This week's Official UK Singles Chart

1 ETERNITY/THE ROAD TO MANDALAY (Robbie Williams)

Spin it any way you want, we do seem to be in a bit of a slump at the moment. After hitting the top of the charts with a slightly lower than usual sale last week, Robbie Williams clings on to the top slot thanks largely to a lack of competition more than anything else. Still, let us take nothing away from him a fortnight at the top is no mean fit in this day and age. Indeed it is a wonderful example of how something that was once almost par for the course is now worthy of some comment. Eternity is his first Number One single to last more than a week at the summit, Millennium, She's The One and Rock DJ were all despatched after just a week. Incidentally Robbie Williams is one of two acts to have two singles in the Top 75 this week, Hear'Say being the other. Last week the total was as high as four, Shaggy and Strokes also having two simultaneous hits. Robbie's current two-week run also brings to a close a period of frantic turnover at the top of the charts. Last week marked the fifth week in succession that there was a different single at the top. Believe it or not this was actually the longest sequence of Number One singles since we had 12 in succession between October and December last year. The record currently stands at 14 different chart-toppers in as many weeks which happened between June and September last year.
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3 ELEVATION (U2)

Summertime in the entertainment industry can only mean one thing, the release of this year's "not as good as it was supposed to be" blockbuster movie. This time around of course it is Tomb Raider which comes complete with a potentially hit-laden soundtrack and as it happens two of the tracks from said album were released as singles this week. The first will already be familiar to most U2 fans as it also doubles up as the third hit single from All That You Can't Leave Behind. If anything it is one of the least conventional sounding tracks on the album, full of buzzing guitars and an undercurrent of menace that is a pleasant throwback to their mid-90s experimental period. Elevation is now U2's fourth successive Top 3 hit, a run which stretches back to the release of Beautiful Day back in October 1998. Such a run marks their most successful stretch of hit singles ever, beating the run of three that they managed between 1995 and 1997. Funnily enough the first of that run was their only other foray into movie soundtracks - Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me which was featured in Batman Forever.


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6 DANCE FOR ME (Sisqo)

But for U2 the whole of the Top 5 would have remained static this week. Positions 1,2, 4 and 5 are the same as last week which in turns means Sisqo has to be content with a new entry just outside the Top 5 for his brand new single. Dance For Me is the first release from a brand new album and continues with the wildly successful formula that he established with his first solo releases. Despite all the fuss surrounding Usher at the moment I have to confess that Sisqo carries more appeal for me and it is good to see he has not fallen into the trap of trying to produce a string of Thong Song clones. Dance For Me returns him to the Top 10 for the first time since Unleash The Dragon was released in September last year - a single which also peaked at Number 6.
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11 MEET HER AT THE LOVE PARADE 2001 (Da Hool)

Ah yes, the Love Parade. The annual event held on the streets of Berlin that is best described as the Notting Hill Carnival with turntables rather than steel drums. Over the past decade the event has become so popular that attempts have been made to stage similar events in this country although as thousands of frustrated people in Newcastle will tell you, without too much success. Da Hool's instrumental celebration of the German event was first released in February 1998, just before the hype began to get out of control. Remixed and brought up to date, the single is re-released just in time for this years events and manages to do even better on the charts second time around, the original mix having peaked at Number 15.
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12 LOVERBOY (Mariah Carey)

Now this is interesting. One would have thought that a brand new single from a much-hyped new Mariah Carey album would make a bigger splash than this. Certainly the singer has been all over the press in the last month or so, wearing very little clothes and sidestepping questions over just how much her deal at Virgin Records is actually worth. After topping the charts last September in conjunction with Westlife on the cover of Against All Odds, the singer morphs back into hip-hop Mariah for this upbeat track, loosely based around Cameo's 1986 hit Candy. Raps from Da Brat and Ludacris give the whole thing a suitable urban feel [depending on which mix you were listening to, I forget which one actually led the single] but the combined effect is not enough to even give this single a Top 10 entry. Not that she will be too worried of course, she has missed the Top 10 on occasions in the past (most recently when I Still Believe made Number 16 in April 1999) but for a brand new single from a normally most consistent act to chart as low as this (and in such a depressed market too) is more than a little unusual. [It would get worse before it got better].

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16 DEVIL'S NIGHTMARE (Oxide & Neutrino)

Presenting the second single from the Tomb Raider soundtrack to land on the chart this week. Oxide & Neutrino contribute perfectly to the rather dark atmosphere of the film with this suitably disturbing track featuring heavy basslines and chanting monks amidst all the rapping. This is their fourth chart single following Bound 4 Da Reload, No Good 4 Me and Up Middle Finger but this looks set to be the first not to reach the Top 10.
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19 LOADED (Ricky Martin)

OK let's be honest. The fun has gone out of Ricky Martin hasn't it? Livin' La Vida Loca may have transformed him into a superstar two years ago but without more of the same magic on record he has just slipped back into being an over-tanned bloke with a strange accent (see also: Enrique Iglesias). Hence whilst She Bangs and Nobody Wants To Be Lonely may both have been Top 5 hits, this latest single from the Latino wonder can do little more than creep inside the Top 20 and is set to become his lowest charting single since The Cup Of Life made Number 29 in July 1998.
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21 BOSS OF ME (They Might Be Giants)

Yes, they are still going apparently. Years before Weezer, Blink 182 and the Barenaked Ladies there were They Might Be Giants, arguably the original geek rockers. At the core of the group are John Flansburgh and John Linnell who first met in 1984 and in the late 1980s became one of the most successful independent acts of all time in America, thanks largely to MTVs support for their ever more innovative videos and their famous dial-a-song telephone service that was originally set up after they had to cancel an early tour. Their only major commercial success in this country came in 1990 with the album Flood and its hit single Birdhouse In Your Soul which peaked at Number 6 in April that year. The followup single flopped and they have been absent from the charts ever since. Until now of course, their commercial revival coming thanks to the US TV series Malcolm In The Middle to which Boss Of Me is the theme song. Despite being shown on both Sky One and BBC2 the series has yet to become the massive cult hit it is America which accounts for the rather understated chart performance of the single. Even so it still becomes the first American TV theme to become a Top 40 hit since Vonda Shepard's Searchin' My Soul (from Ally McBeal) made Number 10 in 1998.


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24 TU AMOR (Kaci)

The second single release for Kaci, the disturbingly young singer who reached Number 11 with Paradise back in March and who caused something of a stir online with a provocatively dressed Top Of The Pops performance in support of the single. Tu Amor follows the same formula to the same pleasing effect, an uptempo latin-flavoured track that shouts at you to almost feel the long summers evenings it describes. Sadly it isn't that big a hit, suggesting that her marketing needs a little more work for the British to buy her as a proper singing star.
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26 SAIL AWAY (David Gray)

David Gray's White Ladder album has recently received a renewed promotional push with a series of TV adverts designed to boost its profile doing just that and sending the album soaring back into the Top 10. As a complement here is the fourth hit single, albeit the smallest so far. Is it now time to lay the album to rest more than two years after it was first released and let him concentrate on some new material?
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30 SOUL SOUND (Sugababes)

The law of diminishing returns kicks in for the fourth Sugababes single as they can barely manage a place in the Top 30. This is actually a crying shame as Soul Sound is easily their best effort since the instant classic of their debut Overload (Number 6 last September) and is almost certainly a better showcase for their voices than their last single Run For Cover. Here's to their next album and the hope that it goes some way to restoring their rightful reputation as one of the classiest and smoothest sounding girl groups around. [Yes, it would get much better for them. Although it would require a change of label and the ditching of the odd-looking ginger one].


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