This week's Official UK Singles Chart


Now, this is actually quite spectacular. R Kelly has the nation's Number One single for a fourth successive week. He has done so in the face of some strong opposition from some widely anticipated new singles, all of which line up as new entries immediately below him. Most impressively of all though is that he has come from behind to retain his slot at the summit. Most sales reports during the week indicated that S Club were outselling the incumbent by a small but significant margin, a margin that gradually became smaller and smaller as the days went by. One final surge over the weekend and it was all over, Ignition Remix would end up once again as the biggest seller of the week. It does, of course, mean that the track is now officially R Kelly's biggest ever hit single. Furthermore, Ignition Remix is the third single this year to spend four weeks at the top of the charts, hard on the heels of Tatu and Room 5. Last year, of course, saw four tracks manage the feat, meaning we have a little way to go before we match last years' total but I would be very very surprised if that is not surpassed by the time the summer is over. Meanwhile, the release lists for next week are being eagerly scanned. Just what song is going to be the one to depose R Kelly - or is he set to become the first artist for almost five years to grab a fifth week at the top?


So, farewell then, S Club
Also known as S Club 7
Before one of you left

Keith's mum liked your one
About reaching for the stars
Now you are reaching for job ads

With apologies to EJ Thribb.

After months of speculation the inevitable happened, and after four years, three TV series, four albums and a feature film, the S Club 7 project has come to an end with the group going their separate ways. Created in 1999 as the ultimate multimedia project, a TV series about a group of singing teenagers trying to make it famous in an America which could then spawn records of the songs they performed on the show, S Club 7 became more successful than even their creators could have dreamed. Helped by some incredibly strong material, they topped the charts first time out with Bring It All Back and then set off on an impressive run of hits, never once failing to reach the Top 5 and topping the charts three times more along the way. The writing was on the wall when their last single Alive actually became their smallest ever, hitting Number 5 and in the process missing out on the Top 3 for the first time ever. All that has remained is for one further farewell single which takes the form of a double a-side. Love Ain't Gonna Wait For You is, just like Alive, taken from the soundtrack of the Seeing Double film whilst Say Goodbye is a brand new track, a farewell ballad that befits its role as their last ever single. There were high hopes that this final release would top the charts as an effective swansong but in the end it lost out by the narrowest of margins to the all-conquering R Kelly. Still, another Number 2 hit is nothing to be ashamed of. The name of S Club will live on of course with the S Club Juniors now to be promoted to being S Club 8 while the inevitable solo career beckons for the various members. Next time the DJ at a party cues up Reach or Don't Stop Movin' just remember as the floor fills up that you are dancing to some pure and inspired pop music that if only for a short time proved that "manufactured" did not actually have to be a dirty word.


3 I KNOW WHAT YOU WANT (Busta Rhymes and Mariah Carey)

The "oh shit how do we make Mariah cool again" campaign shifts into yet another gear this week. After hitting a lowly Number 17 back in April with the Cam'ron featuring Boy (I Need You), the faded diva makes a spectacular return to the Top 3, this time as the featured contributor to this new single from Busta Rhymes. Of course arguments will rage back and forth over just who is responsible for the performance of this track but there is no denying that it has turned out to be a shot in the arm for both acts. First of all Busta Rhymes whose last chart appearance came in February with the Number 16 hit Make It Clap. I Know What You Want shoots him back into the Top 10 for the first time in four years - his last appearance coincidentally also coming thanks to a collaboration with a female singer, namely the Janet Jackson starring What's It Gonna Be? This single also now holds the honour of being the second biggest chart hit of his career, second only to Turn It Up/Fire It Up which was a Number 2 smash in April 1998. Mariah Carey too is reaping the benefits of this latest rap and soul combination. Although she was last in the Top 10 as recently as November with Through The Rain, her last appearance in the Top 3 came in September 2000 when she topped the charts in collaboration with Westlife on Against All Odds. Prior to that her last Top 3 success was way back in 1997 when Honey was a Number 3 hit. For both acts, a smash hit of this magnitude has been a long time coming.

4 THERE THERE (Radiohead)

After two years of glorious silence, one of Britain's more interesting musical acts are back. Following the complimentary Kid A and Amnesiac albums from 2000 and 2001 respectively, Thom Yorke and the boys have returned from the studio with new material and a vague promise to have rediscovered melody (even if Thom still sounds like he is being tortured). As is usual, this most popular of alternative acts also have the obligatory hit single to trail the album and so There There dutifully lands at Number 4, taking in the process the honour of becoming their biggest hit single for five years, matching the peak of No Surprises from January 1998. Comments about its quality and potential for more mainstream success are possibly slightly irrelevant as nobody will argue that this is anything other than a fan base mass purchase, the result of a race to the shops for this eagerly anticipated new material. Those who hate it will do so with a passion without anything stopping the album from racing to the top of the listings. If nothing else the presence of the track in the upper reaches of the singles listing does mean that the band stand a chance of appearing and performing on mainstream pop shows and thus giving the most alternative music around some wider exposure. That isn't actually a bad thing as those with memories of them performing Pyramid Song on Top Of The Pops two years ago will gladly testify.

