1 KEEP ON MOVIN' (Five)
Now this change of hands at the top of the chart wasn't totally unexpected but nonetheless you could have been forgiven for expecting Westlife to maintain their dominance at the top for at least another week or so. As it turns out Flying Without Wings demonstrates less, er Wings than any of their hits so far and dips to Number 4 this week, leaving the way open for Five to claim the crown. In topping the chart at long last Five have finally broken what might be regarded as an extraordinary jinx. As a pop band with a large and dedicated following they have for a long time been expected to crash in at the top of the chart with any one of a number of singles, all of which had been marketed as dead-cert chart toppers. Yet every single time they appear to have fallen at the final hurdle. In June 1998 Got The Feelin' stalled at Number 3, stuck behind the world cup duo of Three Lions and Vindaloo. They tried again in September that year - Everybody Get Up landed at Number 2 whilst All Saints claimed the honour of having the 700th Number One single with Booty Call. Their seasonal offering Until The Time Is Through was expected to land top honours but its release coincided with Cher's seven-week run at the top and they hit Number 2 again. Finally, as if you couldn't see a pattern developing, their last single If Ya Getting Down was released in the middle of July - right in the middle of Ricky Martin mania. Another Number 2 hit was their only reward. Hence you get the feeling that the celebrations surrounding the chart position of this single will be louder than most, the soft-rock aping track giving Five their first ever Number One with their seventh single release. RCA records can permit themselves a quiet moment of celebration as well as Keep On Movin' is the third successive Number One single on the famous old label, both Westlife and Christina Aguilera also being part of the same sequence of catalogue numbers.
2 IF I COULD TURN BACK THE HANDS OF TIME (R Kelly)
It is worth noting with a smile that there are two climbers inside the Top 10 this week. R Kelly moving up to slide into second place with this heart-wrenching ballad. Those with memories for detail will recall that this isn't the first time an R Kelly ballad has managed to steadily grow in appeal - I Believe I Can Fly actually had a strange path to the top of the charts in 1997, entering at Number 2, falling back to Number 5 before going on to top the charts for three weeks. If he is to hit the top with this single he may have to be patient. Next week's chart of course will see the results of the much-heralded battle of the Spice Girls with Geri Halliwell and Emma Bunton both releasing singles on the same day. Far be it for me to pour cold water on the hype but it doesn't take a marketing genius to work out which one is going to come out on top...
5 HEARTBREAKER (Mariah Carey)
Be honest now. Hip hop Mariah is always a more appealing prospect than torch singer Marah isn't it? Powerful though those lungs of hers are, the more time she spends making pop records the better as far as I am concerned. Replete with a video and single sleeve in which she wears - well not very much really - Mariah Carey hits the dancefloor in tandem with Jay-Z and positively sparkles with what has to be one of her best singles for years. In a stroke it beats the Number 16 peak scaled by I Still Believe back in April this year. Not that she needs worry but this represents a pleasing return to form - I Still Believe was actually only her second single not to make the Top 10 in the UK since 1993 and Heartbreaker is now her 11th Top 5 hit.
7 I TRY (Macy Gray)
As for the second Top 10 climber this week? No real surprises as Macy Gray continues the upwardly mobile path she has been treading ever since I Try made its debut a month ago. Over the past week I've received a number of pieces of email saying "Aha, this proves record companies have it wrong and shows how Macy Gray is going to sell far more records by having the appeal of her single grow in stages." Well yes and no, the fact that the record is showing a great deal of chart longevity will certainly do sales of Macy Gray's album no harm at all but in actual fact that behaviour of the single isn't too far removed from other trend-bucking hits this year such as No Scrubs and That Don't Impress Me Much. All were singles that were marketed initially to strong chart placings but which then took on a life of their own and crossed over to far more people than anyone could have predicted. If a record is going to appeal to a far wider audience than expected then there is still absolutely nothing wrong with it going straight in at Number 3. The bigger the splash, the greater the chances of getting noticed in the first place.
