This week's Official UK Singles Chart

1 DILEMMA (Nelly featuring Kelly Rowland)

After selling over 200,000 singles in their first week on sale it was highly unlikely that any of this weeks multitude of new releases (15 singles make their Top 40 debut this week) was going to stand a chance of taking over at the top and so it proves, Dilemma underscoring its position as one of the biggest singles in the world this year by spending a second week at the top. Although rap has never quite moved beyond being a musical curiosity as far as mainstream music fans are concerned, the number of rap stars who have actually topped the UK charts is actually quite impressive. Alongside Nelly are such stars as Puff Daddy, Eminem, Run DMC and LL Cool J although the list also includes novelties such as Partners In Kryme (actually the first rap stars ever to top the UK charts), Vanilla Ice, Will Smith and er, The Simpsons. The biggest selling rap single in this country remains Puff Daddy's I'll Be Missing You which sold 1.36 million copies in 1997 and is one of the Top 40 biggest sellers of all time in this country. The only other rap single to sell a million copies is Run DMCs It's Like That which crept over seven figures thanks to the Jason Nevins remix that topped the chart in 1998. The most successful rap act in chart terms is Eminem who to date has had three Number One hits, the only other rapper to have hit the top more than once being Will Smith who has had one chart-topper solo and another as the Fresh Prince with onetime partner DJ Jazzy Jeff.
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2 LIKE I LOVE YOU (Justin Timberlake)

[Superstar (solo) debut klaxon!] It had to happen. With the future of 'Nsync up in the air at present (and with their career being five years old maybe about to wind down) it has been deemed time for the solo years to begin. The fact that the American stars never really became household names in this country could have been a potential sticking point when it came to launching one of them as a solo star and so Justin Timberlake can probably thank his lucky stars that the headlines he generated as the beau of a certain Britney Spears has helped his marketability no end. As you might expect, no expense has been spared on this solo debut and so the Neptunes, hottest production team of the moment have been installed in the creative chair for this single. That said, it isn't half bad admittedly, a song that has had many reviewers suggesting that it sounds like Michael Jackson back when he was actually some good (and his pose on the sleeve of the single is surely no coincidence). The last 'NSync single - Girlfriend - back in April turned out to be their biggest UK hit ever when it charted at Number 2 and so it is with a nice synchronicity that Justin Timberlake's solo debut also lands in the runners-up slot. Like I Love You is far from your conventional teen idol pop song and is actually all the better for it. [Five years of juvenile writers like me calling him "pubehead" and he chooses to wear that knitted cap in the video for his first solo hit].


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3 ONE LOVE (Blue)

Meanwhile the group who can arguably lay claim to being the biggest British boy band of the moment return with the first single from their forthcoming second album. Their debut did everything expected of it and more, spawning four Top 10 hit singles, two of which topped the charts last year. One Love for the moment sensibly doesn't deviate from the original StarGate created formula and with ease gives them a five straight hit single. Predictable can sometimes be boring but in the short term it also means consistent which is really all anyone can ask for.
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5 ELECTRICAL STORM (U2)

This is going to be a week of tenuous links isn't it? Speaking of consistent, here come U2 with a single to herald a new Greatest Hits collection. Their first such collection was issued in 1998 and covered the first decade of their existence between 1980 and 1990 and hence the new just-in-time-for-Christmas compilation covers the nineties, a period which saw them move away from their increasingly Americanised rock sound into ever more wonderful realms of invention which in turn brought both creative highs and lows. The single Electrical Storm slots into the more conventional mould which the group rediscovered on their last album, 2000's All That You Can't Leave Behind and features the usual melange of chiming Edge guitars and impassioned hooting from Bono. Like the Blue single this is comfortingly predictable and gives the Irish act yet another Top 10 single, their 22nd in total in a career that now stretches back 21 years.
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11 THE ZEPHYR SONG (Red Hot Chili Peppers)

Surprise package of the summer? That would be the current RHCP album By The Way which spent five weeks at the summit of the long player chart in tandem with the Number 2 success of its title track which hit the singles chart back in July. The Zephyr Song is the second single and perhaps suffers a little from the overwhelming sales success of the parent album but still has enough appeal to make a strong chart debut just outside the Top 10. They can be forgiven for cursing the Number 11 chart placing as it means they fail by the narrowest of margins to have back to back Top 10 hits for the first time in their career.


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12 BLINK (Rosie Ribbons)

Just when you thought it was safe. As both the BBCs Fame Academy and ITVs Popstars - The Rivals limp along on television and cause people to wonder if the concept has rather been done to death, the hit singles from the stars created by the Pop Idol program at the start of the year just keep on coming. Joining the ranks of Will, Gareth, Rik, Darius, Jessica and Sarah is Rosie Ribbons who lasted roughly halfway through the final elimination contest, coming unstuck after a rather tuneless performance in the Abba week. The promotion of her debut single used a rather famous old technique as it was first made available as a club promo credited simply as Urban Rose. Much comment of "this is actually quite good" followed until her true identity was revealed at which point nobody would touch it with a bargepole. This trick has exposed such musical snobbery several times in the past (even Cliff Richard tried it once) and all it proves is that yes, for good or ill the "coolness" factor can work against an artist as much as it can in their favour. Indeed by my reckoning the only act ever to benefit from being discovered as the secret performers behind a club hit were East 17 whose career was given a shot in the arm when their 1993 single Deep became a white label hit. Back to Rosie then and Blink is a stuttering Christina Milian-esque club track that shows off to fine effect the voice that got her such a long way in the TV talent search. Like the Sarah Whatmore track a couple of months ago it is enough to indicate that she has potential to turn this into a proper career.
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15 SHINY DISCO BALLS (Who Da Funk featuring Jessica Eve)

