This week's Official UK Singles Chart

1 IGNITION REMIX (R Kelly)

Week number 3 at the top for everyone's favourite celebrity suspect and having seen off the challenge of the mighty Girls Aloud last week, not even the hype machine behind labelmate Justin Trousersnake can dethrone Ignition from the top of the charts. The single has thus matched the three-week run of I Believe I Can Fly to give it joint honours as R Kelly's biggest single ever. The continuing success of the track has caused much head scratching in many parts of the entertainment industry, not least for the moral dilemma that it presents. You suspect that had the single not sold as much as it has then its airplay would be somewhat restricted and indeed attempts to sell promotions around its parent album to various radio stations have by and large fallen on stony ground, most executives thinking that promoting his work too heavily is a stage too far. As music fans we are also presented with a unique dilemma as under any ordinary circumstances the track would be easily regarded as one of the highlights of the year. Just supposing R Kelly is found guilty of the charges against him in a few months time - will the presence of Ignition in the ranks of the biggest sellers of the year be an embarrassment or just a fun curiosity? [If you are following these chronologically you'll note this was a theme I kept referring to with this single, but it was a genuinely odd dilemma. How could you "relax into" this single, so to speak, given in the background was this notion that the singer was a very bad person indeed. In the end it was all moot, after a prolonged delay he convinced a jury he was not the man in the video and it became OK to still like him. Well, after a fashion].
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2 ROCK YOUR BODY (Justin Timberlake)

I've encountered the Justin Timberlake hype machine at first hand on many occasions. In the past he has visited the studios where I work during the week for promotional purposes and turned up with a vast entourage of assistants and bodyguards (who, incidentally are not to be messed with even when you are trying to get past them to the toilet). For the past week or so the star has taken up residence at the Landmark Hotel in London, throwing parties in between gigs and generating all kinds of tabloid tales about just who he is supposed to be bedding at the moment. Amid all of that it is easy to forget that he has a new single out, Rock Your Body going back to the Like I Love You formula, all tightly knit funk and Michael Jackson-aping vocals. A strong pop record it most certainly is not but it has an energetic rawness that is hard to avoid. Thanks to R Kelly it does, however, continue Justin's rather strange career jinx of being unable to top the charts. Rock Your Body is now his third successive solo Number 2 hit and follows on from 'NSync's own career swansong Girlfriend which also landed in the runners-up slot as their biggest hit ever.


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4 MADAME HELGA (Stereophonics)

Back! With their first chart single since April 2002s Vegas Two Times, the Stereophonics make a storming return to the singles chart. Having faced criticism in the past for the rather middle of the road strummers that have characterised their output over the last few years (and incidentally given them an impressive run of Top 10 hits that would be the envy of most bands), the group have clearly decided to go back to their early roots with an out and out rock screamer. A song which they debuted on the festival circuit last summer, Madame Helga is a raw, belting four minutes of blues inspired rock that still manages to tread the commercial path and in the process has to rank as one of their best ever singles. The single continues their strange habit of either hitting the Top 5 or missing the Top 10 altogether. Madam Helga is actually their fifth Number 4 hit single in all, their only track to chart higher was 1998s The Bartender And The Thief which hit Number 3.
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7 NOT GONNA GET US (Tatu)

So were Tatu destined to be one-hit wonders? Well not so far it seems as four months after All The Things She Said stormed the top of the charts, the girls return with a second hit single. Like most of their music the track is actually well over two years old, friends who took holidays in Eastern Europe in 2001 having returned with tales of this strange record called Nas Ne Dogoniat which appeared to be on every TV channel all the time. It is of course appropriate to mention that last weekend saw Julia and Lena appear in front of one of their biggest television audiences to date when they represented Russia at the Eurovision Song Contest (said track is on the CD single of Not Gonna Get Us) and coming a quite creditable third after looking in serious danger of winning at one stage. Best moments of the performance: the director panicking and cutting to a wide angle shot when it looked worryingly if the girls were going to launch into the HLA for which their performances are notorious. You can't help but wonder if this will be the only mention the contest gets in these pages this year after the entertainingly dismal performance of UK entry Gemini who warbled badly off-key and managed to end the night with the UK's first ever celebrated nul points to languish in last place in the competition. The track could still end up a hit of course, but this will be more of a sympathy vote than anything else. Anyway if Europe won't vote for our songs, we won't vote for their currency I guess. It seems only fair.


