1 MY LOVE (Westlife)
This week it seems hardly necessary to rave about the significance of the latest Westlife single topping the British charts, given the amount of mainstream attention that the record will have received by the time you come to read this. For the record, though, if one includes September's duet with Mariah Carey on Against All Odds, this is Westlife's seventh single release and one which has little difficulty in maintaining their 100% strike rate of Number One hits. It means that the Irish group have set a new record for the best ever career-opening run of hits. Previous record holders the Spice Girls saw their seventh single Stop peak at Number 2. Westlife are officially the first to have their first seven singles top the charts. Furthermore, they are now only the second act in chart history to have had as many as seven consecutive Number One singles, a feat which means that they can now be mentioned in the same breath as The Beatles when it comes to chart records.
In the face of all this there seems little worth in commenting on the nature of the record itself. It is another ballad you see, another single cast in what must now be seen as the typical Westlife mould and is effectively the same song that they have released every single time so far. It still isn't a bad song, far from it. My Love is the kind of track that has 'classic enduring love song' stamped all over it but you cannot escape the feeling that the appeal of the song is starting to wear off, in spite of the fact that it has been good for seven Number One hits so far. The group themselves are only too aware that at some point they will have to vary the formula a little and have repeatedly promised that there are some more upbeat tracks on the new album. Whether the braintrust behind the group ever let them vary the formula remains to be seen. Meanwhile we await their assault on the Christmas charts for a second successive year. Could a jaw-dropping eighth Number One be on the cards?
2 WHO LET THE DOGS OUT (Baha Men)
Just when you thought everything in life was as safe and predictable as a Westlife record, up pop the Baha Men once more with another trend-bucking chart performance. Since its release at the start of October the single has bounced 13-14-2-4-2 and for the moment shows no sign of slowing down as the barely-comprehensible junkanoo single grows from being a small cult to what now must be regarded as a mainstream smash. Over-analysis would probably spoil what has been a rollercoaster ride so far, so just sit back and enjoy it, pausing only to wonder why the crowds at Tottenham Hotspur football club were chanting the song several months before it was actually released.
6 NUMBER 1 (Tweenies)
Remember back to 1997 and the Teletubbies? Well the BBC is clearly not a corporation content with just one cult childrens show and as a result 2000 has seen the rise of the Tweenies, the family of dolls named Bella, Milo, Fizz and Jake who are set to earn the BBC a fortune in spin-offs this Christmas. One such spin-off is in the form of music. Every single show the Tweenies sing a song and they can now claim to be bone-fide chart stars with the release of this single which raises more than a few eyebrows by landing inside the Top 10. The Teletubbies theme topping the chart was perhaps less of a surprise, given the show's cult nature amongst a more adult audience. The Tweenies appeal is possibly confined more to its target audience, many of whom have clearly persuaded their parents to fork out for the single although it is worth noting that the producer of the track is none other than Henrik Korpi whose other credits include Aqua and the Vengaboys. Certainly Number One is a long way from being exclusively a children's record, especially if you overlook the fact that it is supposed to be being sung by a gang of two year old puppets. If you fancy being disturbed, fire up Napster and boggle at how many people appear to have Tweenies songs nestling on their hard drives.
7 COUNTRY GRAMMAR (Nelly)
[Superstar debut klaxon. He more or less qualifies, right?] Rest assured that this is not yet another childrens single although spookily enough does have links with nursery rhymes. Nelly is 22 year old Cornell Hayes Jnr and the latest US rap sensation to be exported to these shores. His debut single arguably carries on where Jay-Z left off with Hard Knock Life by meshing rap with a cute childhood tune. In this case the inspiration for the single is an American playground rhyme called Down, Down Baby which isn't exactly familiar to people in this country. No matter it seems, the single flies into the Top 10 to ensure that from now on Nelly is the name associated with a mid-West rap star. Not an elephant.
8 COME ON OVER BABY (ALL I WANT IS YOU) (Christina Aguilera)
Heavens, do you think this is Christina Aguilera upping the raunch stakes in the hope that her fellow clean-cut US teenage stars are going to follow suit? Or is that just my hope instead? Either way this uptempo pop track that recently topped the charts in America appears to have given Christina Aguilera's UK chart career a shot in the arm after her last single I Turn To You peaked at a rather disappointing Number 19 back in July. With this single she notches up her third Top 10 hit following Genie In A Bottle and What A Girl Wants.
9 DON'T THINK I'M NOT (Kandi)
The acoustic guitar figure that features throughout this single should be familiar for it is borrowed from Christopher Cross' Arthur's Theme which was a Number 7 hit in 1982 as a result of being the theme to the famous Dudley Moore film of the same name. The lady who sings Don't Think I'm Not may not be as familiar although her songwriting style certainly is. Alongside Kevin "She'kspere" Briggs, Kandi was the creator of TLCs No Scrubs, Destiny's Child's Bills Bills Bills and Pink's There You Go amongst others. Her debut chart hit is clearly reminiscent of those earlier singles but when you have a successful songwriting formula that has worked for other acts, why change it now? This is by no means Kandi's first shot at chart stardom as she was originally one of the members of Xscape, the all-girl trio who never quite managed to crack it in this country, their biggest hit coming in 1996 when Who Can I Run To made Number 31.
