This week's Official UK Singles Chart

1 HERO (Enrique Iglesias)

Ah, now this is more like it. The much remarked-upon singles release still water of the past fortnight is broken in a quite spectacular style this week with a much healthier total of 14 new entries penetrating the Top 40. Heading the pile in grand style is er, the four-week-old hit single from Enrique Iglesias. Any suggestions that he was at the top of the charts by default rather than merit over the last couple of weeks are blown out of the water in grand fashion as Hero holds firm in the face of some very strong competition indeed to celebrate an entire month at the summit. That is enough to make him the longest running Number One hit single since Kylie Minogue also notched up four weeks with Can't Get You Out Of My Head in October last year. For all the eternal gnashing of teeth over the way the Number One position changes hands so rapidly in the UK it is easy to overlook the fact that both Kylie and Atomic Kitten had four week reigns at the top in 2001. To find the last single that managed a fifth week however, one has to go look back to to late 1998 and Cher's 7 week run with Believe. Can Enrique manage five? Well, if holding off S Club 7 and DB Boulevard wasn't hard enough, next week Hero has to contend with new singles from Westlife and Kylie Minogue. I'm not holding my breath.
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2 YOU (S Club 7)

Whereas the theme songs from Miami 7 and LA 7 (Bring It All Back and Reach) were the first singles from their accompanying albums, the theme to Hollywood 7 actually winds up as what is effectively the fourth single from the album Sunshine. This is surprising really as it was always certain to be another smash hit single, and so it proves. You is a shining example of the bright, breezy pop music that is almost an S Club 7 trademark although with a production that is such a loving pastiche that you could almost convince yourself that it is a Burt Bacharach song. Sadly the continuing success of Enrique Iglesias prevents the track from becoming their fourth Number One single in a row but given that it is also their ninth successive Top 3 hit the last thing the group have to worry about is their chart statistics. [Bizarrely the official video doesn't appear in any useable form on YouTube. So here's a version on Vimeo instead.

S Club 7 - You from SClubTV on Vimeo.


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3 POINT OF VIEW (DB Boulevard)

Although there are some who are insisting that the record was made in Liverpool, the official line on DB Boulevard is three Italian producers, Roxy, Azzetto and Broggio along with singer Moony. The usual story behind its UK release applies here with a great deal of money changing hands so that Kevin Robinson's Illustrious label could have the right to release it in this country. The transaction was further compounded by the fact that Point Of View is not a totally original work, large chunks of the track having been "inspired" by a track called Heatwave by French act Phoenix and the problems with clearing the copyright have meant that the single has taken almost a year to reach the shops. Happily, the wait was well worth it as this is one of those dance records, one which works equally well as an out and out pop hit as well as a club floor-filler and which has the potential to appeal way across the mainstream. Top 3 is almost certainly no less than it deserves.


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4 WHAT ABOUT US (Brandy)

A welcome return to the upper reaches of the singles chart for the newly-married Brandy. This is her first hit single since her cover of Another Day In Paradise which made Number 5 in June last year. What About Us goes one place better to become her biggest chart hit since The Boy Is Mine and Top Of The World were both Number 2 hits during 1998.
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6 A MIND OF IT'S OWN (Victoria Beckham)

The "failure" of Not Such An Innocent Girl to climb any higher than Number 6 when it became Chardonnay, er I mean Posh Spice's first solo single proper last September promoted a spin campaign worth of the government. Management was sacked and Mrs B complained to anyone who would listen that she always thought it was a daft choice for a single in the first place. The fact that A Mind Of It's Own has done exactly the same chart wise will doubtless spark many stories of the "ANOTHER SPICE GIRL GOES DOWN THE DUMPER" ilk, coupled with the caveat that a Number 6 hit isn't bad going for an ordinary act but for one fifth of one of the most successful pop acts of the decade it is Just Not Good Enough. I've written that review before, but not this time. The truth it that A Mind Of Its Own is probably one of the best solo Spice singles ever. Take a listen, you'll believe finally that she can actually sing and maybe even want to applaud whoever it was thought up the spoken intro. You may even wonder why nobody else has noticed that this track is actually a far more accomplished piece of music than anything that came from the Emma Bunton album. Not that it will do any good, the knives are already drawn and waiting for the plug to be pulled on the Victoria Beckham project so that the whole Spice Girl industry can now be given a proper burial. In the meantime, Mel C must be sat wondering if there will ever be a good time to release her second album and have it treated without prejudice.
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9 MOI... LOLITA (Alizee)

For all the talk of continental barriers having been broken down and how mainland Europe is as productive a source of hits as the United States, the truth remains that virtually every continental hit single is either a club instrumental or a track performed in English. Foreign language hits are still something of a novelty and rightly or wrongly viewed as a huge risk when it comes to unleashing them on the British market. Full marks then to Polydor who have faced down that risk and I suspect are about to see it pay off handsomely. 17-year-old Alizee hails from Corsica and her debut chart single is the work of renowned French pop hitmakers Mylene Farmer and Laurent Boutonnat. Moi... Lolita was a massive French hit last year and an album and several other hit singles have followed in its wake. Proving that an understanding of the lyrics isn't necessarily central to an appreciation of a pop record, the track has been a fixture on video channels since well before Christmas and finally invades the Top 10 upon its release.