5 FREE ME (Emma)

At some point it will be time to let all things Spice lie for good. For now the nearly dead horse continues to be flogged. In common with virtually all the band, Emma Bunton was cut loose from her solo record deal with Virgin following the rather disappointing performance of her debut album A Girl Like Me in 2001, in spite of the fact that it did spawn a chart-topping single in the shape of What Took You So Long. Having failed to secure her another one, her management company have taken matters into their own hands, forming their own label and releasing this single under their own steam in an attempt to prove to the industry that the former Spice Girl is still a major musical force. Needless to say this attitude is slightly flawed by the fact that Baby Spice was never by any stretch of the imagination a major musical star. Her rather thin voice is really only offset by her looks but despite her half-hearted sex kitten makeover for this single she remains little more than a bubbly and slightly chubby blonde haired girl next door. In short she is no singer and no sexbomb and much of her celebrity rests on her now seven year old contributions to a long defunct girl band. In spite of this the rather weak Free Me has at least benefitted from a fair bit of hype to nicely land a place in the Top 5 but you will be hard pressed to find anyone who believes this is down to genuine popular appeal or who even expects it to still be in the Top 10 in seven days time. This is a good attempt by 19 to keep their star alive but with even Melanie C, the only Spice Girl with any genuine musical ability, in danger of the chop from her record deal it is surely time to put the Spice legacy to rest. Even my Spice Girls socks now have holes in them. [Terribly negative that wasn't it? The big irony being this single was actually just the warm up for some of her best solo records. Baby Spice was about to truly find her bossa-nova groove].


9 FLY ON THE WINGS OF LOVE (XTM & DJ Chucky presents Annia)

Well despite my speculation last week that Eurovision was not going to rate a mention again, it appears there are two songs on the chart this week which are linked to the contest. The first is from a rather unexpected source. Fly On The Wings Of Love was the song that won in 2000, performed on behalf of Denmark by the Olsen Brothers. It was not a UK hit. It was a hit though with XTM and DJ Chucky, aka Spanish brothers Xasqui and Tony Ten. The pair behind Ten Productions decided that the song would actually make a perfect trance hit, so quite simply they turned it into one. Snapped up by Serious records for a UK release, the track has now become an unlikely but in fairness not altogether unexpected Top 10 hit. Producers please note: taking an already naff song and turning it into a club hit is inoffensive and can often work well. Just leave the established pop classics alone. [This was a far lovelier remake than it was ever given credit for, and the animated video just takes it off the cute scale].


10 STOP SIGN (Abs)

Well it has taken him almost ten months but the former 5ive star finally has a second solo hit single, this, of course, the follow up to What You Got which hit Number 4 in August last year. That single was based on Althea and Donna's reggae classic Uptown Top Ranking and this new single also takes its inspiration from the past, albeit a rather unusual one. Northern Soul was a fondly remembered 1970s club phenomenon, based on a love by DJs in the north of England for a seemingly endless succession of largely forgotten Detroit soul records. I say largely forgotten as the records themselves were rarely mainstream hits, just regional release from small American labels which were imported to this country to feed a cult following. A full UK release for these tracks rarely followed and the handful that did reach the shops rarely became hits, so localised and so restricted was their appeal. Nonetheless contained within the genre is an untapped legacy of some very appealing songs, even though virtually the only one to transcend the genre remains Gloria Jones' Tainted Love as covered so memorably by both Soft Cell and Marilyn Manson. Now we have Stop Sign, originally recorded by Mel Wynn and the Rhythm Aces. Abs' new version of the track takes the 60s stomper and turns it into a modern day pop hit to quite spectacularly good effect. I'd love this to have been a bigger single but you can hardly sniff at a second successive Top 10 track. Not all cover versions are a lazy choice you see, especially when you cover what is potentially a long-lost classic.

