This week's Official UK Singles Chart

1 KISS KISS (Holly Valance)

Well if you want to make an impact with your first ever single, unless you are Rik Waller, the most effective way is to take all your clothes off in the video. Strangely enough Holly Valance has seemed almost too keen to stress that she wasn't actually naked but that it was all camera trickery, thus shattering the dreams of every 13-year-old boy in the country in the process but there is no escaping the fact that her apparently denuded flesh has been one of the more striking images to appear on MTV since the start of the year.

The desire to make as great an impact as possible was partly to overcome any prejudice that might have existed over the fact that Holly Valance is yet another in a long line of stars from the Australian soap Neighbours to dip a toe in the water of the pop charts. Ever since Kylie Minogue set the template the likes of Jason Donovan, Craig McLachlan, Stefan Dennis, The Blakeney Twins and Natalie Imbruglia have all launched pop careers on the back of starring in the series, some with slightly more success than others of course. Holly Valance's day job is playing teenager Flick Scully in the show but this week she becomes only the third Neighbours star to have a UK Number One hit single. The song itself is far from your average pop fare and as has been well documented by now is a well travelled track, having first been recorded in Turkish by Tarkan and which became a minor European hit in the late 90s. Holly Valance's version is an English rewrite of the lyrics but one which still retains the original musical flavour, enough to ensure that this is a single of substance as well as style and one which has assuredly not made the charts simply on the back of a provocative video. As ever the true chances of Holly Valance becoming a longterm chart star will depend on the quality of her subsequent material but for the moment she can be applauded for topping the charts on the back of a masterful promotional campaign whilst the rest of us wonder at the strange coincidence that led to TV presenter Graham Norton using the original as the music for trailers to his last series, several months before anyone had heard the Holly Valance track.


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3 FREAK LIKE ME (Sugababes)

Some weeks I suck more than others and last week demonstrated that cutting and pasting chunks of text in a reliable manner is an easy process to screw up. Hence the rather strange way the "final" paragraph of last weeks piece on the Sugababes was repeated and why the end of the story seemed to be missing. I posted the missing section on the dotmusic forums during the week but for everyone above the age of 15 this is what the last bit should have read:

Hence this weeks Number One hit, the revitalised Sugababes finding themselves with the biggest hit of their career thanks to their recording of Freak Like Me set to the back of Are 'Friends' Electric. Many former bootleg mixes have made the charts over the past few years (Toca's Miracle topping them in 2000) but for someone to have a hit with a new recording of a bootleg idea has to be some kind of first. Whatever qualms you may have about its originality there is no denying it is a masterpiece of a pop record, one that grabs your attention the moment it comes on the radio. Given that it finally elevates one of the most famous songs of the 1990s to true hit status in this country and in the process gives a very underrated group an all too rare second chance at fame, calling it a work of genius would not be too far from the mark.
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5 OOPS (OH MY) (Tweet)

Now look. If we can deal with the idea of a rapper called Nelly then there is no reason at all why there can't be a female singer called Tweet in the charts. So stop sniggering. Tweet is the latest protege of Missy Elliott and makes her chart debut this week with a deliciously filthy ode to the joys (apparently) of flicking one's bean. Yes kids, it is a wanking song and one which treats its subject manner in the same cheeky manner as Cyndi Lauper's famous 1984 single She Bop. Given that Missy herself charted last year with the tale of the One Minute Man I guess this can be considered a logical progression. Songs about onanism have popped up in the charts sporadically over the years, aside from the aforementioned Cyndi Lauper track the only other one from a female point of view that I can call to mind is the Divinyls' 1991 hit I Touch Myself. On the blokes side of things one can look back to new wave classics such as Turning Japanese by the Vapours or Teenage Kicks by the Undertones. If you can think of any more examples, be sure to keep them to yourself won't you?


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6 AT NIGHT (Shakedown)

It has been a good few weeks since the charts have been invaded by an earth-shatteringly good in from nowhere club track. Reason enough then to welcome the arrival of this track, created by Swiss brothers Mandrax and Seb K, one which hits a disco house groove and doesn't stop until it has buried itself into the brain, just like all good club tracks should. Vocals are provided by Terra Deva who hails from New York and who also has a past life as one of the performers on the Mickey Mouse Club. That's right, the same US TV show that also gave career starts to the likes of Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Justin Timberlake. Small world isn't it?

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9 NO MORE DRAMA (Mary J Blige)

Following on from February's Number 13 hit Dance For Me, Mary J Blige returns to the Top 10 with a quite breathtaking single. No lyric ever means more to a performer than when they are dealing with their own personal experiences and No More Drama (the title track from her current album) does just that. This is effectively Mary J Blige's closure track, one in which she recounts the problems with drugs, alcohol and relationships that have been the background to her career in the past. It makes for some very moving listening but the raw emotion is set off by the fact that this is an astoundingly good soul track in its own right.


