1 WHOLE AGAIN (Atomic Kitten)
In yer face. Once again the dangers of taking preliminary midweek chart figures with anything more than a very large pinch of salt are exposed for the entire world to see. Earlier this week it was "revealed" that Wheatus were several thousand copies ahead of the cuddly Kittens in the race to top the charts. This prompted virtually everyone to take it as read that metal was once again going to oust pop from the summit. The proverbial late surge put paid to all that and over the course of Friday and Saturday the girls managed to ease ahead, just by enough to ensure that they would be topping the charts for a second week running. Given that this week is Valentines day, it probably makes perfect sense that an out and out romantic track should be topping the charts to mark the occasion. Whole Again is now the second chart hit in succession to retain its place at the top of the charts, the first time this has happened since September last year when Modjo and Mariah Carey both took turns for a two week run. It seems such a long time ago but believe it or not the last time three consecutive Number One hits all had runs at the top longer than a single week was back in July and August 1999 (ATB, Ricky Martin and Ronan Keating). A run of four such singles hasn't happened since the last two months of 1997.
2 TEENAGE DIRTBAG (Wheatus)
In a way you have to feel a small amount of sympathy for Wheatus who will probably have been told several times over how they were set to top the UK charts this week only to find themselves relegated to second place. Still, they can hardly complain. The boys from Long Island manage to make a splash with their debut UK hit single which tells the tale of, in their own words "a skinny guy with a mullet who probably didn't have a lot of friends." Easily the catchiest rock single since Lit's My Own Worst Enemy, the track features in the opening titles of the film Loser (yet to be released here), hence the appearance of Jason Biggs and Mena Suvari in the video (as seen here on dotmusic).
3 LAST RESORT (Papa Roach)
Pop may be at the top but it is still Nu-Metal that is rapidly becoming the standout chart trend of the moment. The second rock single to chart inside the Top 3 this week is the debut single from Californians Papa Roach who sail effortlessly close to the line marked "uncommercial" with this melange of crunching riffs, howled vocals and lyrics which if you pay attention are actually about the prospect of committing suicide. Thank heavens the newspapers have been too obsessed with Eminem this week to notice this one.
5 LOCO (Fun Lovin' Criminals)
The title track from the brand new FLC album will be instantly familiar just about everyone thanks largely to the fact that it has been all over TV screens since the start of the year as the soundtrack to a commercial for Miller beer (starring the band themselves). Consequently the image of the band cooling things down with an impromptu set on an LA Freeway is the one that springs to mind when hearing this, rather than the track's actual video that sees them as secret agents entrapping the bad guys on a yacht full of beautiful women. The song itself is surely the most effortlessly cool record they have ever released (which itself is saying something). The spirit of Santana is evoked to perfection as the Latino blues and languid vocals are cranked to the max. Needless to say it is far and away the biggest Fun Lovin' Criminals single ever, taking them into the Top 10 for the first time in their five-year career.
7 STUTTER (Joe)
Funnily enough despite the fact that it is Valentines week, there are two new entries on this week's chart that deal with the tricky matter of infidelity. Far and away the biggest of these is the debut single from Joe's third album in which the soul man confront his girl with the evidence that she has been cheating whilst pointing out the things that give her away. Once again the track features heavily on the soundtrack of a film that nobody in this country has seen yet, in this case the movie Double Take. Stutter is Joe's biggest hit ever in this country, the first to make the Top 10. Funnily enough his biggest hit prior to this was Don't Wanna Be A Player (No.16 in June 1997) which was also a soundtrack hit, the single having featured in the film Booty Call.
8 DANCING IN THE MOONLIGHT (Toploader)
I'm rapidly running out of ways to describe the jaw-dropping performance of Dancing In The Moonlight. For the past two weeks the track, which you will remember was released just prior to Christmas, has been floating around the Top 20 and last week could be found at No.13, just two places below its original chart entry point. This week, well you can see for yourself. Dancing In The Moonlight races up another five places to finally become a Top 10 single 13 weeks after this remixed version of the track was released and just a couple of weeks shy of a year since the original album version first hit the singles chart. Seasoned chartwatchers will not need me to point out that for a continuously charting single to take three months to climb into the Top 10 is nothing short of phenomenal and in fact such a performance has not been seen for nearly two decades. If you restrict analysis to singles that have remained on the chart continuously during their climb then Dancing In The Moonlight can rank as the most slow-burning hit single since Jennifer Rush's The Power Of Love. Said track first charted on June 29th 1985 and did not climb into the Top 10 until October 5th - 15 weeks later. After all of this it isn't even Toploader's biggest hit single (at least not yet!) as Dancing... this week matches the peak of Achilles Heel which took just one week to scale these heights in May last year.
