This week's Official UK Singles Chart

1 WITHOUT ME (Eminem)

Oh yes. He's back again. Having spent most of 2001 being the largely uncredited brains behind D12 and their hits Shit On You, Purple Hills and Fight Music, Eminem spreads his solo wings once more and has the music world bracing itself for his third album. Given that his last single was the masterful Number One smash Stan you could hardly expect this new single to be anything less than massive. So it proves as the "go on, admit that you missed me" lyric of Without Me helps to propel it to the top of the charts. This is now Eminem's third Number One single to make him far and away the most successful rap artist of all time. No other rap act has even come close to topping the charts three times. Despite dressing up as Osama Bin Laden and other, ahem, shady characters in the video, this time around the shock value is a long way removed from that which accompanied past releases. Perhaps sensing this, Eminem's new album is reportedly a much darker, more soul-baring work but still with enough musical appeal to ensure that there are at least another couple of hit singles buried inside. Without Me is now the sixth new Number One hit single in as many weeks, the highest rate of turnover the charts have seen since the back end of 2000 when 11 different singles all took turns at the top.


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3 IT'S OK (Atomic Kitten)

A return to the chart for Atomic Kitten as they reach the milestone few ever gave them a chance of reaching, the release of their second album. Promoted initially as sparkling disco babes, their career was rescued from the dumper in early 2001 with the release of the chart-topping Whole Again and to a lesser extent the departure of Kerry Katona and her replacement by Jenny Frost. This personnel change gave them the opportunity to re-record most of their debut album and add some new tracks, including the cover of the Bangles' Eternal Flame which also topped the charts last summer. Thus the new Atomic Kitten now have a formula which has proven to work, female orientated pop balladry and this brand new single follows that template to perfection. It's OK is hardly the most exciting pop single of the year, a cod C&W song of reassurance that probably would not have challenged for the Number One position even without Eminem, but it does at least give them a perfectly satisfactory Top 3 hit, their fourth Top 10 single in all. Their ability to generate headlines remains undimmed (what were the odds on yet another member falling pregnant?) and for the moment it appears that their star is shining as brightly as ever.
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5 BOP BOP BABY (Westlife)

Westlife on the other hand are having to face up to something they have never experienced before. In search of a staggering eleventh Number One single, they have departed from their usual pool of songwriters to release a track that they penned themselves but this time around instead of flying straight to the top of the charts, or even being narrowly beaten to the Number 2 position (as happened once before), Bop Bop Baby has only crept to Number 5. For all the inevitable headlines about how this is the beginning of the end for Westlife, you must bear in mind that their incredible run of 10 chart-toppers from their 9 releases up until now was as much down to luck as it was to popularity. Many of their Number One hits managed to top the charts by selling as little as 60-70,000 copies and had the good fortune to be released in weeks where the competition for strong sales was sorely lacking. Sooner or later that luck had to run out and they would release a single that performed poorly in comparison to other products on the market. Nonetheless even Number 5 is a spectacularly bad performance by their standards and whilst it may not mean that the chart career of Westlife is about to come to a spluttering halt, it isn't too far-fetched to wonder if the cracks in their invincibility that have been anticipated for so long are finally starting to appear.
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7 IT TAKES MORE (Ms Dynamite)

A debut solo credit for female garage MC Ms Dynamite, widely tipped as the next big breakout star by a musical genre that is suddenly very keen to move away from the rather male dominated image it has so far. This is of course far from being her first chart appearance, Ms Dynamite having received a co-credit for her performance on Sticky's Booo! which hit Number 12 in June last year. It Takes More goes five places better, justifying much of the hype that has surrounded its release and maybe suggesting that this hit could be the first of several more.


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8 REASON (Ian Van Dahl)

Already in the middle of a run of hits are Ian Van Dahl, last seen on the singles chart over the Christmas period with the Top 5 hit Will I. Reason now becomes their third Top 10 single on the bounce, albeit the smallest so far and certainly one which makes less of an impact than the Number 3 smash Castles In The Sky which charted in July 2001.
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12 HERE TO STAY (Korn)

Heralding the release of their fourth album, Korn storm into the Top 20 this week and in the process spoil what was actually a rather fun record. Whereas Westlife were until this week renowned for their consistency at placing singles at the top of the chart, Korn were consistent rather further down the scale. Until this week they had released seven chart singles, beginning with No Place To Hide in October 1996 and finishing up with Make Me Bad in June 2000. Between them these seven singles had all charted at one of five positions - 22,23,24,25 and 26. Not since Adeva had three successive Number 17 hits in 1989 had any act demonstrated this kind of consistency so far down the chart. Of course such talk now becomes confined to history and the strange way that the popularity of nu-metal appeared to have passed some of its earliest exponents by now appears to have been corrected. Korn finally have a Top 20 hit. Still if you want coincidences, ponder over the strange fact that this is the second Top 20 single with this title to chart in the space of a month, New Order's own Here To Stay having made Number 15 at the back end of April.
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17 COME BACK (Jessica Garlick)

A four place drop this week for Jessica Garlick's Eurovision entry and one which makes it hard to judge exactly what the impact of appearing in the contest last Saturday will ultimately have on the chart prospects of the single. With the ultimate winners Latvia and Malta engaging in a two-horse race for most of the voting, it was almost overlooked that the UK entry came up on the ropes to ultimately finish in joint third place, our best performance since 1998. If it had actually won it would have been a different story, but you can expect Come Back to linger inside the Top 20 for at least another week but aside from that Jessica Garlick will have to wait for her first Top 10 hit single.
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18 OH BABY (Rhianna)

