind StooShe with this week’s highest new entry at 5 and a stubborn Gotye holding on at No. 1.
It’s not exactly a bad position – in fact it’s better than Rebecca Ferguson’s ‘Nothing’s Real But Love’, and look how phenomenally her album has sold – but the fact the song has already tumbled to No. 10 on iTunes suggests it’ll have to fight to even remain in the Top 10 at all by the end of the time the chart is announced on Sunday.
Likely to go in the opposite direction however are Tinchy Stryder and Pixie Lott, whose excellent ‘Bright Lights’ duet is at No. 8 at the moment. It’s at No. 5 on iTunes however, so expect it to ascend over the coming days.
The final list will be announced by the Official Charts Company on Radio 1 on Sunday.
It’s been revealed that Marcus Collins’ rapidly-recorded debut album, due in just over a month, will feature three covers.
The collection will include new versions of Janelle Monae’s ‘Tightrope’ and Jackie Wilson’s ‘Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher’, the track he performed to great acclaim on The X Factor.
The third of course is his cover of White Stripes’ ‘Seven Nation Army’, which is due for release on March 4 and became available to listen to earlier today (click here).
Its title is eponymous, and Marcus Collins is out on March 12.
He had previously said of ‘Seven Nation Army’: “I’ve always been a fan of the original version of ‘Seven Nation Army’ and hope people like my take on it. I’m so happy to be releasing my debut album. I’ve worked on my music every minute possible since I came out of the show and can’t wait for everyone to be able to hear it.”
Marcus Collins releases his debut album on March 12, and ahead of that he’ll be putting out his debut single – a cover of The White Stripes’ ‘Seven Nation Army’.
It’s not a straight-forward replication of the original as such, rather a Marcusified version with a bigger brass section and lots, lots more vocal acrobatics.
But they pivotal question: Is it good?
The short answer is it’s not terrible. When the chorus really hits its stride, the production sounds great – but the rest, like the Zutons/Mark Ronson’s ‘Valerie’, will maybe only sound better once it’s been played enough to be separated from the original.