This week's Official UK Singles Chart

1 DO YOU REALLY LIKE IT (DJ Pied Piper & The Masters Of Ceremonies)

After what seemed almost like a becalming at the top end of the chart last week, things explode into life in a big way. Those of you less able to stand the pace may like to take a deep breath and do your best to keep up. First things first, the 898th Number One single. DJ Pied Piper's track actually began life over a year ago as an underground garage smash that was deservedly massive in Agia Napa last summer and wound up being used as the soundtrack to the Channel 4 series Fantasy Island that documented the buzz of the new clubbers paradise. For whatever reason the track was never given an official release at the time and only now has it finally arrived in the shops. Giving a track that amount of buildup can backfire badly as you run the risk of the interest in the single dying down far too much for it to become a hit. Happily this has not been the case here, quite the reverse in fact. That the single should be a Number One hit isn't too surprising as the combined talents of the Pied Piper and what seems like every south London garage MC makes for a quite sparkling commercial garage rap smash, perhaps even more so that the Artful Dodger's genre-defining Rewind. Leaving aside Craig David (who let's face it is more R&B than two-step) then this is the first "proper" garage single to top the charts since Oxide & Neutrino's Bound 4 Da Reload hit the top 13 months ago.


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3 THANK YOU (Dido)

Yes, it is that Dido song. The track that first appeared on the soundtrack to the film Sliding Doors in 1998 and whose first verse was lifted wholesale by Eminem as the refrain to Stan now becomes Dido's second solo single. Thank You storms into the chart, beating the Number 4 peak of Here With Me to become for now the biggest hit of her career. Some reviewers wondered how much interest there would be in the track given that it almost seems over-familiar thanks to the Eminem track. In truth of course there is more to the track than just that one verse and as one of the standout tracks on the never less than superlative No Angel album it was an obvious choice for a single. It isn't insignificant, however, that Thank You is now one a still tiny number of tracks to have become hits after having been sampled on mainstream rap singles. Until now the most famous example of this was arguably Ofra Haza's Im Nin' Alu which was a Top 20 smash in the summer of 1988, several months after Coldcut had made her chanting part of their remix of Eric B and Rakim's Paid In Full which had itself been a Top 20 hit the previous November. Indeed you wonder why it does not happen more often, especially given the way much of Fatboy Slim's music is made up of samples from previously obscure records. Back to Dido, and the success of this single confirms her deserved status as one of the biggest stars of the year. Note too, the video for the song that has clearly been shot by a director who knows he is filming one of the most beautiful women in the world and who doesn't care who knows it. [Yes, I was a tiny bit smitten with her at the time, but in all fairness who wasn't?]


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4 ALL RISE (Blue)

I know for a fact that a girl called Sammi will be scrutinising this next paragraph extremely carefully so perhaps it is just as well that this single deserves a positive comment. Back in January the four lads who make up Blue were touted as the potential new sensations of the year and after a wait of several months they finally have a hit single to back up the hype. Now you could argue that the last thing the world needs is another British boy band but to their advantage is the fact that Blue are more Another Level than Westlife, their debut single is a punchy half-sung half-rapped track that contains the same sparkle that I remember being an integral part of early East 17 tracks. Note too, the production credits as Stargate further cement their growing status as the hottest pop producers around. All in all it is no surprise that this is a Top 5 hit first time around. To hell with credibility. I love this.


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5 PYRAMID SONG (Radiohead)

[Oh my, it is this one. Radiohead-gate. Where I just became tired of the hype surrounding one of the more tedious rock groups of their era and decided to do a bit of iconoclasm. The words below made a rather startling impact and prompted one of the biggest surges of correspondence I could remember in a long while].

Why are people so scared to say how useless Radiohead are? True, they have produced the odd gem over the years but for the most part, they churn out nothing more than an endless string of tuneless dirges, all of which are made the more excruciating by Thom Yorke's vocal style which is not so much singing as the squeals of pain from some bizarre testicular injury. Remember all the people last year who went around saying just a little too loudly how good the Kid A album was? Actually, they were just embarrassed to admit they had spent their hard earned cash on fifty minutes of impenetrable guitar feedback. It was like the Emperor's New Clothes all over again. Happily there were no singles released from Kid A, but the cycle begins all over again with their new album Amnesiac which was actually recorded at the same time. Thus Pyramid Song is their first chart hit since January 1998's No Surprises although I'm not sure it was worth the wait. Never in contention for a place at the top, instead this single is content to be their fifth successive Top 10 single in a run which stretches back to Street Spirit (Fade Out) in early 1996. As you may have gathered, I'm not going to be a sucker for the hype, I'll just judge them on a single by single basis. Pyramid Song isn't a potential classic like the aforementioned Street Spirit but neither is it as painfully discordant as Karma Police. Let the hate mail commence...