As featured here on dotmusic during the week, Rhianna is a 19 year old from Leeds and for whom Sony currently have extremely high hopes. She is one of those acts whose biography screams "I AM TALENTED" as she writes her own songs, cites the likes of Kate Bush, Nelly Furtado and even Patty Smith as inspirations and aims to make music that can straddle that all important divide between pop appeal and mainstream respect and appreciation. Does it work? Well her debut single is certainly more pop than credible but the sampled funk groove and her amazingly powerful voice push this into the realms of being a quality release. For whatever reason it doesn't quite make the expected splash as far as the charts are concerned and whilst a Number 18 placing is far from shabby it is more of a base to build on rather than something which announces that this is a major new musical talent. Even if she is. [This lady needless to say is a fun musical footnote, her already established fame in this country meaning the emergence in a year of so of a certain Barbadian star with a very similar name caused no end of confusion].


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20 STARBUCKS (A)

Having finally made a Top 40 breakthrough in quite spectacular style with Nothing (Number 9 back in March), the act who will forevermore be listed first in both the Guinness and the Brown/Kutner/Warwick chart books release their second single of the year. I'm tempted to suggest that Starbucks (surely the only single to be named after a coffee chain) is actually a better track that Nothing, bubbly, accessible with a killer chorus and all in all is a single that proves that the Brits can do skate-rock just as good as the people from that other country to the west. Sadly this time around the chart performance of the single is rather lacking and whilst an act that had no less than six singles miss the Top 40 before finally breaking through will hardly have reason to complain, Number 20 is slightly less than this deserves.
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22 TAKE DOWN THE UNION JACK (Billy Bragg and the Blokes)

We are just one week away from the Golden Jubilee, the official public holiday that will see a series of events taking place to mark, celebrate even, the 50th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's accession to the throne. Four day weekend notwithstanding, this is not a good thing if you are a republican and so Billy Bragg announced that he was going to stage his own protest by attempting to top the charts for the Jubilee with his own anti-monarchist song. Of course mixing politics and music can be a very dangerous thing and the suggestions by the man himself that people should buy multiple copies of the single whether they are fans of his or not just to push the single up the charts and somehow embarrass the establishment is either naive or very stupid.

Extended rants on the subject are all moot. At the very least this is his first Top 40 single for over ten years and believe it or not his biggest hit since he topped the chart performing She's Leaving Home as a double a-side with Wet Wet Wet's With A Little Help From My Friends in 1988. The single will vanish from the charts as quickly as it came, Billy Bragg may or may not have more hit singles after this [he didn't] (and I hope to high heaven they have a slightly more sophistication than this student union rant), everyone will enjoy their two days off next week whether they like the Queen or not and life will continue the same as it ever did. Funnily enough 25 years ago another single made more waves during the jubilee than Billy Bragg can even dream of and as luck would have it we get to revisit that very story next week...
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24 BABY NOW THAT I'VE FOUND YOU (Lauren Waterworth)

After being a judge on Pop Idol, Pete Waterman suddenly appears invigorated. As if from nowhere he has signed 13-year-old Lauren Waterworth and proclaimed that she is about to become bigger than Kylie and a major star despite her tender years. Her debut single is a by the numbers retread of the classic song that the Foundations took to Number 1 back in 1967. The song didn't exactly need remaking but it is hard to ruin such a classic and even slowing it down and turning it into a chirpy pop ballad isn't exactly offensive. No, what people will be focusing on the most is the way Pete Waterman's comments are likely to come back to haunt him owing to the way Laren Waterworth's single has crept almost humbly into the Top 30 and in fact, midweek was expected to do even worse. Given that Bellefire have just been dropped after two Number 18 hits, what chance to do you give the Lauren Waterworth project even getting as far as an album's worth of material? [History records she was indeed a one hit wonder although she has worked hard to maintain a career since, her Twitter account boasting that she's sold "over 100,000 albums].
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27 SPREAD YOUR LOVE (Black Rebel Motorcycle Club)

A second Top 40 hit for the Black Rebel Motorcycle club, Spread Your Love easily beating the Number 37 peak of Love Burns back in February. Listen to this and believe that it is like Marc Bolan never died.
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30 YOU CAN'T GO HOME AGAIN (DJ Shadow)

Crumbs, this has been a long time coming. Believe it or not You Can't Go Home Again is only the second ever Top 40 hit single for DJ Shadow aka Josh Davies. His only other appearance in the upper reaches of the singles chart came back in October 1997 when High Noon reached Number 22. The gap between hits is more to do with a lack of releases than anything else, DJ Shadow having concentrated on mixing rather than recording since the release of his debut album Entroducing back in 1996. All that changes with a new album out this week...
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31 THIS IS ME (Saw Doctors)

Blimey, almost six years since they were last in the UK singles chart, Irish folk heroes the Saw Doctors make a return to the Top 40. You'll have to ask your favourite Irishman just why they have managed to sell so many records back home over the last ten years but This Is Me is as good an example of why, combining good old fashioned folk with some modern rock guitars. The single is their fourth Top 40 hit, their biggest coming back in 1996 when To Win Just Once made Number 14.
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39 EMPTY AT THE END/THIS GIVEN LINE (Electric Soft Parade)

A second Top 40 hit for the Electric Soft Parade, this following up the Number 23 peak of Silent To The Dark II which charted in March. Back then I signed off by saying: "So far so good, expect Top 20 or better next time around for these guys." This is why I stopped playing the lottery.


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