This week's Official UK Singles Chart

1 BE FAITHFUL (Fatman Scoop/Crooklyn Clan)

Another busy chart week is upon us as the flood of big new entries seems almost unrelenting at present. The annoying decision of their record company to delete the Sugababes single after just one week on release has resulted in Hole In The Head taking a spectacular tumble down the charts, leaving the way open for what at the present time must be considered the novelty of a second new Number One single in as many weeks. [I must have noted that for a reason. but genuinely no recollection of that taking place. The single did take a surprise tumble for sure but then lingered on the chart far longer than you would have exepected it to do post-deletion. So I don't know quite what the story is there. Time to browse some forums].

This single represents a long overdue commercial breakthrough for one of the leading lights on the hip hop scene. Fatman Scoop has for many years been one of New York's most prominent voices, producer, DJ and regular host of a series of radio shows that have played a huge part in breaking many big new acts. Needless to say, he is also tight with our very own Tim Westwood. Scoop first made this record some five years ago [March 1999 was its first ever commercial release in the States] and although it was never given a full commercial release in this country it will sound naggingly familiar to many - virtually any hip hop DJ worth his salt had a copy of it in his box to throw on in the case of dire emergencies. Thus when finally given a proper release you would have expected it to become a fairly sizeable hit but I have to confess that never in an eternity would I have predicted chart-topping status for the single.

Still, to give the track its credit it is one of those annoyingly infectious rap singles that has the potential for a small degree of mainstream crossover. Central to it is a sample of Faith Evans' 1998 track Love Like This (originally a Number 24 hit in November 1998) and indeed the sheer scale of the samples involved and the time it has taken to clear them properly has been a large part of the delay in the single reaching the shops. So big up to the big man as it were, Fatman Scoop is a chart-topping hitmaker. For however long is of course another question entirely..


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2 GUILTY (Blue)

Sympathies then to Blue who under any normal circumstances would have sailed to the top of the charts. Instead this new track has to content itself with the runners up slot, at the very least beating the Number 4 peak of their last single U Make Me Wanna from back in March. Their status as boy band heart throbs is very much in question at the moment with the next generation of teen idols having invaded the charts, even in the short time since their last hit. The success of this single should at least go some way to reassuring people that they still command a large audience but the truth is they will have to do much better than weak-kneed ballads like this one to sustain their run of Top 10 hits.
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6 JUMPIN' (Liberty X)

Actually do you know who I have the most sympathy for? The two blokes in Liberty X who might as well not exist for all the press attention and magazine shoots that go the way of the three girls. For all of this, the most definitely mixed sex group return to the charts with this brand new single from a forthcoming new album, their first hit single since the Richard X collaboration Being Nobody hit Number 3 back in March. Jumpin' has received rave reviews just about everywhere you looked over the past few weeks but for all the hype and insane amounts of airplay (plus copious shots of the girls' cleavages in the press) the single actually manages to disappoint and far from being a contender in the race to Number One this week actually ends up missing out on a Top 5 place. Astoundingly this will make it their smallest hit since their 2002 court case and enforced name change - their last single to chart lower was their last under their original name of Liberty, Doin' It which was a Number 15 hit in December 2001.


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8 GOT SOME TEETH (Obie Trice)

Presenting the latest protege of Eminem although the single hardly requires me to point this out, given that it is the closest thing you will get to a Eminem single in the absence of the man himself. Yes, Obie Trice's debut single could well have walked straight off the Marshall Mathers LP thanks to its cartoonish synthesised underscore and bump start rhythm. Just like 50 Cent before him, Obie Trice's pedigree is beyond doubt and this has almost certainly helped Got Some Teeth to become the second hip hop records to charge the Top 10 from nowhere this week.
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9 SO YESTERDAY (Hilary Duff)

Jumping streams just a tad, we come now to another storming chart debut. Hilary Duff is perhaps best known as the star of TV show Lizzy McGuire, a show whose story lines once required her to sing. Once it became apparent that she could actually do this incredibly well an entire album was the logical result. So here is her debut single and in all honesty it isn't half bad in spite of the fact that it oozes west coast perfection in terms of its swaying guitars, layered harmonies, sing-along chorus and of course not to mention the Miss Duff's only picture perfect pure as honey image. History has shown that bright eyed American singers tend to go in one of two directions eventually, either raunchy like Britney and Xtina or back into obscurity like Mandy Moore (with Jessica Simpson currently making up a bizarre third way thanks to MTV). What are we guessing happens to Hilary Duff in future?


