This week's Official UK Singles Chart

1 BECAUSE I GOT HIGH (Afroman)

Well it is still there. In a way it almost seems a shame that the record has not stirred up even just a little bit of press outrage over its lyrical content as this would have paved the way for it to become an even greater success. As it turns out the presence of the entertaining novelty track at the top of the charts has been welcomed with broad smiles, making it possibly the most inoffensive song about narcotics ever released. For this week there was little to challenge Afroman's reign at the summit, most of the new releases destined to be little more than minor hits and as will be seen, the Top 3 stagnating as his two predecessors at the summit linger for longer than anyone could have predicted. Will it take a TV advert to turn the tide next week?
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2 CAN'T GET YOU OUT OF MY HEAD (Kylie Minogue)

Now two weeks removed from the Number One position, Kylie's big selling hit single continues to shift units, enough to earn her a second week in the runners-up slot and a sixth week inside the Top 3. The single now stands a very good chance of overhauling the 900,000-odd sales of Especially For You to wind up as her biggest-selling hit ever.
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3 HEY BABY (DJ Otzi)

Plaudits too must be aimed at the Austrian star as his own former Number One spends a third consecutive week at Number 3 to maintain his own long-term spell near the top end of the chart. Since it gained an official release the track has spent no less than seven weeks in the Top 3, moving 1-2-3-2-3-3-3. Bizarrely despite this unquestionable indication of its popularity, the single can hardly be heard on the radio at all and you will search in vain for a pop radio station that has been prepared to place it in high rotation on its playlists. Almost singlehandedly Hey Baby has opened up a huge can of worms in the debate about what should be played on the radio. Should radio stations air a record based on how popular it is or how cool they perceive it to be? Having worked in radio both on and off air for over five years I can tell you that the answer sadly is the latter. Incidentally this is the first totally static Top 3 on the singles chart since 29th April 2000 when Fragma, Craig David and Sisqo made up the 1,2,3.
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4 CLOSER TO ME (Five)

So farewell then Five. Not that it came as a surprise to anyone who had half an idea what was going on behind the scenes of the group but Five finally did the decent thing and fell on their swords live on MTV a few weeks ago. This does at least give them the opportunity to say goodbye in a controlled and dignified manner (are you watching Spice Girls?) whilst the record company mops up the pieces with their last few releases. Hearing closer to me you could be forgiven for thinking that this is actually a sad loss to pop music. As their last single, the chart-topping Let's Dance proved, these are the best records the group have made in their career. Rumour has it that the record company has plans for one more single to follow this one (originally planned to be Rock The Party which has instead ended up on the b-side of this one) so a proper career retrospective can wait for a little while [alas no, this would indeed be their singles chart swansong. As you will see at the start of December, they resolved the Rock The Party issue by releasing a second CD single with it as a bonus track]. Until then make the most of the best British boy band while they are still around, this being their 11th successive Top 10 hit single, maintaining their 100% strike rate.


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5 WHAT WOULD YOU DO (City High)

Some would call it stagnation, others will just point to the welcome presence of several long-running and genuine mainstream hits on the chart at the moment, each with enough appeal to survive the normal frantic pace of the UK singles chart. As well as the long-term residents of the Top 3 there are tracks such as What Would You Do which this week celebrates its fifth week on the chart by returning to the Top 5. The single has now moved 4-3-4-7-5 and looks set to hang around in the upper reaches for a couple of weeks to come. Meanwhile Alien Ant Farm slip to Number 10 this week with their cover of Smooth Criminal, itself spending a sixth week on the chart. Honourable mention too must go to Uncle Kracker whose Follow Me slides 14-16 this week after no less than nine weeks around.
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9 DON'T NEED THE SUN TO SHINE (Gabrielle)

So it is that just for a change the big new hits of the week create gentle ripples of movement in the chart rather than a huge smash. Don't Need The Sun To Shine is Gabrielle's second chart single of the year, the follow-up to Out Of Reach which made Number 4 in April after featuring on the soundtrack of Bridget Jones' diary. This single is the precursor to a Greatest Hits collection this Christmas, a release which should cement her often overlooked status as one of the most successful British female artists of the last decade. This hit is her 11th Top 10 single.


