This week's Official UK Singles Chart

1 SURVIVOR (Destiny's Child)

Sweeping changes this week as the singles that have dominated the top end of the chart get blown away by a string of extremely strong new entries. Heading them all are Destiny's Child who prove that the chart-topping run of Independent Women was no fluke, the follow-up following in its footsteps exactly to blast straight to the top of the chart. Both musically and thematically this new single follows straight on from the last, another shouty R&B song with the girls ranting about how crap their men are for leaving them but not to worry they will carry on regardless. Some might argue that these singles have slightly less of the charm of slinky numbers like Bills Bills Bills but there is no doubting that tracks like Survivor are nothing short of marvellous pop records. With this single Destiny's Child further rewrite the history books by becoming the first female American group to have two UK Number One hit singles. All the others: The Supremes, Sister Sledge and The Bangles could only manage one apiece. For those still keeping count, Survivor is the 895th single to top the UK charts since 1952 - which means we could only be just over a month from another chart milestone.


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2 LOVIN' EACH DAY (Ronan Keating)

Multiple choice question time. Is this a) A Gregg Alexander Song. b) A song written by someone in denial about being Gregg Alexander. c) A Gregg Alexander song. Small clue: it isn't option b). As time goes by it is becoming increasingly apparent that the former New Radicals frontman actually only knows how to write one song. For the moment this isn't actually holding him back when the song sounds as good as this one. Ronan Keating's latest solo release is clearly the track he hopes will break him once and for all in America as it is a rolling, invigorating, wave your hands in the air anthemic track of the kind that is supposed to be played on the radio at the exact moment you open the curtains and discover that the sun is shining. You know the type of song I mean. Widely tipped to return Ronan to the top of the charts for the first time since July last year, instead it has to settle for the runners-up berth but does at the very least return the former Boyzone singer to the Top 3 after his last single The Way You Make Me Feel performed very poorly by his standards when it could only make Number 6 just before Christmas. Most of his press coverage this week has revolved around either his image makeover (new hair, new teeth) that is clearly a precursor to a major Stateside campaign or his continuing reluctance to agree to tour once more with his former bandmates. Given that one of those bandmates Mikey Graham had the last nails of the coffin of his solo career driven home a fortnight ago when his single You Could Be My Everything made Number 62, it isn't too hard to guess why the rest of the group are so desperate to reform whilst Ronan is more than happy to plough his own solo furrow...
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3 LIQUID DREAMS (O-Town)

It had to happen sometime. Hear'Say might well have been the talk of the nation as the Popstars TV show followed their progress from auditions to stardom but all over the world the same thing was happening with their own local variations on the theme. A few weeks ago much was being made of Bardo, the all-female Australian Popstars group, but their attempts to crack the UK market ended in failure when their single Poison only reached Number 45 a fortnight ago. Time for America to show them how it is done as O-Town are the product of the show Making The Band which aired in the States earlier this year. With their first single the five lads from Florida prove that their success doesn't rely totally on a TV show but is helped by a surprisingly good record that describes the ingredients for their ideal woman and in a bizarre coincidence in the process namecheck Madonna, Janet Jackson and Destiny's Child in the chorus - all of whom just happen to share a place in the Top 10 with them this week.


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4 GET UR FREAK ON (Missy Elliott)

[Missy's signature track no less]. The rare sight of four new entries in the Top 5 is completed by the arrival of this brand new single from one of the undisputed Queens of R&B. As has been mentioned here in the past, her chart placings to date haven't really reflected the esteem in which she is held, her singles all struggling to break out of the Top 20. Indeed until now her only Top 10 appearance was on Mel B's debut hit I Want You Back which topped the charts in August 1998. Missy Elliott's last chart hit was Hot Boyz in January 2000 but even that could only reach Number 18. Today however marks a turning point as for the first time in almost three years a Missy Elliott track has a place in the Top 10. What helps enormously is that this is one of her best ever singles, a world away from the jerky stop-start Timbaland style that has almost become a cliche. Instead Timbaland himself has decided to rewrite his own rules and has filled the production with synthesised wails and Indian rhythms to create one of his most distinctive sounding singles ever. The only question is whether Missy will have to wait another two and a half years to get so high up the charts again.


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7 WHAT IT FEELS LIKE FOR A GIRL (Madonna)

Early sales indicators this week suggested that Madonna would complete a Top 5 made up entirely of new entries for what would have been only the third time in chart history. Circumstances (and still strong sales from Shaggy and Gabrielle) conspire against that and Madonna is left looking at her lowest chart entry in two years, the latest single from her Music album failing to reach the Top 5. Still, what does it matter, this is still her 13th Top 10 hit in a row since November 1996 and the 49th of her career in total. She is now within striking distance of overtaking none other than Elvis Presley whose career total of 55 Top 10 hits puts him second only to Cliff Richard. What a story that would make...
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8 WHAT TOOK YOU SO LONG (Emma Bunton)

