This week's Official UK Singles Chart

1 BE FAITHFUL (Fatman Scoop)

Well in relative terms, this week must go down as a quiet one compared to the blistering rate of new singles we have witnessed for the past couple. For purely selfish reasons, of course, this is something of a relief for myself given that the commentary this week comes deepest central Europe, so any lack of detail herein is due entirely to the fact I may find it too cold to type. Or something. Oh yes, and excuse the lateness. The Ukrainian city of Lviv appears to be bereft of working cyber cafes at the weekend. [Everyone had to wait until Tuesday that week for this to go live on dotmusic. The horror].

Few surprises at the top as a lack of any really strong new releases gives Fatman Scoop a second week at the summit. It passed without comment last week that Be Faithful is actually the first rap single this year to top the charts, the last hip hop record to get this far having been Eminem's Lose Yourself back in December last year. Indeed by spending a second week at the top the track has the honour of matching the two week run of Nelly's Dilemma from exactly one year ago. All eyes then should be on the charts next week as no rap single has lasted more than a fortnight at the top since Run DMC's epic six week stay with It's Like That way back in 1998.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

3 IF YOU COME TO ME (Atomic Kitten)

Hearty congratulations to Atomic Kitten then who although they were never in a position to make a play for the Number One position still land themselves the weeks biggest new hit. If You Come To Me is the follow-up hit to Love Doesn't Have To Hurt which landed at Number 4 back in April. This single is taken from their forthcoming new album Ladies Night so they can be forgiven for being a little disappointed that the single hasn't added to their tally of Number One hits. Still, you have to marvel at their now quite impressive longevity. In an age when pop acts have to work harder than ever to justify a continued record deal, the Kittens will next month celebrate the fourth anniversary of their very first chart hit. [And with this single they had been turned into a C&W act without anyone noticing either].


------------------------------------------------------------------------

7 TROUBLE (Pink)

No pressures for Pink it seems as she bounces merrily along with yet another hit. Trouble takes its lead from the more rock orientated direction hinted at by her last single Feel Good Time which made Number 3 on the back of its use on the Charlies Angels soundtrack. Trouble dutifully becomes her 8th Top 10 hit in nine releases, the only 'failure' being Family Portrait which could only manage Number 11 when released at Christmastime last year. New album Try This hits the shops soon. [The video for Trouble attracts most attention these days for the appearance of a tyro Jeremy Renner, all of which ignores the fact that it also marks the onscreen debut of the troupe of burlesque dancers known as the Pussycat Dolls, within two years Number One hitmakers of their own].


------------------------------------------------------------------------

8 STATE OF MIND (Holly Valance)

Well it hasn't been the best of months for Holly Valance following the negative publicity over the court action brought by her former manager, during the course of which many aspersions were cast over her singing abilities and the exact nature of her talent. It isn't unreasonable to assume therefore that she now has something to prove. This brand new single is the first to be taken from a brand new album - her second - and of course follows in the wake of her three hit singles from her debut in 2002, the biggest of which was Kiss Kiss which topped the charts. Whilst this isn't a bad entry point for this new single it still seems a world away from the brace of Top 3 singles with which she opened her career. If further singles fall further down the chart (and it is a fair bet that they will) then you can bet your life she will have a problem.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

10 HOLD ON ME (Phixx)

Here we go then. As Liberty X were to Hear'Say and Clea were to Girls Aloud, Phixx are the anti One True Voice, the five male hopefuls rejected by the public vote last Christmas during the airing of Popstars - The Rivals but who now team up to launch a chart assault. Even to begin with the odds seem to be stacked in their favour. Whilst Clea labour in the shadow of the phenomenal success achieved by Girls Aloud, Phixx have the advantage of the 'winners' One True Voice having failed miserably (splitting up after just two singles remember) and the path clear for the runners up to prove that the public got it wrong. Chances are they may just do that as well for Hold On Me is nothing less than the best pop record of the week. The single has its heart and soul firmly in the 80s and comes over as a glorious four minute melange of both OMD and the Thompson Twins. Most people's pick for single of the week, the fact that it wasn't challenging for Number One and instead can only land on the cusp of the Top 10 must surely go down as the biggest surprise of the week. Just what went wrong?


------------------------------------------------------------------------

11 LOVE ME RIGHT (OH SHEILA) (Angel City featuring Lara McAllen)

The big dance hit of the week fails to make the Top 10 but at the very least it does have a story behind it. The story begins back in 1985 when American group Ready For The World made a track called Oh Sheila. Phenomenally successful it was as well, topping the charts in their home country in the latter half of the year. Oddly enough the track stiffed on these shores, making a rather derisory Number 50 (still the closest the group ever came to a UK hit). In 1998 the two Dutchmen who make up Angel City used the track as the basis for their own hit Love Me Right, turning the embodiment of mid-80s funk into a storming club track. Oddly enough it wasn't until the end of last year that the track broke on these shores, spreading airplay in the clubs alerting labels to the fact that a potential hit had been missed. MOS imprint Data picked up the licence but unusually decided that the track was still missing that little extra something. That something happened to be a new vocal which has duly been supplied by Lara McAllen. The result is the hit you see here, an inspired club track that further proves that there are lazy cover versions and ones which take the track to a whole new dimension. I'll leave you to guess which category this falls into.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

