This week's Official UK Singles Chart

1 MAKE LUV (Room 5 featuring Oliver Cheatham)

De-nied. Once again you should never take what midweek leaks (or even CD:UK) say for granted. All speculation during the week was that Madonna was set for a quite surprising debut at the top of the charts. The truth of the matter is though that Room 5 experienced a late surge over the course of the holiday weekend to lift them above the superstar in sales terms and to give them a fourth straight week at the top of the charts. Thus Make Luv is already the second single this year to manage 28 days at the summit, following in the footsteps of Tatu's All The Things She Said and also of course hot on the heels of Girls Aloud's Sound Of The Underground which similarly managed four weeks over the course of December and January. We still await a single to manage a fifth week, no record has done this since Cher's epic seven-week spell at the summit with Believe back in 1998.
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2 AMERICAN LIFE (Madonna)

Can any record have ever attracted so many negative reviews? Over the past few weeks you will have been hard pressed to find anyone prepared to say anything positive about Madonna's new single, the title track from her forthcoming new album. Whether it was her decision to make and then scrap a video that could have been construed to have anti-war sentiments, whether it was the slightly silly attempt at rapping that she makes on the single or whether it was just its overall musical quality - critical opinion was that this was an all-time career nadir for Madonna, a sign that maybe just maybe she had lost her magic touch and was set to a return to the dark days of the mid 90s when she thought records like Bedtime Story were a really good idea. Sales of the single on the other hand have told a different story. Rather than being the spectacular flop that was predicted, the single very near became a spectacular chart-topper, in the event being denied by Room 5 at the very last minute. Nonetheless it is still a Number 2 hit single, beating the Number 3 peak of Die Another Day from December and in the process becoming her biggest hit single since Music topped the charts back in September 2000. American Life is thus her 55th hit single, now putting her within an ace of Diana Ross' long-standing record as the most successful female soloist in terms of overall chart hits. Miss Ross has to date clocked up 56 chart hits making it almost a certainty that Madonna will have overhauled her by the end of the year. Furthermore it is Madonna's 51st Top 10 hit and moves her closer to second spot in the all-time table, just behind Elvis who managed his 56th last year.


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4 COME UNDONE (Robbie Williams)

It may not be the out and out pop stormer that some were wishing for, but Robbie's second chart hit of recent months proves his continuing ability to make some quite memorable records. Like its predecessor Feel, Come Undone is a heartfelt mid-tempo ballad that allows the singer to show off his voice to fine effect, straining in a not altogether unpleasant fashion to reach the top notes during the verses. The single matches the Number 4 peak of Feel, giving him the 15th Top 5 hit of his solo career.
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5 OUT OF TIME (Blur)

They are back. following a near three-year hiatus during which time lead singer Damon Albarn participated in the hugely successful Gorillaz project, the original early 90s survivors return with a brand new album. This time around of course there have been some celebrated personnel changes as the personal life of co-founder Graham Coxon deteriorated to such an extent that his presence in the band was no longer welcome. His departure is such a sensitive subject that the group have taken to insisting that all official publicity for the single makes as little reference to it as possible - not that it has stopped anyone else of course. Longtime fans will be relieved to know that Blur sound as good as ever. For a group who have been having hits for fully 13 years to still sound this fresh is something quite miraculous and their chart performances appear to be as consistent as ever. Out Of Time is their first single since Music Is My Radar hit Number 10 in October 2000 and is their 13th Top 10 hit to date. In a cute moment it comes exactly 12 years to the week that their first such hit There's No Other Way hit the charts. Happy anniversary boys.


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9 SPEECHLESS (D-Side)

A little bit of promotion can go a long long way. New Irish boy band D-Side won themselves a Smash Hits award at the tail end of last year thanks to their series of appearances at schools up and down the country, all of which was designed to build up anticipation for their debut single release. Once in the shops the single has performed impressively enough, landing them a Top 10 hit with almost consummate ease. Maybe the level of work which has gone into promoting the single should have given them more than a Number 9 hit but at the same time the single is fun without being magical and has to rank as a good rather than great pop single.

