This week's Official UK Singles Chart

1 JUST LIKE A PILL (Pink)

The three week reign of Atomic Kitten at the top of the singles chart comes to an end this week, their challenge coming from an unexpected but not altogether unwelcome source. Pink (Alicia Moore to her mum) began her chart career in June 2000 with the single There You Go, a grower of a hit single if ever there was one and a girl power anthem about having the guts to reject a repentant boyfriend. It reached Number 6 and proved to be one of three Top 10 hits lifted from her debut album Can't Take Me Home although by the time the third You Make Me Sick hit Number 9 in January 2001 I echoed the thoughts of many by wondering if her "aren't men crap" output was in danger of turning her into a one trick pony. Therefore it was actually a pleasant surprise when at the start of this year she reappeared with a brand new album that proved her talent had many hidden depths. First there was the let your hair down stomper Get The Party Started (Number 2) which was followed by the melancholy self-loathing of Don't Let Me Get Me (Number 6 in May). Now with this single she tops them all, complaining that the man she runs to for comfort only ends up hurting her even more yet being unable to stop and scoring a celebrated and quite deserved Number One hit. To be exact it is actually her second appearance at the top of the charts, Pink having been one of the stars on the Moulin Rouge soundtrack version of Lady Marmalade which hit the top last year, but she was of course just one part of an ensemble. This single is all her own performance which makes it ever so slightly more significant. This isn't a record by an overhyped pop act that has hit the top more on marketing than appeal, this is actually the crowning glory so far of a steadily building career by an artist who has impressed more and more with every successive release. What more excuse do we need than to kick off another week of reasons to be cheerful about the current state of pop music?


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3 WHAT I GO TO SCHOOL FOR (Busted)

The debut single from Mattie, Charlie and James makes a strong debut this week as the second biggest new hit of the week. In their dotmusic chat last week they played down their chances of topping the charts first time out and actually proved to be correct even though this chart placing will delight absolutely everyone associated with them. So why are people suddenly so keen on Busted? It is because they are a deliberate attempt to break the mould when it comes to male pop acts. Instead of clean-cut harmonies, they deal in the kind of appealing rock that the likes of Blink 182 and Sum 41 have managed to export over here so successfully. Their debut single is a fun romp through a song that deals with the angst of fancying a teacher although the song does actually venture into darker territories by recounting tales of spying on her home, seeing her in her underwear and plotting to get rid of her lover. Don't try that at home kids. What I Go To School For is different enough to be refreshingly better than average and rumour has it they actually have better songs to come. Reasons to be cheerful.
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4 CLEANIN' OUT MY CLOSET (Eminem)

Blimey they weren't wrong when they said the latest Eminem album contained some pretty dark material. The follow-up to the chart-topping Without Me is an Eminem track every bit as intense as Stan was. In this dark brooding single he pours out two decades of loathing and bitterness directed towards his mother, whilst in the video alternating between weeping on the stairs and methodically digging a grave. Repeated references to wife Kim and daughter Hailie make you realise that just for a change he is not playing the part of Slim Shady but is actually performing as himself for once. You would hardly expect such a dark single to have any kind of commercial appeal but as always the track manages to be nothing less than a compelling listen. It manages with ease to become his seventh successive Top 10 single, the eighth if you count his co-credited appearance on Dr Dre's What About Dre and even that is before we factor in his uncredited work on D12's three hits last year. Listen to this and be impressed that the very antithesis of cheesy pop can so easily become a Top 5 hit. Reasons to be cheerful.
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5 EVERYDAY (Bon Jovi)

Funnily enough it is almost exactly ten years since Bon Jovi made the first of what have been a number of comebacks. October 1992 marked the release of Keep The Faith, their first album since they took a three-year hiatus for Jon Bon Jovi to make movies and record the soundtrack to Young Guns II. The lead single from that album was the title track which defied all expectations by being led by the bassline and the funky drummer rhythm track and which over the course of five and a half minutes proved that a rock single could be both a stadium filler and a club hit at the same time. I mention that as an example of just why Bon Jovi have managed to last so long and why, no less than 17 years after their first UK hit and long after all their mid-80s poodle haired contemporaries have faded into dim memories, the men from New Jersey are still able to have Top 5 hit singles. Everyday is Bon Jovi's 15th Top 10 hit, their second in succession given that their last single was One Wild Night which hit Number 10 in May last year and a milestone 30th Top 75 single. With statistics such as that they can actually now rank as one of the biggest chart acts never to have had a Number One single, their biggest hit coming in October 1994 when Always hit Number 2.

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7 STRANGE AND BEAUTIFUL (Aqualung)

If you don't know what this single is then you will almost certainly have heard it sometime in the last month or so, Strange And Beautiful having been plucked from the pile to feature in a series of TV commercials for Volkswagen cars. However be warned, this is no opportunistic one-off release from an act hoping for a brief moment of fame thanks to some television exposure. Aqualung is musician Matt Hayes and his debut single is a thing of genuine beauty, a destined to be classic slice of Brit melancholia that is best described as Coldplay performing Radiohead - in a good way. For all the undoubted appeal of the single there is however a sense of wonderment at the way it appears to have dipped under the cultural radar of the people who could have helped to make it an even bigger hit. You will have searched in vain for promotional appearances by Mr Hayes and even radio airplay hasn't quite reached the saturation levels that the more well established Coldplay were able to command for their last single. The huge proliferation of empty racks at the end of last week suggested that even the buyers for the major record chains badly underestimated the level of demand that existed for the single and whilst a Number 7 entry is certainly no less than it deserved, one is tempted to ask just what might have been had there been an effort to push this single higher. Nonetheless what you see here is the presence in the Top 10 of one of the singles of the year and this too would be a reason to be cheerful were it not for the fact that we've flogged that particular horse to death already.