15 CRY BABY (Jemini)

Well the post-mortems have been going on all week and further analysis is hardly required here. For the record though, the UKs entry to the 2003 Eurovision Song Contest not only failed to win but instead went the other way, finishing last to give the UK their first ever duck. They can make all the excuses they want about equipment and purists can argue that the judging is supposed to be on the quality of the song and not the performance but the fact remains that the Liverpool pair sang the rather weak song badly out of key and in short ballsed it up totally. Hope then immediately switched to the possibility that finishing last would turn the duo into stars, that the single would shoot up the charts in a sympathy vote and that this would be the best thing that had ever happened to them. As I hinted last week, this was actually rather unlikely given that at the end of the day Cry Baby was not the strongest pop song in the world and Jemini's boy-girl Butlins level cabaret act was not the formula for a new pop act. So it proves that Cry Baby doesn't perform too terribly but at the end of the day the song would have made Number 15 on its own merits even if the pair had come in 10th place with a respectable share of the total. It is after all just two places below the peak of Jessica Garlick's Come Back which was out entry last year and which came in 3rd place in the contest. In short, all the pair have achieved by coming last is to be invited onto more TV and Radio shows than would have otherwise been the case - and of course nobody wants to know about their new single. It seems almost harsh to dismiss the work of the pair in this way, particularly as their chart appearance has followed several years of performing together in the hope of making it big. Sadly sometimes dreams have to run into reality and the reality is that Jemimi are just not good enough, either at Eurovision or in the charts themselves.


Depeche Mode are on a break it seems and so in the meantime the path is clear for members of the early 80s survivors to make a rare attempt to spread their solo wings. Lead singer Dave Gahan has never charted under his own name before but does so now with this solo offering, making a perfectly respectable Number 18 in the process. Prior to this the only member of the group to have had any kind of solo success was Martin L Gore who released an EP entitled Counterfeit in 1989 only to see it declared too long for the singles chart. The "album" duly made Number 51.


A Top 40 debut this week for exciting new Glaswegian act Biffy Clyro who surely deserve awards simply for the name (apparently connected to a Cliff Richard pen one of them owned at school). Their first chart single was The Ideal Height which narrowly missed the Top 40 back in April but a huge step towards mainstream success is taken this week with the arrival of Questions & Answers, their first ever Top 30 hit.

27 HELL YEAH (Ginuwine)

A return to hitmaking after a long absence for Ginuwine. His last credited chart appearance came at the back end of last year when he guested on Fat Joe's Crush Tonight which just missed the Top 40 prior to Christmas. Prior to now the singer had clocked up an impressive run of successive Top 20 hits, the last of which came in March 1999 when the Monkees-sampling What's So Different hit Number 10. That run now appears to have come to an end, not only did the Fat Joe single flop but this brand new single can do little more than creep into the lower end of the Top 30.

29 I LUV U (Dizzee Rascal)

[Perhaps not a superstar, but a debut klaxon anyway for one of the more influential British rap stars] Moving down the listings, the charts this week play host to the debut hit single from Dizzee Rascal, an exciting new ragga track that combines a tale of teenage pregnancy with a bassline to die for and a huge level of interest from the UK hip hop community. Written and produced by the man himself, it is all the more impressive when you discover he is just 16 years old.

30 TRASHED (Skin)

Sadly not the brightest of chart debuts for this single, despite the column inches that have preceded its release. Skin is best known as the former lead singer of Skunk Anansie who represented the raw underbelly of the mid 90s Britpop boom. Their best singles: Weak, Brazen, Twisted and Hedonism were all characterised by the primal but still beautiful yowling of their shaven-headed lead singer. The group signed to a major label in 1999 but as is so often the case this turned out to be the nail in their coffin and following the Post-Orgasmic Chill album they broke up for good. Now Skin is back and ready to prove that she was always the star of the group. The voice remains as distinct as ever, soaring over the production on this track like a very angry bird. Justice would have seen this inside the Top 20 rather than Jemini but such is the way of the world.

34 FEELIN U' (Shy FX & T Power featuring Kele Le Roc)

A return to the charts for the summer for Shy FX and T-Power, hard on the heels of their two hits in 2002, Shake UR Body and the less well-remembered Don't Wanna Know. Kele Le Roc provides vocals on this new single, making this her first Top 40 appearance since her brace of Number 8 hits Little Bit Of Lovin' and My Love from 1998 and 1999.

35 AVERAGE MAN (Turin Brakes)

Finally to bring up the rear, and perhaps sadly so are the Turin Brakes. Their last hit was the Top 5 single Pain Killer which of course shot up the charts by dint of being a one week only limited edition release. It did at least make the duo a mainstream act for a while but sadly it seems that the tactic didn't quite do the trick in terms of making them regular hitmakers and Average Man can do little more than crawl into the Top 40. Let us shed a tear and move on. Did you know that this week sees the release of two singles that between them rank as the greatest records of the year so far? I can't wait to see where they chart...