This week's Official UK Singles Chart

1 ANYONE OF US (STUPID MISTAKE) (Gareth Gates)

Some strong competition arrives at the top end of the singles listing this week but the chap with the spiky hair and the shy smile clings on to spend a third week at the top. It means Anyone Of Us is now the fifth single this year to spend as many as three weeks at the summit, something which is actually worthy of some comment given that the past few years have been characterised by an endless succession of singles enjoying a solitary week in the sun. Last year we had six singles spend three or more weeks at the top but the final one did not come until Robbie Williams and Nicole Kidman arrived at the very end of the year. Sadly Gareth's chances of a fourth week look to be rather slim as his lead over the rest of the pack has been steadily whittled down and next week sees the release of, guess what, the debut single from yet another Pop Idol contestant. Happily it is the one with the most interesting story of all.
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2 AUTOMATIC HIGH (S Club Juniors)

When reviewing the first S Club Juniors single I came to the conclusion that it simultaneously represented everything that was both good and bad about modern pop music - given that it was a majestic feel-good pop record but one sung by a bunch of 12 year olds from stage school. Still, there were no complaints about its chart performance as the single spent a fortnight at Number 2 and over three months after release it is still making steady progress at the lower end of the charts. Here then is the follow-up, a single which actually promises a great deal from the first few bars of its Motown stomp rhythm. Sadly the mid-tempo song above isn't actually up to much and the voices of the young stars are if anything given a little too much room to have their limitations exposed. You cannot really argue with a second successive Number 2 hit but this single will not even come close to having the chart longevity of its predecessor and as the singles review here on dotmusic has already pointed out, there is surely something fundamentally wrong about having a preteen girl singing lines like "You give me that special feeling boy/been awake all night." [I did once quiz Stacey on this point. She merely noted "none of us really knew or cared what we were singing"].
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3 UNDERNEATH YOUR CLOTHES (Shakira)

Most reviews of Shakira's debut English language album Laundry Service came to the same conclusion, although it wasn't a bad album there was clearly very little on it that managed to hit the heights of Whenever Wherever, the first single which entered the charts at Number 2 in early March and which went on to spent 10 weeks inside the Top 10, seven of them in the Top 5. The single sold over half a million copies and is the fifth biggest seller of the year so far. Happily like so many albums that are less than the sum of its parts, the odd track when taken in isolation can be shown to have its merits. So it proves with Underneath Your Clothes, a song which takes a totally different musical track from the frantic verbal manglings of its predecessor. This single is a throaty and often heartfelt ballad into which Shakira pours every ounce of foreign tongue emotion she can muster and often strains her voice to its very limits. Still, if you found the S Club Juniors single to be anodyne beyond belief then this track is a welcomingly melodic shot in the arm to the charts and it is enough to give Shakira a second successive Top 3 hit.


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5 LIVIN' IT UP (Ja Rule featuring Case)

Appropriately enough with Ashanti this week spending a second week in the Top 10 (Foolish sliding to No.10 this week) here comes her former singles collaborator with a second 2002 hit of his own. Livin' It Up is the follow-up to Always On Time which featured the vocals of the aforementioned Ashanti and which had a three-week run at Number 6 back in February. Livin' It Up was a huge smash in the States at the back end of last year was actually first released in this country last November when it limped to Number 27. It now more than justifies a second bite at the cherry by giving Ja Rule his first ever Top 5 hit. It is also the biggest hit single for collaborator Case whose only other chart appearance came in 1996 when the Foxy Brown collaboration Touch Me Tease Me reached Number 26. Incidentally in case you are wondering, the track is inspired by Stevie Wonder's 1982 hit Do I Do, this being the melody that Case is singing.
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6 A THOUSAND MILES (Vanessa Carlton)

Owners of the soundtrack to the film Legally Blonde will already be familiar with this track which now escapes onto the singles chart to become the first hit single for hot new prospect Vanessa Carlton. Vocally she is actually little more than another Lisa Loeb/Michelle Branch/Nelly Furtado clone but what sets this track apart from anything else in its genre is the production. The track puts great emphasis on the lady's own keyboard skills and as a result it features a glistening melody that is reminiscent of Billy Joel at his creative peak. Add to that a thundering string backing and you actually have one of the most stirring four minutes of female balladry for many a long year. To those that read this column every week whilst confessing that you don't get much of this "modern pop music", this is the single you should make an effort to hear this week. [Carlton was the ultimate in one hit wonders, in that literally nothing else she ever produced came close to the majesty of this debut hit. Fatal].


