This week's Official UK Singles Chart

1 SWEET LIKE CHOCOLATE (Shanks & Bigfoot) 

When a Number One single manages to match the sales of the rest of the Top 5 put together you know you are dealing with something very big indeed. Such is the case with Sweet Like Chocolate which lives up to all the hype it has been given over the past few weeks and crashes straight to the top of the charts, selling close to a quarter of a million copies in the process. [That's a very understated introduction to something which was in its time the most in demand white label going, a track with near-legendary status on the UK Garage scene, tales abounding of hapless DJ's having knives pulled on them if they dared confess they didn't have a copy. Its commercial release marked the explosion of a vast pent up demand. Of course it was an instant Number One]. The infectious garage track is produced by the same pair who called themselves Doolally for the Top 20 hit Straight From The Heart which charted back in November and comes complete with a witty animated video which has helped no end in adding to its appeal. The single becomes the 17th Number One single of the year (compare this with 13 by the same stage last year) and the 15th in a row to enter the charts at Number One, just two short of the all-time record of 17 straight that was set last year.


2 YOU NEEDED ME (Boyzone) 

Admittedly nothing this week was going to stand in the way of Shanks & Bigfoot but it still means that You Needed Me is toppled from the top of the charts after just a week. Of course in this day and age to spend seven days at the summit is nothing unusual but Boyzone seem to have suffered more than most in this respect. Of their six Number One singles to date this now the fourth to experience the shortest reign of all. In total the boys have spent just nine weeks at Number One in their entire career, an average of just 1.5 weeks per chart-topper. Of all the acts to have had four or more Number One hits only Oasis can boast a worse record - each of their four singles to reach the summit has fallen from grace after just one week.


4 KISS ME (Sixpence None The Richer) 

Few surprises here as after saturation media exposure over the last few weeks the Texan group repeat their US chart success by scaling the heights over here. As the nights get shorter and the weather brightens, Kiss Me is surely the perfect soundtrack to the start of the summer, the single a wonderful tapestry of jangling guitars that sound like the Sundays crossed with the Cranberries' more mellow moments. Alright so it sounds like it could have been made by any English female-fronted indie band in the last ten years, but since when was that a valid criticism?


6 SAY IT AGAIN (Precious) 

There are two events in the spring calendar that can always be relied upon to produce at least one associated hit single and strangely enough both have done so in the same week. First on the list is the Eurovision Song Contest, the annual pan-European television event that began life in the 1950s as a celebration of the technology that made a continent-wide TV broadcast possible and continues today so we can all experience the heartwarming moments when the juries from the Former Yugoslavian Republics give each other maximum points in a gesture of reconciliation. This year's media frenzy takes place in Jerusalem this coming Saturday and to prepare for the moment the British entry makes an appearance in the Top 10. Precious, as the name might suggest, are a fine example of a generic all-girl group singing a not altogether unpleasant but still generic all-girl type song that is almost certain to end up in the running whilst the voting takes place only to miss out at the death when the French give maximum points to Iceland or something. The single nonetheless marks a return to chart form for Eurovision song contest entries. Last year's UK entry was Imaani's Where Are You which peaked at Number 15 in the week of the contest whilst the eventual winner, Diva by Dana International made Number 11 at the end of June. Compare that with the three previous years when the UK entries from Love City Groove, Gina G and Katrina And The Waves all comfortably reached the Top 10.


8 I QUIT (Hepburn) 

Incredible. You wait ages for a group of indie pop Sundays soundalikes and two come along at once. Just a few places below Sixpence None The Richer come Hepburn, this time Brits through and through, with an all-girl lineup and manage to make "Liar" rhyme with "Messiah" in the first verse which wins them the award for coolest lyric of the week. I Quit has a slightly harder edge than Kiss Me but there is no doubt that both are ploughing the same musical furrow and to the pleasure of many, experiencing similar degrees of success. How the former members of Kenickie must be cursing their luck.


10 EVERY MORNING (Sugar Ray) 

I'm starting to believe the charts have a Karma all of their own. How else do you explain a semi-faceless dance single debuting at the top of the chart with a record-stretching sale whilst the rest of the Top 10 has seen inspired debut singles from three fresh sounding new rock acts? The third of these is Sugar Ray who have actually been around for longer than most people realise, their debut single Fly having been an American smash in 1997 whilst also managing a brief appearance over here (it made Number 58 in January 1998). Their commercial breakthrough comes in the shape of this lilting song that serves as a good introduction to their unique sound that blends elements of reggae into their extremely appealing summertime rock. I've had a copy of their album for a number of weeks now and trust me, any band that can cover Steve Miller's Abracadabra and get away with it deserve to be massive.


