This week's Official UK Singles Chart

1 SLOW (Kylie Minogue)

Oh now, this should be fun. Once already in her career, Kylie Minogue has shown that she tires easily of the bubbly, camp sound that results in her biggest hits. Deep down she wants to be a sophisticated artist and given the opportunity will often aim to go down a more 'mature' route. Hence back in 1994 she abandoned the dancefloor altogether and released tracks such as Put Yourself In My Place and Confide In Me before going into her indieKylie phase in 1997 which resulted in Some Kind Of Bliss and Did It Again - tracks which I hold up as the best things she has ever recorded bar none but which ultimately sent her sales tumbling into a black hole. Since then of course our favourite Australian underwear model has turned things around, going hi-NRG once more and in the process cementing herself as the 21st century's first camp icon.

Now it appears the cycle is about to repeat itself. Slow is as far removed from the likes of Spinning Around and Can't Get You Out Of My Head as it is possible to get. Instead this is a track that breathes sex in every groove, a pulsating, orgasmic dub track with a soft porn video to match. It had had acolytes falling over themselves to praise the track for its sexiness but has had others musing out loud that it is actually one of her weakest offerings for many a long year. For all of this it is still a Number One single, one which takes her career total to 7, equalling that of Michael Jackson and George Michael and further cements her status as a chart queen. Nonetheless Confide In Me was a Number 2 hit in 1994 but wound up being her last Top 10 hit for six long years. History may not repeat itself exactly of course but on musical merits alone it is hard to enthuse about this record.


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2 FLIP REVERSE (Blazin' Squad)

.The hits keep on flowing for Blazin' Squad, chalk this one up as their fifth successive Top 10 hit. Flip Reverse also suffers only from being up against Kylie Minogue this week as it slots safely into second place to give the collective their biggest hit single since their debut Crossroads topped the charts back in 2002. The pop-rap track is the second single to be taken from their second album Now Or Never and on this kind of form it is hard to fault them.
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10 SEXED UP (Robbie Williams)

A rather uncharateristically low entry for Robbie Williams as he launches the fourth single from the Escapology album into the charts. Sexed Up is of course another fabulous single from the master entertainer as he lets rip with a characteristically throaty vocal on this tale of love gone wrong. Not a simple pop song by any means but another multi-layered ballad along the lines of Come Undone. Still, you cannot escape the fact that in a slow week for big new singles Sexed Up can barely creep into the Top 10. If it fails to climb next week it will have matched the peak of Let Love Be Your Energy from 2001 and become only his second single in the last five years to have missed out on a Top 5 place.


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14 STEP IN THE NAME OF LOVE/THOIA THONG (R Kelly)

R Kelly's third release of the year sees him drop out of Top 10 contention for the time being, this hard on the heels of Snake which made Number 10 in August as a follow up to the deserved smash success of Ignition Remix which of course was a chart-topper in May. This is actually something of a shame as Step In The Name Of Love is a ballad to rank alongside his very best and its failure to do better is even more of a surprise given that it is a brand new track taken from his forthcoming Greatest Hits collection. The criminal charges still hang over his head though and all the time you cannot escape the feeling that should he be found guilty it could well be a career-ending blow. Then again his worldwide chart success this year shows that for the most part music fans are prepared to overlook whatever clouds may be on his personal horizon. I'm a huge R Kelly fan and have hailed him as a genius more times than I care to remember. To therefore feel uncomfortable about liking his music is a very odd feeling indeed.
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17 BURN BURN (Lostprophets)

Wales's contribution to the nu-metal scene have taken their time recording the followup to their well received debut album from 2001. In the meantime they have spent most of the year in Los Angeles recording with Queens Of The Stone Age producer Eric Valentine and the first results of those sessions can be heard here. Burn Burn certainly proves that their absence has done them no harm at all as it charges into the Top 20, continuing the upward chart progress show by their last hit single The Fake Sound Of Progress which hit Number 21 in March 2002.
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22 I'M COMIN' WITH YA (Matt Goss)