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6 NO MORE BABY (I'MA DO RIGHT) (3LW)

The initials stand for Three Little Women, the three New Jersey teenagers having kicked off their career in fine style in America when their debut album appeared at the end of last year. Now it is time for their music to spread internationally and they appear to have repeated the trick in this country with a Top 10 single straight off the bat. The same criticisms can apply to 3LW as they do to Blue, namely that it is debatable whether the music world really needs another sassy female R&B group. That said, the single is one of those rare R&B tracks that works as a teen pop record as well and there is a large part of me that prefers this soulfulness to having Destiny's Child shout about how angry they are.
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9 HEARD IT ALL BEFORE (Sunshine Anderson)

Soul has made a comeback this week it seems. The success of Sunshine Anderson, apparently from nowhere, is easily explained when you note that her manager and mentor is none other than Macy Gray who appears to have gone from superstar-in-waiting to svengali within the space of a year. The title of the tune, without a hint of irony, sums up the record in a nutshell. You can't argue with a Top 10 on her debut but it will be interesting to see if she manages to repeat the trick second time around. Her manager couldn't.
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14 RING RING RING (Aaron Soul)

Believe me it is not music hack laziness that has caused Aaron Soul to be labelled the new Craig David, it is simply because he is. Almost literally. Both stars hail from Southampton and indeed both worked together when they were (younger) teenagers. Indeed it seems it was simply fate that meant that Craig David became a star first but now it is time for Aaron Soul to catch up. The single itself is nothing new, more summery R&B with a hint of garage beneath it so it is actually hard to find anything wrong with it, except to note that the intangible magic that turned Craig David into a sensation doesn't quite seem to be present here. Could it be that Aaron Soul ends up as Scooch to Craig David's Steps?
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15 NEW YEARS DUB (Musique vs U2)

Every January the music industry buggers off to Miami. This is of course because even in the dead of winter it is nice and pleasant there but in order to make the trip claimable on expenses the city plays host to the annual Dance Music Conference from which bidding wars ensue for future dance hits. Of the two big sensations at the conference this year, this is the first to chart. Musique is actually DJ Moussa Clarke and as the title of the single suggests, is a dance hit based around The Edge's famous guitar riff from U2s 1983 classic New Year's Day. In actual fact the riff is the only bit of the original that is used, the rest of the track featuring a rap from Barney C. Looking back it could hardly fail to be massive and after Judge Jules' Serious label snapped up the rights, here it is inside the Top 20. U2 are no strangers to being part of club hits, the Perfecto remix of Even Better Than The Real Thing famously outsold the single release of the original album version but this is the first single to sample their music and receive official approval. 1992 also saw Clivilles and Cole release a Top 20 cover of Pride (In The Name Of Love) but we don't talk about that much...
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28 COWBOYS & KISSES (Anastacia)

Strange though it may seem Anastacia's album is one of the biggest sellers of the year so far, having shipped over half a million copies. All of this after just two singles as well. Her first, I'm Outta Love made Number 6 in October last year whilst the follow-up Not That Kind was a Number 11 hit in February. Given the number of long players she has shifted it is perhaps no real surprise that this third release should be a somewhat smaller hit although the fact that it is a rather nondescript ballad that contains little of the in your face thrills of the other two is undoubtedly a factor too.
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29 ROCK DA HOUSE (Tall Paul)

A smaller than expected chart entry for celebrity DJ Tall Paul. Those with long memories will recall that Rock Da House was his first single to be released under his own name and originally made Number 12 in March 1997. Not that it was a classic to begin with but there was a hope that this new set of mixes would propel it to similar heights second time around. Wrong.
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31 RADIO #1 (Air)

The first Air single since Playground Love (Number 25 in February 2000) comes from their new album which is released this week. Their fifth Top 40 single in all, it also turns out to be one of their smallest, perhaps in the main because it is a world away from the floating soundscapes of tracks such as Kelly Watch The Stars. Radio #1 is a far darker affair, an intense brooding track whose mood is only lightened by the vocal track from Jean Benoit Dunckel that kicks in towards the end. Perhaps understandably not a smash, but still a work of genius nonetheless.
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34 WANT YOU BAD (Offspring)

Rounding things off on the Top 40 this week is another re-entry prompted by an old single arriving in the bargain bins with the result that it rebounds back up the chart. In fact, the fortunes of this Offspring single have experienced a more dramatic reversal than most. Released in late March, the chart run of the single went 15-24-25-34-45 after which it fell out of the Top 75 altogether. Two weeks later it was back at Number 71 and has been on the rise ever since, climbing to 49 last week and now claiming a place back inside the Top 40 for the first time since the end of April.


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