This week's Official UK Singles Chart

1 MAKE LUV (Room 5 featuring Oliver Cheatham)

Hey, it is still around and still selling it seems. Just one single this week stood any kind of chance of making the Number One slot but Room 5 are proving more tenacious than anyone would have predicted and for the moment remain the soundtrack to the Easter holidays. You know I'm not used to having to write about the same record week after week after week, this is harder than it looks [2017 James says his heart bleeds for you]. How about the fact that if Make Luv is knocked off the top next week it will be the first single to have a three-week run at the top since Atomic Kitten's The Tide Is High back in September last year? Yeah, that will do. Now on to the interesting stuff.
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2 CRY (Kym Marsh)

Now you know there are so, so many people (and I confess myself included) who were just dying for a reason to hate this record. Nothing really to do with the music you understand, just because of who it is. Kym Marsh was, of course, a former member of Hear'Say, the original reality-TV created pop act. Right from the start, she demonstrated an alarming ability to generate headlines, be it for her confession that she had two young children who she had kept secret from the producers or maybe her screaming row with Nasty Nigel when he told her that she had to lose weight before the release of their first single. Then there were the stories of the cattiness that existed between her and Myleene Klass which all culminated in Kym walking out on the band after one catfight too many. Then there was her relationship and marriage to Eastenders actor Jack Ryder complete with the glossy magazine photo deal and her brassy pronouncements of how a man of his talent was going to make it in Hollywood and that her singing career was going to go from strength to strength when she signed the inevitable solo deal. I've never met her and know absolutely nothing about her as a person but it is no secret that by accident or design, through the way she has conducted herself since discovering stardom, Kym Marsh has wound up so many people that it is hard not to want to see her fail. [That sounds terribly unfair given the way she has since reinvented herself as an actress, but it was very true that she'd put so many noses out of joint during her early years in the spotlight].

All of that is thrown off course by the fact that she has now done something brilliant. Having fought her way through the Popstars auditions there is no doubt at all that she is able to sing, quite magnificently well at that. Her debut solo single is the kind of anthemic torch song that Mel C's last single was desperately trying to be, a song with a soaring chorus that shows her voice off to fine effect. It isn't a pop song, nor a dance record, just a good piece of music that could well wind up as being one of the highlights of the year. So who knows what her future career will bring? It could well be that the forthcoming album is so good that we are prepared to forgive her everything that has gone on in the past and for Kym Marsh to be hailed as a bright new British talent. Or it could all go horribly wrong in two singles time, leaving the pop pages in the tabloids to pick over the bones of her career with unrestrained joy at Christmas time. Time will tell, but for the moment you should take time to hear this single.


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3 IN DA CLUB (50 Cent)

OK this writer will work hard, listen to it carefully, talk to his fans and try to figure out why everyone is so excited about 50 Cent. Now five weeks old, the single continues its upward momentum and has now moved 4-9-8-5-3 to land its highest chart position to date.
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7 I CAN'T READ YOU (Daniel Bedingfield)

Now Daniel Bedingfield you see is very very hard to hate and quite easy to love. As time goes by it becomes clearer and clearer that the star is not the kind of artist to be pigeonholed. To date he has released three singles, each one in a different style. Gotta Get Through This was garage-pop, James Dean (I Wanna Know) was cod-R&B and in truth the weakest one to date whilst his Christmas release If You're Not The One was a soulful pop ballad and his most successful to date, notching up 10 weeks inside the Top 10 and giving him a second Number One. Now with single 4 he switches styles yet again and goes rock. Not ear-crunching nu-metal rock of course but instead with a guitar-driven pop record that is yet again a tale of teenage longing and angst but with the kind of killer chorus that helps the song get under your skin in an instant. Kym Marsh may have the biggest single of the week but this release is less of a throwaway and in truth is the final confirmation that Daniel Bedingfield should be regarded as a national treasure. All he has to do is find a way to get into the tabloids with the same frequency as Robbie Williams and then he can go properly mainstream.


