This week's Official UK Singles Chart

1 ANGEL (Shaggy featuring Rayvon)

So, no 800th Number One single this week as Shaggy's second single of the year actually outperforms the first and spends a second week at the top of the charts. To leave things at that would be to understate matters a little. As the rest of the listings show, this week was nothing short of a major date in the release schedules as a clutch of major new releases has cut a swathe through the Top 10, brushing virtually all of last week's big hits out of the way. The fact that none of them came even close to unseating Shaggy and Rayvon is either a testament to the popularity of the single or an indication that big though these new singles were, none of them had quite what it took to be a Number One hit. It should also be noted that of Shaggy's chart-topping singles to date, neither It Wasn't Me nor Boombastic managed more than a seven-day spell at the summit which means that Angel now equals the 1993 run of Oh Carolina as his biggest (if not biggest-selling) chart hit to date.
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3 WE COME 1 (Faithless)

Maxi Jazz! Sister Bliss! Dido's older brother! The makers of the most profound dance music around are back with a third album and a single that indicates that their creativity shows no sign of waning. If you've heard just one Faithless single then you will know what to expect here, a smooth almost ethereal trance cum trip-hop beat to which Maxi Jazz (the man who could make his shopping list sound cool) adds a narrative that might sound pretentious if it was taken out of context. Then again a man who can get away with proclaiming "God is a DJ, this is my church" can probably get away with anything. The single rockets into the Top 10 to give Faithless their fourth Top 10 single and the first since the aforementioned God Is A DJ made Number 6 in September 1998. Trailing Steps at the start of the week, We Come 1 eased past them at the weekend and whilst it hasn't quite lived up to its title it does at least become their joint-largest hit ever, equalling the Number 3 peak scaled by the era-defining Insomnia in October 1996.


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4 HERE AND NOW/YOU'LL BE SORRY (Steps)

Another season, another Steps single. However much we claim to simply be bored of the squeaky clean fivesome, however much it seems that the disco pop formula of most of their singles appears to be becoming tired the hits just keep on rolling in. Their second release of 2001 (the follow-up to January's The Way You Make Me Feel) is yet another single lifted from last year's Buzz album and it wastes no time in flying straight into the Top 5. Thus they extend their run of consecutive Top 10 singles to 12, their only "failure" being their musically atypical debut 5-6-7-8 from December 1997 which could only reach Number 14. That total can be increased to 13 if you take into account their co-credit on the Brits Abba medley from 1999 in collaboration with Tina Cousins, Cleopatra, B*witched and Billie. Beyond the fact that there is little here to get excited about musically, Here And Now is another almost flawless pop masterpiece, the sort of track that you would imagine would result if Britney Spears ever teamed up with Abba. Roll on Christmas and the inevitable Greatest Hits collection, as if there are people who don't own the record already.
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5 ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE (Brandy featuring Ray J)

Phil Collins. You remember him. Bald chap, used to be with Genesis. Has problems staying married and likes to write songs about it. Nobody seems to think much of him in this country any more and last we heard of him he was recording songs for Disney films (You'll Be In My Heart from Tarzan) in order to have hits. In America, it is a slightly different story, something which was noticed by Hit And Run Music, the publishers who own his song catalogue. They were struck by the number of requests they received from R&B stars to do cover versions of his hits and wondered if there was a project in there. Thus was born Urban Renewal, possibly the most bizarre tribute album ever as the cream of rap and R&B each offer their own interpretation of the songs of Phil Collins. The first single from the album is Brandy's take on his 1989 Number 2 hit Another Day In Paradise, originally taken from the album But Seriously. Strange though it may seem this is actually the second cover version of the song to chart, Jam Tronik having taken a rather terrible dance version to Number 19 in April 1990.

Teaming up with Brandy on the single (incidentally her biggest UK hit since Top Of The World made Number 2 in October 1998) is her younger brother Ray J [this, the other thing he is famous for], thus adding their names to the rather short list of brother and sister duettists to have had Top 10 hits. By far the most famous brother and sister duo is, of course, The Carpenters, Richard and Karen having had a string of hits, including 7 Top Tenners in the 1970s. Strangely enough, they never topped the charts in this country, reaching Number 2 on two occasions. Neither did Donny and Marie Osmond who also reached Number 2 with I'm Leaving It All Up To You in 1974. In fact, the only time brother and sister have topped the charts together has been as part of a larger group, The Corrs and The Honeycombs are two that spring to mind immediately. Believe it or not we have had two brothers (Everly Brothers, Kalin Twins), two sisters (Mel and Kim, Althia and Donna), husband and wife duets (Sonny and Cher, Esther and Abi Ofarim), a father and daughter duet (Frank and Nancy Sinatra), and a mother and son collaboration (Lieutenant Pigeon) at the top of the charts but to the best of my knowledge never a mother and daughter or father and son collaboration. Finally, in one of those strange coincidences, whilst Faithless never released as a single any of the tracks on which Dido Armstrong appeared with brother Rollo, both have Top 20 hits independently of each other this week.

