This week's Official UK Singles Chart

1 BEAUTIFUL (Christina Aguilera)

Syrupy balladry wins out over dance hits once again this week as Christina Aguilera clings boldly on for a second week at the top of the charts, Beautiful thus matching the chart achievements of its predecessor Dirrty from back in November. It means that the comparative stability of the Number One position in 2003 continues, the last 12 weeks having seen just four different singles top the charts. Strange though it may seem this is actually the second time in the last 12 months that we have seen four straight singles have long runs at the top, Will Young, Elvis, Gareth Gates and Darius having between them dominated the charts for an 11 week period between June and August last year. Nonetheless, prior to that you had to go back to the end of 1995 to find a similar period of Number One stability.

2 I BEGIN TO WONDER (Dannii Minogue)

Honours for the biggest hit of the week go to Minogue the younger. Following on from her comeback single Put The Needle On It which hit Number 7 in November last year, I Begin To Wonder makes a series challenge for the Number One position but in the end has to settle for the runners-up slot. Not that this should be seen in any way a failure as it means that the single is the highest charting of the Australian singer's career. This is her 16th chart single in a career that stretches back close on 12 years now, her first hit coming back in March 1991 (Love And Kisses, Number 8). Until now her highest charting single was Who Do You Love Now, a hit for Riva that featured Dannii on lead vocals, the track hitting Number 3 in December 2001. Aside from that, her biggest hit on her own terms was All I Wanna Do, Number 4 in August 1997.


3 MOVE YOUR FEET (Junior Senior)

Not only is it damn good but Move Your Feet is going to buck a few trends in the process it seems. Having charted last week at Number 4, the Danish duo see their debut single consolidate its sales and move up a notch to give them the proud honour of a Top 3 single.


OOH so close. Eminem this week comes agonisingly close to adding another chart achievement to his long list of honours, that of becoming one of the handful of artists to have had two simultaneous Top 10 hits. This is thanks to the continuing success of Move Yourself whose sales have showed little sign of slowing down since it topped the charts just before Christmas. Sadly it seems that the release of the follow-up has been the kick it needed to start heading down the charts, the single dropping out of the Top 10 for the first time since its release, this week landing at Number 14. With this single we leave the 8 Mile soundtrack behind and instead return to the album The Eminem Show which spawned his 2002 hits Without Me and Cleanin' Out My Closet. Sing For The Moment attracted attention from the moment the album was released thanks to its guest star, a certain Steve Tyler of Aerosmith. The track is based around an old Aerosmith track Dream On and indeed the first masters of the album sampled the original directly. Whilst deciding whether to grant permission for the sample to be used, Tyler was persuaded by Kid Rock that he should go a step further and re-sing the lyrics especially for Eminem and indeed this is the version you hear here. It is a cute kind of career circle for Tyler, his last appearance on a rap single having come back in 1986 when he helped Run DMC rework Walk This Way for a global smash hit, creating the single that is credited with helping rap take another step forward towards the mainstream. Back to the present though and Sing For The Moment is yet another Top 10 hit is the result, maintaining Eminem's 100% strike rate in this respect.


7 WORK IT (Nelly featuring Justin Timberlake)

Are there any favours in music that aren't in some way returned? What looks now to have been the final brilliant flash of N-Sync's chart career was their April 2002 hit Girlfriend which gave them their biggest ever UK hit when it reached Number 2. Part of the success of the track was credited to a guest appearance from rapper Nelly. Now the tables are turned as Nelly drafts the white hot Justin Timberlake (you may have heard of his former band) to provide guest vocals on his latest single. Work It is of course Nelly's first hit single since the astoundingly successful Dilemma which topped the charts for two weeks back in October and which is still selling even now, the single falling seven places to Number 66 this week.

8 CRY ME A RIVER (Justin Timberlake)

Well now here is a funny thing. In the same week that Eminem rues his missed chance to have simultaneous Top 10 hits, almost without anyone realising it Justin Timberlake has managed just such a feat. With Nelly's Work It at Number 7 and his own single Cry Me A River just a place below the American star can lay claim to having 1/5 of the ten biggest hits of the week. Justin Timberlake is the first act to do this double since the Manic Street Preachers in March 2001.


I think it was Pete Waterman who in an interview a few months ago echoed one of my own criticisms of Darius Danesh - namely that the most offputting thing about his music is that he is not actually quite as good as he clearly believes himself to be. Maybe that is a strange personal prejudice getting in the way of appreciating the music, I don't know but all the while when listening to his records you cannot help but imagine him sitting back smugly and waiting for the praise to roll in. Anyhoo, this is the third chart single from the Pop Idol runner-up, the follow-up to Rushes which hit Number 5 back in December last year. It is pleasant enough, it chugs along nicely and Darius hoots in tune in all the right places. Even so, the single isn't as good as he probably thinks it is. Is it wrong to find that offputting?


