This week's Official UK Singles Chart

1 MAMBO NO.5 (Bob The Builder)

Novelty acts have come and gone over the years but in the entire history of the UK charts, not one has ever managed to top the charts more than once. Like it or not, today history has been made. The first Bob The Builder track was, of course, Can We Fix It? which ended up as the Christmas Number One last year and the biggest selling single of 2000 to boot. Eight months later the follow-up has appeared, once more featuring actor Neil Morrissey recreating the voice of the character he plays in the animated children's TV series. The race for the top slot this week was quite a nail-biting thing, Bob The Builder actually slipping some way behind when first released amidst cries from some retailers about the problems they had getting hold of stock. Once these problems were resolved there was no stopping the track and the result is a second Number One hit for Bob The Builder.

On top of this the single is yet another remake of an old Number One hit. Mambo No.5 is a lyrically modified version of the arrangement that Lou Bega took to the top of the charts just two years ago, incredibly enough making it the fourth cover of a number one single to top the charts in 2001. Having displaced Blue's Too Close from pole position it is also the second time this year that a one remake has knocked another off the top slot, Lady Marmalade having taken over from Shaggy's Angel back in June. Of course technically most people are incorrect in calling Bob The Builder's track a remake of "Lou Bega's Mambo No.5" for of course whilst it uses his lyrical arrangement of the track, the real originator is the man who first wrote the music nearly 50 years ago - the King of Mambo himself Perez Prado. Those that feel the presence of this single at the top of the charts is just another sign of pop music going to the dogs should probably be mindful of the fact that this isn't a novelty remake that has the expression "Uhh Aaah" in the chorus. This time next week you may well be grateful for this.


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2 STARLIGHT (Supermen Lovers featuring Mani Hoffman)

So what of the track that probably should be topping the charts if there was any justice in the world. As is so often the case, the best ideas for dance music come from France. Classically trained Parisian Guillaume Atlan is the creative brains behind this massive club smash, one which admittedly uses the tried and tested formula of meshing an obscure 25 year old disco groove to a brand new vocal but which you feel is also just inches away from pop perfection. Co-credited Mani Hoffman is the singer in question but even he has to take a back seat to the animated Potato that is the star of the video - a situation that prompted some members of the press to describe this week's chart race as the battle between Bob and Mr Potato Head.


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6 TWENTY FOUR SEVEN (Artful Dodger featuring Melanie Blatt)

Having used a variety of semi-unknown singers on past tracks (Romina Johnson, Lifford, Michelle Escoffery and some chap called Craig David) the Artful Dodger this time turn to some genuine star power to transform their latest release, one which also marks the departure of Pete Devereux from the outfit, leaving Mark Hill for the moment as the sole member of the team. Melanie Blatt is best known as one-quarter of All Saints and is the one who isn't Shaznay Lewis or either of the Appleton sisters (hope that helps). In truth beyond the interest sparked by her presence on the track there isn't that much to set this single apart from all the other Artful Dodger tracks, that is to say it is a perfectly good slice of pop-garage that is doing its best not to sound like traditional R&B and one which returns the team to the Top 10 once again after their last single Please Don't Turn Me On could only reach Number 11 back in March. Meanwhile the world awaits the first solo releases proper from the rest of the All Saints. Deep down you just know they are coming...
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11 SMASH SUMTHIN' (Redman featuring Adam F)

So is it Redman featuring Adam F or Adam F featuring Redman? Nobody seems to be sure. Whatever the case, this single represents the coming together of two unlikely musical collaborators. Producer Adam F grew up as the son of 60s and 70s legend Alvin Stardust and briefly became a star in his own right in 1997 and 1998 with two Top 30 singles - Circles and Music In My Mind. Rapper Redman is best known for his guest appearances on singles by other acts, having featured on Beverly Knight's Made It Back (finally a hit in this country in 1999) and perhaps most notably alongside Dru Hill on How Deep Is Your Love which made Number 9 back in October 1998. This single has had a great many people very excited indeed, and rightly so as it is a fine party-friendly hip-hop track that demonstrates that there is no better English student of New York rhythms than the son of the man who first sang Rock On.
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13 OUT OF CONTROL (BACK FOR MORE) (Darude)

This is the third Darude single to chart, albeit one that seems to lack that certain something that made the first two such massive smash hits. Sandstorm made Number 3 in June last year whilst the follow-up Feel The Beat was a Top 5 hit just before Christmas.
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15 IT'S BEEN A WHILE (Staind)

This has been quite a summer for Staind. Signed to Fred Durst's own label in the States, they famously topped the US charts almost from nowhere with the album Break The Cycle. More or less unknown in this country, they played a set at the Reading Festival at the end of August and went down a storm. Such a storm in fact that the album took off like it had a rocket under it, making an unprecedented 82 place leap up the album charts to become the most surprise Number One of the year. All this without ever once releasing a single. Said single finally appears and you suspect is a slightly smaller hit than would have been the case had it come out before the festival hysteria. Never mind that though as it is a perfect example of why rock has suddenly been in resurgence, a track that is hard enough to appeal to the die-hard metalheads who are coming out the woodwork and yet with enough of a hook to appeal to everyone else. The phenomenon of rock acts shooting to stardom after one festival appearance is something that has not been seen since the late 1980s and the golden age of the Donnington Rock Festival which also took place every August. Bands such as Guns N' Roses and Metallica all gained their first chart exposure as a result of those live experiences, so really Staind represent a revival of a noble chart tradition.