Once upon a time (well, in 1988) there was a pop group by the name of Bros. Fronted by identical twins Matt and Luke Goss (with third member Craig 'Ken' Logan lurking in the background and ditched along the way) they were without a doubt one of the biggest pop sensations of the year, second only perhaps to the lady who is coincidentally at the top of the charts today. Just as swift as their rise to fame however was their decline, their third album in 1991 being purchased by precisely nobody and the boys swiftly discovering that their contracts were heavily weighted against them pocketing much money beyond their initial advances. Luke Goss, after an abortive attempt to form a rock band of his own moved into stage musicals and acting, the highlight of his career so far being a role in Blade II. Brother Matt, the lead singer of the group, has had a somewhat lower profile. His last attempt at a solo career back in the mid 1990s resulted in two small Top 40 hits, the biggest of which was a cover of Alexander O'Neal's If You Were Here Tonight which made Number 23 in April 1996. Since then he has taken a lower profile, writing a handful of songs for other people and clearly waiting for the right moment to step into the spotlight again. That moment is now as I'm Comin With Ya lands safely in the chart, maybe not as the smash hit he would have hoped for but still with a performance that is far from embarassing. The single is duly his biggest chart hit since the Bros single Are You Mine made Number 12 in July 1991.
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26 TOP OF THE WORLD (Wildhearts)

Not the Carpenters track (although what a prospect that would have been) but instead the standout track from the Wildhearts Must Be Destroyed album that fizzes and crackles with a hook in almost every bar. It is their third hit single of the year, albeit the smallest of the bunch.
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29 THE GREAT TEST (Hundred Reasons)

If the Wildhearts could hardly complain about their chart placing, Hundred Reasons can be forgiven for being slightly disappointed by this one. The five piece group here kick off the promotion for their long anticipated second album and were clearly expecting a Top 20 hit to rank alongside If I Could and Silver, singles from their debut album Ideas Above Our Station and which made Nos 19 and 15 respectively in 2002. Instead The Great Test barely scrapes a Top 30 placing and it is hard to see how they can return to the kind of commercial appeal they had just 18 months ago.
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31 TWIST (Goldfrapp)

A third hit single of 2003 for Goldfrapp and one which too sees their chart fortunes take a slight dip. Train and Strict Machine were both solid Top 20 hits and not even Alison's sexily charged vocals can help this one replicate that kind of success. Still the single is worth checking out, if only for the cover version of Yes Sir I Can Boogie which has proved to be something of a crowd favourite at live gigs during the course of the year.
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34 ROLLOVER DJ (Jet)

The second Top 40 hit single for Australian rock back Jet, this of course the followup to Are You Gonna Be My Girl which made Number 23 back in September. Rollover DJ is a wonderfully acidic track that gives the proverbial finger to the cult of the superstar DJ. Are they bitter about something do you think?
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39 HURT/PERSONAL JESUS (Johnny Cash)

A timely re-release for this single, taken from Johnny Cash's acclaimed Lost Highway album which of course turned out to be his swansong following his passing earlier this year. The double sided single was first released back in May and narrowly missed the Top 40 at the time, hitting Number 42 instead. Now as a posthumous tribute it creeps inside the upper levels and gives us the opportunity to appreciate it as the masterpiece that it is. The single features two cover versions that on paper appear bizarre but on record work perfectly. Hurt began life as a Nine Inch Nails track, arguably Trent Reznor's defining moment on record. In the hands of Cash the nihilistic song becomes a brooding country ballad, the lament of a man at the end of a long road. Similarly Personal Jesus was originally recorded by Depeche Mode, the song about telephone evangalism hitting Number 13 in September 1989. Cash makes the song his own and it makes you wonder just how many other Depeche Mode tracks would work as country songs. The single is Cash's first Top 40 hit since 1976, One Piece At A Time giving him a Number 32 hit. In his lifetime his two biggest hits were a brace of Number 4 singles, A Thing Called Love in 1972 and his signature track A Boy Named Sue back in 1969. Rest in peace old buddy.


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