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11 WE ARE ALL MADE OF STARS (Moby)

Up until a couple of years ago Moby was just another dance producer. A man who began his chart career back in 1991 with the Top 10 hit Go (made while he was still at college) and who had appeared in the charts sporadically ever since, often switching dance genres and pushing himself towards ever greater innovation, stopping off along the way for fun projects such as updating the James Bond theme. Then came the 1999 album Play which saw him take a box full of old blues and gospel tracks and update them in his own style, mixing the original vocals with new backing tracks of his own creation. After selling slowly at first, the album shot to mainstream attention when it was revealed that every single one of the tracks had been licensed for soundtrack or commercial use somewhere in the world. It sent Play soaring to the top of the charts and turned tracks such as Natural Blues, Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad and Porcelain into smash hits. Quite sensibly Moby has taken his time over the followup and in many ways he faces the same problem as Fatboy Slim did just over a year ago, having to satisfy public demand for "more of the same" whilst satisfying his own creative urges. Hence if you are expecting this new single to be a further fractured take on the Blues then you will be disappointed. Instead We Are All Made Of Stars is a nod back to the 25 year old New Wave sound (essentially it is the best single XTC never made) and for the first time features a vocal from the man himself. People have been falling over themselves to praise this track and whilst it isn't quite the thing of beauty that some radio presenters would have you believe there is no denying that this is another quality single and one which bodes well for the forthcoming new album. It is Moby's seventh Top 20 hit.


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15 TAKE ME AWAY INTO THE NIGHT (4 Strings)

Another club hit, this one arriving in the charts thanks to its championing by the likes of Pete Tong and Judge Jules. 4 Strings is the alias of 27 year old Carlos Resoort who hails from Rotterdam and who was previously a member of Rank 1 who hit Number 10 with Airwave in April 2000.
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17 THE BEST DAY OF OUR LIVES (Lisbon Lions featuring Martin O'Neill)

Given that the charts have been sadly bereft of singles from the FA Cup Finallist teams for the past year or so and given that we are just a few short weeks away from the World Cup and the inevitable mini invasion of themed records, it seems only appropriate that a football track makes the charts this week from a rather unusual source. The Lisbon Lions refers to to the players of Glasgow Celtic football club who 35 years ago became the first British side to win the European Cup, just one of a clean sweep of honours that the team picked up during the course of that season. The Best Day Of Our Lives began life as a jingle for the website that celebrates the achievements of that team (as well as the present day squad who recently won the Premier League in Scotland and who lost the Scottish Cup Final in the final seconds on Saturday) and it has now been turned into a full fledged chart single with all proceeds going to charity. Of course nobody south of Carlisle will have bought this but a Top 20 hit it is and as well as a cameo appearance from team manager Martin O'Neill (credited as a performer on the single thanks to his monologue at the end) the video for the track features such celebrity Celtic fans as Noel Gallagher [nobody tell the Man City fans!], Billy Connolly, Rod Stewart, Ian McCulloch, Shane McGowan and Huey from Fun Lovin' Criminals. Football fever is officially here, bring on Fat Les and Ant and Dec.
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19 BACK WHEN/GOING ALL THE WAY (Allstars)

After finally breaking into the Top 10 with their cover of the Bucks Fizz track Land Of Make Believe, the Allstars settle back into more familiar chart territory with their fourth hit single. Back When is a rather cookie cutter pop ballad from the pen of Cathy Dennis that sadly doesn't sound anything more than an S Club 7 castoff. For the moment they remain better known for the TV series STARstreet rather than the spin-off records but rumour has it that their best single to date Things That Go Bump In The Night is set to pop up on the soundtrack of the Scooby Doo film.
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25 SUNGLASSES AT NIGHT (Tiga and Zyntherius)

Just to prove that there is nothing that you cannot turn into a club track, this debut chart single from Tiga and Zyntherius is an electronic dance remake of a track that Canadian Cory Hart took into the American Top 10 in 1984. Hart never had a chart single in this country so the song is effectively unknown over here and in a way this restricts the impact such a radical remake is likely to have. As 80s pop meets 21st century club culture this is actually right up there with the Moby single as one of the most memorable releases of the week.
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29 EXPLORATION OF SPACE (Cosmic Gate)

A second chart single for Cosmic Gate, this a rather belated followup to the Number 9 hit Fire Wire which charted in August last year. This is nothing more than glowstick waving fodder but if you are a fan of killer synth lines without much in the way of a hook then this track is all you need.
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36 IN THE CITY (Jam)

No, its OK you are not seeing things. Hardcore Jam fans will be aware that this week marks the 25 anniversary of the release of their first chart single, so what better way to celebrate than to re-release it? From little acorns grow small oaks and indeed when first released, In The City could only make Number 40 in a six week chart run. Three years later it duplicated that feat as one of several Jam singles that re-entered the chart in April 1980 and indeed it was back on the listings in January 1983 when in the wake of the demise of the band their entire back catalogue was re-released, the track this time hitting Number 47. Hence this fourth chart appearance for the track marks its highest ever placing. For added nostalgia value the single has been made available on 7-inch only in its original packaging and at the original price.
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38 SHIFTER (Tima Maas featuring MC Chickaboo)

The followup to the rather good To Get Down (Number 14 in February) is a rather less distinctive club hit that leans heavily on the rap lead, performed here by Birmingham born MC Chikaboo. I've got nothing more of consequence to add, other than to reminisce that Chikaboo was a cuddly monkey doll that used to suck its thumb and which was popular with children (including my sister) in the mid 1980s. How does he live with himself?


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