Something of a disjointed chart this week witb the action coming in fits and starts. When it does happen though it is very impressive indeed... just check out the top end. 9 new entries, 9 climbers and 4 non-movers.
No. 34: NEW ENTRY. Carter USM - The Young Offender's Mum
First up this week is the second hit in recent months for Carter, following on from Lets Get Tattoos which made No.30 last November. The single heralds the release of their new album Worry Bomb and is I suspect yet another nail in their commercial coffin. As raucous, political and anthemic as anything the lads have ever released this is still a long way from the days when they were guaranteed a Top 20 entry with every new hit.
No. 31: NEW ENTRY. The The - I Saw The Light
Just over a year since his last hit, Matt Johnson returns with another stage along the way of his bizarre musical development. Since they first hit the charts in 1982 The The have mutated along the way to take in almost every style of guitar-based music. Their latest incarnation sees them following the same path as Jimmy Nail and going country. The new album consists entirely of Hank Williams songs done in Johnson's own inimitable style. Exactly how commercial this will turn out to be is probably irrelevant against what has to be a wonderfully mad idea.
No. 30: NEW ENTRY. Spiritualized - Let It Flow
Something of a surprise here with the first ever Top 40 hit for Spiritualized. The band first charted in 1990 with their own particular brand of ambient indie music but despite a succession of releases had never even broken into the Top 50 before now. Let It Flow stands out as being totally different from anything else on the chart this week, a repetitive collage of noise that is almost hypnotic in tone but of course utterly uncommercial.
No. 29: NEW ENTRY. REM - Crush With Eyeliner
Even hardened fans are now coming to terms with the fact that the Monster album is a bit of a disappointment. The way REM are rapidly falling out of favour is demonstrated by their diminishing singles returns with Crush With Eyeliner looking set to become the bands lowest charting single since Its The End Of The World made No.39 in December 1991.
No. 28: NEW ENTRY. Belly - Now They'll Sleep
Nothing like taking your time to get things right. Tania Donnelley et al score their second hit single exactly two years after the first Feed The Tree made No.32. Despite the current craze for moody indie bands led by women this will probably get no higher, leaving Portishead and Sleeper to dominate the Top 20 in this particular market.
No. 27: NEW ENTRY. Luther Vandross - Always And Forever
Enter the crooner, Luther Vandross with a third hit single from his current album of covers. Following Endless Love and Love The One You're With he turns his attention to yet another soul classic in the shape of this ballad which was first a hit for the British band Heatwave, making No.9 in November 1978. It never was the most exciting of records and Luther does little to add to this. Nonetheless it has already at a stroke [unfortunate choice of words] beaten the No.31 peak of his last single.
No. 23: CLIMBER. Guns N' Roses - Sympathy For The Devil
The current fuss over the opening here of 'Interview With A Vampire' gives Axl and the boys a slight push and may yet prolong the interest in the single which apparently in the context of the film sounds nothing short of brilliant.
No. 22: CLIMBER. Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band - We've Got Tonite
Just to show you can never keep a good song down, Bob Seger finally makes up for lost time as his greatest ever hit becomes the biggest climber on the chart this week. Top 20 next week perhaps?
No. 18: CLIMBER. Scarlet - Independent Love Song
I confess I had all but written this song off when it only managed a slight climb last week, but with the days of the slow growing hit well and truly back it may be that the show is not over yet for Scarlet as they haul themselves into the Top 20. With a Top of the Pops performance due this week as well further progress is not entirely out of the question.
No. 17: NEW ENTRY. Perfecto Allstarz - Reach Up (...Pigbag)
Some of the best remixes around are done by Perfecto, they being Paul Oakenfold and assorted hangers-on. Over the past few years they have transformed many ordinary dance records into something quite magical. Most famous of all was their treatment of U2s Even Better Than The Real Thing which was released as a single in its own right a few weeks after the original had charted and actually outperformed it. Currently on release is a compilation of the teams Greatest Hits. In a similar manner to Ben Liebrand's album of remixes a few years ago many of the tracks have had their instrumental tracks re-recorded to such an extent you are hard pressed to call them remixes - they are more remakes. Such is the case with this single. Despite being titled Reach Up it is in fact a new treatment of Pigbag's 1982 classic Papa's Got A Brand New Pigbag which made No.3 in May of that year. The track has lost nothing with time, a glorious catchy soul-funk instrumental that looks set to dominate dancefloors just as it did 13 years ago.
No. 11: NEW ENTRY. M People - Open Your Heart
Music critics seem united in pronouncing the Bitter Fruit album as something of a disappointment but that has not stopped M People from scoring hit singles. Following on from the No.6 hit Sight For Sore Eyes last November they charge into the Top 20 with this second single. Although this maintains a consistency of hits which has seen them score 6 Top 10 hits over the past two years it has to be said that Open Your Heart appears to be doing little more than recycling a formula, making for a hit that is doubtless well produced and immaculately performed yet is somehow rather tedious.
No. 9: CLIMBER. Bill Whelan - Riverdance
Predicting the path of Riverdance at the moment is something of an impossibility. Despite little mainstream radio airplay the Irish dance performed by the RTE Concert Orchestra continues to edge up the chart, even after stalling a couple of times. Since Christmas the track has moved 32-15-20-17-11-12-9. Now it has broken into the Top 10 there is no telling what will happen next. If the current performance of Celine Dion is anything to go by it could be with us for a while yet.
No. 7: NEW ENTRY. MN8 - I've Got A Little Something For You
The biggest new hit of the week comes seemingly from nowhere. A clever programme of promotional appearances from the latest batch of young swingbeaters gives MN8 the momentum they need to crash straight into the Top 10 with their first ever hit.
No. 6: CLIMBER. (MC Sar &) The Real McCoy - Run Away
A strong climb from the Real McCoy who are looking to at least match the peak of Another Night which made No.2 back in November. For the moment though they are stuck behind an astoundingly log-jammed Top 5.
No. 5: NON-MOVER. Nicki French - Total Eclipse Of The Heart
But for changes at the top this could well have been one of the most static Top 5's for a while. Nicki French spends a second week at No.5....
No. 4: NON-MOVER. Ini Kamoze - Here Comes The Hotstepper
...Ini Kamoze goes one better with his third week at No.4...
No. 3: NON-MOVER. N-Trance - Set You Free
...ditto N-Trance with a third week at No.3.
No. 1: FIRST WEEK. Celine Dion - Think Twice
All quiet except for the Top 2 as Celine Dion finally overcomes Rednex by the narrowest of margins to become the new chart topper and in the process establishing a number of records. For a start it appears that Think Twice has been around for ever. That is because it has. The record was first released at the end of October, entered at No.53, climbed to 42 then fell back to 54 before gaining a second wind and actually entering the Top 40. Even then its progress was slow, taking another month to reach the Top 10 and actually falling back slightly when at No.5 over Christmas. All in all this is Celine Dion's sixteenth week on the chart equalling the record for the slowest climb to No.1 by any continually charting record. By a spooky coincidence the record was established in 1985 by Jennifer Rush's The Power Of Love - the very song which gave Celine Dion her breakthrough hit early last year. Think Twice also sets a new precedent by being the first ever No.1 single to be unavailable on vinyl in any format. I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that this was a factor in the sales superiority of Rednex but now sadly she has done it. I say sadly as I will never apologise for the fact that good old black plastic is still my favourite form of musical hardware and I will always prefer it to CD. The market is still there although it looks as if the format will become increasingly marginalised with the imminent introduction of new chart rules reducing the number of eligible formats for a single from four to three. But I digress, Celine Dion is No.1 and may well hold on for at least another week but there is stiff competition ahead.