This week's Official UK Singles Chart

1 DIRRTY (Christina Aguilera)

Stop the presses! Just when you thought the good old singles chart was in danger of become rather predicable it turns around and springs one of the biggest shocks of the year on us. Virtually everyone you spoke to, everyone with even the remotest connection to the business had pretty much taken it as read that there would be a changing of the guard at the top of the charts this week. Surely nothing could stand in the way of a combination of Pop Idol and charity? Not so. Christina Aguilera with a single that bombed in her home country and which has caused questions to be raised as to her long term marketability has confounded the experts and all logical predictions and grabbed a second week at the top of the chart. It means that both of Christina Aguilera's Number One singles to date have managed to buck chart trends and spend longer than a week at the top, Genie In A Bottle also having spent a fortnight at the summit in 2000.
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2 DON'T LET ME DOWN/YOU AND I (Will Young)

I will freely admit, I was at it as well. The original version of this piece written at the start of the weekend contained a lengthy account of the significance of Will Young topping the charts for the fourth time this year. All of that went in the bin on Sunday afternoon when it became clear that he was going to be relegated to the runner's-up slot [self-indulgent I know, but you can have no idea how bloody annoying it is to pre-write a piece and have to tear the whole thing up].. Now this will of course prompt a string of press articles over the coming week about how this proves that the public is tired of manufactured Pop Idol type stars etc. etc. etc., just as they did in fact a few weeks ago when David Gray beat Gareth Gates to the top of the albums chart. Of course it "proves" nothing of the sort, especially given that Will Young's fourth single release hasn't exactly flopped here at Number 2 and it comes at the end of a year when he has topped the charts three times already and sold close on 2 million singles. What of the song itself though? It isn't a cover of a well-known song which is something but neither is it really the kind of song that was ever going to set the charts on fire, even though Sammi - my handy barometer of female taste - has just texted me to say she thinks it is one of his better ones. Go figure. The single also doubled as this year's official anthem for the BBC's Children In Need appeal, Will Young taking over the honours from S Club 7 who have topped the charts in both 2000 and 2001 with their charity release. We are not done with TV created singles yet of course, before Christmas there is still another Gareth Gates single to come plus the two releases from the Pop Stars - The Rivals groups, not to mention whatever singles come out from the Fame Academy contestants.
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3 JENNY FROM THE BLOCK (Jennifer Lopez)

Don't be fooled by the rocks that she's got. She's still Jenny from the block you know. With most press attention focused on her rather tangled love life it is good to see J-Lo back in the charts and reminding us just why she is famous in the first place. Jenny From The Block is her first single since I'm Gonna Be Alright went Top 3 back in July and it extends her run of successive Top 10 singles to seven, dating back to the release of Love Don't Cost A Thing in January 2001. To date her only single to miss the Top 10 was the one that immediately preceded it, Feelin' So Good which could only reach Number 15 in April 2000.
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5 ALIVE (S Club)

These are ominous times for one of the most consistently appealing pop acts of the last few years. S Club are no longer seven with Paul Cattermole having quit the group earlier this year to spread his musical wings. Hence of course the slight change of name. Rumours also abound that the project has more or less run its course, all the others are now getting itchy feet, members such as Rachel Stevens clearly with the potential to go on to bigger and better things. Therefore do not be too surprised if time is called on the group sometime in the new year. For the moment however we still have the first S Club film to look forward to and this brand new single which slots nicely into their uptempo disco formula even if it has had reviewers comment that it is actually just a rehash of Don't Stop Moving only without being quite as good. Maybe that explains the chart position which does indeed show that their run of perfection is coming to an end. Alive is their first single ever (and there have been nine previous to this one) to miss the Top 3. Once again we need to keep some perspective, many acts would kill for a single that entered the chart at Number 5. For S Club this is an unusual position to be in - especially when you consider that this is a brand new release. [For everyone who had loved the S Club project from the start, it was almost heartbreaking to watch them circling the drain like this].


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8 THROUGH THE RAIN (Mariah Carey)

So how do you begin to pick your way through the current state of Mariah Carey's career? For so long the golden girl of the American music industry with a strike rate of US chart-topping hits that for many years after her 1990 debut was almost 100% she signed a new record deal with EMI records in 2001 and released an album Glitter that was the soundtrack to her acting debut, a film with the same title. Both bombed worldwide and received a level of critical vitriol that took the breath of even the most jaded of observers away. Faced with an artist on a hugely expensive contract who appeared to have lost the plot career wise, the record company swiftly paid her off and told her never to darken their door again. Michael Jackson take note. However you cannot keep a good superstar down and after some time away to lick her wounds, Mariah is back. Back with a new record deal, new producers in the shape of noted miracle workers Jam and Lewis and a brand new single with a title that reflects the struggle she has had to go through to reach this stage. The good news is that everyone appears happy to see her back and Through The Rain makes a triumphant Top 10 debut a full eleven months after her last single Never Too Far crashed out at an embarrassing Number 32 to become her smallest single for a decade. This week however she can rejoice in her first UK Top 10 hit since she topped the charts in conjunction with Westlife on the cover of Phil Collins' Against All Odds back in September 2000. Interestingly enough her last few Top 10 hits have all been in collaboration with other acts, as well as Westlife there was Joe (Thank God I Found You), Jay-Z (Heartbreaker) and Whitney Houston (When You Believe). Her last completely solo Top 10 hit was back in June 1998 when My All reached Number 4.
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12 RHINESTONE COWBOY (GIDDY UP GIDDY UP) (Rikki & Daz featuring Glen Campbell)

