The ‘Murder on the Dancefloor’ Resurgence: ‘Saltburn’ Sends 20-Year-Old Songs Back Onto the Charts

The ‘Murder on the Dancefloor’ Resurgence: ‘Saltburn’ Sends 20-Year-Old Songs Back Onto the Charts

Movies, News

SPOILER ALERT: This story discusses major plot points, including the ending for “Saltburn.”

Set in the United Kingdom in 2006, Emerald Fennell’s “Saltburn,” starring Jacob Elordi and Barry Keoghan, boasts a mishmash of indie sleaze and timeless radio hits in its nostalgia-inducing soundtrack, which includes Sophie Ellis-Bextor‘s “Murder on the Dancefloor,” MGMT’s “Time to Pretend” and even Flo Rida’s “Low.”

In the past week (the film got its streaming release by Amazon Prime Video on Dec. 22), “Murder” and many of the now 20-year-old singles from the soundtrack have enjoyed major streaming, listening and viewership boosts — reminiscent of the “Stranger Things” and TikTok-driven success of Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill.”

Elordi plays the suave and aristocratic Felix, an Oxford University student who becomes the center of attention for Keoghan’s character Oliver. When Felix invites Oliver to spend the summer at his family’s estate, Saltburn, things slowly take a dark turn and Oliver becomes obsessed with overtaking the family’s fortune. The film ends with the now-viral scene of a naked Oliver dancing through the empty halls of the estate to the disco club hit “Murder on the Dancefloor.”

The song, released in 2001, was a huge hit for Ellis-Bextor, peaking at No. 2 on the U.K. music charts and becoming a worldwide top 10 hit. On Friday, the single returned to the Official Singles Chart Top 10 in the U.K. for the first time in 22 years at No. 8 with its best-ever streaming week in the region (2.2 million streams), per Official Charts Company data.

“I just love that song so much,” Fennell recently told Variety. “It was the only song that seemed fitting to tie the end of the film together.”

“It’s a dark, twisted and witty ride,” said Ellis-Bextor of the film’s plot. “When you get to that point, the song has something that has the sweetness of the pop, but also a sting in the tail with the lyric.” She added, “Lucky me, how nice to be surprised by an old friend like that song.”

On New Year’s Eve, “Murder” had its highest daily global streams on Spotify clocking in at 1.5 million (an increase of 340% compared to last year) streams and also entered the Global Spotify chart for the first time (at No. 130). It sits at No. 1 on the DSP’s Viral 50 chart in the United States and also has placements on its Viral 50 charts both globally and in the U.K., with additional increases in Nigeria (220%) and Brazil (290%). Just like “Running,” “Murder” has also gained a new army of fans on TikTok where the single has acquired a matching viral trend of replicating Oliver’s dance in lavish hallways.

For “Murder’s” music video specifically, viewership increased by 496% globally, according to Vevo. That equates to nearly six times its average daily views worldwide. The artist also saw a 142% lift in global views for her catalog on Vevo and streams of “Murder’s” parent LP, “Read My Lips,” increased by 340% in the U.S. on Spotify in the seven days after Saltburn’s wide theater release on Nov. 22.

In addition to “Murder,” MGMT’s “Time to Pretend” music video experienced a surge of 115% in global views and Princess Superstar’s club mashup with Mason, “Perfect (Exceeder),” is currently at No. 5 on Spotify’s Viral 50 chart in the U.S.

“Perfect Exceeder going crazily viral with half a million streams a day cause it’s in the Saltburn movie,” noted Amsterdam-based DJ and producer Mason on X (formerly Twitter) on Dec. 30. “It just entered the UK Spotify charts, TikTok charts, Beatport charts, Shazam charts worldwide… – really sick revival and a nice Xmas present.”

Back in the States, “Murder” and “Perfect (Exceeder)” are catching fire on the TikTok charts, while “Murder” makes its re-entry onto Billboard’s Dance/Electronic Songs charts (its highest peak being No. 3 on Billboard’s Dance/Electronic Song Sales chart). There’s still quite a ways to go for any of the film’s standout singles to enter the publication’s all-genre-inclusive Hot 100 Songs chart, but if there’s anything “Saltburn” taught us, it’s that anything is possible if you put your mind to it.


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