This week's Official UK Singles Chart

1 SOUND OF THE UNDERGROUND (Girls Aloud)

The seasonal chart lull has continued into the new year it seems. Rather than opportunistically releasing some potentially big new singles in the new year holiday week, most record companies appear to have been content to let the stillwater continue and wait until everyone is back at work before unleashing the first major new product of 2003. The end result of this is a still becalmed Top 10 with Girls Aloud reigning supreme once more at the very top of the charts whilst in contrast their rivals One True Voice slip further back in the sales rankings. Reports in the press this weekend suggest that those with the power to decide these things are fully aware that the market is possibly becoming saturated with reality TV pop stars, hence a decision to push the second series of Pop Idol back to the autumn, although there is still more to come with at least one other Pop Idol I contestant set to make her chart debut in the next few weeks and of course the inevitable slew of releases from the Fame Academy winners. Grit your teeth and bear with me, we are not through the mire just yet.
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8 SK8TER BOI (Avril Lavigne)

Well if you are looking for a chart winner over the seasonal period then cast your eye no further than Avril Lavigne. Not only is the video for Sk8ter Boi on the television at just about every turn but the single has comfortably held its own just inside the Top 10, rising a place this week to be granted its highest chart position yet. The exposure has been enough to send the album Let Go rocketing up the charts so that this week it makes a celebratory appearance at the very top. Past years have shown that very often the new year is dominated by an older album which takes advantage of the lack of major new product in the new year to clock up some strong sales for itself (witness the performances of the likes of Travis and Dido in the past few years) and there is a distinct chance that Miss Lavigne is the one in a position to take advantage of that in 2003.
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14 REACT (Erick Sermon featuring Redman)

So to the foolhardly souls who chose to release singles in the last week of December and who are thus rewarded with new entries on the chart. No big names are involved but this does of course mean that a few newcomers have the opportunity to get their names pinned up in record store windows. Highest of them all is Erick Sermon who of course is hardly a new name having been for a long time a production legend on the hip-hop scene. His personal chart credits to date are limited to just one single, Music which hit Number 36 in October 2001 and which was distinguished by its heavy sampling of Marvin Gaye which led to the late soul legend having a co-credit on the track. This time around the vocal contributions are from Redman whose last chart appearance was of course right at the very top thanks to his presence on Christina Aguilera's Dirrty.


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18 LAND OF THE LIVING (Milk Inc.)

Also scraping a Top 20 place this week are Milk Inc., here with their third chart single in the space of 12 months after two successive Top 10 hits with In My Eyes and Walk On Water in 2002. In the mood for some more Belgian dance? Your wish is my command....
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23 DREAMER (CK & Supreme Dream Team)

Now who do we blame for this one? Do we blame producers Remy Martinez (the brains behind T-Spoon) and Serge Ramaekers (the man who remixed Freddy Mercury's Living On My Own to the top of the charts in 1993)? Or do we blame Scooter for putting the idea in peoples heads that it is acceptable to butcher old Supertramp songs? Yes this is indeed the same song, the cheesy synths still in place but now beefed up with some intoxicating Eurobeats. Actually this is a good example of what sounds like a bad idea in theory turning into a perfectly acceptable club record, one with enough energy and appeal to motivate even the most jaded barfly to hit the dancefloor. The video is also quite fun, featuring an animated battle between good and evil DJs. Supertramp's original version was their first ever chart single, reaching Number 13 in 1975. This is unlikely to do the same.

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30 AM I ON YOUR MIND (Oxygen featuring Andrea Britton)

Another bunch of veterans operating under a new name are Ricky Simmonds and Steve Jones, better known in the past as the Space Brothers, Lustral, Chakra and many others. For this new Oxygen project they have teamed up with Andrea Britton whose career so far has seen her appear on a handful of other dance singles, although none which appear to have registered on my own personal radar. Those with a painstaking attention to detail may also have spotted her as a backing single on Kylie Minogue's European tour. Together their first single creeps into the bottom end of the Top 40 with Simmonds and Jones set to make further appearances on the chart over the next few months - under a different name of course.


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