17 WHAT MAKES A MAN (Westlife)
Speaking of bizarre chart performances, take a look at this. Westlife's What Makes A Man was their Christmas single and the one which brought to an end their incredible run of Number One hits when it was denied a place at the top by Bob The Builder. Two weeks ago the single was all but dead and had slumped to No.38 after six weeks on release. At which point it, like so many singles of similar vintage, was moved to the bargain bins. Again like many singles this gave it a slight sales boost and it was interesting but by no means noteworthy to observe that this caused its chart position to recover a little - back up to No.29 in fact. This week the strange climb continues as What Makes A Man improves still further to charge up to No.17. This is now the single's highest chart position since January 13th when it was ranked at No.9 on its third week on release. After that the single sank to 20 and has not been seen in the Top 20 since - until today that is. What has possibly helped the track a little is their debut UK tour which kicked off on Friday. In a similar fashion Eminem's Stan holds firm at No.22 this week in the wake of the media frenzy that surrounded his three concert dates in Manchester and London this week.
18 FEVER (Starsailor)
Next Big Thing of the week are Starsailor who have possibly set some kind of record by being compared to Tim Buckley, The Verve and Zero 7 in the space of their review here on dotmusic. I'm content to point out that Fever is actually a far better single than anyone appears to be giving it credit for. If you had ever wondered what Robert Plant would sound like when backed by a Hammond Organ then this is the single for you. It is almost as if prog rock never went away.
19 WE WILL SURVIVE (Warp Brothers)
Poor heavy house. It isn't rock music so nobody appears to be too excited about it at present. Making dance music's token chart appearance this week are the Warp Brothers, the noise merchants behind Phatt Bass who managed to reach No.9 in December last year as part of a rather fun covers battle with Public Domain. This "new" track actually has a similar kind of backstory to it as it is essentially a reworking of Josh Wink's Higher State Of Consciousness. The original has already been a hit single twice over, first in October 1995 when it made No.8 and then once again the following July when a new set of mixes sent it soaring back to No.7
27 ARMY OF TWO (Dum Dums)
Is it the name that prevents us taking the Dum Dums seriously or something else altogether? Either way the fourth single from the trio follows the path of its predecessors and slides neatly into the Top 30 with little in the way of fanfare or fuss. This single sees the band in power ballad mode, a string-laden tale of heartfelt devotion. Oh well, it is Valentines day after all.
28 SYNAESTHESIA (FLY AWAY) (Thrillseekers featuring Sheryl Deane)
Nominated by dotmusic's very own Chris Finan at the end of last year as one of the big tunes to watch out for in 2001, the Thrillseekers make their chart debut with this soaring (no pun intended) track that features the usual ingredients of melodic synthesiser lines and sweetly hollered female vocals. The only problem really is the lack of anything we haven't actually heard before.
31 IT WASN'T ME (Shaggy)
Shaggy was easily one of the biggest reggae superstars of the 1990s. He conquered the charts both here and in America with his style of music that mixed good old fashioned unintelligible ragga toasting with some rather wonderful radio friendly tunes. He has topped the charts twice in this country in the past, first with Oh Carolina in 1993 and then with Mr Boombastic in 1995. It Wasn't Me is taken from his new album Hot Shot and has already topped the US charts, thanks largely to the promotion of a DJ in Hawaii who first noticed the track when he found it on Napster [but...but...file sharing kills music sales, important people in the music business insist this is the case]. Based on this pedigree one would have expected It Wasn't Me to be a massive hit single over here as well. Trust me it will be, it is just that this isn't the official release of the single and is instead an import, thus making this the first imported single to reach the Top 40 since Eiffel 65's Blue way back in September 1999. The official release of the track is still a fortnight away. Consider this a sneak preview of a Number One single just waiting to happen.