The divide in quality between the ends of the chart all too apparent at the moment with the bottom half consisting of dying hits and an ever-changing hoarde of also-rans whilst any record destined for a big hit it seems just charges in to the top end. 12 new entries, 8 climbers and 2 non-movers.
No. 39: NEW ENTRY. Snoop Doggy Dogg - Gin and Juice
First up this week is 'Mr Driveby' himself [a reference to his legal troubles at the time], the man who appears to be on a single-handed crusade to rewrite rap history (of course with Dr Dre in tow and with the cynics attitude to wonder just who is the real star between them). Gin and Juice is the immediate followup to the Top 20 hit What's My Name but also comes hot on the heels of Dre Dre's own Nuthing But A G Thang on which the Dogg supplied the rap.
No. 37: NEW ENTRY. Cud - Neurotica
One of the most visually striking of all indie rock bands if only for the towering bulk of lead singer Carl Puttnam who at times has been known to delight in striding around his and my home city of Leeds in full regalia with vacant eyed fans in tow. The music they make always has a quirky oddity to it, a style which when they last surfaced two years ago rewarded them with Top 30 hits in the shape of Rich And Strange and Purple Love Balloon. Their first single since October 1992 is more of the same really but is unlikely to be a major hit.
No. 36: NEW ENTRY. Manic Street Preachers - Life Becoming A Landslide
The lack of any fancy limited edition promotion ensures a lower debut than usual for the fourth single from the Manics in recent months. Sad really as the band have yet again shown the touch of genius that lurks beneath their manufactured post-modern punk image and turned out another potential rock classic. They still lack a really big hit - that I suspect is destined to come in ten years time once they have split up and Motorcycle Emptiness is re-released on the back of their greatest hits album. I can be patient for that. [History records they'd be top of the charts within four].
No. 35: NEW ENTRY. Urban Species - Spiritual Love
Debut hit for Urban Species thanks to heavy radio support for this catchy piece of Acid Jazz. It leads me to wonder what is so attractive about the name 'Urban' given that Urban All Stars, Urban Hype, Urban Shakedown, Urban Soul and the Urban Cookie Collective have all had hits - and all since 1988.
No. 28: NEW ENTRY. Texas - So In Love With You
Another fairly standard plod through sophisticated scot-rock although interestingly enough it already beats the No.30 peak of the first single from their album So Called Friend.
No. 27: NEW ENTRY. Carleen Anderson - Nervous Breakdown
Formerly the lead singer of the Young Disciples, Carleen Anderson branches out on her own. This is her second solo single after the first flopped but thank God really that it did, otherwise this stunning piece of soul and jazz may have passed us by. I suspect the public at large may be a little too insular for a record this inventive but I love it anyway...
No. 24: CLIMBER. Gin Blossoms - Hey Jealousy
A strong-ish climb for the Gin Blossoms which may show more potential for next week. I certainly hope so - remember Two Princes climbed slowly at first...
No. 23: NEW ENTRY. D-Mob featuring Cathy Dennis - Why
This track first appeared back in 1992 on Cathy Dennis' last album. As Danny D of D-Mob wrote it he apparently has the say on his release and it finally appears in the charts under his name with Cathy Dennis reduced to the role of guest star. Not that that is anything to sniff at though as it was under this very heading that she first charted back in 1989 with C'Mon And Get My Love. Why has already eclipsed the peak of both previous solo singles from the album to chart which disappointed despite the presence of Shep Pettibone in the producers chair on most tracks. You Lied To Me crashed out at No.34 in August 1992 whilst Irresistible only made No.24 in November that year.
No. 20: NEW ENTRY. Elastica - Line Up
Current darlings of the inky music press, Elastica make their Top 40 debut with a fairly dull piece of indie rock. It's their second single but their first full release as the first was a limited edition of 1500 copies which sold out on the day of release. It's fitting in a way that they should have seemingly replaced Suede in the hearts of trendy music journalists - their lead singer used to be guitarist in the aforementioned glam rockers and now goes out with Damon Albarn of Blur [she has a name!] - what it is to have connections.
No. 19: NEW ENTRY. Shara Nelson - Uptight
Before anybody asks, no it is not the Stevie Wonder song but a completely original track to give Shara Nelson a third Top 40 hit which at a stroke matches the peak of her debut Down That Road in August last year.
No. 16: NEW ENTRY. Cranberries - Linger
I'm slightly ashamed to say that Britain has hitherto ignored the soulful Irish dreamers until now, the Cranberries having issued a succession of singles to public indifference at large. Linger was one of them, first released in July last year and only managing a paltry No.74. America for some reason has taken them to heart and the presence of the track in the US Top 20 has prompted its re-release whereupon it lands straight in our Top 20 to give the Cranberries a long-overdue hit.
No. 10: CLIMBER. Deep Forest - Sweet Lullaby
A climb for Deep Forest to join Enigma in the Top 10 leaving me to wonder just why it has suddenly become trendy to sample Indian tribal chants.
No. 9: NEW ENTRY. Reel 2 Real - Like To Move It
Straight from nowhere come Reel 2 Real to become the first dance act for several months to charge straight into the Top 10 without a previous hit to their name. The last one I suppose was (depending on your point of view) Ace of Base's All That She Wants or Sub Sub's Ain't No Love although both of those were pretty pop songs that may well have hit big without club support which means I suppose that the last pure dance record to manage this was Usura's Open Your Mind a full year ago. [You'll note that is all in lieu of having anything constructive to say about the actual record].
No. 8: CLIMBER. Wendy Moten - Come In Out Of The Rain
Destined to be propping up love collections in years to come, Wendy Moten makes a massive climb. With Celine Dion already in the upper reaches and new singles this week from Meat Loaf and Mariah Carey set to chart big the charts for Valentines week are set to be very slushy indeed.
No. 5: NEW ENTRY. Aretha Franklin - A Deeper Love
Well what a long history this one has. Back in early 1992 Clivilles and Cole tired of the 'C&C Music Factory' tag and released under their own name a cover of U2's Pride In The Name Of Love. The track duly exploded onto the chart, peaked at No.16 and then died a death. It was quickly realised that the flip side A Deeper Love was far more popular in the clubs and had commercial merit too and so a hurriedly remixed version was issued as a single in its own right two months later where it coincidentally peaked at No.16 too. A full two years later the track is fundamentally the same but with the Queen of Soul herself now on vocals. Fuelled by its inclusion in the film 'Sister Act II', it smashes straight into the Top 10 to become what is incredibly only Aretha Franklin's fourth solo Top 10 hit. Leaving aside 1987s No.1 duet with George Michael on I Knew You Were Waiting she has only ever once charted higher and that was when I Say A Little Prayer made No.4 in 1968. I'll go into more detail about this next week but for the meantime she has proved that a Voice like hers is virtually unstoppable.
No. 1: FOURTH WEEK. D:Ream - Things Can Only Get Better
A sluggish week for the rest of the upper reaches with Toni Braxton possibly shut out of No.1 for good. D:Ream still stand firm, now selling well over a quarter of a million copies - an impressive total for this time of year.