This week's Official UK Singles Chart

1 ALL THE THINGS SHE SAID (Tatu)

Number One again and against all odds it seems, after a series of midweek reports showed Lena and Julia about to surrender their crown after just a single week. A sales surge at the end of the week (when a number of TV pop shows were finally forced to swallow their nerves and hunt for the most uncontroversial footage of the duo they could find) saw All The Things She Said regain the momentum it needed to spend a second week at the top of the pile. Now regular readers will know that I'm not a fan of talking up the importance of the nationality of a particular act, working here on the basis that people have bought the Tatu record because they like the way it sounds, not because of where they come from. Nonetheless, enough comment has been made to make it worth mentioning here that the duo do indeed have the honour of being the first ever Russian act to top the UK charts. Prior to this, the biggest ever hit from Russia was PPK's Resurrection which hit Number 3 in December 2001. Perhaps of far more interest is a fact pointed out by Alan Jones last week where he noted that Tatu are the first female duo to top the charts since Melanie C and Lisa Left-Eye Lopes received joint credit on Never Be The Same Again in April 2000. Lopes, of course, was just a guest star on Melanie C's record but despite the flood of successful all-girl groups in recent years to find the last time a regularly performing two girl act had a Number One hit single in this country you have to go right back to 1992 when Shakespear's Sister hit the top with Stay.

Finally, to end this bit with something that hasn't be plagiarised from the work of another commentator, it is interesting to note that the English language version of their album (which this week continues its climb up the Top 20) features songs that have been substantially remixed from their original Russian productions. The most startling transformation of all is on the track Malachik Gay which has evolved from a cheesy electronic disco song into a stripped down into an intoxicating acoustic guitars and beats production. Sadly it may never end up as a single.
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2 CRY ME A RIVER (Justin Timberlake)

The solo career of Justin Timberlake was no one-shot deal it seems. After hitting Number 2 back in October last year with the steady grower Like I Love You, the star is back with a second single. This time he has gone for a much more mellow feel, a creeping and some would say haunting ballad (nothing to do with the famous Julie London song of the same name) that has raised eyebrows thanks to its video that features Justin catching his Britney lookalike girlfriend in a clinch with another man. Analyse that if you will. A second Top 3 hit belongs to him, even if his album has been shunted off the top by Kelly Rowland this week. The boy may have a career ahead of him yet, especially if he ends up picking up any Michael Jackson fans that are not still in denial.


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3 SONGBIRD (Oasis)

You can bet that a fair few eyebrows will be raised at this one. Not so much for the fact that Oasis have yet another Top 3 single (their fourth in succession in the last year) but because most reports at the start of the week had led people to believe that the band were heading for another Number One single. It was actually always on the cards, Songbird of course being notable as the first ever Oasis single penned by Liam rather than Noel Gallagher. Songbird was also available as a DVD single which will certainly have helped matters. DVD discs have been eligible for the singles chart for almost three years now but for some reason the format has yet to be exploited to the full by labels looking for new ways to persuade people to pony up for the much maligned single. Having a popular mainstream act such as Oasis do so well with such a release way well open the floodgates, you never know. In the meantime Oasis can celebrate a 16th Top 10 hit. Strange to think that this summer will mark the ninth anniversary of their first ever chart single.
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5 GIMMIE THE LIGHT (Sean Paul)

These things often take time. Sean Paul was hailed as a bright new prospect in September last year, the dancehall star was primed and ready to go as the new king of ragga, having been a star in his native Jamaica since 1996 and having already seen the US respond favourably to his album Dutty Rock. All he needed was for his debut UK single to make the splash that was expected of it. Except of course that it was more like a small ripple than a splash, Gimmie The Light limped into the singles chart at Number 32 and slipped quietly out a few weeks later. Still, it kept on selling right the way through the rest of the year, sneaking back into the lower end of the Top 75 for a couple of weeks in November. People liked the song, they just needed time to realise it clearly. This re-release comes complete with a remixed version of the track which sees the star joined by no less a figure than Busta Rhymes and it is almost certainly this new beefier production that has turned the song from a chart also-ran into a bone-fide mainstream hit single. A Top 5 placing is his to go with his MOBO awards and Sean Paul is very much off and running.

