This week's Official UK Singles Chart

1 BECAUSE I GOT HIGH (Afroman)

Last week Afroman retained his chart-topping crown in the absence of any strong new competition. This week he does so again but against a background of a string of potentially big new releases, any of which could conceivably have ended up as the weeks biggest seller. That they did not speaks volumes for the continuing popularity of the single although sales for Because I Got High have yet to climb beyond "above average" suggesting that the track isn't quite the all-round crossover smash we all expected it would be. In any case it will still go down as being one of a string of records to maintain relatively long runs at the top of the chart, even though next week its reign is about to come to an unceremonious end. Surely nothing can stand in the way of the popularity of a brand new Westlife single can it?
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2 RAPTURE (Iio)

So the clear out begins as a massive 15 new singles make their Top 40 debuts this week. The biggest of these is one that fails by a whisker to grab the Number One crown. This New York-made dance track reportedly became one of the most expensive dance singles of all time when Ministry Of Sound records paid a six-figure sum for the right to distribute the single in this country. Marcus Moser is the name of the chap behind it and thanks to widespread radio support it has managed a spectacular chart debut even if it is open to question whether this will translate into widespread popular appeal. Interestingly enough the track was originally going to be credited to "Vaiio" but this was changed on the basis that it was a dance record and not a laptop computer.


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3 FALLIN' (Alicia Keys)

Straight from the drawer marked "hits just waiting to happen" comes the chart debut of Alicia Keys. The gorgeously sophisticated soul track (with just the right hint of blues I must add) has already wowed the American charts and here manages to prove that it can have international appeal as well. Asking records to live up to the performance of totally unrelated ones is never a sensible idea but deep down there are many people who are hoping that Fallin' will prove to have the same appeal as Macy Gray's I Try two years ago, lingering in the charts just long enough to appeal to the Christmas shoppers who start to flood record stores at this time of year and in the process creating a new music superstar.


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4 I'M REAL (Jennifer Lopez)

As if to round off her year nicely, J'Lo lands herself her fourth Top 5 hit of 2001, this the followup to Ain't It Funny which made Number 3 back in August. The main selling point of this release is the way two alternative mixes are being given equal weight, the original album version of the track supplemented nicely by the Murder remix which soundtracks the video. The most famous example of this kind of promotional tool was Toni Braxton's 1996 hit Unbreak My Heart which was available in both ballad and club versions, helping the track appeal to potentially a far wider audience than would otherwise have been the case.
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5 BOHEMIAN LIKE YOU (Dandy Warhols)

Never underestimate the power of television advertising. The Dandy Warhols' only real brush with fame came back in 1998 when their album Come Down spawned three Top 40 hits, the biggest being their anthem Not If You Were The Last Junkie On Earth which made Number 13, and a series of concerts marked them down as the band with the woman who takes her bra off halfway through. Their chart comeback last year wasn't quite as successful, Get Off making Number 38 in June 2000 and their last single Godless limping to Number 66 earlier this summer. Between those two releases was the enormously appealing Bohemian Like You which was widely praised as one of their best singles ever and proved it by racing up the charts to, er Number 42. A couple of months ago the track reappeared as the music to a series of TV commercials for mobile phone company Vodaphone. Just as in 1999 when the same tactic worked for Bran Van 3000 and Drinking In LA, this prompted a re-release of the single and a mobilisation of the band to come over and help re-promote it. Hence the power of television has turned an underrated classic into the smash hit it probably always should have been. Never mind the irony-free way the cynical track is used in the TV advert, the Dandy Warhols are now genuine Top 10 stars.


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11 THAT DAY (Natalie Imbruglia)

How we all held our breath exactly four years ago when it was announced that Australian actress Natalie Imbruglia was about to become the latest soap actress to try her hand at singing. How we all marvelled at the way her debut single Torn was actually bloody good, played all over the radio and racing to Number 2 despite the revelation that it was actually an old Scandinavian track that had been recorded by at least two artists in the past. Three more Top 20 hits followed after which she vanished off the radar, her memory kept alive only by the presence of the gratuitous celebrity photo opportunity that adorns the front page of my own personal website [don't look for it, its not there any more]. However after a long period in the studio she is back, albeit now with a job on her hands to remind people of just why everyone was so impressed with her musical output first time around. Having said that, That Day is another incredibly good single, another guitar driven piece that confirms her status as Alanis without most of the anger and with twice the sex appeal. Perhaps a higher chart placing could have been expected but after three years away it proves she still has her fans, especially with her spell on Neighbours now little more than a distant memory.
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14 WOULD YOU BE HAPPIER (Corrs)

Tricky times for The Corrs. After a series of remixes transformed them from minor Irish folk-rock act into globe-straddling superstars, the family group released their third album In Blue in the summer of 2000 to some awkward mutterings that in turning themselves into the new Fleetwood Mac they had lost much of the native charm that made them such an appealing prospect in the first place. Sure, Breathless became their only Number One single to date but the followup tracks Irresistible and Give Me A Reason struggled on the charts (the latter only making Number 27). To see where they go from here will be quite interesting but for the moment they appear to be in a holding pattern, this Christmas marking the release of a Greatest Hits album. Would You Be Happier is one of two obligatory new tracks and happily sees them back to less overproduced form, the song coming complete with a video in which the three sisters and their brother send themselves up in a variety of costumes. A Number 14 entry for the single suggests that they have some way to go before they recapture the popularity that made Dreams, So Young and Runaway such massive and welcome hits 2-3 years ago but the album is destined to do well over the forthcoming holiday period and it will be interesting to see what form their next album takes.
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18 BOILER (Limp Bizkit)