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12 THERE'S GOTTA BE MORE TO LIFE (Stacie Orrico)

So the question is what category is Stacie Orrico going to fit in? Well, after hitting Number 9 with her debut single Stuck back in August she returns to the chart with this rather less catchy follow-up that lands just outside the Top 10 - although bearing in mind the way Stuck debuted at Number 11 before rising to its peak it is anyone's guess as to where this single will eventually end up. The way she is being marketed is quite interesting as she doesn't exactly have the looks to be marketed as a sex kitten and also has her past as a Christian singer to contend with (like it or not that can be construed as a negative on your CV). Instead she is painted as the voice of youth, writing her own songs about such worthy topics such as believing in yourself and always looking to the future. I'm not convinced that the average single buyer wants to be preached at in this way, so much as they want to hear a good pop song and despite its efforts, There's Gotta Be More To Life actually falls some way short of this.
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15 OOH WEE (Mark Ronson)

[Superstar producer debut klaxon] Best dance single of the week? That honour has to go to the chart debut for Mark Ronson, well respected as a DJ and producer but now about to show the worlds his talents as a performer with a new album Here Comes The Fuzz which features a mouth watering array of guest stars. Take Ooh Wee for example, which sees Ghostface Killah and Nate Dogg team up for an intriguing clash of both Wu Tang and G-Funk styles over a thundering disco beat. Believe it or not there is better to come, Sean Paul and Tweet having teamed up on International Affair which fingers crossed should be the next single and a guaranteed Top 10 hit. [Never happened, oddly. The great lost gem of its era[.
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18 INTO YOU (Fabolous featuring Tamia)

After all those debuts it is quite refreshing to get to a more established star. Fabolous has the honour here, the rapper following up his August debut Can't Let You Go with another Top 20 hit. If you have not heard this yet then brace yourself for an overdose of sugar as this single is an extremely verbose love duet between the rapper and guest singer Tamia (here deputising for Ashanti who featured on the original album version but who for whatever reason has been excised from the single version). OK so it isn't the coolest record on the chart this week but in terms of sheer appeal is up there alongside Fatman Scoop - even if the sales figures don't exactly reflect this.
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19 RAIN ON ME (Ashanti)

Speaking of Ashanti, maybe she didn't want to steal her own thunder or something. Following up the Number 7 hit Rock Wit U is the perhaps slightly less inspired Rain On Me that does at least give her another Top 20 hit. Her chart form appears to be following a regular pattern, her two 2002 solo hits Foolish and Happy also going Top 10 and 20 respectively.
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20 I CAN'T LET YOU GO (Ian Van Dahl)

After a long break the charts welcome back the members of Ian Van Dahl who on the strength of this single are going to struggle to reproduce the form that sent the likes of Castles In The Sky and Will I shooting into the Top 10 back in late 2001 and early 2002. I Can't Let You Go is their first hit single since Try hit Number 15 in October last year and the fact that it has wound up as their smallest hit so far suggests that a change in the formula may well be a sensible way forward.
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28 FRIDAY (Daniel Bedingfield)

So with 10 new entries inside the Top 20 we have to look further down the listings for the final 5. The first of these is the third hit single this year for Daniel Bedingfield and no less than the sixth single to be released from his debut album. His talents as a musical chameleon are never more in evidence here as he follows up August's Number One hit Never Gonna Leave Your Side with his most hardcore club track so far, a fast and furious drum and bass inspired track that paints the singer as being on the edge of madness as he awaits the weekend return of his lady. The fact that it is indeed the sixth single from the album and the fact that it is in such a contrast to his last hit has almost certainly contributed to the spectacular failure of Friday to follow its five predecessors into the Top 10 but make no mistake, this is another spectacularly good single and his boldness in releasing something so unashamedly uncommercial is actually to be applauded.
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30 REMEMBER ME (British Sea Power)

Still awaiting that much needed push into the mainstream, British Sea Power claim a second Top 40 hit for themselves and one that improves slightly on the peak of Carrion/Apologies To Insect Life which gave them their debut back in August.
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31 HELLO SUNSHINE (Super Furry Animals)

No strangers to the mainstream themselves, the Super Furry Animals find themselves slightly lower down the chart than you would ordinarily expect, especially as their last single Golden Retriever made a creditable Number 13 and suggested that their hardcore support was nicely intact. Instead, Hello Sunshine is set to wind up as only their third single ever to miss the Top 30 and the lowest peaking since God! Show Me Magic hit Number 33 in May 1996 at the very start of their chart career. Chalk this one up as a shame as it is actually one of the better tracks on the album Phantom Power - any song with a chorus that features the word 'minger' repeatedly has to be worth a second look surely.
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32 CANNONBALL (Damien Rice)

A pleasant change of tack here in the shape of a singles chart debut for folk singer Damien Rice who attracted rave reviews for his debut album O. Largely recorded at home, this single is a perfect sample of its delights, one man and his guitar singing songs in his intriguing voice. Not pop by any means but a great example of chart diversity and a welcome entry to the Top 40. [The first brief appearance of what would later become something of a standard, both for the man himself and indeed as a future X Factor winner's single].


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37 THE FIRST CUT IS THE DEEPEST (Sheryl Crow)

Finally what has to be regarded as the most spectacular failure of the week. For all the promotion Sheryl Crow has done for her Greatest Hits collection its token new single limps rather apologetically into the bum end of the chart. This is all the more surprising as the song is one with a well established pedigree. Cat Stevens wrote the track and was the first to record it but it took PP Arnold to have a hit single with the song, taking it to Number 18 in 1967. Rod Stewart's version of the song topped the chart in 1977 but in truth only by default - it was released as a double a-side with I Don't Want To Talk About It due to the fact that the aforementioned song was taken from an album that was two years old at the time. Overwhelming public demand had led to its release as a single but to avoid taking chances his record company bundled First Cut Is The Deepest and made it a doubled sided single just to be sure of giving Rod a hit. It may be listed as one of his Number One hits but you can guarantee virtually nobody in 1977 was buying the single for anything other than its a-side.