This week's Official UK Singles Chart

1 WHERE IS THE LOVE (Black Eyed Peas)

No less than fifteen new singles make their Top 40 debut this week so the mere fact that the top two retain their positions is an achievement in itself. Where Is The Love always had the potential to cross over to a far wider audience and it looks like it is well on the way to doing so and I would not be surprised to see it still at the top of the listings next week. For those keeping count by the way, the single is only the 14th new Number One single we have had this year and with a little over three months to go before the end of the year, 2003 could well be the slowest year for top of the charts turnover since the mid 1990s.
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3 SUNSHINE (Gareth Gates)

Make no bones about it, this is going to be the toughest period for Gareth Gates' short career since it began. The 2002 Pop Idol runner-up is about to discover just how fickle fame can be as the countdown begins to the unveiling of the final ten contenders for Pop Idol 2003. Public tastes could well be about to move on to the next bright eyed young thing which means he is about to live and die by his music alone. Hence you suspect this slight switch in direction which has reportedly only come about after a series of wrangles with his management, resulting in a forthcoming double CD that showcases both Gareth the innocent cover star and Gareth the sophisticated pop hunk. Sunshine attempts to come from the latter camp, a lush and sometimes funky production that possibly would have suited a singer with a slightly beefier voice than the former choirboy possesses. In terms of granny appeal it is a world away from other cheesy efforts such as Stupid Mistake but that means in a sense that it is also one of the best singles he has performed on so far. Unfortunate timing means that the single is forced into second place behind the Black Eyed Peas and Dido duopoly, thus denying Gareth the opportunity to become the first act this year to top the singles chart twice.


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6 CAN'T HOLD US DOWN (Christina Aguilera featuring Lil' Kim)

Also struggling to top the charts for a second time this year is Christina Aguilera whose last spell at the summit of course came in March in the shape of the single Beautiful. Her last single Fighter saw her go down a more rock based route but with this track, the fourth from the Stripped album, she goes back to raw R&B, bringing rapper Lil Kim along with her for the ride. It is actually the second time the pair have collaborated on record as of course together they were one half of the chart-topping collective that sang Lady Marmalade back in 2001. This is Lil Kim's second chart appearance this year, following on from The Jump Off which saw her in the unusual position of having the primary credit on a track, Mr Cheeks being the collaborator and Number 16 the chart peak.
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8 TIME IS RUNNING OUT (Muse)

All good things come to those who wait, and that includes Top 10 singles. Just over four years since they made their chart debut, Muse finally break in to the all important upper tier with this brand new single from their forthcoming third album. Prior to today their biggest hit single had been March 2001s Plug In Baby which came agonisingly close, peaking at Number 11. What may have helped is the move to a major label, this single being their first release on East West records, but credit must also go to the track itself, a thundering three minutes of almost operatic rock, produced by no less a figure than Rich Costey who can claim credit for making Rage Against The Machine sound as good as they did. [This was arguably the moment Matt Bellamy found his voice and the band found the majestic pomp which would turn them into Stadium fillers].


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10 SHAKE YA TAILFEATHER (Nelly/P Diddy/Murphy Lee)

Just when you thought we had exhausted all possible permutations for rap collaborations, along comes another. Shake Ya Tailfeather is taken from the Bad Boys II soundtrack and features a mouth watering vocal three way dance between Nelly, P Diddy and St Lunatic's star Murphy Lee. The track hits the chart just a few short weeks since P Diddy's last chart offering, Let's Get Ill which could only reach Number 25 in collaboration with Kelis.
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11 TOO FAR GONE (Lisa Scott-Lee)

A second solo single from the former Steps girl, this track the slightly lesser starred followup to Lately which hit a not unimpressive Number 6 back in May. I'm not sure too many people are buying into her new-found sex kitten image which makes you wonder just where her marketing can take her next. Still the family name will continue to make headlines as younger brother Andy (fresh from boy group 3SL) is bidding for solo stardom as one of the final 50 in Pop Idol. Mind you so was the chap from Northern Line first time around and look where that got him. [A reference to Andy Love who was one of the more high profile auditionees from that series but who was cut before the Top 50 stage].
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12 DANCE WITH YOU (NACHNA TERE NAAL) (Rishi Rich Project featuring Jay Sean)

More bhangra-rap fusion now in the shape of this debut offering from Rishi Rich, a producer who has worked with the likes of Craig David and Mis-Teeq in the past. Dance With You follows a well worked formula, nicely meshing the soulful vocals of Jay Sean with the ragga freestyling of Juggy D. Oddly enough the track doesn't quite manage to be the sum of its parts and Number 12 is probably a fair placing for the track.
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14 NUMB (Linkin Park)

Continuing their solid set of chart performances in 2003, Linkin Park's third single of the year lands squarely in the same chart region as the last two. Indeed Numb actually improves on June's single Faint by one place, even if the Top 10 placing of Somewhere I Belong from March is slightly beyond it. In all this is their seventh successive Top 20 hit single, their only release to fall short being their debut One Step Closer which could only manage a Number 24 peak when released in January 2001. [Does it need pointing out? One half of what would eventually turn into one of the most famous rap and metal fusions ever].