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6 ROMEO (Basement Jaxx)

Enough of keeping things in the family way let's hit the dancefloor again. Basement Jaxx looked as if they were a spent force a year ago when their last single Bingo Bango could only reach Number 13, a far cry from their 1999 smashes Red Alert and Rendez-Vous. Amazing what a little time away can do for you isn't it? Romeo heralds the release of the second album from the South London duo and features a largely uncredited guest vocal from none other than Kele Le Roc, last seen in the Top 40 in March 1999 with My Love. For her this is a dramatic career turnaround, her last chart hit was Thinking Of You which made a dismal Number 70 in September last year.


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9 CLOSE TO YOU (Marti Pellow)

Presenting the return (again) of the undisputed comeback king. Marti Pellow's chart career began in 1987 when he was the lead singer of Glasgow group Wet Wet Wet. Their debut album Popped In Souled Out still holds up today as a masterpiece, an effortless fusion of pop appeal and immaculately produced blue-eyed soul that spawned a string of hit singles such as Wishing I Was Lucky, Angel Eyes and Temptation. A year later they were topping the charts with the charity Beatles cover With A Little Help From My Friends. Despite the success, they hated being seen as a pop band and went further down the soul route which commercially may not have been the most sensible one. In late 1991 they looked to be finished, the first two singles from their third album made 37 and 56 respectively. Then came comeback Number One as the third single Goodnight Girl took advantage of a dearth of outstanding new releases in January 1992 and flew to the top of the charts, making the Wets into stars all over again.

Fast forward again to 1993 with singles such as Shed A Tear and Cold Cold Heart making 22 and 20 to promote a Greatest Hits collection that you could be forgiven for thinking would draw a line under their career. Six months later came the release of Love Is All Around, the song from the film Four Weddings And A Funeral which topped the charts for no less than 15 consecutive weeks and which effectively relaunched Wet Wet Wet all over again. Five more Top 10 hits followed in the next three years, the final one being another Beatles cover and another film hit - Yesterday featuring on the soundtrack to the Mr Bean movie.

Then it all went badly wrong. The band broke up and so did Marti Pellow's life as his confession to a Heroin addiction a few years later confirmed. Of course a man whose career has come back from the brink twice before should never be written off and so this week the charts welcome the debut solo single for one of the most versatile voices of his generation. True, the single isn't actually much to get excited about as Marti Pellow is still intent on being a Serious Artist and in truth Westlife just about have the market cornered in appealing pop-oriented soul. Still if nothing else, the fact that Marti Pellow the solo artist is able to launch a career in such style, 14 years after his first chart hit is an impressive achievement and the forthcoming album should be well worth a listen.
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12 NEW BORN (Muse)

The parade of big Top 10 new entries continues. Anthemic noisemakers Muse return to the upper reaches with their second single of the year, the follow-up to the memorable Plug In Baby which made Number 11 in March. For the moment they appeared to be at a standstill in terms of chart placings but a second successive Top 20 hit is not something to be sniffed at.
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13 LULLABY (Melanie B)

If the press is to be believed, Melanie B is drinking at the last chance saloon with this single. Could it be that the first Spice Girl to have a solo hit is going to be the first one to be dropped if sales of her album do not take off? Of course it would be wrong for this column to speculate on such matters, so let us concentrate on the facts as they stand. Lullaby is the follow-up to the (actually rather cool) Feel So Good which made Number 5 in March. Just as her song Tell Me was an attack on her ex-husband, so this track is an ode to the child they produced together, Phoenix Chi also making an appearance in the video. Number 13 isn't a bad place to chart a single but of course when you are a member of one of the biggest pop groups of the decade people expect a little more. In actual fact Lullaby isn't quite her smallest hit ever, that honour falling to July 1999s Word Up which only reached Number 14. The problem all of the solo Spice Girls will have to face up to sooner or later is that fact that the novelty of "hey it is a record by one of the Spice Girls" will only carry them so far until they have to carve out a distinct musical identity of their own. Melanie B wants to be a credible R&B star but her problem is that she is no Janet Jackson or J-Lo. At the end of the day she is just Melanie Brown from Leeds who got lucky at an audition one day. Has she taken that luck as far as she can?