11 IT'S ALL ABOUT BELIEF (Manchester United Squad 1999) 

Along with the Eurovision song contest comes the FA Cup Final and with it the inevitable single release from at least one of the teams taking part in the showpiece climax to the football season. Unusually this single wasn't released until the week of the final itself and so now hits the chart immediately after Manchester United's 2-0 victory over Newcastle United (who, you will notice are nowhere to be seen in the Top 40). As the most dominant footballing side of the decade Manchester United have also seen the lions share of chart action when it comes to football singles, this single now their fourth Top 20 hit to mark their fourth FA Cup Final appearance since 1994. There is a strange parallel between the performance of the sides on the day of the final itself and their success in the charts, the eventual winners of the cup have in the past few years always had the biggest hit single. Take a look: 1999 - Manchester United (Number 11) beat Newcastle United (no chart hit); 1998 - Arsenal (Number 9) beat Newcastle United (no chart hit); 1997 - Chelsea (Number 22) beat Middlesbrough (Number 44). Mind you it doesn't always follow: 1996 - Manchester United (Number 6) beat Liverpool (who won with a Number 4 hit); 1995 - Everton (Number 24) beat Manchester United (Number 6).


13 DOWN SO LONG (Travis) 

Another comfortable chart entry for Travis who, as expected, are capitalising on their deservedly expanded appeal. The gently strummed Down So Long becomes their second Top 40 hit, to follow the Number 16 peak of Writing To Reach You from April this year.


14 HATE ME NOW (Nas) 

From his brand new album I Am, Nas hits the chart with his first single for almost two years. Hate Me Now is another Top 20 hit to follow past entries If I Ruled The World, Street Dreams and his guest appearance with Allure on Head Over Heels. Puff Daddy makes an appearance on Hate Me Now, a brutal sounding track that is enhanced no end by the dramatic string accompaniment. It may not be to everyone's taste but this is rap as nerve-jangling drama and you cannot help but be entranced by its energy.


18 HAPPINESS HAPPENING (Lost Witness) 

Ministry Of Sound picked up the license for this track after it went down a storm on White Label and are now reaping the benefits. Happiness Happening is arguably trance at its most beautiful, a synth backing reminiscent of the Space Brothers at their best and a dream-like vocal from singer Lucy Morgans combine to create the kind of soundtrack you wish every summer holiday could have.


21 REMOTE CONTROL (Beastie Boys) 

The once-again cool Beasties just fail to notch up a third succesive Top 20 hit single, the followup to the Nunber 5 hit Intergalactic from July last year and the Number 15 hit Body Movin' which charted back in November. The single comes hot on the heels of their series of concerts in the round earlier this month and is the tenth headache-inducing Top 40 hit of their career.


28 ON MY WAY (Mike Koglin featuring Beatrice) 

More trance, this time from the fingers of Mike Koglin, the German producer who made Number 20 with a cover of Depeche Mode's Enjoy The Silence in November last year. This time singer Beatrice is added to the mix of a distinctly Sash-alike production that for some reason appears to be lacking that intangible touch of magic that turns an OK dance single into something quite special (see also: Shanks & Bigfoot and Lost Witness).


36 THIS IS MY TIME (3 Colours Red) 

Four months on from the Number 11 hit Beautiful Day the second hit single from the current 3 Colours Red album lands inside the Top 40. This substantially smaller chart placing suggests they haven't quite expanded their core fanbase as much as their last hit suggested and this single, and I suspect others that follow, are likely to be picked up by die-hards only.


38 WE ARE DA CLICK (Da Click) 

The second hit of the year for Da Click, albeit one that is substantially smaller than Good Rhymes which peaked at Number 14 back in January. Actually this is something of a shame as We Are Da Click is a fine example of an ensemble rap single with different voices dancing in and out of the mix accompanied by a piano-led backing that at times threatens to stray into jazz territory. Put it down as one of those tracks that inspires you to want to see the act live, just to see if they perform it in the same entertaining manner on a stage.