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12 DAMAGED (Plummet)

Club anthem of the week comes from Miami-based producer Eric B Muniz, ably assisted by singer Nikki. Plenty of big name DJs have been hyping this for weeks but this Number 12 chart placing is probably a fair reflection of its overall appeal as there is little here to make it stand out as a pop crossover.
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16 DATE WITH THE NIGHT (Yeah Yeah Yeahs)

OK so that one I got wrong. When reviewing the debut chart hit from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs back in November I speculated that bigger hits would probably be a long time coming. Fortunately I'm glad to eat my words as the XFM airplay staples charge triumphantly into the Top 20 with their biggest chart hit to date. Karen O wails in a not altogether unpleasant manner and the New Yorkers have taken a major step forward to that still elusive mainstream recognition.
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17 EXCUSE ME MISS (Jay-Z)

The chart listing I have here may only credit Jay-Z alone but the serial collaborator of rap has struck once more, drafting Pharell Williams in for a bit of duet action. This is Jay-Z second chart single of the year, following on from the Beyonce Knowles duet 03 Bonnie & Clyde and if you wanted evidence of the wild inconsistency of his chart performances, just check out the way Excuse Me Miss can only make Number 17 whilst its predecessor was a Top 3 smash hit. Anyhow, Excuse Me Miss isn't half bad all things considered, even if it maybe lacks the kind of hook that would have made it a bigger hit single.


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19 TO LOVE A WOMAN (Lionel Richie/Enrique Iglesias)

Enrique Iglesias' first chart duet was his second hit single in this country, Could I Have This Kiss Forever reaching the Top 10 in 2000 in conjunction with a certain Whitney Houston. For this second collaborative effort he ups the superstar quotient somewhat by appearing alongside a genuine soul legend, this duet apparently coming about thanks to Lionel Richie's longtime friendship with Enrique's father Julio. In truth this is actually Lionel Richie's record, Enrique Iglesias getting the "featuring" credit and you suspect this is a thinly veiled attempt to give the single some added commercial cachet. To give Lionel Richie credit he has worked hard in recent years to make sure that his records remain relevant to a modern audience. This was most notable on his 2000 album Renaissance which featured underrated singles such as Angel and Tender Heart which attempted to merge his style with some modern day dance beats. To Love A Woman takes a different tack, a downtempo ballad that somehow manages to combine rock, latin and country guitars all at once. OK it isn't marvellous but by no means bad and takes Lionel Richie into the Top 10 for the first time since Angel hit Number 18 back in October 2000.
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22 DON'T KNOW WHAT TO TELL YA (Aaliyah)

Another posthumous hit for Aaliyah, this single taken from a new collection I Care 4 U which is a mixture of greatest hits and previously unreleased tracks. This single has just enough of an eye on the dancefloor to make it appeal to both clubland and those longtime Aaliyah fans who are keen to snap up everything she makes in her memory. In spite of this the single performs rather disappointingly and falls a long way short of even Rock The Boat, her last single which made Number 12 in May last year.
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23 TRAIN (Goldfrapp)

A long-awaited and some would say long overdue chart breakthrough for Goldfrapp, a UK dance act whose willingness to experiment with traditional disco forms appears to know no bounds. They first came to people's attention back in 2001 with the album Felt Mountain. The long player spawned two singles - Utopia and Pilots On A Star - but neither had the legs to penetrate the Top 40, or for that matter the Top 60. All of that changes now with Train, a filthy sounding electroclash single that has a surprising ability to get under your skin with just a single listen. Those who are hoping fervently for much bigger things for Goldfrapp have exactly the right idea.
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31 COULDN'T HAVE SAID IT BETTER (Meat Loaf)

It is now ten years since Meat Loaf's career renaissance which came thanks to a reunion with Jim Steinman and the Bat Out Of Hell II album. Since then his career has taken on an oddly familiar pattern as he drifted away from Steinman and made records penned by the likes of Diane Warren that sounded increasingly life self-parodies of the kind of bombastic style that made him Steinman's ideal muse. As a long-standing fan of Mr Aday it gives me no pleasure to report that the decline is complete and that once again he is reduced to making weak-kneed rock singles for a market that has long since moved on and gets very little pleasure from the wonderfully tortuous lyrics that are his trademark. This new single appears to be trading on past glorious to such an extent that it is almost a note for note retread of his 1995 hit I'd Lie For You And That's The Truth. His first hit since Is Nothing Sacred back in 1999 it also has the dubious honour of being his lowest charting hit since Rock And Roll Mercenaries also made Number 31 back in 1986 - the last time he was considered to have reached a career nadir.
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36 WHO SAID (STUCK IN THE UK) (Planet Funk)

A long, long overdue followup from Planet Funk to their 2001 Top 5 hit Chase The Sun. If they had released this single within a few months of that first hit would it have been bigger? Who can say. Anyway this new track from the Anglo-Italian outfit features a vocal from David Black and has attracted its fair share of club attention, even if commercial success appears to have been a pipedream.
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40 LONG LONG WAY TO GO (Def Leppard)

Oh and while we are on the subject of faded rock acts, here bringing up the rear this week are Def Leppard, this being the follow up to Now which hit Number 23 in August last year. The inclusion of a DVD single in this release hasn't helped to stimulate interest in the track and sadly they are these days little more than also-rans playing to the nostalgia market.


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