DISCLAIMER: Far be it for me to make excuses but for the next couple of weeks I'm turning my entire life upside down and transferring it to London. Hence you will have to forgive me for being a little less in depth than usual... blame outside factors rather than any unwillingness on my part to write something inspiring about Iceburg Slimm, Orion or Monsta Boy. Bless them all.
1 AGAINST ALL ODDS (Mariah Carey featuring Westlife)
What's this, two Number One singles running that stay at the top for more than seven days? Truly we are spoiled. The American soul singer and her five Irish appendages do enough to see off the challenge from some big dance hits and a Spice Girl to boot to claim a second week at the top. This in itself is enough to make Against All Odds the second longest-running Westlife single ever as all their other chart-toppers have only spent a week at the top themselves, save for their Christmas effort I Have A Dream/Seasons In The Sun which managed four weeks over the holiday period... and even that seems like a lifetime doesn't it?
3 BODY GROOVE (Architects featuring Nana)
Careful with the attributions now as this is not an Ibiza hit but an Ayia Napa hit. As you may have guessed the usual procedure follows here, garage record becomes major summer favourite, demand for its release steps up a gear once everyone comes home, single races into the chart to the shock of everyone who doesn't listen to dance radio stations. Actually like most garage singles, Body Groove has an appeal which stretches beyond the dancefloor, the emphasis on melody rather than beats always helpful in these cases. Good enough for it to be the biggest new hit of the week, even if it never looked likely to challenge for the top spot.
4 TELL ME (Melanie B)
Yes that's right, it is that song. The one that the papers quoted extensively when previews of her album were released, in which Scary Spice appears to stick the knife into the lifestyle and spending habits of her ex-husband. In spite of some hefty promotional work and the gathering anticipation of the soon to be released new Spice Girls album, Tell Me can do no more than slide into the Top 5 this week, although this was never really pushed as a pop single, more Mel B getting in touch with her dream of being an R&B star. As a result it continues what looks like a bizarre jinx surrounding solo Spice Girl singles as in the space of the last year we have seen Emma Bunton, Victoria Beckham and now Melanie B all fail to hit the top with singles that were widely expected to do the business with ease. Only Melanie C and former bandmate Geri Halliwell seem to be immune to this. With this single Miss Brown continues to create further headaches for the compilers of chart reference books as each of her three extra-band singles to date have been credited under different variations of her name. When she teamed up with Missy Elliott on I Want You Back (No.1 just over two years ago to the day) she was just Mel B whilst in July 1999 for her Number 14 cover of Word Up she was credited as Mel G. Now she has reverted to her maiden name but is now the more sophisticated sounding 'Melanie' and will probably remain so for any more singles that are issued from her long-awaited solo album. Unless she gets married again of course.
8 AIN'T NO STOPPIN US (DJ Luck & MC Neat)
Clearly it is garage week this week. Already proud makers of two of the biggest garage hits of the year in the shape of A Little Bit Of Luck and Masterblaster 2000, the pairing of DJ Luck and MC Neat return to the Top 10 with another energetic two-step stomp (if you get the meaning). Ain't No Stoppin' Us slides in as their second biggest hit to date, just a few places behind the Number 5 peak of Masterblaster.
15 YOU TAKE MY BREATH AWAY (Sureal)
Relax, this is not a cover of the famous film theme. Instead this is a trance anthem with a difference, one with something of a backstory behind it. One of the men behind the single is Rohan Heath whose previous claim to fame is that he was one of the members of the Urban Cookie Collective. They were responsible for one of the biggest singles of the summer of 1993, The Key: The Secret, a bubbly dance hit that even merited a mini revival in 1996 when a remix made Number 52, a rather poor comparison to the Number 2 peak of the original. Although few of their other hits lived up to the success of that first, the group remained dancefloor favourites across the continent and indeed were active until two years ago. This new career for Rohan Heath comes as a result of a collaboration with Lange and the two have reportedly been working on this single for close on two years. Finally released, it becomes far and away the biggest hit single so far for the Cream record label, an offshoot of the world famous club.
