This week's Official UK Singles Chart

1 COLOURBLIND (Darius)

Some strong competition from a Great British Band means that Darius' single had to work very hard to retain its place at Number One, but retain pole position it does to spend a second week at the top of the charts. The astonishing fact is that Colourblind is now the fourth successive Number One single to remain at the top for longer than a single week, the first time we have had a run of this kind in the UK charts since the end of 1997 when Aqua, Perfect Day, The Teletubbies and the Spice Girls all had extended runs. It is actually strongly rumoured that Darius' continued success comes as a result of some clever manipulation on the part of the record company. Rather than risk their new artist shooting his load in the first week so to speak, they deliberately restricted the amount of stock that could reach the shelves, meaning there were enough copies available to ensure he would top the charts if they were all sold - but no more. The rest of the stock hit the shelves this week, resulting in the usual huge rush of sales being spread out and thus preserving the chart position of the single. Whether this did actually happen or not, it certainly is an interesting tactic and one that is of course not without its risks. Dare I point out that an industry that is busy crying to anyone who will listen that it is losing sales due to people downloading illegal digital copies of tracks isn't really in a position to start restricting the availability of music to people who do actually want to pay for it?
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2 IN MY PLACE (Coldplay)

You know I didn't actually get Coldplay at first. They were thrust into the mainstream in the summer of 2000 with their acclaimed album Parachutes and shot straight into the Top 10 with their second chart single Yellow in early July of that year, following it up with Trouble the following November which also went Top 10. I thought the songs were pretty enough, a pleasant melodic change from the usual mess of noise that the Next Big Thing normally produces but none of it moved me particularly. That was until I was staying in a hotel early the following year, someone sat down at the piano in the lounge and gently picked out the melody to Trouble. Then it struck me, the band had made some certain to be enduring classics and deserved every bit of praise that came their way. It is with that background in mind that Chris Martin and the others prepare to unleash their long-awaited second album on the world. The first single charts after what seems like months of saturation airplay and thankfully it has been well worth it. The lyrics alone are enough to melt the hardest hearts whilst Coldplay's knack for a sad yet beautiful melody remains as immaculate as ever. Few would have complained if this had topped the charts and needless to say it is their biggest hit to date. Calling In My Place perfect would maybe be a superlative too far but come December this will be at the top of most "singles of the year" lists.


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3 LIKE A PRAYER (Mad'House)

But lo, into every life a little naffness must fall. Like A Prayer was the title track from Madonna's 1989 album and was famous at the time for the fuss that surrounded its religiously-inspired video that caused outrage in the more backward parts of American society. In this country the fuss was minimal and the song dutifully topped the charts with customary efficiency. Like A Prayer was an unusually structured song, swinging wildly between a storming disco chorus to the incantation-like verses. Oddly enough it was the remix on 1990's Immaculate Collection that actually helped the song to work as a dance record in its entirety. You suspect it is that mix which has inspired this Euro dance cover version, fronted by 20 year old Dutch girl Buse. It doesn't do anything new with the song but as an exercise in selling a new version of a classic to a new generation of record buyers it does the job to perfection, hence this Top 3 new entry. Strangely enough hit cover versions of Madonna songs have to date been few and far between with only Rollergirl's 2000 remake of Dear Jessie coming even close to being a mainstream hit (it made Number 22). Honourable mention must therefore be made of the tracks that have been inspired by Madonna hits, ranging from Progress' Everbody from 1999 which used the string introduction of Papa Don't Preach to the more recent Wheels On The Bus novelty single performed in the style of Ray Of Light. The first ever Madonna sampling single actually predates all of those - the Holiday Rap by another Dutch act, MC Miker G and Deejay Sven which was based on the original Holiday and which hit Number 6 in September 1986.
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8 GIRL ALL THE BAD GUYS WANT (Bowling For Soup)

Meet Christopher, Erik, Gary and Jaret who together are Bowling For Soup. They were the group behind the theme to the recent Jimmy Neutron animated film and also featured briefly on the soundtrack of the Britney Spears movie Crossroads. Now they become Top 10 hitmakers with this track, one which follows the usual US college rock formula but one which pushes all the right buttons and builds up nicely through the verses to the requisite killer chorus. Don't get me wrong, this is actually damn good and a new twist on the "hopeless lust for a girl out of reach" theme but it is nothing that hasn't been done before.