13 BEAUTIFUL INSIDE (Louise)
With so much action from new acts inside the Top 10 this week several established stars find themselves languishing lower down the chart than would normally be the case. One such act is Louise who could have been forgiven for expecting another easy Top 10 hit to follow her last single 2 Faced which made Number 3 back in July. Instead she has to be content with a place just outside the Top 10 for the second single from her new album and one which if it fails to do a Baha Men and climb higher is set to become her second smallest solo hit to date. Her only single to peak lower since she left Eternal was her 1996 cover of Expose's In Walked Love which made Number 17.
15 MY GENERATION (Limp Bizkit)
After Take A Look Around gave Limp Bizkit a long overdue start to their UK singles career when it made Number 3 in July, Limp Bizkit are now clearly off and running. My Generation becomes their second chart hit and makes a relatively respectable appearance inside the Top 20. I say respectable as it would be wrong to assume that widespread mass appeal was theirs for the taking after the one-off novelty success of their MI:2 theme. Instead, it is perfectly possible that they will now slip back into a steady groove of mid-table hits [oh boy, was that a misfiring prediction], at least whilst they stick to their uncompromising thrash metal style. At the very least they have performed far better than, for example, Korn who have yet to penetrate the UK Top 20.
20 IRRISISTIBLE (Corrs)
I don't care how lazy it looks, describing this new single from The Corrs as a Fleetwood Mac soundalike is the only way forward for this is fundamentally what the track is, another perfect example of the way the family group have been transformed into potentially globe-dominating corporate rock Gods. Sadly along the way something appears to have been lost in terms of the charm and soul that their earlier work possessed and it appears that I am not the only one to have noticed. How else to explain the fact that whilst their last single Breathless was an easy Number One hit this follow-up can barely scrape a place inside the Top 20. Irresistible may well end up as their smallest hit single since their finally made their UK breakthrough with Dreams back in 1998. It is a shame as the single is actually immaculate, with a stadium-filling chorus and a suitably glamourous video of the kind you remember watching on MTV when you were younger. Where now for The Corrs?
28 LOVE SHY (Kristine Blond)
Back in 1998 there was something of a fad for pushing unknown Scandinavian females as "the next big thing" [still ongoing as of 2017]. Meja was one and Denmark's very own Kristine Blond was another. Ms Blond's only chart hit came in April of that year when the original version of Love Shy staggered to Number 22. For most of this summer the track has experienced something of a revival, thanks to a garage remix that began doing the rounds earlier in the year. It was an obvious candidate for re-release but several proposed release dates came and went without much in the way of explanation. Now the single has finally made a belated appearance in the shops but whatever sensation it may have had earlier in the summer has clearly now passed it by. A shame really as it was a fine pop song to begin with and works just as well as a garage track. Possibly even more so when the sun is shining.
32 THE MAN WHO TOLD EVERYTHING (Doves)
One act whose chart performance hasn't quite lived up to the attention that has been paid to them this year are Doves. Despite acres of press and some very favourable reviews, none of their three singles this year have breached the Top 30. The Man Who Told Everything equals the Number 32 peak of their last single Catch The Sun to rank as their biggest hit to date.
33 ALL GOOD (De La Soul featuring Chaka Khan)
Just to show there is no collaboration too bizarre for it to make it onto record, disco legend Chaka Khan teams up with De La Soul on this single, one which appears to feature more of her than it does the rappers, despite her notional billing as the featured guest star. For De La Soul it is their second hit of the year, following on from Oooh which made Number 29 in July. Chaka Khan has not been seen in the UK Top 40 since August 1995 when she made Number 28 as the guest of Guru on the track Watch What You Say. Since then she has made just one other chart appearance, teaming up with Me'shell Ndegeocello on Never Miss The Water which was a minor chart entry in 1997. Her last run of Top 40 hits came back in 1989 when remixes of I'm Every Woman and Ain't Nobody took her into the Top 10.
36 GREED/THE MAN WITH THE RED FACE (Laurent Garnier)
If at first you don't succeed... Frenchman Laurent Garnier first released The Man With The Red Face back in April but the single could only reach Number 65. Seven months on and the curious hybrid of dance beats and squealing saxophone makes a chart return, this time as a double a-side with the new track Greed. His first Top 40 hit comes almost four years since his chart debut, his first single Crispy Bacon was a Number 60 in February 1997. Not bad for a man who was considered one of the founding fathers of the acid house movement back in the late 1980s.