9 NOT OVER YOU YET (Diana Ross)
Speaking of making a splash, isn't it funny how with just one trip through Heathrow Airport Diana Ross has generated more publicity for herself than she has managed in years? Your task for this week is to speculate whether or not the attendant fuss behind her arrest last month has helped this single at all. I'd suggest that there is every chance Not Over You Yet would have been massive regardless as just like Cher a year ago Diana Ross has shown that late 90s dance music can welcome her with open arms. Hence this new single is one of the most appealing dance singles of the week, a warm slinky groove over which one of the most famous voices in popular music breathes a tale of lost love and longing. In an instant it has become her biggest hit single in many a long year, returning her to the Top 10 for the first time since One Shining Moment peaked at Number 10 back in June 1992. For all her superstar status Diana Ross hasn't had that many massive hits in recent years and looking back further you can see that Not Over You Yet is only her 9th Top 10 hit single since 1980. All in all you have to be impressed with the production of the single, the execution of the concept and maybe also offer up a vote of thanks to the female security guard at Heathrow Airport without whom the splash made by this single could have been so much smaller.
12 JUMP N' SHOUT (Basement Jaxx)
Three singles in and the Basement Jaxx formula shows no sign of tiring even if this new single hasn't quite managed to scale the heights of Red Alert and Rendez-Vu and just falls short of a place in the Top 10. High powered ragga collides with a frantic beat and downright bizarre instrumentation (are those really Turkish pipes in the mix this time) to create another nicely packaged party staple.
15 BUDDY X '99 (Dreem Team vs. Neneh Cherry)
The origins of this single date back from Neneh Cherry's crap period. Late 1992 marked the release of her second album Homebrew which had been so long in the making that it seemed almost totally out of step with the musical trends of the time. This was reflected in the performance of the singles. Whereas back in 1989 she was making the Top 10 with ease with tracks like Buffalo Stance and Manchild, Neneh Cherry could only make Number 23 with Money Love and an even more disappointing Number 35 with Buddy X. Of course the most inspired remixes are always the ones that use unappreciated underperforming singles as their base, as Dreem Team have nicely proven here. Neneh Cherry's vocals remain more or less intact but they are now accompanied by a bass heavy garage beat. Dreem Team have secured the co-operation of Ms Cherry herself who has emerged to help promote the track and the result is what you see here, a Top 20 hit single and the biggest ever chart hit for Dreem Team whose remix work is well known [and who would in short order make the jump to being Radio One presenters, along the way launching the showbusiness career of DJ Spoony] but who have hitherto only ever had one chart single - The Theme which peaked at Number 34 in December 1997.
17 YOU'LL BE IN MY HEART (Phil Collins)
Tarzan is of course the big Disney film of the season and of course these days no smash hit Disney film is complete without a soundtrack written and performed by a guest superstar. Following in the footsteps of Elton John's work on The Lion King soundtrack, Phil Collins has delivered a series of tracks for the film in preparation for his inevitable Oscar nomination next year. Oh yes, and there are probably a few hit singles in there as well. The first release from the project is this ballad which slides nicely into the Top 20 this week. Where it suffers of course is that the single is really nothing more than your average Phil Collins ballad, following the formula that served him well during his days as a solo superstar in the 1980s but which somehow sounds tired and dated at the end of the 1990s. OK so this single has picked up its fair share of airplay and is at the very least his biggest hit single since Dance Into The Light made Number 9 in 1996 but you won't find Dreem Team racing to remix it any time in the next decade.
21 DOVE L'AMORE (Cher)
53 weeks since Believe first exploded onto the chart to give Cher's career an enormous shot in the arm she charts once more with the fourth single from the album. Dove L'Amore is an enormously camp piece of flamenco-driven Latin pop which sadly seems to have been released two months too late. Just imagine this single blaring out of radios at the height of summer, it would have worked perfectly wouldn't it? Even so the law of diminishing returns may not have helped the single's chart position much and Number 21 is probably as good as she could have hoped for. At the very least the presence of Cher on the chart continues the parade of mature female artists to have had hit singles within the last few weeks, Shirley Bassey, Barbra Streisand, Diana Ross, Tina Turner and Cher herself have demonstrated that there is chart life in the old-timers yet. Tom Jones and Paul McCartney (who just misses out on the Top 40 this week) would surely agree.
