1 TOCA'S MIRACLE (Fragma)
For only the second time this year, a single manages the double and clings on to the top of the charts for a second successive week. Toca's Miracle, therefore, joins Gabrielle's Rise as the second longest chart-topping track of the year and of course, it is not inappropriate that a single whose lyric talks of miracles is on the top for Easter Sunday. This second week at the summit shows that the track is in serious danger of becoming one of the biggest crossover records of the year to date, the combination of inspired pop song and credible dance tune managing to cover all popularity bases it seems. Toca's Miracle presides over a chart as delightfully whacked-out as it is exciting as the entire Top 3 remains static, none of this week's new singles managing to penetrate the dominance of Fragma, Craig David and Sisqo. It is worth noting just how much this is an illustration of how times had changed. A set of circumstances that would once have made for some very dull chart news indeed actually becomes worthy of comment in this high-powered high-speed age.
[Despite her hard work in promoting the single, Coco would spend the next decade and a half fighting to see any royalties from it. Having agreed and signed a contract that her vocal from her 1997 single for Positiva records could be used for the mash-up, Toca's Miracle was then constructed from her vocals for the original recording for a different label a year earlier, and thus whether by accident or design, sidestepping the contracted agreement to pay her].
4 WHO FEELS LOVE? (Oasis)
Now, this is interesting. The biggest new hit of the week has in itself done so in such a manner as to generate headlines - and not all of them good ones either. Who Feels Love? is, of course, the second single to be released from Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants. It is best described as the 'experimental' track, filled with tablas and sitars it is presumably supposed to reek of Eastern mysticism but instead, comes across as being a bit of a mess. It enters the chart at Number 4. Now as always, context is all. Take nothing away from the fact that the single is the highest new entry of the week. Out of all the records released last week, it has outsold them all and is a Top 5 hit to boot. Not bad in anyone's books but this, of course, is Oasis and for them "not bad" simply isn't good enough. So these are the headlines you will be reading around the world next week: Who Feels Love? is their lowest charting single for over five years. To find the last time they had a single placed outside the Top 2 you have to go back to December 1994 when Whatever charted at Number 3 (ironically on its way to becoming the biggest selling single of their career to date) and thus Who Feels Love? is their smallest hit since Live Forever peaked at Number 10 in August 1994. So are Oasis finished? On this evidence of course not, they've just had a Top 5 hit for heaven's sake. Nonetheless, they are certainly no longer the chart force they once were. This year anyway.
5 HE WASN'T MAN ENOUGH (Toni Braxton)
Nice to see this lady back in the charts. After a break of more than two years and some well-publicised financial hiccups, Toni Braxton makes a triumphant return to the Top 10. He Wasn't Man Enough becomes the second biggest hit of the week, in at Number 5 to give Ms Braxton one of her biggest hit singles ever. She has not had five Top 10 hits in total of which only two have charted higher. Those were Breathe Again from January 1994 and Un-Break My Heart from November 1996 which both peaked at number 2.
6 BUGGIN' (True Steppers featuring Dane Bowers)
Once again we can return to the theme of the weight of expectations. Ask anyone a week ago and they would probably have predicted a debut for the Truesteppers that inspired phrases such as "sweeping all before them." Another bandwagoning piece of UK Garage, this single has the added cachet of featuring a guest vocal from Dane Bowers, lead singer of Another Level and high profile boyfriend of model Jordan (who has a cameo in the video [making this amusingly the second most notorious video of the two of them together]). All the hype over the single justified expectations of a Top 3 entry but alas 'twas not to be and the single has to settle for Number 6 for now as the third biggest new single of this Easter Weekend.
9 PRIVATE EMOTION (Ricky Martin featuring Meja)
So what are we to make of Ricky Martin? Is he to be treated as the global Latin superstar of last summer, the man for whom Livin' La Vida Loca was an undoubted career highlight and for whom global stardom had always been just around the corner. Or is he the man who is perfectly capable of making some very corny and very bad records (and despite its Number 12 peak last November you won't find many people denying that Shake Your Bon-Bon was a rather bizarre choice for a follow-up to that smash). Well, this third single from his current album is set to divide people even further as it shows Ricky Martin in yet another mode, this time as tortured MOR balladeer. Not that the single is at all bad but it is certainly more David Hasselhoff than Peter Cetera, a bigger hit than that one about bottoms but still you feel it is an unworthy follow-up to Livin' La Vida Loca. Incidentally the female voice on the single gets a co-credit on the chart, she being none other than Meja, the Swedish singer who had a Number 12 hit with All About The Money in 1998 and who here makes her first chart appearance since that hit.
