This week's Official UK Singles Chart
1 DOCTOR JONES (Aqua)
The most popular school of thought about Aqua is that they are lightweight novelty act, making records sung in little girl voices about Barbie Dolls and as such would be one hit wonders. It is an argument that ships water rapidly when you consider that said record Barbie Girl sold over one and a half million copies in this country alone and but for Elton John would have been the biggest selling single of the last year. Their new single destroys the argument totally. Originally scheduled for release just after Christmas, the continuing success of Barbie Girl has caused Doctor Jones to be delayed until now but the anticipation has been well worth it. Barbie Girl may well have been an entertaining novelty but the whole of the album demonstrates that the Danish group are far more than novelties. Doctor Jones is a case in point, it is bright, bubbly, catchy, not a little inane and quite simply the perfect pop record. Enough people agree with me to send the track shooting to the top of the charts to give Aqua their second Number One hit and making them only the 16th act to open their career with two chart-topping singles.
2 YOU MAKE ME WANNA (Usher)
Deposed after just a week (like every single chart-topping act this year in fact), Usher still managed to give Aqua a run for their money and was in fact only overtaken towards the end of the week. Although last week I credited him with shooting to Number One with his first chart hit that was, to be perfectly frank absolute rubbish as he had charted before - Think Of You peaking at Number 70 back in 1995 when he was only 16.
3 GETTIN' JIGGY WIT IT (Will Smith)
After the smash hit success of Men In Black Will Smith's followup was something of a disappointment, Just Cruisin' peaking at a lowly Number 23 just before Christmas. A rapid release for this new single represents more of a return to form and it is easy to see why. Pop-rap at its very best the energetic track is based heavily on Sister Sledge's He's The Greatest Dancer and even takes time out along the way to namecheck his own Summertime, his first Number One from 1991. The single also features samples from The Bar-Kays and Spoonie Gee but anyone who claims to be able to identify them without being told what they are is probably lying.
6 ANGELS (Robbie Williams)
There is quite simply no way to predict the chart progress of Angels, Robbie Williams' biggest selling solo hit and the track that has rescued his Life Thru A Lens album from the bargain bins to the Top 3. Having slumped to a low of Number 9 a fortnight ago the single has now rebounded back up to Number 6, the third time it has climbed this high. It's peak was Number 5, back in December in its second week inside the Top 10.
7 CRAZY LITTLE PARTY GIRL (Aaron Carter)
Oh yes, there had to be a followup hadn't there? After reaching Number 9 with his cover of the Jets' Crush On You in November last year, the Backstreet Boy sibling returns to notch up a second top ten hit. Exactly where the appeal of a ten year old boy singing love songs lies is something of a mystery but those both nauseated and repulsed by the single can rest assured that the cuteness factor surrounding child stars invariably wears off quickly and Aaron Carter will vanish until he grows out of his acne.
12 SYLVIE (Saint Etienne)
After the relative failure of lead singer Sarah Cracknell's solo album it is a genuine pleasure to welcome the band as a whole back again after a break of over two years. As their 1995 hits collection Too Young To Die demonstrated, Saint Etienne have matured since their 1991 debut from blissed-out ambient ravers into a full blown pop act and their last single He's On The Phone came close to perfection despite peaking at a rather disappointing Number 11 in November 1995. Sylvie picks up where that left off, the tale of sibling rivalry pressing all the right buttons commercially whilst staying on the credible side of Europop. Frustratingly it continues their run of hits that have just missed the Top 10, this being their 12th chart single to progress no further than Number 11. [Bob Stanley these days laments the idiocy of their decision to take two years away and lose their entire momentum].
13 SOMEBODY ELSE'S GUY (Ce Ce Peniston)
Believe it or not Ce Ce Peniston has had five Top 40 hits besides Finally but it is with that one smash hit from 1992 that she is forever associated, a fact reinforced by the rather unneccessary remix of the track that reached Number 26 in September last year. Fingers crossed people should now be reminded of her other work with the release of this new single - her first new Top 40 hit since Hit By Love made Number 33 in August 1994. The track is a cover of a somewhat underrated classic, first recorded by Jocelyn Brown in 1984 it became her first ever solo chart single when it made Number 13 in April that year and was rather badly covered by Louchie Lou and Michie One in 1993. Although Ms Peniston doesn't exactly have the lungs of the legendary diva this new version from a forthcoming Greatest Hits collection is fairly faithful to the original, matches its original peak and gives her her biggest chart hit since the original Finally back in 1992.
