This week's Official UK Singles Chart

1 BREATHE (Blu Cantrell featuring Sean Paul)

For the second week running the charts witness a brand new Number One single although unlike last week this is a track that put in a strong performance all week long and has emerged at the head of a very strong field indeed. For the first time this year the Number One single is a duet between two acts who have had hits as solo artists in the past and the challenge here is possibly to work out whose presence has helped the single the most. Blu Cantrell is perhaps the least well known of the pair. Her only hit single to date came at the end of 2001 when Hit 'Em Up Style made Number 12. So small was her profile at that time that her past career never became an issue - unlike now when the press is quite enthusiastically documenting her career as a nude model now that she is a chart-topping star. Good though her contribution is, most of the credit for this chart-topping hit I suspect has to go to Sean Paul whose star has been in the ascendent since the start of the year. It began in February when his minor hit single from 2002 Gimmie The Light was re-released and made it to Number 5. He of course followed that up in May with the Number 4 hit Get Busy and now firmly established in the mainstream he has almost certainly been a huge factor in the appeal of this single - one which meshes R&B and ragga in a most novel style and is a fresh take on the "female singer with guest rapper" formula which is often used. A deserved Number One single? Most definitely. Whether it becomes a long runner is less of a certainty.


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2 NEVER GONNA LEAVE YOU (UH OOOH UH OOOH) (Lumidee)

Maybe a surprising candidate to be the second biggest new hit of the week, Lumidee's stateside smash makes an impressive entry to the UK charts and serves as a nice compliment to the presence of Sean Paul at the top. The link between the two is the Diwali Riddim track that is clearly the beat du jour, having formed the basis of hits for both Sean Paul and indeed Wayne Wonder in recent months. [This one was actually the only 'unofficial' Diwali Riddim hit, sampling it and speeding it up slightly to give it a more pop flavour. Still worked a treat though]. Lumidee's debut hit manages the best of both worlds being both minimalistic and incredibly catchy as well. In retrospect, was it really such an outsider to begin with?


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3 SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL (Robbie Williams)

Certain sympathies then for Robbie Williams who under any normal circumstances would have been expected to shoot to the top of the charts with ease. This is after all the man who has spent the past weekend entertaining thousands of fans over three sellout nights at Knebworth, cemeting his reputation as one of the biggest stars in the land. On top of that he has released one of his best and more importantly most accessible singles for many months. No tortured angst on this one, no sir. Something Beautiful is the most lovingly constructed Atlantic Soul pastiche you will hear all year with Robbie doing his best Otis Redding on a tale of the salvation of love. Muted horns, wailing backing vocals and a great deal of warmth make up the package which strange to say has had some people wondering if it is a parody. I don't think it is meant that way at all, it is nothing more than a near perfect pop record. For all of that of course it still isn't a Number One hit single. Nothing wrong with Top 3 of course and it is actually Robbie's biggest hit single since 2001, his last two hits having reached Number 4. It does mean though that he is currently suffering from Madonna syndrome - having an album full of quality tunes which unusually for him none of which are topping the charts.


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7 ALL IN MY HEAD (Kosheen)

A return to the charts for Kosheen, the band who made themselves firm dancefloor and festival favourites in 2001 and 2002 with a string of hit singles including Hide U, Catch and Hungry. Their biggest hit was the first, hitting Number 6 in September 2001 after having been a minor chart entry the year before. With this new single the rumours that they were taking a more radio-friendly direction turn out to be true as all in my head takes them away from the dancefloor and perhaps even further into the mainstream. As the chart entry proves this doesn't appear to have dented their appeal and by the sounds of this the new album should make for some very interesting listening.
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8 SPANISH (Craig David)

He may not have the profile he once had as Britains great new singer songwriter hope but that doesn't seem to be stopping Craig David from notching up the hits. Following on from the Number 2 smash hit Rise & Fall (thanks to Sting's vocals from Shape Of My Heart), he follows it up with a fourth single from his second album and a fourth Top 10 hit in succession. Spanish this time is all his own work and defies detailed comment, suffice to say that this is Craig David who still sounds rather fresh and wonderful. Just a shame he never seems to make it into the papers.
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13 IN LOVE (Lisa Maffia)

A second solo hit single from Lisa Maffia, the So Solid diva here following up her Number 2 hit All Over with a rather surprising change of direction. Instead of the ballsy posturing of her first hit she here goes into lurve ballad mode, demonstrating that there may be more to her than meets the eye. Sadly this isn't reflected in the appeal of the song which misses the Top 10 altogether. Meanwhile the negative headlines continue with Lisa and other members of the So Solid Crew becoming linked to the stabbing of garage star Dizzee Rascal in Ayia Napa two weeks ago. In the end everyone was cleared but the constant air of violence that seems to follow them around will surely at some point start to damage their career.
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19 JUNEAU (Funeral For A Friend)

So what do you get when you take Emo rock and crank up the aggression? The answer apparently is Screamo rock and it is not confined to the States either. Funeral For A Friend are a Welsh five-piece who have been touring incessantly for the last year, building up support to the extent that they are now ready to invade the charts. Juneau actually began life as Juno, a track from one of the EPs that they released on a small scale last year (none charted). Now reworked to more commercial effect, the group invade the charts to receive their crowns as the next big thing about to happen. For all of this the single is actually incredibly good and the hit is nothing less than deserved.
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22 RHYTHM BANDITS (Junior Senior)

There is no denying Move Your Feet was one of the highlights of the first part of 2003. The infectious single took up what seemed like a permanent residence in the Top 10 from March onwards, hanging around for nine weeks and hitting Number 3 on two separate occasions. The pair played live in this country to a good reception too and it seemed like Junior Senior were going to be a pop force to be reckoned with this year. Oddly enough though just like turning out a light the momentum appears to have vanished. Second single Rhythm Bandits is just as good but maybe is a little too samey to actually generate the same kind of fuss as its predecessor. As a result the single has picked up very little mainstream exposure and limps into the charts at a lowly Number 22. It is a shame as this could have been massive.
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29 CHOOZA LOOZA (Maria Willson)

Most disappointing performance of the week has to be that of Maria Willson's debut hit. The latest feisty British female singer to be groomed for stardom, she has been supporting Busted on tour lately and looked set for a good entry with Chooza Looza. The single has been picking up its share of airplay too, being as it is a catchy pop-rock track that easily puts her up there with the likes of Amy Studt in terms of potential appeal. For whatever reason that hasn't happened and the single will have to rank alongside other recent minor flops such as Siobahn Doneghy's Overrated and the last Appleton single in terms of having badly underachieved.


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34 YOU WERE THE LAST HIGH (Dandy Warhols)

A second hit single of 2003 for the Dandy Warhols, this track of course the followup to the Top 20 hit We Used To Be Friends which charted back in May. Whatever potential for mainstream hitmaking they may have had after the Top 5 success of Bohemian Like You last year appears to have all but evaporated.
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38 NO NOT NOW (Hot Hot Heat)

Bringing up the rear this week is the second chart single from the Canadian band Hot Hot Heat. Their last hit was Bandages which made Number 25 back in April. Bandages of course generated headlines by itself for struggling to get airplay owing to its unfortunate connotations with the Iraq war that was going on at the time. No such problems for this single of course but you cannot help but wonder if a few headlines would have helped.