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13 OH BOY (Cam'Ron featuring Juelz Santana)

Second hit singles always come to those who wait. Cam'ron made his chart debut in the company of Mase way back in September 1998 when Horse And Carriage made Number 12, a single that was notable only for its sampling of the theme tune to Magnum PI. Four years on the man once touted as a rising young star of R&B finally gets a second UK hit and spookily almost manages to match the chart peak of the first.
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15 AROUND THE WORLD (ATC)

Not to be confused with ATB or even ATFC, ATC are the creators of the most maddeningly annoying dance hit of the summer so far and one which has been dominating the charts all over Europe. If you thought there was no more musical value to be wrung out of a la-la-la chorus then you were sadly mistaken. If you can open your mind to the notion that a mid-80s europop throwback is a good idea then this is actually phenomenally good, although like most European hits you imagine it sounds much better blasting from the stereo of a continental bar on a balmy summers night rather than in monsoon drenched Britain. The four members of ATC actually hail from all over the world, New Zealand, Australia, England and Italy and they all met whilst starring in the German production of Cats. The presence of the single in the charts allows me to return to the theme of just why this is such a common concept for a pop record. The ATC hit is now the sixth different song of that title to hit the charts and the fifth in recent years, joining ones from East 17, Daft Punk, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Aqua. Add to that the five different chart songs entitled All Around The World plus Puff Daddy's Been Around The World and the total swells to 12. Crazy remains the most common title for a song (there have been 16 different tracks of that name to chart to date) but as a concept, global circumnavigation is hot on its heels.


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17 JAM SIDE DOWN (Status Quo)

Presenting then a mini chart commentary theme. The shock return of far too long in the tooth British rock bands. Status Quo of course need little in the way of introduction with a chart career that now stretches back 34 years from their early incarnation as psychedelic strummers to the crunching and often unfairly maligned 12 bar rock and roll that gave them so many hits during the 70s and 80s. In recent years they have been more of a joke than ever, still churning out singles and the odd album but along the way developing the attitude problem that seems to afflict many acts who try to outstay their welcome, one which reached its nadir when they attempted to take legal action against Radio One(!) for not playlisting their music. Of their last 10 releases, just one has made the Top 30 and their last release, a cover of Mony Mony, made Number 48 in May 2000 becoming their third successive chart single to miss the Top 40. So it is against this background that the veteran act make what is nothing less than a shock return to the upper reaches. Jam Side Down, actually proves that there is life in the old dog yet. The old formula may have its detractors but it has also helped them produce a huge legacy of famous songs and memorable hits and the sentiment and rather appealing nature of Jam Side Down suggests that they are not as big a joke as some would have you believe. This Number 17 placing is their highest chart position for almost 12 years, beaten only by the Number 16 peak of the Anniversary Waltz Part 2 which made Number 16 in December 1990.

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18 TIME OF MY LIFE (Toploader)

You have to feel some degree of sympathy for Toploader. Writers of songs such as Achilles Heel and Just Hold On, they are all overshadowed by the chart performance of Dancing In The Moonlight (a cover version let us remember) which was a hit twice over and which on the second run in late 2000/early 2001 spent an astonishing 25 weeks on the singles chart during a near three-month climb into the Top 10. Fingers crossed that with their second album they can now draw peoples attention back to their own songs, such as this new single which gained worldwide exposure when they performed it at the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games last week. Granted they could have hoped for better but any hit is a good hit for the band who once again, DID MORE THAN JUST THE ONE SONG.
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21 REMIND ME/SO EASY (Royksopp)

Name to drop at the moment (presuming you can pronounce it correctly of course) are Royksopp, a duo from Tromso in Norway who have spent the past two years building up their name by making some of the most mellow, inventive and at times downright inspiring electronica you have ever heard. Although Remind Me is the lead track on this, their debut chart single, much of the focus will be on So Easy which has invaded popular culture by being the soundtrack to a series of television commercials for T-Mobile. Indeed the most popular question I have been asked over the past month it seems is "you know about music, what is that song in the T-Mobile advert?" Well there is your answer, now go and buy it. Please.


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22 LUV DA SUNSHINE (Intenso Project)

Another fun summertime hit, Intenso Project are DJ Rods and Leigh Guest and this single is a fun dance/reggae fusion that is based heavily on the melody from 10cc's Dreadlock Holiday, a Number One hit single back in 1978.
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23 NOW (Def Leppard)

Returning then to the subject of rock veterans, the chart this week welcomes back Sheffield survivors Def Leppard. Their commercial peak was of course in the late 1980s with the Hysteria album and its seemingly never-ending string of hit singles. They followed that with 1992s Adrenalize which was maybe a sop to commercialism too far and although it gave them their biggest hit ever (Let's Get Rocked) critical reaction was lukewarm. Since then they have soldiered on, scoring hits with the odd ballad but misfiring in other ways, such as 1996s ill-advised flirtation with dance beats on Slang. Their last album was Euphoria which was released in 1999 but it failed to produce any Top 40 singles. So it is that Now marks their return to the upper reaches of the chart, their biggest hit since Work It Out made Number 22 in 1996. They have long since ceased to be relevant or worthy of big chart hits but the nostalgic in me can't help but smile at the sudden reappearance of some good old fashioned British metal.
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37 FASCINATED (Raven Maize)

Bring up the rear this week is Dave Lee, once again in his Raven Maize alter ego which gave him a Number 12 hit with The Real Life in August last year. That single could lay claim to being the most unoriginal in chart history, being as it was a cover version of someone else's reworking of an old Simple Minds song. Anyway, I digress. This is actually the third Raven Maize single to chart, the first being Forever Together which made Number 67 in the summer of 1989 at a time when most people knew Dave Lee for his other more famous hitmaking persona - Joey Negro.


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