With such a strong field at the top of the chart it was inevitable that there would be some heavy casualties amongst the existing chart hits. None however is more demeaning than the seven place fall experienced by Emma Bunton's former Number One single. In actual fact this probably looks more disastrous than it actually is as last weeks Top 4 were all separated by the narrowest of margins. But for a thousand copies or so Baby Spice could quite easily have been the Number 4 single last week, making this tumble less spectacular than it looks. Nonetheless the record books will not lie and What Took You So Long will go down as one of the small but ever growing band of tracks to have fallen from the top of the charts to straight out of the Top 5. This fall of 1-8 matches the tumble taken in November last year of A1s Same Old Brand New You, and also that of Westlife's Fool Again which did the same trick just over a year ago. The biggest fall experienced in the last few years was the 1-9 tumble taken by B*witched's Blame It On The Weatherman in 1999.
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13 SNOOP DOGG (Snoop Dogg)

With his child protege Lil Bow Wow still clinging on to a place in the Top 20, Snoop Dogg himself makes a solo return to the chart. His last credited chart appearance was on Dr Dre's Still Dre which made Number 6 in March 2000 and indeed Dre returns the favour by returning to the producers chair for this track (which incidentally also features a co-production credit for Timabaland who has thus helmed two of this weeks new entries). Aside from the Dr Dre track, this new single has the honour of being Snoop Dogg's second biggest hit ever, his best solo chart performance coming in December 1996 when Snoop's Upside Your Head reached Number 12. Indeed the only criticism you can make is the choice of subject matter, isn't making records about yourself the sort of thing rappers do at the start of their careers, not eight years after their first chart hit?
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17 DAS GLOCKENSPIEL (Schiller)

Paul Oakenfold apparently likes this one so we should pay it a bit of attention I guess. As the title suggests, the central hook of the track is the ringing tones of a riff that we are supposed to think has been played on a Glockenspiel. Fans of musical theory will probably like the way the central theme is expanded upon by different musical parts as the single progresses, there is real musical ability at work here it seems. I just have to work out why I keep wanting it to turn into New Order's Confusion at every turn...
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21 FUNNY BREAK (ONE IS ENOUGH) (Orbital)

From the 'blimey, are they still going' file come the Hartnoll brothers, easily once of dance's most enduring acts with a chart history that stretches right the way back to their debut hit Chim in March 1990. This single (the first from what will be their sixth album proper) marks something of a departure for the pair as it is one of the few singles they have released that features a lead vocal, courtesy of Jonah Hex singer Naiomi Bedford. Only their past hits The Box and Nothing Left have used singers, all their other releases have been by and large instrumental. Beyond that the single has little that is commentworthy and in truth is little more than a formulaic trance-pop track, albeit one that is at pains to point out that it has not been made in Europe.
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26 STRIAGHT UP NO BENDS (Brian Harvey)

Old Boy Band members never die, they just try to become solo stars. Some take rather longer about it than others. Looking back East 17 were like a breath of fresh air, a group of lads from the furthest end of the Victoria Line who first burst onto the scene in a flurry of attitude and breakbeats but who turned out to have more talent amongst them than anyone gave them credit for. Brian Harvey was the wildman lead singer of the group who eventually dissolved in early 1997, save for an abortive comeback in late 1998. Now, after a brief reappearance on the True Steppers single True Step Tonight last year, he is attempting to start again with a solo career. The first thing you will do upon hearing this single is to wonder if you haven't accidentally bought the new Sisqo track by mistake. This is because the Walthamstow native has turned to America for inspiration and indeed on his forthcoming new album both Sisqo and the other members of Dru Hill all make contributions. That said the single isn't half bad, and it crackles along with just the right amount of energy. As this chart placing shows, however, most people are going to take time to be convinced.
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27 GIVE ME A REASON (Corrs)

The Corporate Corrs return to the chart with the third single from the much-hyped but ultimately rather soulless In Blue album. Give Me A Reason is the song from whose lyrics the album takes its name and happily is one of the better tracks from it, showing just a little of the inspiration from their first two albums which somehow got buried by the production of the third. Still their chart placings continue to fall however, the Number 20 peak of Irresistible last November was considered a shock after Breathless had topped the chart and this further placing barely inside the Top 30 leaves us waiting for their commercial comeback. If they ever get that far of course.
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36 STANLEY (HERE I AM) (Airheadz)

A fine example here of an idea that worked fine in principle but which circumstances conspired to wreck. This trance track has been popular in recent months in a white label form that sampled heavily from Eminem's Stan, as befitted its status as a response track to the rap hit. Releasing it commercially was another matter of course as the melody to Stan was actually that of Dido's Thank You and given that she is about to release the track as her next single, her record company were reluctant to allow the release of another track that borrowed heavily from the original. Hence this commercial release is a total re-recording that is now devoid of the lyrics or melody of the original, effectively wrecking the entire concept of the track and turning it into a single a world away from the one that has been entracing clubbers since Christmas. Ah well.
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