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14 MAKE ME SMILE (COME UP AND SEE ME) (Erasure)

Well as career reviving tactics go, you can't knock the notion of a covers album particularly when it works. Erasure's cover of Peter Gabriel's Solsbury Hill gave them their first Top 10 hit for many years back in January and this week they follow it up with a second successive Top 10 hit. Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me) was originally recorded by Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel, the single topping the charts in 1975. It is easily one of the classic pop moments of the 1970s and as such any cover version should be approached with caution. Erasure's new version is by no means terrible but inveitably hardly a patch on the original. Had this been a cheesy cover version by a throwaway pop band then it possibly would have elicited a stronger reaction from people. As it happens though this is a small part of a career indian summer from an act whose own songwriting and hitmaking legacy has already been writ large. On that basis they can be forgiven this kind of indulgence and if it whets the appetite for some new original material from the pair, then this is hardly a bad thing.
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20 IT'S TRICKY 2003 (Run DMC)

With the sad loss of Jam Master Jay still fresh in the minds of people, it seems somewhat appropriate that one of the original rap pioneer acts should make a chart return this week, even in this slightly watered down form. It's Tricky was originally a hit for Run DMC back in 1987 and was their first hit followup to the breakthrough Walk This Way. It's Tricky stuck with the formula of meshing rap with a familiar rock riff, in this case the single being based on The Knack's My Sharona. Having their old hits remixed is of course nothing new for Run DMC as in 1998 they dominated the singles chart for months with a Jason Nevins remix of It's Like That. Strangely enough, at around the same time, Nevins had done his own remix of It's Tricky and a German release of the track appeared briefly at the bottom end of the charts on import whilst It's Like That was at the top of the charts. Speculation was that it would become their next single but a full commercial release was never forthcoming. Instead the honour of remixing the single into the charts falls to Jacknife Lee, the man responsible for similarly acclaimed reworkings of Pink's Just Like A Pill and Eminem's Cleanin' Out My Closet. The single is taken from a new Greatest Hits collection and is fine reminder of just how good they were - even if My Sharona has now been exorcised from the song completely.
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21 GO WITH THE FLOW (Queens Of The Stone Age)

A third Top 40 hit for Queens Of The Stone Age, this the followup to No One Knows which hit Number 15 back in November last year. Have they got what it takes to rise above average and go properly mainstream? Not on the strength of this single it appears.
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23 BE MINE (David Gray)

Granny's favourite singer, David Gray returns to the singles chart this week. Promotion of his brand new album A New Day At Midnight got off to a rather inasupicious start just before Christmas when The Other Side could only limp to Number 35. As I pointed out at the time, given that the album had already topped the charts a month prior to the release of its first single, he didn't exactly need smash hits to help him shift units and the fact that such an understated release flopped at the busiest time of the year should hardly come as a surprise. Now that things have quietened down a little this new David Gray single performs slightly better and returns him to the Top 30. Let's face it though, he's an albums act who appeals to people who don't need to use clearasil any more. The chances of him having another large hit are somewhere between slim and none.
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26 BUY IT IN BOTTLES (Richard Ashcroft)

Speaking of adult stars, here is Richard Ashcroft who moves further and further away from the legacy of his work with The Verve and thus is reliant more and more on the quality and appeal of his solo work. Buy It In Bottles is his third hit single in recent months, the followup to October's Number 11 hit Check The Meaning and the more recent Science Of Silence which hit Number 14. Blame this chart position on the law of diminishing returns rather than any reflection on its quality.
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27 DIAMONDS AND GUNS (Transplants)

A chart debut for this exciting new Los Angeles based threesome, this single arriving in the charts on the back of a great deal of airplay on alternative rock stations. Pigeonholing them is actually rather hard as although they use the half-rapped vocal styles of many nu-metal acts the production on this track is very understated, the guitars and that insistent piano riff pushed into the background rather than dominating the mix. A very worthy debut and one that actually deserves more exposure than it has had so far. The nature of the title may of course have restricted it slightly of course, blame it on their timing.
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37 LOVING YOU 03 (Marc et Claude)

Bringing up the rear this week are Marc et Claude, this their first chart appearance in almost exactly a year given that Tremble hit Number 29 in April last year. The German duo's most famous chart success was of course I Need Your Lovin' which hit Number 12 in 2000 and just as that single was a tender reworking of the old Korgis classic, so too this is a new tranced up remake of an old single, in this case the Minnie Ripperton classic from 1975. The song is no stranger to the club treatment, most famously in 1990 when a version by Massivo made Number 25 but since then the likes of Shanice, UBM and Sparkle have released the song without ever making the Top 40.


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