Overlooking the fact that the French lyrics in Sash's Encore Une Fois consisted of just two spoken lines, Alizee's track is the biggest French language hit single since Celine Dion reached Number 7 with Tu M'Aimes Encore in 1995. The emergence of Alizee conjures up memories of the way Vanessa Paradis was first pushed to stardom when her own French language smash Joe Le Taxi became a Top 3 hit here in 1988 even though she subsequently went on to have hits sung in English. The success of Joe Le Taxi also led to Desireless' Voyage Voyage becoming a Top 5 hit later that summer but strangely enough the next French language chart hit came courtesy of a Scotsman, Jimmy Somerville taking a cover of Comment Te Dire Adieu into the Top 20 in 1989. I confess I was a huge fan of French pop in the late 80s and early 90s and marvelled at how acts such as Debut De Soiree and even acts who recorded in English such as famous one hit wonders Charlie Makes The Cook remained nothing more than local stars. Don't get me started on the way MC Solaar hits have been used in countless adverts and yet he remains an almost total unknown on these shores. Anyway, enough ranting. Alizee is a star in this country and a marvellous thing it is too. I was still at school when Joe Le Taxi and Voyage Voyage were hits and of course languages teachers pounced on them with glee and devoted whole lessons to writing up translations of the lyrics. I'm not totally sure that it going to happen with Moi...Lolita, as entertaining a prospect as that is.


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14 TO GET DOWN (Timo Maas)

So with the Chemical Brothers having gone all blissed out on us, who is left to fly the flag for some down and dirty beats n' guitars fusion? Step forward Timo Maas, making what is only his second ever Top 40 appearance despite being the brains behind a number of remixes for the likes of Madonna, Kelis, Placebo and Azzido Da Bass. His only other Top 40 entry was Ubik which reached Number 30 in September 2000, something which prompted dotmusic to interview him and publish it with the headline "Maastication". Happy days.
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15 CONTROL (Puddle Of Mudd)

A debut hit single for Puddle Of Mudd, a new US rock act who carry the personal endorsement of Fred Durst. Control sets out their musical agenda nicely, some rather dark crunching rock with more than a small nod in the direction of the golden days of Nirvana. Nothing that is going to penetrate the mainstream but good enough for these ears.
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20 BUT I DO LOVE YOU (LeAnn Rimes)

A timely release for LeAnn Rimes who of course was recently chosen to sing the Winter Olympics album Light The Fire Within. The stripped to the bone But I Do Love You is actually almost two years old now, having first seen the light of day on the Coyote Ugly soundtrack that was also home to the chart-topping Can't Fight The Moonlight. The track also appeared on the album I Need You which was thrown together last year by her record label against the artists' wishes to try to cash in on the success of Coyote Ugly. The title track from the album was her last hit single, reaching Number 13 in March last year. She is reportedly back in the studio recording some new material at long last with rock legend Desmond Child so expect something rather fresher later this year. Is it me though, or does she get stranger looking with every passing year?
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23 HATE TO SAY I TOLD YOU SO (Hives)

OK now, this bothers me. Are they named after the home of bees or just a rather nasty attack of zits? The world needs to be told. Another new rock act but the novelty here is that these guys hail from Sweden, a fact which conjures up disturbing memories of Europe. Happily, there is no comparison here as their debut album has attracted admiring comments and a mutual nodding of heads as to how much potential they have. Currently the latest act to be hailed the saviours of rock, they may yet live up to that potential, if only for the sake of saving the Poptones label.


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24 RIDE (Ana Ann)

Surprisingly little sensation has surrounded the release of this single, despite the fact that Ana Ann is supposed to be a hot new prospect. Classically trained, the 19-year-old has been performing for five years now. Her debut single neatly treads the line that divides R&B and Jazz to a not unpleasant effect. Worse R&B songs than this have been Top 10 smashes in the past. I'm looking forward to hearing more.
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29 WORST COMES TO WORST (Dilated Peoples)

Hey, it is all here this week, isn't it? Pop, dance, French songs about underage sex, rock and now rap thanks to the debut chart hit from this West Coast US rap collective. The track is actually taken from their second album Expansion Team and charts on the back of support from the likes of Radio One and also a well-received tour that they undertook earlier this month which included a support slot with Bubba Sparxx.
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31 DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN (Spiritualized)

A Top 40 return for Jason Pierce plus whoever, this the first big Spiritualized hit since the marvellous Stop Your Crying made Number 18 in September last year. There has actually been a single from the band since but Out Of Sight lived up to its title and could only reach Number 65 at the start of December.
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33 WHISPERS (Ian Brown)

Also making a Top 40 return for the first time since September is Ian Brown who follows up the Number 13 hit Fear with this track. Not that the point needs hammering home but this is set to be the smallest hit single to date for the once mighty former Stone Roses singer.
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38 LOVE SHOULD BE A CRIME (O-Town)

Is that it for O-Town then? The group who were launched on the back of the MTV show Making The Band appear to have had just one year's worth of hits in them. Just ten months after their debut Liquid Dreams charted at Number 3 they are reduced to scraping into the bottom end of the Top 40 with their fourth single. Of course one has to be fair and consider the possibility that all they need is some brand new material and all will be right with the world again but the "oh it is the fourth single from the album" excuse stopped being valid where pop acts are concerned a long time ago.


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