This week's Official UK Singles Chart

[Although nobody knew it at the time, this week marked a historical watershed. An event took place which would end up changing the music industry and indeed the singles charts forever. On October 23rd 2001, Apple launched the new device they had branded an "iPod"].

1 BECAUSE I GOT HIGH (Afroman)

The record which is almost certainly to end up as one of the biggest worldwide smashes of the year began life as a track on Afroman's second album on the tiny Mississippi record label T-Bone. From there it grew to become an phenomenon, dominating US radio playlists before the single could even be officially serviced and was quickly added to the soundtrack of the movie Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back. Internationally it was the same story and indeed the demand for Because I Got High has been so strong that the single has spent the past three weeks hovering outside the Top 40 on import sales alone (peaking at Number 45 a fortnight ago). Officially released at long last (and with a fresh catalogue number hence this new entry status) the single flies to the top of the chart to end Kylie Minogue's four-week run. Radio stations here were initially cautious about the track given its lyrical nature but given that the single is nothing more than a tongue in cheek cautionary tale about the perils of not being in your natural mental state it quickly became clear that there was little for anyone to get offended about (the bleeps on the radio edit notwithstanding). Beyond a shadow of a doubt this is this years Who Let The Dogs Out, an out of left field novelty hit that will end up crossing over to a deservedly massive audience. The only challenge seems to be preventing Afroman from becoming a one-hit wonder.


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4 I'M A SLAVE 4 U (Britney Spears)

For her third album Britney Spears has the same problem that recently faced 'NSync. Namely the lack of the Cheiron hit factory turning out a string of guaranteed pop smashes. Happily this void coincides with a desire to turn the teenage star into a more 'mature' artist. Hence I'm A Slave 4 U, the first track of the new era, is unlike any Britney track that has gone before. Written and produced by The Neptunes (Chad Hugo and Pharrell Williams) the single is one part Prince to two parts Missy Elliott, a dark and dare we say it difficult four minutes of funk which does at least allow Miss Spears to vamp it up both on the record and in the obligatory raunchy video. Being released in the same week as Afroman may actually have done her a favour as nobody was expecting it to top the charts and hence this Top 5 placing is not regarded as anything too terrible. It is after all an impressive return to chart form after her last single Don't Let Me Be The Last To Know only reached Number 12 in April, her first to miss the Top 10. I'm A Slave 4 U is instead Britney's seventh Top 5 hit, her first to climb this high since Lucky made Number 5 in August 2000. As Britain's own Spice Girls proved last year, when teen pop acts decide to go credible it can often be a very rocky road but the presence of some Max Martin songs on the new album indicates that she hasn't lost touch with her roots just for the moment.
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5 ONE NIGHT STAND (Mis-Teeq)

After the massive summertime Number 2 hit All I Want, Mis-Teeq follow it up with this single which becomes their third Top 10 hit in a row and could well cement their status as one of the brightest stars in the crowded girl group galaxy. As if to move even further away from their initial image as a garage act, One Night Stand takes a journey into Destiny's Child R&B territory, a glance at the label indicating that StarGate have a had in the writing and production.


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15 SAMBUCA (Wideboys featuring Dennis G)

Straight out of the strangely prolific Southampton club scene comes this fun garage track that purportedly gives an insight into Ayia Napa courtship rituals, detailing as it does the way a seduction of a dusky maiden began over a glass of the famous liqueur (presumably drunk rather than attached to the torso). Singer Dennis G is apparently a former basketball player, now carving out a new career for himself. Funnily enough I've read at least three reviews of this track which have signed off with a joke about how it is a single to set your spirits on fire. I wish I had thought of that.
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16 THE BLOCK PARTY (Lisa Left Eye Lopes)