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9 FEEL IT BOY (Beenie Man featuring Janet)

Now here is a combination that you probably never thought you would see. Dancehall star teams with a member of the most famous family in music. The "featuring Janet Jackson" tag is actually a little unfair as this is to all intents and purposes a duet, Beenie Man showing his most commercial side on this belatedly summery track during the verses, giving way to Janet Jackson to croon the verses whilst attempting to show off as much of her breasts as possible in the video. This is actually the Jamaican star's third successive chart single in collaboration with a female star. His last single came in March 2001 when Girls Dem Sugar saw him team up with Mya to reach Number 13. A year before that he hit Number 5 as the featured guest on Jamelia's Money. As for Janet Jackson this is her first chart single since Son Of A Gun hit Number 13 at the tail end of last year and she adds Beenie Man to the ever growing list of her chart collaborators, a list that includes Blackstreet, Luther Vandross, Busta Rhymes, Herb Alpert and brother Michael.
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10 DEM GIRLZ (I DON'T KNOW WHY) (Oxide & Neutrino featuring Kowdean)

The return to the charts of So Solid members Oxide & Neutrino, this their first chart single since Rap Dis hit Number 12 in December last year. Given that they can boast to their name the most hardcore garage track ever to top the charts, this new single is actually their most commercially appealing yet and marks their return to the Top 10 for the first time since Up Middle Finger in May 2001. It is also you will note no less than the seventh new entry in the Top 10 this week, a record-equalling total. Indeed the singles chart at the moment is very much split into two halves with the entire Top 20 consisting of nothing more than new entries and the singles that populated last week's Top 10.
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13 GRACE (Supergrass)

So what of those other Top 20 new entries? Well first off the mark is a single that was actually unlucky not to have had a place in the Top 10 itself having been in contention for most of the week. Grace is Supergrass' first Top 40 hit since Mary hit Number 36 in December 1999 but is not actually their first single release of the year. That honour goes to Never Done Nothing Like This Before which was released as a special limited edition of just 1,500 7-inch copies and which sold enough to creep to Number 75 back in July. Not that they needed a cute teaser campaign to stimulate demand for a new single of course and Grace is a perfect example of just why they have maintained their popularity ever since the mid-90s, sounding as it does like a long lost T-Rex track. It is their 14th Top 75 hit and their 10th to reach the Top 20. All eyes will now be on the release of their new album which it appears is destined to reach Number 4 given that their others have all peaked at 1, 2 and 3 in order.
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14 SHE HATES ME (Puddle Of Mudd)

The third hit of the year for Puddle Of Mudd, this the followup to Blurry which made Number 8 in June and quickly carved a niche for itself as one of the more memorable rock hits of the year. If anything She Hates Me is actually a slightly better track [don't undersell this 2002 James, this was their greatest ever moment] although it has to content itself with becoming their second biggest single to date, charting just a place higher than that commanded by Control back in February.


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16 POSITIVITY (Suede)

Here is something to make you feel old. It is exactly ten years this week since Suede made the Top 40 for the first time with their second single Metal Mickey, prompting the world and his dog to proclaim them the greatest act around and turning Brett Anderson into the most unlikeliest of sex symbols. Since then the hits have kept rolling despite critical reception becoming ever more muted and just like Supergrass above them, 2002 will mark the release of their first album since 1999. A reflection of just how far the musical landscape has changed in the past decade is the fact that the first time I heard this single was whilst riding in a car with my mother listening to Radio 2. Positivity is still very much typical and some would say classic Suede but is just laid back enough to put them slightly out of the reach of being cool. Still there are enough people still keen to hear from them even if they are still lacking a Top 10 hit since Electricity hit Number 5 in April 1999. No matter how good the new album is, I don't actually see that changing any time soon.
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20 EVERYONE SAYS HI (David Bowie)

Given that the Mercury Music Prize is traditionally awarded to a new, or at the very least extremely contemporary act, it was nothing short of curious to see the name of David Bowie amongst the nominees for the award this year. He didn't win of course but the resulting exposure was enough to stimulate interest in the album Heathen and prompt the release of this single. Everybody Says Hi is his first chart hit since Seven hit Number 32 in July 2000 and returns him to the Top 20 for the first time since the Christmas 1999 remix of Under Pressure which hit Number 14. In actual fact he has been the subject of some remixing treatment this year, Scumfrog sampling his original vocals for Loving The Alien on a single that crept to Number 41 back in May.
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23 A THOUSAND MILES (Vanessa Carlton)

See, we jinxed it by mentioning it as Vanessa Carlton's four-week spell at the Number 18 position comes to a halt with a five-place fall. Full credit must go to one poster on the dotmusic forums who dug out the complete list of long-running non-movers to reveal that Vanessa Carlton is only the 14th act ever to spend four successive weeks at the same position outside the Top 10 [the 15th wouldn't come for another eight years]. So it is that nobody has ever managed five weeks - with the exception I mentioned last week of Robert Palmer's Looking For Clues which gained a fifth week thanks to the record books using a dummy duplicate chart to fill in the weeks when none was published.
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31 PRAYER (Disturbed)

A Top 40 entry for US metal act Disturbed, this coming well over a year after their only other appearance on the charts - the single Voices which hit Number 52 in April 2001.
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37 NUCLEAR (Ryan Adams)

A second Top 40 hit for Ryan Adams, this following up and doing slightly better than Answering Bell which hit Number 39 back in April. He remains a much cooed over and highly feted yet minimally purchased act.
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38 FALTER (Hundred Reasons)

The third single this year for Hundred Reasons, this one performing slightly less impressively than If I Could and Silver which both reached the Top 20. Given that it is the 14th new entry on the Top 40 this week you'll forgive me for being too tired to care about why that should be. See you next week.


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