This week's Official UK Singles Chart

1 THE KETCHUP SONG (ASEREJE) (Las Ketchup)

After all the weeks of anticipation and near saturation airplay on digital music channels, the moment has finally arrived. Lola, Lucia and Pilar are daughters of Spanish flamenco legend Tomate, hence the name. Their debut single has undoubtedly been the novelty hit single of the summer, flying up the charts in just about every territory in Europe. Now, with the single poised for an assault on the Hot 100 in the States, it charges straight to the summit in this country after having climbed as high as Number 49 last week whilst on import. Comparisons with the Macarena abound, thanks to the hand jive inspired dance routine that accompanies the chorus, making the song an instant party favourite. The version released in this country is actually an English translation of the Spanish original although the incomprehensible lyrics of the chorus remain intact on all versions. Word has it that the chorus doesn't actually mean anything at all, the lyrics actually being a Spanglicized version of the original rap hit Rappers Delight. Hence "Asereje Hey Ha" is actually meant to be "I Said Hip, Hop." The Ketchup Song has thus become the second Number One single by a Spanish artist this year, following in the footsteps of Enrique Iglesias back in February. As with all novelty hits there is no middle ground, you either love this to bits or hate it with a passion, those in the latter category can at least take some comfort from the fact that there is actually nothing else on their debut album that even comes close to this level of inspired silliness.


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2 NEW DIRECTION (S Club Juniors)

Three times they have released singles and three times the S Club Juniors have been left playing the bridesmaid. One Step Closer was released in May, charting at Number 2 behind the Sugababes whilst Automatic High hit the shops in August and coincided with the last week of Gareth Gates' run at the top with Any One Of Us. Now this week their brand new single hits the shops in the same week as Las Ketchup and once again is forced into the runners up position. Still, they can at least take some consolation from the quite positive reception the new single has received. It is official, this is the S Club Juniors single it is OK to like as the track tones down the cheese and slides nicely into the "slinky little dance number" category. Indeed the only thing to hate about this single is the one factor that skewers all their releases - this is adult pop being sung by a bunch of 12-year-olds. I may buy the album but will have to pretend I am buying it for a relative.
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5 ALL MY LIFE (Foo Fighters)

Do you ever wonder that if Dave Grohl had known that his band would go on to have such a long career that he would have chosen a better name? The Foo Fighters have now reached their fourth album and to herald its release comes this brand new single, their first chart record since Next Year crept to Number 42 in December 2000. Some acts would suffer from having two years away from the charts, but not these guys it appears as All My Life has flown off the shelves to become only the second ever Top 10 hit for the rock band, quite appropriate for a single that the dotmusic review called "the rock single of the year". To find the last time they charted this high you have to go back to July 1995 and their first single This Is A Call, now reduced to merely being the joint biggest hit of their career as it too charted at Number 5.


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11 CHECK THE MEANING (Richard Ashcroft)

Also making a chart return after two years away is Richard Ashcroft, the former Verve frontman here promoting the release of his second solo album, the follow-up to the well-received debut Alone With Everybody. That album spawned three chart hits, most notably A Song For The Lovers which made Number 3 in April 2000. This new single is everything you would expect from a Richard Ashcroft single, plaintive vocals in his own distinct style and a production that appears understated but which steadily grows on you with every single play. Of course, he is not a mainstream pop act and as with all second albums it may preach to the converted rather than win him any new fans, but it is still good to have him in the charts, Check The Meaning falling agonisingly short of giving him a second solo Top 10 single. Curious fact: this year is actually his tenth anniversary of becoming a chart star, the first Verve hit She's A Superstar having made Number 66 in July 1992.
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13 DREAMING OF YOU (Coral)

A second chart hit for Coral, this the followup to the memorable Goodbye which hit Number 21 in July after several previous flop singles. Their appeal is clearly growing ever larger with every successive release, Dreaming Of You easily becoming their first ever Top 20 hit single.
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17 HELP ME (Nick Carter)

I wonder if Nick Carter gets annoyed if people refer to him as "Aaron's older brother". Older brother of the former child and now teen prodigy he may be but the Florida lad is of course much better known as one fifth of the now pretty much self-destructed Backstreet Boys. This single is thus his first ever bid for solo glory. Pop rock is the direction he has chosen on this single rather than the tired balladry of BSB singles and that change of style is enough to at least make people sit up and take some notice of the single, even if its chart position can only be considered a minor success by the standards he is used to as part of a group. Then again we should not be too surprised as the handful of US teen acts that make it big over here have never really managed to spawn a large solo star in the same way that the likes of Robbie Williams, Ronan Keating and the odd Spice Girl have moved on from their original acts to no little success. One only has to look at the largely non-starter solo careers of former New Kids On The Block members to see the truism there although Nick Carter can take some heart from the way New Edition spawned not only Bobby Brown but also to a lesser extent Ralph Tresvant and Bel Biv Devoe. There is life after boybands but it is no means guaranteed. Justin Timberlake take note. [I think he of all people will be fine].
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19 FOREVER (Trinity-X)

Trinity X are Thorn, Julian Irani and "the fantastic Emma Dean", they all hail from London and are the creative stars behind this trance track which has been floating around on a white label for the past few months and which you may possibly have danced to whilst drunk on holiday in some anonymous Ibiza club. Sadly a big hit single is not forthcoming (their website speaks openly of hopes and plans for a Top 10 hit) but in truth, this isn't exactly a club track to set the world on fire, rather just a plodding mess of synthesisers, finger click rhythms and vocals that mean precisely nothing. Of course the Las Ketchup single means precisely nothing but at least it is open about it.
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20 OUTTATHAWAY (Vines)

A third chart single this year and just like the Coral before them, the band score the biggest hit single of their career. This thefollow-upp to Get Free which hit Number 24 back in June.
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36 SPACE WALK (Lemon Jelly)

A strange top heavy singles chart this week sees eight new entries inside the Top 20 and just a single one in the bottom half. Full marks at least then to Lemon Jelly for being distinctive, even if the single isn't the big hit some had hoped for. Lemon Jelly made waves two years ago with their debut album and singles such as Come and Tune For Jack although singles chart success eluded them. This time they have made that crucial step forwards to mainstream appeal with a first ever chart hit and thus exposing a new audience for their own brand of blissed out instrumental melodies that conjure up images of childhood summers and melting ice cream. Imagine the Avalanches without the insanity and if you want the honest truth I'd almost rather this was Number One than Las Ketchup.


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