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8 BROKEN BONES (Love Inc.)

A second hit single of the year for Love Inc, this following up the memorable You're A Superstar which took the honours of being January's big club hit and spent a notable four successive weeks at Number 7 during that month. Broken Bones actually sounds suspiciously similar but just for a change, this isn't actually a bad thing as the formula deserved a second bite at the cherry. With the sun shining this actually sounds even better, much like You're A Superstar does it seems.


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17 CAN'T MAKE UP MY MIND (Sonique)

The long awaited comeback single for Sonique, the DJ turned singer who finally managed to break it big in 2000 re-released singles It Feels So Good and I Put A Spell On You plus the new track Sky. After those three Top 10 hits, she fell silent, retreating back into the studio to work on some new material. Here it is then and in truth maybe she did herself a disservice by vanishing for so long. Can't Make Up My Mind stands up well in comparison with her previous material but since then clubland and tastes have moved on. Attempting to recapture the same magic now her old hits are over 3 years old probably wasn't the way to go and what should have been a spectacular comeback is met with muted indifference. Number 17 isn't bad for most acts but for a lady who was topping the chart with ease three years ago and hailed as the next big British superstar, this is a very poor performance.
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22 THE THINGS/TURNED AWAY (Audiobullys)

Is it one word or two? I can never keep track. Anyhow, the Audiobullys/Audio Bully's return to the chart this week with their second hit single, the follow-up to the well-received We Don't Care which hit Number 15 back in January. This double-sided hit is maybe a bit too far left of the mainstream to be a big hit but those in the know tell me that the duo are turning enough heads to be regarded as some of the most exciting dance producers around.
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31 GUANTANAMO (Outlandish)

Dropping down into the lower end of the Top 40 for the last few entries we actually find one of the more interesting releases of the week. Based in Denmark, Outlandish are a rap act with a twist as the pair all hail from different parts of the world: Morocco, Pakistan and Honduras to be precise with their publicity blurb insisting that their sound is a fusion of all these different cultures. Interesting it most certainly is and if anything Guantanamo has suffered from a lack of exposure. File them under "want to see what they do next" and wait for the fireworks.
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37 THE WRECKONING (Boomkat)

A chart debut from brother and sister duo Boomkat, or Kellin and Taryn Manning as their mother calls them. Again this single is better than its chart position suggests, or maybe I'm just a sucker for club hits that are produced to sound as if they are a live performance. The female half of the duo Taryn is actually something of a minor celebrity in her own right having forged for herself an acting career which has led to small parts in films such as Crossroads and 8 Mile. She was even a failed auditionee in the US version of Popstars, but don't let that put you off [that detail isn't on her Wikipedia page, wonder if it either wasn't true or sort of excised from her past].
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38 STOP MY HEAD (Evan Dando)

Sneaking in at the back end of the chart, and at the very least giving us an excuse to write about him, is Evan Dando. His last stab at being a celebrity came 10 years ago when he was the lead singer of celebrated alternative act The Lemonheads. The group released three albums, most successful of which was 1993s Come On Feel The Lemonheads which spawned their biggest hit single Into Your Arms, a Number 14 hit in October 1993 and one which is celebrated for replacing a referenced to oral sex in the radio edit with the expression "duck my sick" which somehow sounds even ruder. Their last Top 40 appearance came in September 1996 when If I Could Talk I'd Tell You charted at Number 39. Seven years later their charismatic lead singer returns for a stab at solo glory although by the looks of things he is set to sell rather more albums than he does singles. His only previous chart appearance outside of his old band came in 1995 when he appeared for a solitary week at Number 75 duetting with the late Kirsty MacColl on a version of Lou Reed's Perfect Day.