A belated chart appearance for this club track which was originally scheduled to hit the streets in August. The two-month delay has meant the initial buzz the track had on the club charts has simmered down slightly although demand has been enough for import copies to sell enough for the single to creep as high as Number 69 last week. The single is actually good enough to spark the attention of the casual dance fan as it starts out as a stripped to the bone disco funk track circa 1978 before exploding in a wash of early 80s electronic synthesisers. Worth a look if you haven't heard it already and just look at the effect it had one one message board poster from the backwaters of the net: "The first time I heard this tune, I was in Space Ibiza I was so excited I jumped up on the podium, and shaked my tail feather. My Boyfriend was so impressed that he propossed (sic) to me." [And then they invented YouTube commenting and it all went to shit].
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18 ADRIENNE (Calling)

Into every life a little bland must fall as the Calling follow up the summertime Top 3 hit Wherever You May Go with this identikit following that has at least been picking up its fair share of airplay on mainstream pop stations. Not bad, just unmemorable I guess.
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21 DON'T MUG YOURSELF (Streets)

A small turnaround in Mike Skinner's chart performance as his fourth chart single outshines the last couple Let's Push Things Forward and Weak Become Heroes to land just short of a Top 20 placing and just a few marks short of his debut Has It Come To This which hit Number 18 exactly 53 weeks ago. The usual deal applies here of course as if you hated all the other Streets singles this is hardly likely to inspire you to part with your money. Those strangely hypnotised by his stream of consciousness poetry will appreciate its dry wit and apparently based on reality tale of Skinner's mates telling him to see sense over a girl.


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22 LONG DISTANCE (Turin Brakes)

Olly Knights and Gale Paridganian return to the singles chart after an absence of a year with the first single from the follow-up to their acclaimed debut album The Optimist LP which garnered itself a Mercury Music Prize nomination in 2001. This new single hits the chart after a promotional campaign that last week saw the duo perform in the unlikely surroundings of the BT Tower in central London, the first of a series of such events that dotmusic is planning in the revolving restaurant. It all has helped the rather beautiful single charge up the chart to become their biggest single to date, eclipsing the Number 31 peak scaled by Mind Over Money in August last year. Here's hoping they get bigger.
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26 LIVE IN A HIDING PLACE (Idlewild)

The third chart single of the year for Idlewild, this one falling foul of the law of diminishing returns. Whilst You Held The World In Your Arms made an impressive Number 9 back in May, American English hit Number 15 two months later and this single has to content itself with a Top 30 entry.
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28 SIX DAYS (DJ Shadow)

The second chart hit of the year for Josh 'DJ Shadow' Davies, who emerged from the relative anonymity of the mixing desk to relaunch his stalled hitmaking career earlier this year. You Can't Go Home Again gave him a first chart single for five years back in June when it reached Number 30 and this single now goes two places better although it is still some way short of becoming his biggest, that honour still being held by High Noon which hit Number 22 in October 1997.
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33 YOU WERE RIGHT (Badly Drawn Boy)

A somewhat spectacular 24 place fall for Badly Drawn Boy is explained away by the fact that the single was a limited edition release, being deleted after just a few days when first released two weeks ago. No such excuses for the Manic Street Preachers though who are a few places above Damon Gough at Number 29 this week, crashing down from their Number 6 entry a week ago. Such spectacular falls appear to be becoming par for the course for Top 10 hits from the Manics as back in 2001 their famous double single releases So Why So Sad and Found That Soul experienced spectacular second-week plummets, the former dropping 8-25 with the latter faring even worse and falling 9-35
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35 THE EARTHSHAKER (Paul Masterson presents Sushi)

Paul 'Yomanda/Hi-Gate' Masterson continues to have a totally different name to mine and here hits the chart under his own name for the first time, although you suspect this is a one-off just to introduce the Sushi concept to the masses. Synths whine, some bloke mutters about an earthshaker and it fills six minutes of your Saturday night quite nicely.
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36 PURPLE HAZE (Groove Armada)

No connection with the famous Jimi Hendrix song as far as anyone can tell but that shouldn't put you off the latest Groove Armada single. Their first hit single in a year actually takes its inspiration from a most surprising source, the flower power era Status Quo and an obscure track called (April) Spring, Summer and Wednesdays. The track thus mixes the ragga sound that characterised their last album with some crunching rock grooves and is a world away from the blissed-out sounds of At The River, as befits Cato and Findlay's desire for ever more creativity.
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38 NIGHT VISION (Hell Is For Heroes)

Nearly there now and the 14th new entry this week is a long awaited Top 40 debut for Hell Is For Heroes. Little by little they have been getting there during the course of the year, charting first of all at Number 63 with You Drove Me To It in March and then making an agonising Number 41 in August with I Can Climb Mountains.
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39 HANGING AROUND THE DAY (Polyphonic Spree)

Last of all, but by no means least are the Polyphonic Spree making a much anticipated chart debut. The hype surrounding them may well have reached your ears thanks to a number of concert appearances in this country at venues ranging from the Royal Festival Hall to the Reading Festival. There are 24 of them and at first glance they look like a choir, all dressed in white surplices and indeed there is a strong spiritual element to their music. Far from being another Sounds Of Blackness though they sound like Mercury Rev crossed with the Beach Boys, their music stirring in rock guitars, west coast harmonies and, well, just about everything you can possibly imagine. The most unusual group of the moment actually deserve every bit of praise that has been written about them and mere words cannot do their music justice. More than any Number 39 entry this year or even this decade, this is actually a single that needs to be heard to be believed.