This week's Official UK Singles Chart

1 THE TIDE IS HIGH (GET THE FEELING) (Atomic Kitten)

No doubts at all about the Number One single this week, Atomic Kitten outselling the competition by a strong margin to clock up a second week at the top. The addition of the new "got the feeling" verse to the song that I touched upon last week prompted a certain amount of comment during the week, sources close to the producers echoing my suggestion last week that it reflected the way some extra care had been lavished on the song rather than lazily doing a straight cover. Others countered by pointing out that the addition of four extra names on the songwriting credits has meant that the royalty payments to Paragons lead singer John Holt are less than they might otherwise have been. Well go figure, fiddling around with the songwriting credits on a track has actually become quite common practice in the pop industry. Mentioning no names, just check the songwriting credits on a number of pop acts and you will see credits for the performers that have no business being there (the practice known as "change a word take a third") other than to put more money into the pockets of the performers. Elvis Presley never wrote a song lyric in his life yet he is credited as a writer on many of his early hits thanks to the insistence of Col Tom Parker. At least with the Atomic Kitten track those credited with writing it did actually contribute something and I still maintain that the fact that a bit of extra creativity has been applied to the track means it is actually a far worthier pop record than say, Westlife's by the numbers cover of Uptown Girl.
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2 FANTASY (Appleton)

By my calculations, it is five years and two weeks since the chart debut of I Know Where It's At, the debut single for the All Saints. At first, nobody really knew what to make of the four piece girl band, we all wondered if they were some kind of Spice Girls clone, despite the fact that their Steely Dan-sampling debut single had a much harder edge and tighter harmonies than anything the famous five had produced up to that point. It was their second single that truly pushed them over the edge, Never Ever being an instant classic from its minute long opening monologue through to every last gospel-inspired moment. Released in November 1997, the track set a new chart record by selling over 900,000 copies before finally topping the charts at the start of 1998 and eventually hitting seven figures. They followed it up with four more Number One hits that included the Beach theme Pure Shores and the double-sided Under The Bridge/Lady Marmalade which both possibly fall into the category of classic covers of already classic singles. The final All Saints hit came in January 2001 when All Hooked Up peaked at Number 7 and heralded a Greatest Hits album and the disintegration of the group, all four women unable to get along with each other any longer. [They famously came to blows backstage over who was to wear a particular jacket and split as a result. None of them has been able to live that down since].

It is against this impressive background that the first All Saints spin-off makes its debut. Sisters Natalie and Nicole Appleton have taken time away from their celebrity boyfriends to release this debut single. It performs quite impressively, charging into the Top 3 although falling a long way short of mounting the kind of challenge for the Number One position that you might expect of a high profile release like this. Time will tell whether this is a one-off or whether the pair can produce the same kind of material that made their years in All Saints so particularly memorable. It seems almost churlish to point out that it was Shaznay Lewis who wrote all their best songs... [Official video MIA for some reason].


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6 FOREVER (N-Trance)

A return to the Top 10 this week for N-Trance, this their first chart hit since the remixed revival of Set You Free hit Number 4 almost exactly a year ago. Forever sees them once again team up with Kelly Llorenna who of course was last seen in the Top 10 in her own right back in July with a cover of Tell It To My Heart. In their eight year chart career the group have actually had most of their success with pop-rap cover versions of classic hits such as Stayin' Alive, D.I.S.C.O., Da Ya Think I'm Sexy and Paradise City. When they release singles of original material they have historically done less well, tracks such as Turn Up The Power, Tears In The Rain and Shake Ya Body all falling short of the Top 20. It is therefore something of a pleasant surprise to note that Forever marks only the second time that they have had a Top 10 hit with their own material - the first of course being the aforementioned Set You Free.
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7 IT'S WRITTEN IN THE STARS (Paul Weller)