Favourites of The Box viewers for most of the past month and via the relentless plugging of Radio One DJ Chris Moyles, Rikiki and Daz charge into the Top 20 with their Eurostomp remake of and old country favourite. Except that there is a twist here as the two creators of this record are not from Germany or Holland, the usual source of camp party hits such as this, oh no. Both hail from Manchester and have set out to prove that incredibly cheesy club hitmaking isn't confined to the European mainland. Rikki is better known as Ric from the Cuban Boys whilst Daz has featured in the past as the rapper on tracks by Bus Stop. But we won't hold that against him. The story doesn't end there either as the first version of the track featured a session singer belting out the chorus - that was until the man who originally made the song famous was persuaded to come on board. Hence his starring role on the song and in the video, performing a modern day version of the track that ensured back in the 1970s that he would never have to work again. Rhinestone Cowboy was perhaps the defining moment of Country and Western music in the 1970s and the ultimate reward for music industry veteran Campbell who had been around since the early 1960s, working with the likes of the Champs and the Beach Boys and with a claim to fame of playing guitar on Frank Sinatra's Strangers In The Night. His version of Rhinestone Cowboy (which was actually originally recorded by Larry Weiss) topped the US charts in 1975 and made Number 4 over here although strangely enough it shared joint honours as his biggest ever hit with Honey Come Back and It's Only Make Believe which both hit Number 4 in 1970. This single marks Glen Campbell's first chart appearance since Southern Nights made Number 28 in April 1977. [For thpse paying attention, it was this pairing which who also create the UK's best ever Eurovision entry four years later].


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16 STILL WAITING (Sum 41)

An impressive return to form for Canadians Sum 41 whose last single It's What We're All About made a rather disappointing Number 32 back in June. Fresh material undoubtedly helps here (their second album is released this week) and the typically catchy and appealing Still Waiting charges into the Top 20 to become their biggest hit single since In Too Deep hit Number 13 almost exactly a year ago. Their only Top 10 hit to date is their debut Fat Lip which made Number 8 in October 2001.
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17 PRAY (Lasgo)

Lasgo round off a pretty successful year with a third hit single, this one failing to match the Top 10 placings of their two previous hits Something and Alone.
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19 HEART OF GOLD (Kelly Llorenna)

A second solo hit this year for Kelly Llorenna, her first one coming back in July when her cover of Tell It To My Heart hit Number 9. Since then of course she has been back in the charts singing on N-Trance's Forever which hit Number 6 in September. Heart Of Gold sadly isn't the old Johnny Hates Jazz song (or even the Neil Young one) but is in fact a reworked version of a track she took to Number 55 in July 1998 which was at the time credited to Force & Styles featuring Kelly Llorenna.
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23 LEAFY MYSTERIES (Paul Weller)

The grand old man of quality music returns with a second chart hit this year, this one the rather less stellar followup to It's Written In The Stars which had a brief chart run back in September, entering at Number 7 and then crashing out just two weeks later. What is the betting that this single despite peaking somewhat lower, actually has a better chart run?
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26 GETAWAY (Music)

A second successive hit for The Music, this following up Take The Long Road And Walk It which hit Number 14 back in August. Early figures during the week suggested that this stood a chance of at the very least matching that peak but demand for the single slowed off towards the end of the week, leaving it to settle just inside the Top 30. I'll freely confess I would love to have seen The People become a hit single for real after having been released earlier this year as a four track single that was of course chart ineligible.
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27 FROM THA CHURCH TO DA PALACE (Snoop Dogg)

A return to the chart for Snoop Dogg who can now claim to be something of a veteran of the business given that his first hit single What's My Name? charted exactly nine years ago this week. We last saw the canine one at the start of 2001 when he was having some of his biggest hits for years, reaching Number 3 in conjunction with Dr Dre on The Next Episode and then hitting Number 13 in his own right with Snoop Dogg. Sadly not even the Neptunes can work their production magic on this single and his 13th chart hit unluckily bombs out at Number 27.
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29 OBSESSIONS (Suede)

Suede struggle to find people who care about their latest comeback. First single Positivity didn't do too badly when it charted at Number 16 in September (although its dramatic plummet to Number 60 the following week hardly inspired confidence) and this second single makes a rather apologetic chart appearance this week. Number 29 will make this their smallest hit single since their chart debut The Drowners made a lowly Number 49 back in May 1992.
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32 BILLIE JEAN (Sound Bluntz)

Well with the man himself having been in the news lately for all manner of interesting reasons it seems an appropriate time for a cover version of one of his best-known songs, dating back from the days when he looked and acted human. Billie Jean was of course the track that put the Thriller album over the top back in 1983, topping the charts on both sides of the Atlantic and with its video becoming iconic in its own right. This new interpretation comes from Canadian house act Sound Bluntz who put on it a somewhat unique spin but in truth don't actually add anything to the track in the first place. Billie Jean has been the subject of cover versions twice before, Club House turning it into a medley along with Steely Dan's Do It Again and reaching Number 11 just a few months after the original. More recently German act Bates took a version to Number 67 in 1996 whilst Ian Brown put a rendition of the song on the b-side of his 2000 hit Dolphins Were Monkeys. Billie Jean is also one of the handful of hit singles to have had a song written by another act in direct response to it, Lydia Murdock's Superstar detailing the reaction of Billie Jean to Jacko's claims, the single reaching Number 14 later in 1983.
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38 POOR LENO (Royksopp)

Bringing up the rear this week are Royksopp who don't have the advantage of a TV advert to help the exposure of this single, unlike Remind Me/So Easy which made its way to Number 21 back in August. Honourable mention should at least go to the animated video that accompanies the track which possibly makes it the first Christmas themed track to chart this year and indeed this is actually the second attempt to turn Poor Leno into a seasonal hit, the single having first peaked at Number 59 in December last year. Is Christmas really only four weeks away?