This week's Official UK Singles Chart

1 LET'S DANCE (Five)

Well, in all honesty, this was a bit of a no-brainer wasn't it? Heralding the release of a brand new album, the boy band it is allegedly OK to like rack up their third Number One hit single and as it happens their second in a row as well, this being the direct following to their Queen cover We Will Rock You which was released in July last year. The release of the single appears to have been marred by some fevered speculation about the future of the group and rumour and denial about the status in the band of at least one of the members. That is actually something of a shame as Let's Dance approaches pop perfection with a retro feel that sounds like a collision between the sounds of Chic and Kool and the Gang. The single is also their 10th successive Top 10 hit, maintaining their 100% strike rate. Indeed you may well have read elsewhere about how this makes them the first male British act to have 10 Top 10 hits from their first 10 singles although this is admittedly one of the more nebulous chart accolades around. In actual fact they are by no means the first male group to open their career with such a run, the Bay City Rollers having already managed the feat in the 1970s. Crucially though that run was interrupted at the start by a number of singles that failed to chart, Five are the only act to have done so with their first 10 releases.


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2 TAKE ME HOME (Sophie Ellis Bextor)

Spookily enough it is exactly one year ago this week that the nation was enthralled by the chart battle between the True Steppers single Out Of Your Mind (featuring a certain Victoria Beckham on lead vocals) and Groovejet by Spiller, the eventual sales champion which featured the dulcet tones of former Theaudience singer Sophie Ellis Bextor. Conveniently this anniversary marks the solo chart debut of the lady herself. Take Me Home is a slightly rewritten version of a song that was originally recorded by Cher although it will be unfamiliar to most people here as the song was never a UK hit despite making No.8 in the States back in 1979. Whilst the battle for the top slot between Ms Ellis Bextor and Five wasn't quite the titanic battle some had predicted Take Me Home has still managed to sell in impressive quantities although the most entertaining publicity surrounding the single came from Cher herself who complained that the new lyrics have made the song "too raunchy".


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4 LET ME BLOW YA MIND (Eve featuring Gwen Stefani)

A long-awaited release this one, the follow-up to Eve's first hit single Who's That Girl which made Number 6 back in May. The appeal of the Dr Dre produced track will be helped no end by the collaborative presence of Gwen Stefani who has not been seen in the UK charts since No Doubt's Simple Kind Of Life crashed out at No.69 in October last year.
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5 LITTLE L (Jamiroquai)

Believe it or not, it is now eight years since Jay Kay first burst into the charts with his eclectic selection of headgear and a funky commercial take on the acid jazz sound that had remained steadfastly underground despite many attempts to take it mainstream. Clearly, he is in no mood to slow down as this brand new single from a new album confirms. Technically, of course, this is his second chart appearance of the year following his collaboration with Jools Holland on the Big Band remake of I'm In The Mood For Love which made No.29 back in February. The last Jamiroquai single proper was King For A Day which made No.20 in December 1999 and Little L now becomes his 8th Top Ten hit since 1993 and the fourth to go Top 5. Little L is rumoured to be about the breakup of his relationship with TV and stage star Denise Van Outen (herself a hitmaker thanks to her Christmas 1999 remake of Especially For You) and it may even suggest a breaking of some new musical boundaries (are those really Philly horns in the mix?) Still who cares, it still sounds fantastic.
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8 CRYSTAL (New Order)

First of all a brief history lesson. New Order can possibly lay claim to being one of the most influential British acts ever. Their career began in the late 1970s and early 80s when they were known as Joy Division, a moniker that belied the beautifully mournful music they made. They were on the verge of becoming famous when lead singer Ian Curtis committed suicide. Undeterred they regrouped, bassist Bernard Sumner stepping up to vocal duties and with a name change to New Order. In 1983 legend has it they obtained their first drum machine, set it going and improvised around the beats in the studio to test it out. The resulting track was Blue Monday, easily one of the most famous singles ever. Initially available on 12-inch only it became a Top 20 hit twice over in 1983 and then again in 1988 and 1995. From there they were off and running, each single a perfectly crafted pop symphony of which 1987's True Faith is the outstanding example. Then in 1988, they were pioneers again, spending the summer in the then little-known resort of Ibiza to record the album Technique which brought the Balearic sound to a mainstream UK audience for the first time ever. Their last official album was 1993s Republic which was met with a lukewarm response but did at least spawn the single Regret which also stands as one of their classics. Since then New Order have looked all but finished, silent aside from a Greatest Hits collection in 1994 that saw the aforementioned remix of Blue Monday become their last hit single. Interviews with the various members have confirmed that they had all but broken up in this time, everyone drifting off into alternative projects. Bernard Sumner, of course, notched up hits alongside Johnny Marr as part of Electronic (their last hit being Vivid from April 1999), Peter Hook recorded an album as Monaco in 1997 whilst Steven Morris and Gillian Gilbert failed to have any hits at all as The Other Two.

