Why The Greatest Showman soundtrack is doing so well in the charts

Since launching her solo career Camila Cabello has become one of the biggest popstars in the world, but she was recently denied a UK No.1 album by The Greatest Showman soundtrack.

There are three songs from the soundtrack inside the UK Top 40, one of which, This Is Me by Keala Settle & The Greatest Showman Ensemble, is headed toward the Top Ten.

In a chart full of artists such as Ramz, Raye, Jax Jones and Not3s, the big musical theatre numbers stand out somewhat.

The movie, about life for performers in PT Barnum's circus in the early 20th century, is a huge hit too, so far grossing £236 million (£165m) at the box office worldwide.

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As well as a Keala's inspirational power-ballad (also performed by the magnificent Kesha), Disney icons Zac Efron and Zendaya are also selling and streaming huge numbers of their duet, Rewrite The Stars.

So, this soundtrack is something of a big deal. But why has it made such an impact?

'Word of mouth' started the excitement

Radio 1 Newsbeat's music reporter Steve Holden thinks the songs' old-school charms are what has made such an impact in a pop world full of futuristic production, self-made beats and the 'anti-chorus'.

The song itself sounds like a X-Factor winner’s song from back in the day
Steve Holden, Newsbeat

"There’s a simple reason This Is Me is doing well – it’s euphoric, catchy and works as a hugely uplifting pop track," he tells Radio 1 online.

"The song itself sounds like a X-Factor winner’s song from back in the day and, despite its cheesiness, it’s obviously struck a chord with audiences."

And the song, performed by a 42-year-old musical theatre star, is holding its own against music by some of the hottest new stars in the UK.

"When you look at Spotify’s most-streamed chart, you see Keala Settle’s This Is Me sitting just behind Ramz and Dua Lipa.

"Since its release, the Greatest Showman film has been gathering good word-of-mouth which has driven the popularity of the soundtrack. As a result, the album has gone to number one."

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The songs are about 'inclusion and acceptance'

The Greatest Showman soundtrack reached the UK No.1 on 12 January 2018 and has so far spent two weeks on the top spot. It has sold 60,000 copies in the UK so far - and when streaming numbers are included, it works out over 91,000 sales.

We couldn't be more proud of everyone involved
Benj Pasek and Justin Paul

It has topped the charts in America as well.

Songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who wrote the songs and music, say they were 'honoured and thrilled' by how well their work has gone down in the UK.

"The universal themes of inclusion and acceptance are what inspired every song on the soundtrack, and we couldn't be more proud of everyone involved," they told the Official Charts Company when the album first topped the UK album charts.

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And of course, with the miserable weather outside, a lot of people are looking for a bit of escapism from the grey reality of 2018 so far.

"Also, look at the time of year. It’s January, it’s a bit miserable – the film has provided a bit of escapism in the cinemas, a couple of hours to make you feel good," Steve continues.

"Even if you won’t admit you’ve listened to it – you probably have."

However, the Benji and Justin may have overestimated what chart success can lead to on this side of the Atlantic.

"Also...does this mean we'll get an invite to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding?! Fingers crossed!" They added, jokingly.

And it's not just happening in the UK either, This Is Me is climbing charts across the world, and has already reached the Top Ten in several countries.

On top of that, the song has won a Golden Globe for Best Original Song and is nominated for an Oscar. It's certainly been a while since pop listeners and movie critics have had the same taste in music, but it's certainly shaking up the Top 40, and we're here for it.

Listen to the UK Chart Update every Friday on Radio 1 from 4pm

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