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7 OK (Big Brovaz)

Just occasionally the music industry does manage to get it right. A gap in the market is identified and an act produced to fill just that gap. The opportunity in question was for a more family friendly version of the So Solid Crew et al. People wanted a UK take on American rap but one that perhaps didn't quite scare the crap out of people as much as Harvey, Romeo and the rest do. Enter Big Brovaz, actually a multinational collective that have a few Americans in their number but they are here to inject a UK pop sense of fun into the genre. Some dismissed it as cheesy and naff but there is no doubting the appeal of their debut single Nu Flow. A Top 3 smash from the moment it was released in October, the single was still floating around the Top 30 at Christmastime and indeed is still on the chart this week, climbing five places to Number 59 after no less than 17 weeks on release. Time waits for nobody though and so here is their second single, essentially Nu Flow part two and quite sensibly so. There is nothing remotely 'street' about them but when the records actually sound so appealing is that really an issue? With Big Brovaz, somebody somewhere has actually got it right.


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13 LIFESTYLES OF THE RICH AND FAMOUS (Good Charlotte)

US skate punk band of the week are Good Charlotte, their debut single pushing all the right buttons with a rant about how money and power allows you to get away with murder in this life. Hard to knock them really but after a while the likes of Blink 182 and Sum 41 et al seem to merge into one and when you have the likes of Busted managing to do well with, yes, a British take on the whole deal, you just wonder where exactly Good Charlotte are supposed to fit in.
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16 BIG YELLOW TAXI (Counting Crows featuring Vanessa Carlton)

A cover version of one of the more loveable politically-charged songs in pop's long history and one which it is actually surprisingly hard to ruin. Joni Mitchell wrote the song and indeed her version became her only UK chart single, hitting Number 11 in June 1970. Amy Grant was next to step up to the plate, bringing out her own cover of the song in 1995, eventually peaking at Number 20 after a memorable slow-burn chart run. Now it is the turn of Counting Crows to bring out their version, recorded for the soundtrack of the film Two Weeks Notice. Of course the song is very much a woman's song and so to prevent it from being completely male dominated the band have recruited none other than Vanessa Carlton to supply some backing vocals on the track. Most significantly of all Big Yellow Taxi ranks as far and away the biggest hit single ever for the group. Last year they made Number 33 with the single American Girls which was itself only their second ever Top 40 hit in this country, coming a full eight years after their debuted with Mr Jones. Big Yellow Taxi now takes them into the Top 20 for the first time ever, even if just like Amy Grant's version, it has failed to beat or even match the peak of the original.


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32 STING ME RED (YOU THINK YOU'RE SO) (Who Da Funk featuring Terra Deva)

The second Who Da Funk single, this of course the follow-up to Shiny Disco Balls which made Number 15 in October 2002. Singer this time around is Terra Deva, by no means an unknown quantity as her last chart appearance was also back in 2002 when she was the singer on Shakedown's At Night, a Number 6 hit in May.
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34 LAST NIGHT A DJ BLEW MY MIND (Fab For featuring Robert Owens)

A club hit, made notable by the name of the man who provides the lead vocal. Robert Owens may not be a huge chart name but his career stretches back over the entire lifetime of the house music scene. His most famous vocal role came back in 1989 when he was the frontman for Tears, a legendary house track released by Frankie Knuckles. Oddly enough the famous track never became a large hit, only peaking at Number 50. Robert Owens' last credited Top 40 appearance was back in 1997 when a David Morales remix of his 1991 track I'll Be Your Friend made its way to Number 27.
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35 ALL OF YOUR DAYS WILL BE BLESSED (Ed Harcourt)

Mercury Music Prize nominee Ed Harcourt makes his Top 40 debut with this single, taken from a brand new album From Every Sphere. His nominated album Here Be Monsters produced just the one chart single, Apple Of My Eye which limped to Number 61 in February last year.
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36 THESE ARE THE DAYS (O-Town)

Finally to bring up the rear this week are O-Town, stars of the US TV series Making The Band and who are still attempting to grind out a career, despite very few people in this country appearing to care. Their last chart hit came almost exactly a year ago when Love Should Be A Crime hit Number 38 and the failure of this single to do much better should give you some kind of indication as to where their career is going. Their biggest single was their debut, Liquid Dreams which was a Number 3 hit in April 2001.


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