Now they are back, and what a comeback it is too. Rumour has it that Crystal wasn't ever meant to be a New Order record until people started saying "best thing since Blue Monday". In anticipation of the new album Get Ready this stunning new single flies into the Top 10, their first since the 1994 remix of True Faith and their biggest chart record since Regret peaked at Number 4 in May 1993. New Order are back and all seems right with the world once again.


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12 SUPERSTYLIN' (Groove Armada)

Funny how things work out isn't it? Andy Cato and Tom Findlay are Groove Armada. Their career exploded in 1999 with their second album Vertigo. Three of the tracks from the platter became Top 40 singles and each one has become memorable in its own right. First came If Everybody Looked The Same which has since been turned into a car advert. Then there was the Patti Page sampling At The River which was as much a stalwart of chill-out compilations two years ago as Daydream In Blue is today. Finally at the end of the year was I See You Baby, at the time their biggest hit when it made Number 17. Then they went silent during which time their crown as the best dance act in the UK has arguably been snatched away by Basement Jaxx. Now the guys are back with a third album and the campaign to promote it kicks off in style, Superstylin' flying into the charts to become their biggest hit ever. Vocals on the track are by MAD aka Mike Daniel who was also heard on the track Whatever Whatever on the last album.
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14 WHERE I WANNA BE (Shade Sheist/Nate Dogg/Kurupt)

Guess what, G-funk never died it just went away for a bit. To prove this fact Shade Sheist, a West Coast artist best known as a collaborator with the likes of Ja Rule and Bone Thugs 'N Harmony makes his solo debut with this revival of an obscure yet classic G-funk track. The soulful vocals on the track are provided by Nate Dogg, a veteran of the most famous G-funk hit of all, Warren G's Regulate which made Number 5 in 1994.
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15 LOVE YOU ANYWAY (De Nada)

Presenting the latest superstars of garage. De Nada's pedigree includes being labelmates of Craig David, work on Artful Dodger's album and a link to the town of Southampton to boot. There is no doubting though that this probably ranks alongside Five's single as the best pop record of the week, a skittering two-step track that balances the sweet sugary vocals of singer Nadia with the scat-rap of MC Allister all of which makes for a single whose appeal it is hard to deny. Shame the chart position didn't live up to the hype really.


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23 BODYROCK (Tymes 4)

This is the debut single from (as the name suggests) a 4-piece female R&B group. Their single has nothing to do with Maria Vidal's 1985 euro hit but is instead an extremely appealing single, even if it isn't quite distinctive enough to make a huge chart smash.
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27 MADE FOR LOVIN' YOU (Anastacia)

The fourth hit single from the lady with the most powerful voice in pop at the moment. Its chart position has little significance aside from demonstrating the law of diminishing returns as it lands in more or less the same place as her last single Cowboys And Kisses which hit Number 28 back in June. Actually, this is a much better single than its predecessor and you suspect had it been her second single rather than Not That Kind it would have been almost as big as her debut I'm Outta Love which made Number 6 in September last year.
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36 SHOPPING (Supersister)

Supersister are too good to fail [OK, I may have been fangirling here]. Everyone associated with them agrees with this fact. The three ladies from Sheffield are a far cry from the average manufactured girl band with genuine musical abilities and the ability to actually write some fabulous pop songs. One such track was their first single Coffee which charged into the chart at Number 16 in October last year. Although it vanished rather more quickly than its quality deserved the killer chorus lodged in the minds of enough people for it to become (thanks largely to its lyrics) something of a gay anthem and one which received regular airings from the lungs of Big Brother winner Brian Dowling during his stay in the TV house. Rather than follow the single up quickly the girls bided their time, the record company determined to pick the right moment to turn them into stars. This summer was judged to be such a moment although sadly it seems something has gone badly wrong. For whatever reason (possibly because Shopping isn't actually as good a song as Coffee) the public remains largely indifferent and instead of a Top 20 hit or better the single has ended up at a chart position which has killed the career of many an aspiring pop act. The presence of the photograph that the girls signed for me last week and which currently adorns my desk at work [told you!] has no bearing on this opinion of course, but the truth is that Supersister are far too good to fail. [This was their final Top 40 hit, albeit one immortalised forever in the filling station scene in the Steve Coogan film The Parole Officer].


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