Despite their regular as clockwork outbreaks of cattiness the members of TLC insist they are still together and ready to release a new album next year. To fill the gap in the meantime, Left-Eye has taken it upon herself to branch out and make her solo debut in the shape of the album Supernova. The first single to come from this long player is a strange one to say the least. Even if the title means nothing, you will almost certainly know this the moment you hear it, the singsong "dancing all night long" chorus having apparently been a part of every club set since September. Good though it is, Block Party is a love it or hate it record and this fact alone may well have prevented it from making the kind of chart impact that might have been expected. Left-Eye has of course made guest appearances on far bigger hits than this (Melanie C's Never Be The Same Again and Donell Jones' U Know What's Up) and you suspect that bigger hits are to come once she releases some of the more straightforward material from the album. She has at least made more of an impact with her solo debut than bandmate Tionne T-Boz Watkins. Her single My Getaway could only reach Number 44 back in April.
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20 LOVING YOU (OLE OLE OLE) (Brian Harvey/The Refugee Crew)

The Americanisation of Brian Harvey continues. The former East 17 frontman officially made his solo debut back in April with the Number 26 hit Straight Up No Bends, heralding a new album on which Sisqo and Dru Hill were rumoured to feature heavily. Clearly he has taken inspiration from other places as well, this second single featuring a co-billing from the Refugee Crew, the loose band of musicians often employed by Wyclef Jean. As chance would have it it is the man himself who produced this track, instantly giving it the kind of credibility Harvey has seemed almost desperate to attract. OK so the track isn't that marvellous but at the very least it becomes the first single to bring the terrace chant of "Ole Ole Ole" into the charts since Chumbawamba's Top Of The World back in 1998.
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21 IZZO (H.O.V.A.) (Jay-Z)

It may not be the biggest hit of his career but Izzo marks Jay-Z's first chart single this year, this being his first release since I Just Wanna Love U made Number 17 just before Christmas last year. If one counts all his collaborative efforts and guest starring co-credits this is his 18th chart single since 1997. How many other rap stars can claim that level of chart success?
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25 WHERE THE PARTY AT (Jagged Edge)

A long overdue UK chart debut for Jagged Edge, an American R&B boy band who are actually now on their third album. Where The Party At lands on the chart thanks in part to a cameo appearance from Nelly but even he can't help the single be anything more than of passing interest (even though the single currently has Top 5 status back home in America). Confusingly they are not the first chart act to go by this name, a UK group signed to Polydor reached Number 66 with a track called You Don't Love Me back in 1990.
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27 BOUNCING FLOW (K2 Family)

More garage and one of the few remaining summertime Ayia Napa smashes to be given a full commercial release. Beyond that I doubt anyone else is interested.
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30 HALFWAY AROUND THE WORLD (A*Teens)

Clearly it is going to be an uphill battle turning the A Teens from teenage Abba covers act into pop stars with original material. Things looked good with the release of Upside Down which was in truth one of the best pop records of the year, its Number 10 peak surely a poor reflection of its potential. Now comes the followup, another strong pop hit but this time one which struggles to even make the Top 30. The presence of Steps at the top of the album chart may well give you the reason why - as far as Britain is concerned there is already one act with the bubblegum market all sewn up.
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34 ETERNAL FLAME (Atomic Kitten)
36 HUNTER
(Dido)

This week hasn't exactly been lacking in big new hit singles but that hasn't stopped two older ones reversing their sales declines and reappearing in the Top 40 several weeks after they first dropped out. As ever, the arrival of the singles in bargain bins has been the catalyst for this turnaround in sales and you suspect that a small amount of overstocking on the part of at least one retail chain has caused the newly discounted records to have their sales sufficiently boosted to propel them back into the Top 40. The Atomic Kitten single has actually been on the rebound for a number of weeks having now moved 40-45-47-45-34 well over two months after it first topped the charts. Dido's Hunter also rose up the charts in a small way last week and its short chart history now reads 17-35-49-56-55-36.
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39 COURSE BRUV (Genius Cru)

To think there was a brief time at the start of the year when we thought the Genius Cru represented the future of garage. Their dark, rather intense sound produced a Number 12 hit in the shape of Boom Selection back in February but for whatever reason they never managed to capitalise on this - until now. Sadly all this second chart single can do is creep almost unnoticed into the bottom end of the Top 40 but I defy anyone to listen to it and not crack a smile.


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