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9 HIGH VOLTAGE/POINTS OF AUTHORITY (Linkin Park)

Bringing up the rear in a rather busy Top 10 is the token Nu-metal contribution of the week. This double sided track is the first release of the year for Linkin Park and follows their successful introduction to the world in 2001 which saw their four singles releases gain ever more impressive chart positions, culminating in a Number 8 peak for In The End in October and a Top 5 placing for the album Hybrid Theory a few weeks later. High Voltage and Points Of Authority both appeared on the album but appear here in a newly remixed form to herald the release of Reanimation, a remix album of some of their best-known songs. For a rock act that surely has to be something of a first.
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21 POUNDING (Doves)

Well you can be forgiven for being a little surprised at the dramatic turnaround in chart fortunes for the Doves after their last single, the limited edition There Goes The Fear made such an impressive splash when it charted at Number 3 back in April. The truth is though that for all the hype they still aren't quite the mainstream act that most people would have you believe and in fact virtually everyone who cares snapped up the album The Last Broadcast the moment it was released. As a result, superlative and tuneful though it is, Pounding is little more than a single for completists and this chart placing was really as good as it was likely to get.
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25 MISS LUCIFER (Primal Scream)

It is 12 years since Primal Scream first burst onto the charts with the remixed Loaded, a track that still stands out as one of the defining moments of its era. It is a decade since the release of the classic album Screamadelica and singles such as Movin' On Up and it is almost two years since the release of their last single Accelerator which held the honour of being the last single ever released on the famous Creation Records label before it went down the tubes. The story of Primal Scream has been one of innovation and experimentation with the odd commercial surprise thrown in for good measure. Everyone knows tracks such as Rocks and Come Together but it was actually one of their more experimental tracks, Kowalski, that gave them their last Top 10 hit when it reached Number 8 in May 1997. This brand new single heralds the release of a brand new album Evil Heat and it takes a leaf out of the Marilyn Manson lyrics book with its account of wild and dangerous sex. By no means a commercial smash but one of the very best Great British Bands has no real need of those and watch out for the new album which features a duet between Bobby Gillespie and Kate Moss!
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26 BEAUTY ON THE FIRE (Natalie Imbruglia)

People who do need commercial smashes though are former soap stars turned actresses and in spite of the fact that her last two singles That Day and Wrong Impression were rather good and performed respectably enough (No.11 and No.10 respectively) the jury is still out on whether Natalie Imbruglia is yesterday's news. Case for the prosecution will be strengthened by this third single from her second album which has failed to pick up much in the way of airplay or television exposure and crawls into the Top 30 to become her smallest hit to date. Of note is the b-side of the single which features a remix from none other than Junkie-XL, free from Elvis and free to use his full name at last.
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27 WEAK BECOME HEROES (Streets)

The third Streets single and one which goes three places better than Let's Push Things Forward which charted back in April. Weak Become Heroes is Mike Skinner's ode to clubland and the culture that surrounds it and comes complete with a video that has won acclaim for not succumbing to the usual cliches that directors resort to when attempting to film a bunch of loved up ravers. Whether it is his accent or the sometimes suspect logic of his words is open to question but you will struggle to find many people who are actually prepared to take the Skinner seriously. I think that is actually something of a shame and whatever you might think of the subject matter, the fact is that he has now had three hit singles that don't feature singing or rapping but one man reciting his poetry. That is actually worthy of some praise.


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30 MY FRIENDS OVER YOU (New Found Glory)

More rock, and this time a debut Top 40 hit for New Found Glory. Their only other singles appearance to date came in May last year when Hit Or Miss (Waited Too Long) made Number 58. Anyway the usual formula is in place here, distinctive riffing, harmonised vocals and a chorus bursting with hooklines. For whatever reason nobody appears too excited.
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31 GHOSTS (Dirty Vegas)

A second hit single for Dirty Vegas, this the long awaited follow-up to Days Go By which made Number 27 in May last year. With an album now in the can the nation waits to see if the threesome can live up to the potential suggested by that memorable first single. Ghosts is less frantic than its predecessor and is a more measured and ultimately more accessible track with less of an eye on the dancefloor and in places quite reminiscent of some of Seal's early work. Lowly chart placing notwithstanding this is actually rather fine, I just hope they have bigger hits in them.
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35 ALL YOU WANTED (Michelle Branch)

Well appropriately enough as she got a mention earlier, here indeed is Michelle Branch with the follow-up to Everywhere which hit Number 18 back in April. it is pretty, tuneful and nice to hear.. but not a large hit.


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