17 5,6,7,8 (Steps)
Time for Steps to receive their regular acknowledgement. Not that the single has achieved anything save selling so consistently as to have been an almost permanent fixture in the lower end of the Top 20 it was released in the middle of November last year. Holding firm this week at Number 17 having been in the Top 20 for 10 of its 12 weeks on the chart so far, the single refuses to die despite being almost totally ignored by every radio station in the country. I don't have any records on what is the biggest selling single never to reach the Top 10 but 5,6,7,8 cannot be too far off it.' Certainly it will go down in chart history as one of the most famous perennials ever, alongside such tracks as Evelyn Champagne King's Shame which spent 23 weeks on the chart in 1978 without ever climbing higher than Number 39. Around the same time the Trammps' Disco Inferno was re-released having reached Number 16 a year beforehand. Thanks to its use on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack the re-released single spent 10 weeks in the Top 75, never climbing higher than Number 47.
18 ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS (Puff Daddy)
Casual buyers beware, I'll Be Missing You this is not. Puff Daddy's followup to Been Around The World is in some ways quite refreshingly uncommercial perhaps a better reflection of the kind of music the rap label boss has spent his short career promoting. The major selling point of All About The Benjamins is the contribution of Nirvana/Foo Fighters star Dave Grohl who adds some searing guitar work to the original album track to make this one of those famous rock/rap crossover records that are sometimes less than the sum of their parts. Straight into the Top 20 it goes, just like Puff Daddy's last three solo singles and like two of them should be straight out again.
23 B-BOY STANCE (Freestylers)
Now here was I thinking that the whole concept of fly girls and b-boys died out around 1988. Having said that the Freestylers' track has a deliciously retro feel to it - how many dance/rap singles these days feature good old fashioned scratching of records.
24 MAYBE I'M AMAZED (Carleen Anderson)
A welcome return to chart action for Carleen Anderson, the former Young Disciples singer who since going solo in 1994 has produced some memorable records, even if they have lacked a certain something where commercial appeal was concerned. No such worries with this new single, a very cleverly made cover of the Wings track which reached Number 28 for Paul McCartney et al in February 1977 and which consequently has sailed easily past the peak of the original. Her new album is produced by Paul Weller who also plays guitar on this track.
26 SAINT OF ME (Rolling Stones)
Not for nothing have the Rolling Stones been around for nearly 35 years. Part of the reason is their willingness to adapt to the trends and music of the time. Without deserting their R&B roots the attitude seems to be, if people need to dance to our music to make it commercial then so be it. Rolling Stones tracks have had dance mixes bundled with their single release but none have been pushed to the fore like this Deep Dish remix of Saint Of Me. With Mick Jagger's vocals the only thing left to distinguish it as a Stones track even the staunchly progressive Radio One are happily playing it and the oldest regularly charting band in the world charge into the Top 30 hot on the heels of last October's Anybody Seen My Baby.
28 I WILL BE YOUR GIRLFRIEND (Dubstar)
Following No More Talk and Cathedral Park this is the third single from Dubstar's second album although only No More Talk reached the Top 40. This improved chart placing may have something to do with their recent exposure as support to the Lightning Seeds. Their biggest hit remains 1996s Stars which made Number 15 when re-released.
31 THE ONLY ONE (Thunder)
Quite possibly one of the most underrated rock bands around, Thunder have had a patchy run of chart success since they were formed out of the ashes of Terraplane in 1990. They have had a 100% strike rate of 13 Top 40 hits yet only one has made the Top 20, 1993s A Better Man which reached Number 18. The Only One should really be a Top 10 smash it is that good but whilst they make rock songs where one can hear a melody and don't turn on a drum machine their chances of major chart success are sadly limited.