1 BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM! (Vengaboys)
Looking back there appeared to be a kind of dull inevitability about this. After their first hit Up And Down hit Number 4 just before Christmas and the essentially identical We Like To Party went one better back in March it was surely just a matter of time before the Vengaboys claimed the ultimate prize of all. So here they are, the third single from the foursome makes an eyebrow-raising entry at the top of the charts, shouldering S Club 7 out of the way just when they looked set for an extended run at the top. The single itself is admittedly slightly more substantive than their previous hits, more of a proper song than anything they have produced so far but with a chorus of "boom boom boom boom I want you in my room..." certainly no less inane. More than that it is difficult to add, certainly even this out and out pop lover is more than a little baffled by the runaway success of this type of bubblegum dance. I remember being at a similar loss to explain the chart achievements of fellow countrymen 2 Unlimited around six years ago and if nothing else the presence of the Vengaboys at the top of the charts proves that it takes all kind of tastes to make a musical culture.
3 SOMETIMES (Britney Spears)
My this girl certainly knows how to make headlines for herself. Alleged breast enlargements, raunchy photo sessions... all of this with just one hit single to her name. Granted said hit single is Baby One More Time, one of the fastest selling records ever and 1999s biggest seller to date (over 1.5 million sold) and still on the Top 40 after 18 weeks, falling to Number 31 this week. Now it is time to see whether she can turn that into a longer string of hit records. Her second release is another big hit single, albeit maybe lacking the impact and sensation caused by her first. Although rather formulaic, Sometimes is an emotion-filled teen ballad as Britney sings right at the very edge of her vocal range about her inner torment at being unable to fully show her man how much she needs him. Debbie Gibson was writing better songs for herself at the same age ten years ago but for now this is the era of Britney Spears and this Top 3 hit was almost assured.
5 I BREATHE AGAIN (Adam Rickitt)
One has to approach this carefully as it would be all too easy to fall into the trap of labelling this single as yet another attempt at stardom by a former soap actor. Admittedly that is what it is. Adam Rickett's fame so far has stemmed from his brief period playing Nick Tilsley in Coronation Street during which time his blonde locks and rippled stomach turned him into a teen sex symbol. When he quit the soap to try his hand at pop music few were surprised although in fairness Rickett himself claims music was always his preferred career direction and that acting was just a means of securing a degree of fame before turning to the recording studio. In fairness the single isn't that special and is little more than a shockingly dated Hi-NRG dance track featuring breathless whispered vocals from the singer. The song, which comes complete with a raunchy video could have been pulled from an old Army Of Lovers album or worse still the b-side of an old Divine record. Still in the world of pop music the image of the singer is half the battle and with Adam Rickett comes his established status as a heartthrob. As a result a wave of 14 year old girls has rushed to the shops to give him a Top 5 debut with his first ever release, making him in hitmaking terms the most successful Coronation Street alumnus to date. Time will tell as to whether he is the next Jason Donovan or merely another in a long line of Matthew Marsdens.
9 TEARIN' UP MY HEART ('N Sync)
These guys you may recall are second only to the Backstreet Boys in terms of worldwide popularity where boy bands are concerned yet it wasn't until early this year than they managed a sizeable British hit. After I Want You Back hit the Top 5 in February they return to the Top 10 once more with another re-release, this time of their first ever single which has been a Top 40 hit before, landing at Number 40 in September 1997. It is one of no less than three Max Martin-penned tracks on the Top 40 this week, Baby One More Time and I Want It That Way the others. The fact that 'N Sync they are currently having hit records in the UK with two year old recordings gives you some idea of how much material they have in reserve and provided they can maintain this momentum there is every chance that there are plenty more 'N Sync hits to come. At least until we have caught up with their American releases.
13 PINK (Aerosmith)
A chance to play "put yourself in their shoes" now. Imagine you are Aerosmith, coming off the back of your biggest ever UK hit in the shape of I Don't Want To Miss A Thing. You have a big concert at Wembley Arena booked but with no new material to help promote it. What do you do? The answer is to turn back to underperforming old material in the hope that it will find a new lease of life. Hence this re-release of Pink, taken from their 1997 album Nine Lives and a single once before at the very end of that year when it could only stagger to Number 38. Second time around it smashes that placing into oblivion, landing just short of the Top 10. Not only does it make Pink the biggest hit single to be taken from the album (beating Falling In Love (Is Hard On The Knees) which made Number 22) but also equals 1989s Love In An Elevator as their second biggest hit in this country. Curiously this isn't the first time the band have benefitted from re-releases of their older hits. After Love In An Elevator gave them their first ever UK Top 10 hit in September 1989 rather than attempt to mine Pump for hits, Geffen records turned back to their 1987 work Permanent Vacation for a re-release of Dude (Looks Like A Lady) which duly hit Number 20 two and a half years after it first made Number 45.