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19 SHOW ME A SIGN (Kontakt)

A good Top 20 entry for new kids on the dance block Kontakt. In fairness the duo are hardly newcomers, given that they are in real life Scott Attrill and Jim Sullivan, Sullivan having penned Thinking It Over for Liberty X in pre court case days. Show Me A Sign takes its inspiration from the past, sampling the bassline and riff from Binary Finary's club classic 1998. New vocals are provided by Nicola Poustie and the result is a nicely shimmering club hit that has enough energy to make you want to wave your hands in the air like you just don't care. Or something.
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22 MY TIME (Ditch featuring Crystal Waters)

Having taken its time to hit the shops, this club hit from Dutch from earlier in the summer may actually have lost a little of the momentum it had when still an underground track. Certainly bigger things were expected of it, especially given the presence on vocals of none other than Crystal Waters, back from the proverbial Where Are They Now pile. Waters is famous for what is effectively her one and only hit, Gypsy Woman which first charted in 1991 and which is guaranteed to set an entire generation of clubbers off in a chant of "la da dee la da dah". In fairness it wasn't her only hit single but nothing she did after that ever had the same impact, her last chart appearance coming over six years ago when Say... If You Feel Alright limped to Number 45. Her appearance on My Time returns her to hitmaking ways and is indeed her biggest hit single since 100% Pure Love was a Number 15 hit in May 1994.
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23 THE SACRAMENT (HIM)

A surge in support it seems for Finnish rockers HIM. Their first attempt at a UK breakthrough came back in May when Buried Alive By Love was released on the back of a series of showcase gigs. The single made a slightly disappointing Number 30, hampered a little by its decidedly retro tone. This followup is slightly more the business and makes the bold predictions that they were set to make an impact look slightly less off base. Certainly their chart placings reflect that their support is growing, The Sacrament falling just short of hitting the Top 20.
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25 GET IT TOGETHER (Seal)

Now for a brace of hits by a couple of fallen 90s heroes. First up is Seal who is now reaping what he has sowed by staying away for several years. Once the high flying British hope with a huge transatlantic audience in tow, Seal has in the past hit the charts with memorable, even classic hits such as Crazy, Violet and most famously of all Kiss From A Rose which featured in the film Batman Forever. His last Top 40 appearance was way back in April 1997 when a cover version of Fly Like An Eagle made Number 13 on the back of the Space Jam soundtrack. Now it is time for him to win over a whole new generation of music fans and to try to remind his older ones just what made him so special. Try as it might this single just fails to do either. Despite Trevor Horn being on production duties as usual and despite attempts to remain contemporary with a more uptempo R&B flavour this single cannot help but be a poor imitation of the greatness of his older material. Maybe he will surprise us yet with the new album but Seal's longer overdue return may well turn out to be his musical swansong.
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27 ONE HEART (Celine Dion)

One lady who is never likely to be dropped given her widespread international appeal is Celine Dion but there is no escaping the quite surprising way this single has failed to set the charts on fire. One Heart will, therefore, be the second Celine Dion single in succession to miss the Top 20, following on from the failure of her Christmas single last year's Goodbye's (The Saddest Word) to do any more than limp to Number 38. One thing that does seem odd is the strange decision to confine one particular track to the b-side of this single. Her voice has been much in evidence on the television of late thanks to her rendition of I Drove All Night being used for a series of commercials for Chrysler. The song has been a Top 10 hit in the past for both Cyndi Lauper and Roy Orbison and on its own would have stood every chance of returning Celine Dion to Top 20 or ever Top 10 hitmaking. As it is the track is little more than an added bonus designed to shift the rather inferior song One Heart and in that role it has failed miserably. Consider this an opportunity wasted.
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33 MY LOVE IS LIKE WO (Mya)

Yes, I thought that was a misprint as well at first but apparently no, the title of this single is indeed My Love Is Like Wo. "Wo" is the Missy Elliot-like chant that gives the single its mental sticking point but even this bizarre piece of writing has not helped the single to reach the dizzy heights of past Mya releases. This is actually the US singer's first hit single since her 2001 turn on Lady Marmalade and this was clearly the track that was going to relaunch her career as a solo artist. Sadly it was not to be and 2001s Case Of The Ex remains her only solo Top 10 hit to date and for the moment her greatest moment on disc.
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35 2 STEP ROCK (The Bandits)

A second hit single for the Bandits, following on from Take It And Run which made a brief chart appearance at Number 32 back in June. The group are the products of Liverpool club nights entitled Bandwagon which have been credited with bringing inspiration to the Merseyside music scene not seen since the heady days of the Beat groups back in the 1960s. 2 Step Rock is actually not all that innovative but instead is a delightfully retro rhythm and blues track complete with female backing singers, Hammond organs and blues guitars. 21st century Mersey rock is apparently alive and well, just living in the mid 70s.
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39 JUSTIFY THE RAIN (Cosmic Rough Riders)

Speaking of retro rockers, here come the Cosmic Rough Riders with their second hit of the year, albeit one that once again sees them apparently a long way off from hitting the Top 30, never mind making the commercial splash that the hype around them suggested two years ago.


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