23 LOVE LIKE A FOUNTAIN (Ian Brown)
Fresh from, er, prison Ian Brown is about to release his second solo album and its arrival in the shops is heralded by this hit single. The usual formula applies here, Brown's distinctive vocals are wrapped around a dreamy psychedelic guitar tune that is as evocative of classic Stone Roses tunes as it is distinctly his own record. Former Suede frontman Bernard Butler has already discovered this year that sustaining people's interest for your second solo release can be a tricky business and so the point is proven here. Whereas a year ago Ian Brown was able to make the Top 10 with My Star he is today only able to creep into the Top 30 with what is almost certain to be the album's biggest hit. Maybe he should have teamed up with Diana Ross to share experiences of falling foul of the law whilst flying...
25 CLOSING TIME (Semisonic)
Reviews for the follow-up to Secret Smile have been universally glowing and indeed Closing Time is another perfectly crafted gem from Semisonic's still rather underappreciated album. Sadly not even the inclusion of a great version of The Air That I Breathe on the CD has been able to turn it into a hit single to rival the Number 13 peak of their first hit. Are Semisonic set to remain a very well kept secret? [For such a famous single and near-ubiquitous airplay staple ever since, this was startlingly the highest position it attained].
26 STILL BELIEVE (Shola Ama)
Back in 1997 Shola Ama was one of the brightest female soul singers in the country and racked up a string of hit singles with almost consummate ease, going Top 10 with You're The One I Love and her cover of You Might Need Somebody. Her last chart appearance came in April 1998, duetting with Craig Armstrong on the Noel Coward tribute single Someday I'll Find You and you get the feeling that the long layoff to record her second album hasn't done her too many favours. Still Believe is a great example of everything that is good about British R&B and her voice sounds as marvellous as ever but her chart appeal seems to have almost vanished. Sad to relate it is her smallest solo single to date.
29 WHEN MY BABY (Scooch)
Introducing Natalie, Caroline, Russ and David, collectively known as Scooch and the latest Mike Stock and Matt Aitken pop creation. Their debut single bubbles along very pleasantly with an infectious party groove that you would expect to give the likes of Steps and S Club 7 a run for their money. In time, that may happen but for the moment this is a rather understated chart debut for the foursome and possibly not quite what their creators had hoped for. Still, give them time. Even Steps were only able to creep into the Top 20 first time out and there is surely room for Steps-lite in the grand scheme of things isn't there?
32 GUERRILLA RADIO (Rage Against The Machine)
Allow me to confuse those of you who try to build up a picture of my musical tastes based on what I rave about and what I pan. Despite my lukewarm reaction to the Foo Fighters single last week I'm a sucker for noisy thrash metal deep down and for sheer out and out primal excitement none are better than Rage Against The Machine. They have been away for a while, their last chart single was as long ago as September 1996 when People Of The Sun hit Number 26. The long gap may also have harmed their appeal - the first single from their second album Bulls On Parade shot straight into the Top 10 - but now they are only capable of reaching Number 32, making Guerrilla Radio their second smallest hit to date. Never mind, at the very least it is good to see good old fashioned metal able to make the chart in the first place and I'm suddenly inspired to annoy the neighbours with the uncensored version of Killing In The Name played at full volume for the first time in ages.
35 HEAVEN SCENT (Bedrock)
His mother calls him John Digweed but to everyone else, he is Bedrock, last seen in the Top 40 in collaboration with KYO on For What You Dream Of which reached Number 25 back in 1996.
39 SEVEN CITIES (Solar Stone)
Solar Stone are a pair of producers and remixers based in Birmingham who have been used in the past by acts such as Jimmy Somerville and the Human League (I kid you not) to work some magic on their singles. This atmospheric instrumental marks their Top 40 debut and isn't altogether unpleasant although the fact that it sounds like an old Jean Michel Jarre track may have something to do with this...