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15 OCEAN SPRAY (Manic Street Preachers)

The Manics' attention-grabbing stunt of releasing two singles on the same day back in March may well have made them the first act for eight years to have simultaneous Top 10 hits but it did of course have a downside. It is entirely possible that they blew the two most hit worthy tracks from the album in one fell swoop, meaning that subsequent single releases end up a disappointment. That said, I can't remember the last time a Manic Street Preachers single was a disappointment to hear but the fact is that a Number 15 entry makes this (and this is the most surprising part) their smallest hit single since She Is Suffering made Number 25 in October 1994.
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16 NEVER ENOUGH (Boris Dlugosch and Roisin Murphy)

The man with a name that sounds like a brand of motor oil made his name as a chart performer with 1997s Hold Your Head Up High, a Number 23 hit for his act Booom. He is also famous for transforming a rather meandering and formless track by the rather obscure act Moloko into one of 1999s most enduring club smashes, Sing It Back hitting Number 4 the summer before last. Now it is time for the favour to be returned and Moloko's lead singer Roisin Murphy does so by providing the vocals on another track which emerged as one of the favourites at the Miami conference earlier this year. Actually the single repeats the same "mutant disco with star guest singer" formula that was used to such success by Spiller and M&S to name but two but given that Ms Murphy's voice sounds so good on dance singles it is hard to miss the appeal of this track, even if you could have been forgiven for expecting it to make a bigger impact.
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 20 DAYDREAM IN BLUE (I Monster)

This, we are told, is the first big anthem of the summer. A track from the same stable that gave us All Seeing I, an eclectic mix of beats, samples, hooks and vocodered quirkiness that is supposed to mean it can hardly fail. Sadly I can't quite see it myself and whilst it is clear that there is an inspired dance single in there waiting to get out, the fact that the single is so tied up in its own cleverness means this has somehow become lost along the way. The fact that the track has limped rather apologetically into the Top 20 probably tells its own story. Apologies to those who love this, but a track that sounds like a Cuban Boys reject does not a good dance record make. [Oh hush you philistine, this was one of the defining moments of the summer and brings memories flooding back].


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26 WAITING FOR THE SUMMER (Delirious?)

I've said it so many times it almost sounds repetitive but Delirious? remain the most delightful enigma the charts have to offer. Search in vain for their mainstream promotional appearances, their presence on radio playlists and indeed even high profile reviews of their singles. The Christian band (although this point is rarely hammered home in their music) seem to emerge almost from nowhere every few years with a new album and a string of mid-table hits that are snapped up by those in the know. Hence this single here, believe it or not, their sixth Top 40 hit. Several times they have looked to be on the verge of a breakthrough, their 1999 hit See The Star making Number 16 and their last release It's OK hitting Number 18 in March last year. This time around they slip back slightly, Waiting For The Summer ending up as their smallest hit since their debut White Ribbon Day only reached Number 41 in March 1997.
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38 SOMEONE LIKE YOU (Dina Carroll)

From the "wow, I didn't know they still had a record deal" file comes Dina Carroll, the UKs brightest soul prospect from the early 1990s but who is now reduced to picking up the crumbs at the bottom end of the Top 40. Her last single was Without Love which made Number 13 in July 1999 but in the intervening two years she almost seems to have been forgotten, hence this is her lowest chart placing since she began her career as the singer with dance act Quartz in 1991. For my money her best track is one which was never released - Here was never more than a radio-only promo single in the mid-1990s of which I haven't even so much as an MP3 copy.
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40 ASTOUNDED (Bran Van 3000 featuring Curtis Mayfield)

Sad really that this single should be bringing up the rear in the Top 40 this week as it is quite a poignant moment. James Di Salvo of Bran Van 3000 (best known of course for Drinking In LA) contacted soul legend Curtis Mayfield a few months before he died in 1999 to ask if he was able to collaborate with the group. Too ill to be able to help, the star instead gave the group permission to use something from his own personal archive of used and unused material. One of those tapes contained the outtakes from the sessions that produced Mayfield's 1971 classic Move On Up and it is these hitherto unheard vocals that form the basis of this single. Poignant it is indeed, even if this isn't quite the large hit it deserves to be.


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