This week's Official UK Singles Chart
1 NO MATTER WHAT (Boyzone)
The reign of the Spice Girls is brought to an end by the only teen band that can currently rival them for long term popularity. Really this was one of those guaranteed Number One hits, a song whose quality hits you the moment you first hear it. The inspirational ballad is the second official release from Whistle Down The Wind following on from Tina Arena's theme song which peaked at Number 24 at the end of June. Notwithstanding the pull of having Boyzone perform it, this is a far stronger track and could well end up as one of the biggest sellers of the year. It is their second Number One hit of the year and the fourth of their career, the second time they have had two such hits in a row, their last single All That I Need which charted in May having also topped the chart of course. Furthermore they are now unusually the third act to have had 2 chart-topping singles this year, Aqua and All Saints being the others. 1998 is starting to become comparable with 1996 when five acts - George Michael, Prodigy, Fugees, Spice Girls and yes, Boyzone all had a brace of Number One hits whilst both Gary Barlow and Noel Gallagher topped the chart twice with different acts. No Matter What also maintains their phenomenal run of chart placings, all but one of their 12 hits to date have made the Top 3. Let us not forget the two writers of the track as well. Andrew Lloyd-Webber can chalk up another Number One hit from one of his musicals, the third in a list that includes Julie Covington's Don't Cry For Me Argentina in 1977 and Any Dream Will Do by Jason Donovan in 1991. He was also credited as "Executive Producer" on Bombalurina's novelty rendition of Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini in 1990, the idea being his and Bombalurina being a character from Cats. The lyricist of No Matter What is Jim Steinman and this is too his third Number One hit as a writer following on from Bonnie Tyler's Total Eclipse Of The Heart from 1983 and Meat Loaf's I'd Do Anything For Love ten years later. He too has also had a producers credit on a past Number One hit, in this case Take That's Never Forget which he remixed and which was sat at Number One exactly three years ago this week.
2 MYSTERIOUS TIMES (Sash! featuring Tina Cousins)
Rivalling both Boyzone and The Spice Girls for consistency, Sash explodes back onto the chart with his fifth hit single and in doing so maintains his unbeated record of Top 3 hits, indeed he returns to the Number 2 peak of his first three hits showing that the Number 3 peak of La Primavera back in April was just a blip. This time with Tina Cousins on lead vocals Mysterious Times stands as one of his best singles but for the first time is performed in the same language as one of his previous records. All of Sash's hits to date have used a different European language but this new single follows last December's Stay by being performed entirely in English.
4 PURE MORNING (Placebo)
Make the most of this as this is the closest you will get to hearing Brian Moloko being cheerful. After two Top 20 hits in 1997 the most unusual rock band around return with brand new material from a forthcoming album and in doing so find themselves back in the Top 10 for the first time since Nancy Boy matching its peak of Number 4 from February 1997. Quite the most maddening record of the moment, the song, supposedly about finding your soulmate is based around a single loop of music which has the effect of drilling its way into your brain and is one of those records that is probably best appreciated drunk. The new Velvet Underground anyone?
8 NEEDIN' U (David Morales presents The Face)
Get ready for the invasion of the Ibiza anthems, the dance hits that will dominate the clubs on the continent for thousands of holidaymakers and which will flood onto the chart over the coming months. Beating the rush is this track from David Morales, normally a man who confines his talents to remixing for other people but still with an impressive reputation when it comes to his own hits. His only chart placings to date under his own name came in 1996 when Gimmie Luv and In De Ghetto both crept into the Top 40 although he has charted under different names in the past, most notably as Pulse which gave him a Top 30 hit with The Lover That You Are, also from 1996. This, his first really big chart smash harks back to the golden days of Latino house with its thumping piano rhythm. Now you know me, ordinarily I would look down my nose at an out and out dance record like this but with Agadoo set for a re-release and a release date now being set over here for No Tengo Dinero by Los Umbrellos I am in a mood to count my blessings.
14 I WANNA BE YOUR LADY (Hinda Hicks)
The third hit for Hinda Hicks following If You Want Me and You Think You Own Me which made Numbers 25 and 19 respectively earlier this year. This is actually a re-release of her first single which underperformed when first available last year but which now gives her her biggest hit to date.
18 LOVE UNLIMITED (Fun Lovin' Criminals)
Yes they are back. The most unique-looking rap group of the moment who proved last year that looking like a cross between pimp daddies and white mafiosa was no hinderance to massive record sales. The first single from their brand new album represents a slight departure from their usual style, a laid-back single that is an out and out tribute to Barry White and associated lurve ballad artists. It works surprisingly well and is far and away their most commercial single to date. Its chart placing could have been better and it falls a little way short of the Number 12 peak of the re-released Scooby Snacks from July last year but let nothing take away the fact that this is a marvellous record, clearly performed with tongue firmly in cheek.
20 I WANNA LOVE YOU (Solid Harmonie)
If Solid Harmonie were boxers they would be solidly mid-card, never quite showing enough potential to deserve a shot at the title. Their third single of the year follows the same formula as I'll Be There For You and I Want You To Want Me, melodic pop-soul that is a far from unpleasant sound but which has so far seen them stall frustratingly just inside the Top 20. Just one massive killer hit is really all they need.
21 EL NINO (Agnelli and Nelson)
The second Ibiza-inspired hit of the week is this track from the DJ and Producer pairing of Agnelli and Nelson, both hailing from [Northern] Ireland. Not a massive hit but a resounding club anthem.
36 KICKIN' HARD (Klubbheads)
The first hit in a year for Klubbheads who have yet to have a big hit under their own name despite a string of well-received mixes of other dance hits. Their last chart hit came almost exactly 12 months ago when Klubbhopping made Number 35.