19 BOUNCE ALONG (Wayne Wonder)

The second hit for Wayne Wonder, this the follow-up to the summertime smash No Letting Go which rode the Diwali bandwagon into the Top 5 back in July. This second hit sounds just as much fun and just as summery as the last - but of course that is the problem, it isn't summer any longer.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

23 SWING LOW (UB40/United Colours Of Sound)

Veteran chart watchers will have been predicting this for weeks and if you didn't then you should really start paying more attention. Our story here begins back in 1991 when legendary producer Charlie Skarbeck was invited to put together a musical project to commemorate the Rugby Union World Cup which was taking place in Britain and France that year. The project spawned two memorable hit singles. One was a track called World In Union which put new words to Holst's Jupiter (better known as the patriotic hymn I Vow To Thee My Country) whilst the other was a club hit based around the Negro spiritual Swing Low Sweet Chariot which had been adopted by English rugby fans as a terrace anthem. Since then the tracks have been inextricably linked with the world cup tournament and every competition since has seen new versions of each enter the charts. In 1995 Ladysmith Black Mambazo recorded both, hitting Number 47 with World In Union and Number 15 with Swing Low Sweet Chariot. In 1999 it was the turn of the Welsh, Shirley Bassey and Bryn Terfel limping to Number 35 with World In Union whilst Russell Watson was at Number 39 with Swing Low.

Four years later then and it has come around again. Recording duties on Swing Low have this time fallen to UB40 who team up with United Colours Of Sound for this hit single. It has the honour of returning the veteran reggae band to the Top 40 for the first time in two years and indeed is their biggest chart hit since Come Back Darling was a Top 10 single just over five years ago. Throughout all its versions Swing Low Sweet Chariot has retained all of its charms and most crucially of all its ability to inspire you to grab a scarf and wave it above your head in triumph. Now, all we need is World In Union again to complete the set. Don't tell me I have to do it myself - IT'S A DREAM I FEEL....
------------------------------------------------------------------------

26 ALONE WITHOUT YOU (Mark Owen)

Well, that comeback didn't last long did it? Following on from the Number 4 hit Four Minute Warning back in August, former Take That star Mark Owen finds his hit-making career taking a tumble once more. See you in six years maybe Mark...
------------------------------------------------------------------------

27 BORN SLIPPY (Underworld)

Virtually every club track is remixed. We take that as read. Indeed a selling point of a dance single isn't necessarily the version you hear on the radio but the choice of different versions by different producers that the 12-inch can offer. A select handful of tracks have remixes so celebrated that the original is almost totally unknown. Primal Scream's Loaded is a case in point. Nobody cares about the original version any more and fewer still have even ever heard it. The only version familiar to all is the Andy Weatherall remix that made the Top 10 in 1990. The same is true for Underworld's Born Slippy which was a minor chart entry when first released in 1995, hitting a lowly Number 52. Track 2 on the CD single was a raw dub remix of the track entitled Born Slippy (Nuxx) and which stripped away virtually every layer of the original to leave little more than a thundering drum track and the famous 'lager lager lager' chant. This version was spotted by the producers of the film Trainspotting who used it to soundtrack the upbeat climax to the film. Inevitably a re-release came with the 'Nuxx' version pushed to the fore. The track stormed to Number 2 in July 1996, has eclipsed every single Underworld have made ever since and is now considered one of the defining moments in mid 1990s dance.

Not bad for a CD single afterthought is it? To commemorate Underworld's ten year anniversary the resultant retrospective compilation their most famous hit has been re-released. Or should that be remixed? This is actually a completely new version of the track, remade by the boys themselves and with added mix magic from Paul Oakenfold. I won't pretend to be too impressed with the idea. Why mess with near perfection?
------------------------------------------------------------------------

35 SENTIMENTAL (Kym Marsh)
38 BABY GET HIGHER (David Sneddon)

To wrap things up this week we sadly have to get out the coffin nails. First of all for Kym Marsh who has quite literally landed in the drop zone with her third single, this track performing poorly compared to Cry and Come On Over which were both Top 10 hits earlier in the year. It seems almost harsh to assume that her label will abandon her on the strength of this, but as we have seen far too many times recently this is almost certainly what happens. If one assumes that her most loyal fans will snap up the single immediately on release, the fact that she clearly has so few means that sinking further money into promotion of her album or the recording of a new one just isn't viable. The margins on pop acts just aren't big enough to tolerate failure - consistent Atomic Kitten levels of success are what is required.

The same is true for David Sneddon who is now coming to the end of his "year of fame" prize that was awarded to him for winning the first series of Fame Academy last year. Further record company investment in his career was only ever going to happen if he had managed to prove himself as a success in his own right after the lustre of the competition had faded. Sadly he just hasn't managed this despite topping the charts at the start of the year with Stop Living The Lie. His last single Best Of Order only made Number 19 in August and with this single languishing even lower down the Top 40 you can safely bet this is the last we will see of him - at least for now. Food for thought for Alex (winner of Fame Academy II) and also for the new crop of Pop Idol hopefuls, all of whom are surely watching the careers of Will and Gareth with interest and nerves.