17 WHO TOLD YOU (Roni Size/Reprazent)
Never mind all this garage and trance rubbish, what we need is some ultra noisy Drum N' Bass and if there is anyone that can be relied up to deliver this it is Roni Size. Mind you with the single the words 'radio friendly' pop neatly into your head when hearing this as Who Told You is easily the most appealing Reprazent single to date, the chanted chorus all but defying you to join in and scream along. It may only have been by a narrow margin but the single duly becomes the biggest Roni Size/Reprazent single to date, easing past the Number 20 peak of Brown Paper Bag from November 1997.
19 SLAVE TO THE WAGE (Placebo)
Second single release of the year for Placebo, this the followup to July's Number 16 hit Taste In Men. I confess to having no idea why every review I've seen of this is being rude about it, dimissing it as dull and formulaic. To hell with it, decadent sounding Glam Rock with Brian Molko's voice blaring out over the top is a formula I am more than happy to live with thanks. The single now stretches Placebo's unbroken run of Top 20 hits to seven, even if this Number 19 placing means it is their lowest charting single since their debut Teenage Angst made Number 30 in September 1996.
22 CLOSER THAN MOST (Beautiful South)
...and the hits just keep on coming [but they get smaller and smaller as the group slides towards dumperville]. A new Beautiful South album is almost certain to be one of the highlights of the final few months of the year and this bittersweet tale from the pen of Paul Heaton becomes its first single. Now the band have never been the most consistent of Top 10 hitmakers (indeed since 1989 they have only managed six) but you could be forgiven for expecting the first single from a new album to perform rather more impressively than this. Closer Than Most fails by just a couple of places to become their 13th Top 20 hit but at the very least it is a far better performance than the Number 47 peak of their last single The Table from July 1999. Bearing in mind that this is the same band that followed up a Number One single with a Number 43 hit ten years ago, you get the feeling that the Beautiful South are a long-lasting chart instutution who are more than capable of surviving the odd sales blip..
34 SISTER SISTER (Sister Bliss)
Now this is a pleasant surprise. Sister Bliss is probably best known as being one third of the core members of Faithless but in actual fact her chart career stretches back beyond that superstar collaboration. Back in 1994 and 1995 she had two Top 40 hits of her own in the shape of Can'tgetaman Can'tgetajob (Number 31) and Oh! What A World (Number 40), her final chart single coming in 1996 when Bad Man made Number 51 just before Faithless turned her, Rollo and Maxi Jazz into stars. Four years later she is back in the chart under her own name and perhaps it is appropriate that she does so at the forefront of a whole new dance genre. This apparently is Neural House, electronic dance music that is just too fast and too high pitched to be trance and which sounds unique enough to deserve its own category. Neural House it is then and with this example Sister Bliss makes a creditable return to the Top 40.
42 FOLLOW YOU FOLLOW ME (Sonny Jones featuring Tara Chase)
Just for the novelty of it, it is worth taking a look at a couple of singles that fall outside the Top 40 this weeek. If i tell you that this is a pop-rap cover you may have some inkling of what to expect. Taking an established classic record and turning it into a cheesy rap single has in the past produced some inspired examples and at the same time has been the ruination of many a classic tune, N-Trance managing to vault between the two extremes with apparent ease at times. This debut single from German singer Sonny Jones just about manages to fall into the former category, however much die-hard Genesis fans may hate me for saying that. It was indeed Genesis who first made Follow You Follow Me a hit, it was their first ever Top 10 single when it made Number 7 in 1978 and even at the time managed to split Genesis fans into two camps - those who liked this new pop orientated direction under Phil Collins and those who bemoaned the loss of Peter Gabriel to a solo career.
43 8 DAYS A WEEK (Sweet Female Attitude)
If you ever wanted the living proof that you are only as good as your last single, then here it is. Sweet Female Attitude shot into the chart at Number 2 at the height of garage-mania back in April with Flowers. This is the follow-up, nothing to do with the old Beatles song but instead another annoyingly catchy garage hit with the usual infectious beat. To my ears this is actually a better single than their first hit, but the population of Great Britain appear to disagree and the single fails to even dent the Top 40. Still on the bright side things could be much worse for them. Girl group Made In London made Number 15 in May with their debut single Dirty Water. Last week in the wake of their dumping by their record company, the followup Shut Your Mouth made 74.