16 MY OWN WORST ENEMY (Lit)
'In' band of the moment are definitely Lit with anticipation high for the release of their first UK single. National airplay has been plentiful for this track and it is easy to see why as the band manage to outdo even Offspring in the sparkling semi-commercial rock stakes. My Own Worst Enemy conjures up memories of both the Sex Pistols and Joan Jett with its catchy central riff and melodic chorus. Just for once the anticipation has been justified and they start their career with a Top 20 hit that may yet prove an enduring rock classic. [It hardly requires me to note that it strangely didn't end up that way. Maybe because there was already one Green Day and the world didn't need another].
19 INSANE IN THE BRAIN (Jason Nevins vs. Cypress Hill)
Remember this guy? Of course you do, Jason Nevins was the man responsible for last year's dramatic transformation of Run DMCs It's Like That which became one of the biggest-selling rap hits of all time in this country. After working behind the scenes remixing tracks for a number of artists he puts his name to another transformation of a classic rap single. This one isn't quite so old, Cypress Hill's first hit single from 1993. The track has actually charted twice before, once in July 93 when it made Number 32 and then seven months later after the group had become stars when it reached Number 21. Now in 1999 this thumping remix commercialises the track even further and helps it improve placings yet again to become Cypress Hill's fifth Top 20 hit.
23 ROCK IS DEAD (Marilyn Manson)
Pretender to Alice Cooper's crown as the master of shock, Marilyn Manson slides nicely into the Top 30 with his/their fourth chart single. This track marks the band's first venture into the world of movies, a sparkling rock song taken from the new Keanu Reeves film The Matrix [never heard of it]. Perhaps disappointingly it falls short of becoming his/their third Top 20 hit, instead falling just short but still beating the Number 28 peak of Torniquet which charted in September 1997.
24 CREAM (Blank & Jones)
If you are a techno wizard then Germany is clearly the place to be at the moment although funnily enough this first chart hit from Blank & Jones is a tribute to the UK nightclub of the same name. Cream is yet another in a long line of instrumental trance hits to have invaded the Top 40 over the last few weeks. Expect there to be more on the way in the next few weeks with releases by ATB and The Space Brothers expected to make the biggest splash of all.
36 UNTIL YOU LOVED ME (Moffatts)
Bizarrely enough back in February the debut hits from both Next Of Kin (British) and the Moffatts (Canadian) made the Top 20 in the same week. Four months later and the second releases from both family acts have hit the chart within a week of each other, and both with similar levels of success. Until You Loved Me isn't quite as catchy as their first hit Crazy and its more limited appeal is reflected nicely in its less than impressive chart performance. Strangely enough at the start of the year I speculated that the battle between Next Of Kin and The Moffatts in the race to become the new Hanson was either going to turn into a long-running rivalry or would end with both acts becoming one hit wonders. For the moment I'm going with the latter outcome.
38 DOWN SO LONG (Jewel)
Despite her superstar status in other territories and her obvious appeal for her blonde bombshell looks, songwriter and poet Jewel hasn't quite made the commercial breakthrough that has been predicted for her for the past few years. Down So Long is only her second Top 40 hit and it fares little better than her first - You Were Meant For Me which scraped to Number 32 on its second release in November 1997. Down So Long hasn't done too badly in terms of airplay but she clearly has some way to go before her star shines in this country.
39 RACE FOR THE PRIZE (Flaming Lips)
Now this will surprise and delight a great many people, the first ever Top 40 single for the Flaming Lips. The Oklahoma band have been together since the mid-1980s and are perennial favourites on the festival circuit but in all this time have never come close to a commercial hit single. Their current album The Soft Bulletin has been gaining some rave reviews and on the back of it comes Race For The Prize with this brief entry into the Top 40, beating at a stroke their only other chart single, This Here Giraffe which made Number 72 in March 1996.