How many comebacks has this man had over the years? Briefly for the uninitiated, Paul Weller's chart career began in the late 1970s as lead singer of The Jam. After five years and three Number One hits the band broke up, prompting Weller to reinvent himself, forming the Style Council and having another six year run of blue-eyed soul hits that were a world away from the crunching rock of his former band. After the Style Council broke up he made a handful of moderately well received solo albums before hitting paydirt once more with 1995s Stanley Road album which saw him swept along as part of the golden summer of Britpop and hailed as the movement's elder statesman. He has made albums since, Helicentric in 2000 and Days Of Speed in 2001 but none of their singles have made much of an impact on the charts. Until today that is, It's Written In The Stars has been hailed as one of his best releases for some time and it lives up to that promise by charging straight into the Top 10, his biggest chart hit since Peacock Suit hit Number 5 in August 1996. In all it is the fourth Top 10 hit of his solo career and comes just four months since a nostalgic re-release of his first ever chart single, the Jam's In The City, made Number 36 when released in its original format and at its original 1977 price.


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12 TWO MONTHS OFF (Underworld)

A welcome chart return for Karl Hyde and Rick Smith, aka Underworld, as this week this new single charts to herald the release of their new album A Hundred Days Off. It will be their first long player proper since the well received Beaucoup Fish in 1999 although they have since charted with Everything Everything, a live album released the following year and which spawned their last chart single Cowgirl (a Number 24 hit in September 2000). The Number 12 chart position of Two Months Off means it equals 1999s Push Upstairs as their second biggest chart hit ever. Their biggest is of course something of a paradox, Born Slippy hitting Number 2 in 1996 after its use in the climactic scenes of cult film Trainspotting - the irony being that the hit version was actually dub remix of the track, a world away from the original version and in fact pretty much their entire output since.
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13 THE THEME (Jurgen Vries)

An Ibiza favourite this summer, this instrumental club hit narrowly misses out on a Top 10 placing but still makes a strong enough debut to justify the hype. Jurgen Vries is actually a pseudonym for Darren Tate, the classically trained producer who had had hits in the past as Angelic, those singles of course featuring the vocals of Amanda "Mrs Judge Jules" O'Riordan.
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20 HAVE FUN GO MAD (Tweenies)

Another hit single for the pre-school TV characters, this their fifth in all and the followup to I Believe In Christmas which hit Number 9, er last Christmas surprisingly enough. This Number 20 new entry is actually their lowest charting single yet, suggesting perhaps that the number of parents willing to pick up a copy for their offspring whilst in the supermarket is slowly diminishing. [This single was more extraordinary than it first appeared, a lyrically tweaked rendition of the underrated Blair single from 1995, beating its chart peak by a full 15 places].
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25 DEAD LEAVES AND THE DIRTY GROUND (White Stripes)

Another white-knuckle ride of stripped to the bone rock from the White Stripes, this the followup to Fell In Love With A Girl which hit Number 21 back in March. The duo are still pushing all the right buttons as far as critics are concerned and as a live act they are pretty much peerless... but when it comes to selling singles they are still frustratingly mid-table with little chance it seems of that improving any time soon. After three singles they are still searching for that first Top 20 hit.
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29 KEEP FISHIN' (Weezer)

The comeback trail on which Weezer embarked last year is continuing it seems. Following hits with Hash Pipe and Island In The Sun in 2001 the American band returnot the Top 30 with this brand new single. It is their sixth Top 40 hit in all in a career that began back in 1995 with tracks such as Undone - The Sweater Song and the still fresh sounding Buddy Holly, a Number 12 hit that remains their biggest ever chart hit.
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34 ARE YOU IN (Incubus)

A second hit this year and the fourth chart hit in total for Incubus. Their last chart single came back in February when Wish You Were Here charted at Number 27 and for the moment that remains the high point of their UK career.
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38 DIVING (4 Strings)

Rounding this off this week is a second chart single for 4 Strings, the current production alias of Dutchman Carlos Resoort. Diving performs rather less spectacularly than Take Me Away Into The Night which was a Number 15 hit back in May.


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