This week's Official UK Singles Chart

1 BRING ME TO LIFE (Evanescence)

Record of the decade? Or maybe simply record of the year? These are just some of the superlatives that are being bandied around about this debut single from US rock act Evanescence. Their secret has been to take an interesting new approach to making a rock song. Underneath the single chugs along in pretty much the same manner as your average Linkin Park or Limp Bizkit song but on top you have the haunting Kate Bush-esque vocals of Amy Lee. Add to that a suitably epic production (loads of strings) and a jaw-dropping video that physically roots you to the spot when you see it for the first time and you have aall-aroundnd package that turns Bring Me To Life into what is quite possibly the most important and damn exciting single of the year so far. Having crept into the lower end of the chart on import a couple of weeks ago, the US Top 10 single charges all opposition out of the way to become the record that finally ends R Kelly's four week run at the top of the singles chart. It is not insignificant that they are the first American rock act to top the charts since Limp Bizkit over two years ago. We are all witness this week to the chart success of what will be regarded in years to come as one of the all-time rock classics.


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5 GAY BAR (Electric Six)

"...it does at least bode well for 2003 that the first big new hit of the year is one that makes this writer at least very keen to hear what else they have to offer..." Those were the closing comments of the writeup for Electric Six's debut single Danger High Voltage which became a Number 2 hit back in January. To the immense delight of just about everyone their second single is every bit as good and comes with the kind of inspired lunacy that makes you want to abandon any pretence at maturity and instead scream out the chorus on the dancefloor at the top of your lungs. Or so I'm told. During the week I worked out just what the Electric Six formula is - it is early period B-52s with the enforced kookiness replaced by a hint of genuine insanity. That's right, Evanescence and Electric Six were the two records I hinted at last week as being two of the greatest releases of the year so far and to see them wind up as the two biggest new entries of the week is deeply satisfying.


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6 FOREVER AND FOR ALWAYS (Shania Twain)

Mrs Lange makes it three Top 10 hits out of three as she continues to mine the album Up! for hits. Somehow she has not managed to generate the same kind of excitement that she did three years ago when in the middle of promoting Come On Over but her chart performances remain as consistent as ever. The more refelctive Forever And For Always is actually one of the best tracks on the album and slides nicely into the chart, beating the Number 8 peak of its predecessor Ka-Ching from back in March. In all this is her 8th Top 10 single although none have ever climbed higher than Number 3.
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10 SHAKESPEARE'S WAY WITH WORDS (One True Voice)

A semi-genuine newspaper campaign to get people to but their single has not helped One True Voice at all it seems. The Popstars - The Rivals boy band found themselves branded a poor second behind Girls Aloud last Christmas with their rather uninspired version of the Bee Gees' Sacred Trust selling a tiny fraction of that of their female rivals. Now the gap between the two acts widens even further as the second One True Voice single limply slides into the Top 10. While some acts would kill for a Number 10 hit of course, for a TV-created pop band this is effectively a death-knell. Further proof of this can be found in the fact that the members of Girls Aloud are effectively household names whilst One True Voice remain an anonymous collection of pretty boys. A third single may possibly follow but I would not bet the house on it.
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13 MOBSCENE (Marilyn Manson)

Having seen his cover version of Tainted Love become his biggest and most mainstream hit to date when it hit Number 5 in March 2002, Marilyn Manson has clearly found new inspiration. His commercial prospects can clearly be enhanced by upping the camp factor without ever having to tone down the wild and dangerous aspects of his music. Hence this brand new single which it is claimed is inspired by the cabaret scene of Weimar era Berlin, a glam metal stomp that is every bit as trademark Manson as it is commercially appealing. Top 10 was maybe a step too far but it does not fall too far short and instead becomes on the fifth Marilyn Manson single ever to make the Top 20.
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14 ON THE HORIZON (Melanie C)