13 SUPERSTAR (Cypress Hill)
Play a drinking game to this week's commentary if you like. Every time James says "welcome return" take a swig because there are a few more of them to come. Cypress Hill rank as the second, although admittedly it is only just over a year since their last hit single, Dr Greenthumb having made Number 34 in April 1999. What is definitely welcome is the resurgence in their chart positions, this typically doped-up record landing at Number 13, believe it or not making it their biggest hit single ever. Their signature tune Insane In The Brain never climbed higher than Number 21 and until now their career bests were the Number 15 peaks of I Ain't Goin' Out Like That (December 1993) and Throw Your Set In The Air (October 1995).
14 DAILY (TQ)
A welcome return? What the heck, take a drink anyway as this brand new record for hip-hop soulster TQ returns him to the Top 20 for the first time in almost a year. You may remember he opened his account with two strong chart records, the Number 4 hit Westside in January 1999 and its follow-up Bye Bye Baby which made Number 7 four months later. His last chart single was Better Days which could only limp to Number 32 in August last year but its title has proved somewhat prophetic for the fortunes of his fourth chart hit.
15 IF ONLY (Hanson)
Take another drink. Hanson were the annoyingly talented trio of brothers who set the world alight with Mmmbop back in 1997 (it was of course an instant Number One over here) and who milked their debut album for no less than five hit singles with steadily diminishing returns. Their last hit was Thinking Of You in July 1998 so after two years away (for touring and for their vocals to noticeably drop an octave or so) they now have the added problem of re-establishing their momentum as well as preventing their first classic pop hit from being the track to which all their subsequent output will be compared. The danger of falling into that latter trap is nicely illustrated by If Only which chugs along nicely enough with beefy guitars and sibling harmonies working nicely in tandem as usual. Mmmbop it isn't, but does that make it a bad record? Whatever it is, this Top 20 placing is probably a fair result for the track, the fourth biggest of their career.
19 GIVE ME YOU (Mary J Blige)
Nope, no drinks needed for now as whilst Mary J Blige has scarcely been away lately. Despite this she will probably be reassured by the way this single has just scraped a Top 20 placing. Her last chart hit was Deep Inside which was released just before Christmas and somehow became lost in the rush somewhere along the line, peaking at a rather disappointing Number 42, her first single to miss the Top 40 since You Remind Me reached Number 48 back in June 1993. By complete contrast Give Me You sails past the Number 29 scaled by All That I Can Say back in August last year and if one discounts her guest appearance on George Michael's As, it is her biggest hit single since Missing You also reached Number 19 in November 1997.
21 ARE YOU STILL HAVING FUN? (Eagle Eye Cherry)
Yes you can indeed score another point in the drinking game as the ranks of the Welcome Return hall of fame are swelled by Eagle-Eye Cherry. His chart career began of course in 1998 with the well-received singles Save Tonight and Falling In Love Again, both Top 10 hits. His third single Permanent Tears missed the Top 40 altogether, landing at Number 43 in March last year so he too will be pleased with this rather better chart performance. Having said that of course the context works both ways as Are You Still Having Fun? is no less appealing a summery rock record than his opening brace but somewhere along the way a rather surprising number of people have forgotten how good he is, or maybe they just forgot to buy the record in their haste not to buy the Oasis track.
24 IMAGINE (Shola Ama)
What's this? A single from someone who has had a hit in the last six months? Still Believe was Shola Ama's last hit single, the current state of her chart fortunes reflected in its Number 26 peak. This single only fares a little better with a two place improvement but still a long way short of the Top 5 achieved by her opening two singles You Might Need Somebody and You're The One I Love back in 1997.
38 SUNSTORM (Hurley & Todd)
From the title you might expect this to be another trance single but not so as Hurley & Todd have produced instead a most intriguing dance single which begins at a frantic pace with a 1997-vintage electronic rhythm which within a minute has given way to the soothing tones of Elton John's instrumental classic Song For Guy only for the beats to kick back in over the melody once more. It may not have matched the Number 4 peak of the original but it just goes to show there are few things that cannot be made into a dance single with the right amount of inspiration.
39 DON'T WANNA LET YOU GO (Five)
Remember how I described the Top 3 as "delightfully whacked out"? Well the bottom end has its share of fun as well with some older hits experiencing some slight but still noticeable reversals of fortune. Geri Halliwell's former Number One single Bag It Up creeps back up one place at Number 27 but Five do even better. Don't Wanna Let You Go made Number 9 last month but went into reverse straight away and spent just four weeks inside the Top 40. Two weeks ago it was at 42, dropped to 43 last week and now this week rebounds four places to sneak back inside the Top 40, the first single to do so since Martine McCutcheon's Talking In Your Sleep appeared back in the Top 40 in February after a four-week spell in the lower reaches.