Limp Bizkit's third single of the year and the fifth single from Chocolate Starfish... slides nicely into the Top 20 this week, nobody really expecting it to match the Top 10 status of their last handful of releases. What makes this single interesting is not so much the already familiar album track Boiler but the second track on the CD. An an unexpected treat the single features their unique rendition of George Michael's Faith that first appeared on their debut album $3 Bill Y'All. Back in 1997 it was the track that turned them into stars in the US there were many who wondered if it might be a hit single in its own right over here but as history proved it was simply not their time. Its appearance on a commercial single now serves as a nice reminder than Alien Ant Farm weren't the first people to turn an 80s pop hit into a nu-metal wonder.
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19 PARTY HARD (Andrew WK)

Number 19 it may be but this is potentially the most fascinating new single of the week. Nu-Metal may well have been this years big musical thing (and for those who doubt it just wander into a record shop and note the 14 year olds buying Linkin Park records to go with their Westlife ones) but there is a band of people potentially rather alienated by the movement. They are the older metalheads, the generation who grew up with rock-as-it-used-to-be and who are rather worried that this new attitude-adjusted style of rock has passed them by. What was needed was a record to unite both camps, to bridge the gap and appeal to a bigger cross section of rock fans. Enter the rather bizarre Andrew WK who has done just this with his debut single. Party Hard is AC/DC playing Slipknot, it is Def Leppard playing Limp Bizkit. In short it is a mindless, rowdy romp of the kind that filled stadiums with men in leather jackets and with big hair back in the 1980s but played with a crunching hardcore attitude that stops it from being laughed out the building by the new generation of rock fans. I'm tempted to express surprise that it has only crept to Number 19 but then again many genre-bridging tracks end up being dismissed as novelties. Don't dismiss this track. Take a listen and marvel at how clever it is. I can't wait to hear what this guy does next. [Answer: nothing that was ever quite as good as this instant classic].


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21 LETTER 2 MY UNBORN (2 Pac)

No look this is getting silly. OK so Freddie Mercury kept appearing on the charts for four years after his death but nobody pretended they were anything other than repackaged versions of old vocals. 2 Pac on the other hand seems to just keep churning out brand new hits from beyond the grave at such a rate you wonder if a recording of him rapping in the shower would be considered a viable candidate for release. Anyway this is the followup to Until The End Of Time which made Number 4 back in June and in all honesty is yet again not half bad. A scarily prescient tale of a man setting down his thoughts to a baby he feels he will never see, it is based around the melody to Michael Jackson's 1989 single Liberian Girl. It mean that Jacko has a writing credit on no less than three Top 40 hit this week: this one, Alien Ant Farm's cover of Smooth Criminal and his own You Rock My World.
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24 LEFT BEHIND (Slipknot)

Ah, the prophetic title. Whilst Nu-Metal overruns the charts, one acts stands out in the way they have thus far underachieved their potential. They are Slipknot, mask-wearing noise terrorists who somehow manage to throw Fred Durst's slightly ludicrous posing into even sharper relief than usual. Grasping the less commercial end of the stick they have to date only managed a couple of Top 30 hits in the shape of Wait And Bleed and Spit It Out which both charted last year. Their rise to Top 20 status is going to have to wait a little while longer it seems although Left Behind does at least manage to become their biggest chart single. So far.
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27 LIVIN' IT UP (Ja Rule)

JA "Jeff Atkins" Rule makes his second chart appearance of the year, this the followup to Between Me And You which made Number 26 back in March.
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28 ARE YOU LOOKIN' AT ME (Ricky Tomlinson)

The profile of veteran comic actor Ricky Tomlinson has probably never been higher. The film Mike Bassett England Manager and his pivotal role as Jim Royle in the smash hit The Royle Family TV series have helped to transform him into a walking national treasure. How better to celebrate this than with a novelty album for the Christmas market in which he performs some of his favourite songs? I think that is the idea anyway. To herald the release comes this debut hit for the rotund Liverpudlian, an enjoyable Irish folk romp penned by The Popes and which is notable for the presence of no less a legend than Slade's Noddy Holder on backing vocals. Of course it is terrible but fun at the same time and as there is nothing worse than a reviewer who rubbishes a single that was never meant to set the world on fire, I'm going to point out that it is a record that makes you smile even if you have no urge to ever hear it again afterwards.
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30 DREAMS (Miss Shiva)

Nondescript club hit. Nothing to see here, move along please.
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34 WAITING (Green Day)

A Greatest Hits collection for Green Day? Works for me I guess, they have after all notched up 12 Top 40 hits since their UK breakthrough with Basket Case in early 1995. Never quite the massive stars their potential always suggested, they have at least turned in some memorable tunes in the past, the aforementioned Basket Case and 1998's Time Of Your Life their biggest singles. Hit Number 13 duly becomes their first chart hit since Warning made Number 27 just before Christmas last year even if sadly it is destined to become their smallest chart hit since the original release of Basket Case hit Number 55 in August 1994.
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36 STAY WITH ME (Angelic)

The third in a sporadic series of hits for Mrs Judge Jules aka Angelic. The huge gaps in between her releases may well account for her lack of consistent success. After It's My Turn (Number 11) became her first hit in June 2000 it was not until eight months later than Can't Keep Me Silent became the second, hitting Number 12 in February this year. Another eight months on and this single despite being as pleasantly melodious as the rest can do little more than limp into the Top 40.


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