1 PERFECT MOMENT (Martine McCutcheon)
Hardly any surprises at the top end of the chart this week as Martine spends a second week as the nation's biggest seller. After selling over 200,000 copies last week Perfect Moment once again notches up an impressive sale, outselling her nearest rivals by a margin of 2:1. Just for a change nobody has any reason to question the appeal of the single, it is quite simple one of those records that appeals across the board, no matter what your age or sex, and of course the inability of some people to distinguish between the singer and the character she played on television may have something to do with it as well - after all who can resist the tender ballad sung by poor tragic Tiffany? Further to last week's point about Eastenders stars who have topped the chart it is worth noting that their numbers have been swelled somewhat in the last few months thanks to the appearance of some other former chart stars in the ranks of the show's cast. Wendy Richard, as mentioned last week, topped the chart in 1962 and has been in the soap since 1985 but it is also pertinent to mention Martin Kemp, now a regular in the soap but once of course a member of Spandau Ballet - Number One hitmakers in 1983 with True. To their ranks one can also add the late Anthony Newley who had a cameo role in the soap towards the end of last year and who himself had Number One hits in the past - Why and Do You Mind both in 1960. Now only one question remains: Can even Martine McCutcheon stand in the way of mighty force that is Westlife?
2 TURN AROUND (Phats And Small)
Account for it how you will, whether it is attributable to a lack of big new releases this week or whether it is down to the quality of Turn Around, clearly a single in the process of crossing over far beyond its original club audience but there is no understating the achievement of Phats And Small's single which reverses its decline of last week to live up to its title and in the process claim the runners-up position on the chart. Those that criticise the downwardly mobile nature of the singles chart may care to note that both this move and others like it this week have come in a seven-day period when the volume of new entries is roughly half the current average. Could the two be linked by any chance?
5 ELECTRICITY (Suede)
It just goes to show how conditioned we are to a chart bursting to the seams with new entries that weeks such as this seem almost dull in comparison. Certainly the release schedules of the past few weeks have been remarkably devoid of big new hits, almost as if every has been running scared of the Martine McCutcheon single. One act who have clearly had no qualms about going head to head with Perfect Moment are Suede who were hoping for the biggest hit of their career or at the very least a Top 3 entry but to the huge surprise of most people can 'only' manage to enter at Number 5 with the first single from their long-awaited new album. In fairness to Brett and the boys, whilst this is their 8th Top 10 hit single and their sixth in succession it hardly ranks as the most appealing single they have ever released, lacking the killer chorus that made Trash and Metal Mickey such celebrated hits. Given their oft-expressed admiration for David Bowie it is appropriate to draw parallels with their respective careers in which case Suede have reached Bowie's Tin Machine phase - making loud crunching rock tracks which leave their die-hard fans struggling to justify why the band (who lest we forget will always rank as one of the most celebrated acts of the decade) are still relevant. The fact that Electricity was Number 2 midweek and has slipped several places in the rankings since suggests that it is only dedicated fans who are buying their records.
6 NO SCRUBS (TLC)
Full credit to TLC who not only reversed their chart decline last week to bound back into the Top 10 but now climb once more, a move whilst results in No Scrubs sailing past its original Number 7 entry point to land its highest chart placing to date - all this on its fourth week on release. No Scrubs now matches the chart peak of Creep '96 as their second biggest hit to date. Indeed the whole Top 10 has a curious upwardly mobile look to it this week as No Scrubs is one of three Top 10 hits to actually improve their positions. Looking at TLCs previous chart form this shouldn't actually come as a surprise as their singles have a history of bucking established trends. Take Waterfalls for instance, released at the end of July 1995 it entered at Number 13 and then actually began a steady climb up the chart, peaking at Number 4 a fortnight later and spending six weeks in the Top 10. A fluke repeat here perhaps, or just the fact that No Scrubs is a song that gets better the more you hear it?
Anyone who has been paying attention to dotmusic's news pages over the past few weeks will be aware of the Honeyz' personnel changes as the band have done an Eternal, shedding members but by contrast actively replacing them. As Heavenli departs the band she does at least have the satisfaction of seeing their third single featuring her vocals emulate the achievements of the first two and fly straight into the Top 10. Meanwhile the record company cross their fingers and hope that this track can do what Finally Found and End Of The Line failed to do, despite their lengthy chart runs, and kick-start sales of their debut album. It is this factor, rather than any shifts in membership, that will ultimately determine the long-term future of one of the UKs favourite R&B acts.
14 LA MUSICA (Ruff Driverz presents Arrola)
The Ruff Driverz/Arrola combination continues to produce hit singles. La Musica follows the formula of previous releases and in that sense does its job rather well, a mix of Latino beats and flamenco guitars coupled with a nagging female vocal. As far as chart form goes they have fallen back slightly from the Number 10 peak scaled by Dreaming in November last year but a Number 14 entry will do very nicely thank you. Now how about a re-release of Don't Stop which surely deserves another chance after having made Number 30 when first released in February 1998.
17 VIVID (Electronic)
Twisted Tenderness is the title of the new Electronic album that hits the stores this week and just as a prelude its first single lands nicely inside the Top 20. The band are in a curious position as they were originally conceived as a kind of supergroup collaboration between Bernard Sumner and Johnny Marr with occasional appearances by other invited guests (read: Neil Tennant). Of course with the curious reluctance of New Order to get back in the studio together and with Marr having done little else of note for the past few years Electronic seems to be the main focus for the creative talents of the two men. It therefore follows that anything they produce is expected to be superlative and it is something of a shame that with Vivid they seem not to be trying, the song hardly a worthy release to rank alongside past classics such as Forbidden City and Get The Message. They have deliberately gone for a rawer sound compared to their past work but in the process may have killed off much of their well-established commercial appeal. Still, the single has done enough to become the sixth Top 20 hit for Electronic and you can be reassured that there are better tracks still to come from the album.
18 WALK THIS LAND (E-Z Rollers)
Those who have seen the film Lock Stock And Two Smoking Barrels will be instantly familiar this Walk This Land, the Stax-inspired song being one of the most memorable parts of the soundtrack to the film. It makes its long-overdue chart debut this week safely inside the Top 20 and with the film itself a massive hit both in the cinema and now on video you can bet that the track will rank alongside singles such as Urge Overkill's Girl You'll Be A Woman Soon with a long-term appeal due to its association with one of the coolest films of the decade.
28 ARMY (Ben Folds Five)
Ben Folds Five this week makes what seems to be their annual appearance inside the Top 40, Army hitting the chart exactly 53 weeks since their last Top 40 hit Brick made Number 26. One of those bands who are beloved by those who know of them, bizarrely ignored by everyone else their many fans can take some consolation from the fact that it only took seven years for people to catch on to the Barenaked Ladies.
36 FILL HER UP (Gene)
Bringing up the rear in this quiet week of just six new entries who follow up the catchy As Good As It Gets (Number 23 in February) with this single that really deserves to top even that, Fill Her Up being if anything even more commercial than its predecessor. It has to be said that if this was the track to lift them beyond the mid-table mediocrity they have slipped into since their chart heyday in 96/97 then it has failed rather miserably.