Hooray for the advance of real music. Cult appeal that grows into mainstream success often manifests itself in the sales of a group's singles maintaining a steady upward curve, and so it proves with the Coral. First came Goodbye (Number 21 in July 2002), then there was Dreaming Of You (Number 13, October 2002) and now they better that with this third chart single (actually their sixth release in all) which turns the six-piece into Top 10 hitmakers for the first time ever. Rejoice in that, the boys from Liverpool done great.


19 CAN YOU DIG IT (Mock Turtles)

Have the tastes of the British public grown more sophisticated or do the normal rules no longer apply, no matter how good the record is? There was a time when having a song featured in a TV commercial was an almost instant passport to chart success. Just ask the many soul acts whose songs featured in Levis commercials, indeed just ask Lenny Kravitz whose career went from zero to the top of the charts in 1999 when Fly Away found itself featuring heavily in commercial breaks. The latest company to try their hand at resurrecting long-lost hits are mobile firm Vodaphone. Back in 2001 it was the Dandy Warhols who saw Bohemian Like You re-released and become a Top 5 hit after featuring in one of their commercials. Since the start of the year the company has been running adverts for their Vodaphone Live! service which have featured the catchy tones of Can You Dig It by the Mock Turtles. The track was first a hit in 1991 and was the one and only chart smash for the Manchester band. The fruits of a long touring career that had begun in the mid-1980s it is right up there with Ride's Twisterella as the closest the early 90s 'baggy' sound ever got to pure pop, a shoegazing hit that it was possible to get drunk and stupid to - especially when the guitar solo kicked in. For all that it was actually a smaller hit than most people remember, only hitting Number 18. The group's next single And Then She Smiles crashed out at Number 44 and they disbanded shortly after when singer Martin Coogan (older brother of comedian Steve, fact fans) left to become an actor. So with the Vodaphone advert still on television it seemed an appropriate move to re-release the single but hopes that it would become a smash hit appear to have been dashed slightly as the track can do little more than creep into the Top 20, landing just one place behind its original 1991 peak. Still if nothing else it is a joy to see what has been for too long an unlauded classic back in the charts. Is it the turn of Gay Dad next?

24 MO' FIRE (Bad Company UK/Rawhill Cru)

A hit re-release for a club hit from 2002 which failed to quite do the business commercially last year. The Rawhill Cru are the latest project from MC Navigator, an early drum n' bass pioneer and one of the first to go mainstream, securing himself a presenting slot on Radio One's 1 In The Jungle show between 1994 and 1998. His latest project sees him attempting to fuse Ragga with Drum N' Bass, something that isn't as far-fetched as it seems given the way both grew from a shared desire to up the bpm and reduce the comprehensibility of the lyrics. Mixers Bad Company were the first ones to get behind the track last year and so get a co-credit on this remix which drags the Rawhill Cru kicking and screaming into the charts for the very first time.

28 BOTHER (Stone Sour)

A chart debut this week for Stone Sour, well over a decade after they first formed as a band. Corey Taylor founded the band in his native Iowa back in 1992 and the band performed steadily to some degree of local success. Major stardom was not forthcoming and in 1997 Taylor disbanded the group, instead joining Slipknot to achieve that success via different a different route. Two years ago Taylor was approached by one of his former bandmates to help with some new material he was having difficulty realising and in a manner that echoes the 1980s Yes reunion they somehow ended up calling all the former Stone Sour alumni together and reformed the old band. Hence this new entry with a song that first appeared last year on the Spiderman soundtrack, the first ever chart hit single for the oldest new band you are likely to hear all year.

32 SUGAH (Ruby Amanfu)

Another chart debut, this time for the soulful voice of Ruby Amanfu, a Ghanaian native who grew up in Nashville. Already (and with good reason) being hailed as the next big thing, her first chart single has perhaps suffered a little from a lack of proper exposure. Funnily enough she first submitted the song as a demo in the hope that another artist would record it, only to find herself signed to a record deal herself. Those who have heard it love it to bits.


Almost five years since their first chart single Cruelty And The Beast, the tenderly named Cradle Of Filth finally get their first ever Top 40 hit. In an attempt to fire up sales of the track they have gone for a gimmick release, Babalon AD having been released for one week only as a DVD single. I don't think it worked, although I'm sure it is impossible for a human being to make noises like that without some form of torture being involved.


Was there a time when comebacks for old groups were a guaranteed success? I'm not sure there ever was, even though Blondie managed it in spectacular style when they topped the charts after almost two decades with Maria in 1999. So far this year we have seen Soft Cell struggle to have hits with their brand new album and now it is the turn of the reformed Bangles to find the public less than overwhelmed by their brand new release. Something That You Said is the first Top 40 hit for the American all-girl group since Be With You hit Number 23 in June 1989. Susannah Hoff's vocals sound as sharp as ever and the rest of the band back her up perfectly on harmonies but the single is in reality little more than a tired retread of the music that gave them success in their 1980s heyday.

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