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18 STOP YOUR CRYING (Spiritualized)

When it comes to making cute little year-end lists I just know I will have a hard time picking out the most gloriously unexpected track of the year. Until this week the honour was going to go to the Super Furry Animals with the sublime Juxtaposed With U but I think now we have a new champion. Spiritualized have been around for well over ten years now, their first chart single being Anyway That You Want Me which gave them the smallest hit possible when it made Number 75 in June 1990. The band received critical acclaim for their still-classic 1992 album Lazer Guided Melodies but somehow the final push towards mainstream success always eluded them, their biggest hit coming in February 1998 when I Think I'm In Love made Number 27. In the three years since leader Jason Pierce has all but sacked the entire band and decided to stretch out in a totally new direction. Hence this new single Stop Your Crying is like nothing you have ever heard before from an alternative British act, a glorious melancholic ballad that is backed by a wall of orchestral sound that dangerously treads the line between "inspired" and "over the top". Never mind the detractors though, it instantly becomes the biggest Spiritualized single ever and looks set to kick off a new chapter in the career of one of the most underrated of British acts. Given that they once recorded an album with Michael Nyman's Balanescu Quartet this new sound may not actually be that much of a surprise...


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23 SWEET BABY (Macy Gray featuring Erykah Badu)

Oh yes, she is back. This time for real. Macy Gray may have kept her name in the charts over the past few months thanks to collaborations with the likes of Black Eyed Peas and Fatboy Slim but to all intents and purposes she has been quiet since the release of Why Didn't You Call Me in August last year. Her mission: to prove that the sense of overnight sensation that followed the British public falling in love with her 1999 single I Try was no fluke. Well in all honesty the first single from her brand new album isn't exactly going to set the world on fire. Not even the distracting presence of Erykah Badu (making her own first appearance for over two years) can lift this single from being just ordinary. Of course much of the appeal of Macy Gray was not so much the songs she was singing but the way that she sings them with her unique warm voice but you kind of get the feeling that she is going to suffer from Tracy Chapman syndrome - a classic first album being followed up by one which gives the world more of the same only for the novelty value to have worn off.
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28 BATTER UP (Nelly & St Lunatics)

The fourth single from Nelly follows the other three and slides nicely into the charts, although compared to the Top 3 chart placing of Ride Wit' Me this is something of a comedown. In fairness the emphasis on this track is not so much Nelly himself but backing group St Lunatics who are being given a leg-up to stardom by their more famous friend, in much the same way that D-12 owe their success to the presence of Eminem in their ranks. Look for the trend to continue soon with Papa Roach going all out to help their buddies Alien Ant Farm to stardom, and hands up who remembers back in 1993 when Nirvana made good on a promise made several years earlier when they released a double a-sided single with Jesus Lizard.
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29 WHO (Ed Case & Sweetie Irie)

Last seen in the charts in October last year with the No.38 hit Something In Your Eyes, Ed Case became a name to be watched earlier this year when he transformed Gorillaz' Clint Eastwood from its plodding album version into a commercial smash hit. Assisting on that remix was none other than toasting legend Sweetie Irie who here teams up with the producer again on this single.
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30 YA MAMA/SONG FOR SHELTER (Fatboy Slim)

With all the acclaim and awards being lavished on the video for Weapon Of Choice you cannot help but wonder why it never became a single in its own right in this country, the track instead reduced to being the b-side to the radio-unfriendly Star 69 which made Number 10 back in May. What is perhaps more surprising is that despite his name being firmly back in the headlines, Norman Cook can do no more than scrape into the Top 30 with this latest double sided offering. Not even the presence of the Chemical Brothers who have remixed Song For Shelter to a world away from the original album version can help the track and it looks set to become the smallest Fatboy Slim track since Everybody Needs A 303 back in November 1997 (and before anyone really knew who the artist was). Of course a Fatboy Slim track would not be complete without a string of samples from some old and obscure (and in some cases not so obscure hits). Just for a change one of these is readily identifiable, Ya Mama borrowing heavily from Doug Lazy's 1989 hip-house anthem Let The Rhythm Pump.
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33 THE NOBODIES (Marilyn Manson)

Seven Top 40 hits to date for Marilyn Manson, of which this is just the latest. The Nobodies is his second chart hit this year following The Fight Song which made No.24 back in March and the third to be released from the current album. On that basis don't read too much into this chart position as you suspect that virtually everyone who cares owns the track already. Strange though that in the middle of the metal revival, it is one of the genre's late-90s icons who is struggling for mass mainstream acceptance. Must be the way he dresses.


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