This is what she was afraid of. Melanie C apparently sat on the tapes of her new album for close to two years, worried that releasing it at the wrong time could see her caught up in the backlash that put paid to the solo careers of her fellow band members rather than it being judged on its own merits. Sadly it appears that the backlash continues as despite On The Horizon being if anything a far better single than its predecessor Here It Comes Again, and despite attracting good reviews all round the single can do little more than land meekly inside the Top 20 - humiliatingly selling less than Emma Bunton's two week old single. When the best singer in the Spice Girls cannot make a splash with her solo singles (this will wind up as her second smallest hit ever - just behind If That Were Me which hit Number 18 as the fifth single from her first album) then the writing is clearly on the wall. To all those attempting to give Victoria Beckham another chance: don't do it. You have only your shirts to lose.
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20 AT THE END (IIO)

Nipping just inside the Top 20 is this new single from Iio. Their only other hit single was of course Rapture, the late season club favourite from 2001 which finally made the charts at the end of that year, making an impressive Number 2. This new hit has all the makings of a summertime smash but for all its pop appeal has failed to make an impression on the charts. The search for the first true club smash of the summer goes on it seems.
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22 WHAT I SAW (Kings Of Leon)

[Understated superstar debut klaxon of the month] A Top 40 hit single at the second attempt for Tennessee rock band Kings Of Leon, this hit following on from the Number 53 peak of their last single Holy Roller Novocaine which hit the shops back in March. Their sound is deliberately raw and unpolished with a hint of 70s new wave to it. Whether it is enough to ever push them to Top 20 status remains to be seen.

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23 NOW IT'S ON (Grandaddy)

A long awaited chart return for Grandaddy, the Californian rock band who found themselves championed by a rather large number of music writers thanks to their debut album Sophtware Slump which came out in 2000. Its only Top 40 hit single was the re-released The Crystal Lake which hit Number 38 in early 2001 after the hitherto unnoticed album found itself high on a list of the critics favourite albums conducted by HMV at the end of 2000. It appears that the three year break between releases has done them no harm at all and this taster for their forthcoming new album Sumday makes an encouraging debut just outside the Top 20. It is entirely possible that they can only get bigger. [Also possible: this is their final Top 40 hit single].
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27 WIMMIN (Ashley Hamilton)

Now in this single you have the ultimate proof that nothing in this life is a foregone conclusion. The native of Los Angeles was widely expected to be the next big thing of the summer. The singer has it all, looks, attitude and best of all a good mate in the shape of Robbie Williams who not only co-wrote this debut track but also provides backing vocals. With a pedigree like that how could it possibly fail? Well a bit like this actually, as for whatever reason Wimmin for all its catchiness has caught the imagination of hardly anyone. A shame in many ways as it did indeed have the potential to be a great summertime pop hit. Let the inquests start here.


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35 WALKING ON THIN ICE (Ono)

Now come on, this was a bad idea from the start wasn't it? Walking On Thin Ice has always had a strange hold over musicians ever since it was first written. The track was famously the one that John Lennon and Yoko Ono had been working on in the studio on the night in December 1980 that the former Beatle was murdered just outside his apartment. Yoko Ono subsequently finished the track herself and it was released as a single in February 1981. Proof, if any were needed, that the track was perhaps just a little too out there for most people to get their heads around came when at a time when anything Lennon-related was destined to become a massive hit, the single could only make Nunber 35. Nonetheless it remains quite famously Yoko Ono's only hit single ever. Many have attempted to cover the track in the past but nobody has ever had a hit with it. Even pop rebels Fuzzbox had a go in 1989, the single missed the Top 75 and they were never heard of again. Then last year Yoko Ono began talking of her plans to do a dance remix of the track, as if somehow the world was desperate to be able to dance to the final work of her late husband. So here it is, the newly-enhanced single spookily charting at the exact same position the original version did 22 years ago. Needless to say it remains a horrible, horrible track and its only purpose really is to prove just why her husband was the only one convinced of her musical talents.