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17 CHOP SUEY (System Of A Down)

The Top 10 may lack many new entries but there is a fair old cluster of them in mid-table. Heading up this string of second division hits is the UK chart debut of System Of A Down. The US rock band are as well known for their political campaigning as their music (just check out their official site sometime) and after selling a million copies of their debut album worldwide they are now set to make their appeal mainstream. Chop Suey is taken from their second album Toxicity and if you thought that nu-metal could not produce any more classics this year then you have a surprise in store. The single eases from out and out thrash metal into mainstream balladry within the space of a few bars. Quite appropriate that a band whose motto is "Free Thinkers Are Dangerous" should turn musical convention on its head to quite wonderful effect.
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18 ROCK THE HOUSE (Gorillaz)

One of the few tracks on the album that you could see working as a single without the need for remixing, Rock The House duly becomes the third single release for the non-existent cartoon band. Admittedly it isn't quite as memorable as Clint Eastwood or 19-2000 (both Top 10 hits) and with sales of the album having apparently peaked this was never going to be more than minor hit and a footnote in the tale of the strangest musical phenomenon of the year. Still with a TV special set to air at Christmas the Gorillaz saga is far from over. By the way in case you are wondering, the single is based around a sample from Johnny Dankworth's theme to Modesty Blaize. Better that than Tomorrow's World I guess...


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19 I'M SO CRAZY (Par-T-One vs INXS)

Well now here is a bizarre one. Old INXS tracks found their way onto the dancefloor earlier this summer in the shape of Tall Paul's Precious Heart, a track which had the blessing of the band to turn their 1988 classic Never Tear Us Apart into a Top 20 club anthem. Two months later and here is yet another. Par-T-One is actually Italian producer Serio Casu and two mates who here have taken a rather more obscure route. I'm So Crazy is based around an early classic from the Aussie band entitled Just Keep Walking. Once more with the official sanction of the remaining members of the band, the track has now become a bass-heavy floor filler but one which retains a flavour of the original vocals and guitar work. As you might expect it actually works a treat.
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20 WE FIT TOGETHER (O-Town)

Something tells me the novelty is wearing off for the TV-created US band. Their third single cannot match the Top 5 status of the first two Liquid Dreams and the slushy All Or Nothing and creeps almost innocuously into the Top 20.
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22 THE LEGACY (Push)

Just two weeks after his collaboration with Sunscreem on Please Save Me made the Top 40, Belgian trancemeister Push is back with his own single. The Legacy falls agonisingly short of matching the Number 21 peak of his first hit Strange World which charted back in May.
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31 ISLAND IN THE SUN (Weezer)

Round off the Top 40 this week is a handful of entries from acts who have spent time much higher up the chart in the past. First up are Weezer with their second hit of the year, this the rather disappointing followup to Hash Pipe which made Number 21 in July. just to show you how concentrated amongst their fanbase the sales of this single were, the vast majority of copies were snapped up in the first couple of days. Had the chart only covered sales from Monday-Wednesday the single would have been a Top 20 hit. [Yet this would go on to become one of their more memorable and enduring airplay hits].


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32 YOUNG FRESH N' NEW (Kelis)

By the looks of things Kelis' moment in the spotlight was a short one. The angry young star promised so much back in March 2000 when Caught Out There became her first hit and an instant sensation when it flew to Number 4 after charting previously on import. Two more Top 20 hits followed in the shape of Good Stuff and Got Your Money but neither had the spark of the first. Now after a long break and after appearing at the recent Mobo awards in what appeared to be her underwear [see below] she is set for another assault on the charts. Or at least she was, this rather lacklustre chart placing suggests that most people have lost interest, not something that bodes well for the new album Wonderland.


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34 WHY CAN'T U FREE SOME TIME (Armand Van Helden)

Small pickings too for Armand Van Helden who four and half years ago remixed Tori Amos to the top of the charts (Professional Widow) and then two years ago topped the chart himself (You Don't Know Me). This is his first single release since the Gary Numan-sampling Koochy made Number 4 in May 2000 and marks the debut of his new Arabic image (gotta love the timing there) prior to the release of his new album Ghandi Khan in the new year. On the strength of the performance of this single, he may have cause to wonder why he bothered.