1 LADY (HEAR ME TONIGHT) (Modjo)
My it was a long time coming but finally, it has happened. Despite pressure from new releases from the likes of Kylie Minogue and S Club 7, Modjo hold on to their lead and in the process become the first act to spend two weeks at the top of the chart since Sonique managed a 3 week run with It Feels So Good back in June. Thus the streak is broken and we can all stop worrying about the imminent demise of the singles chart until Christmas.
Some people wrote to ask why I didn't make more of the nationality of Modjo as you may have seen it commented elsewhere that they are the first ever French group to top the UK charts, although of course soloists Charles Aznavour and Quentin 'Mr Oizo' Dupieux have done so in the past. One can run the risk of attaching too much significance to that fact. Had the single come out say, 15-20 years ago then it would have been a very big deal indeed, continental hits back then being little more than holiday period novelties. Indeed as I mentioned a couple of weeks ago this was what made the success of A-Ha so unique - they were a pop group from Norway who had suddenly managed mass global appeal that stretched far beyond novelty. Today the music industry (and especially the dance genre) is so globalised that a hit song is a hit song regardless of where it has come from. I don't think anyone bought Lady (Hear Me Tonight) because it was a French record any more than Corrs or Ronan Keating singles are snapped up because they are Irish, particularly as the record is sung in English and to the uninitiated it might as well have been made in Brixton. Good for Modjo that they have topped the charts with this single but I suspect there would have been more of a sensation had they actually done so in their native tongue. Then it really would have been a breaking down of international barriers.
2 ON A NIGHT LIKE THIS (Kylie Minogue)
Cynics may claim that this is little more than a passing second wind in Kylie's chart career but she is certainly making the most of it whilst it happens. After Spinning Around gave her her first Number One single in over a decade back in July, Kylie follows it up with another strong chart entry and yet again one with an accompanying video that has generated more column inches than the quality of the single itself (which in truth sounds like a Jennifer Lopez castoff). Think what you like of the Kylie hype machine, On A Night Like This (actually a cover version of a European hit by Pandora) narrowly missed out on a place at the top but does enough to become her 18th Top 10 hit and the 13th Top 3 hit of her career. If her next single peaks at 25 then we know this was just a second wind. For the moment though let's just sit back and wait to see what she takes off next.
3 NATURAL (S Club 7)
Here is a sobering thought. It is estimated that the total global TV audience for S Club 7's TV shows reaches a staggering 90 million. That is a heck of a lot of potential record buyers. Back in the 1960s The Monkees were created for a similar purpose - to star in a TV show about themselves. They were given songs to sing written by the top writers of the time and became worldwide stars in the process, their singles remaining classics across the generations. That is the position that S Club 7 are in right now with a supply of fabulous songs and a vehicle to perform them that reaches almost twice the population of this country. Back home the hit singles keep on coming. The second single to come from the new album (and the soundtrack of the LA7 TV show) is their first to feature a lead vocal from the group's own dark haired goddess Rachel Stevens and strange though it may seem is in danger of becoming their smallest hit to date if it fails to progress beyond this Number 3 entry point. All their previous four have peaked at Number 2 with the exception of their debut Bring It All Back which actually topped the chart. Natural (penned by Cathy Dennis) borrows its melody from Faure's Pavane, last heard in the charts back in 1998 when the BBC used it as the theme to their world cup coverage.
5 ORDINARY WORLD (Aurora featuring Naimee Coleman)
Boy, where to begin? We talk of Kylie Minogue having her second career wind, well this song was responsible for the mini comeback of another set of chart legends. Duran Duran were in danger of being regarded as a tired bunch of nobodies in 1993 when they released this single as a precursor to what was expected to be a largely ignored album. Instead Ordinary World turned them back into stars, hitting Number 6 in this country (their first Top 10 hit for four years) and going Top 3 in America. The Wedding Album (as it came to be called) became a smash and the original New Romantic heartthrobs found themselves feted as legends until two years later when they blew it with an ill-advised covers album. Now in 2000, it is the turn of Sacha Collisson and Simon Greenaway, best known as Aurora to follow up their February hit single I Can Hear You Calling with a trance version of the 90s classic. What could have sounded awful actually works far better than you would expect, the emotion of the original still in place thanks largely to the vocal contribution of star-in-waiting Naimee Coleman who is doubtless hoping that this single will expand her fame beyond her native Ireland. Put this down as one of the rare occasions when a good record has resulted from what on the face of it seemed a very bad idea.
6 OVERLOAD (Sugababes)
[Pop legends debut klaxon, as the Mark I lineup of the Sugababes invade the charts for the first time. And discover this fame lark is an uphill struggle]. Now this is arguably how you promote a girl band. Dotmusic favourites the Sugababes make their chart debut following an almost understated promotional campaign which saw them do just enough to let people know who they were whilst allowing the quality of the single to speak for itself. The three of them are just 16 years old yet their debut single reeks of the kind of coolness that All Saints used to take for granted. As is always the case, you cannot judge their chart prospects in the face of just one hit single but at the very least they have a Top 10 hit to their name, which is more than the likes of Made In London and Madasun have managed.
7 ABSOLUTELY EVERYBODY (Vanessa Amorosi)
Busy old Top 10 this week isn't it? OK so what have we had so far, the pop legend, the TV supergroup, the dance cover version and the all-new girl band. Must be about time for the Australian singer that nobody has ever heard of. Actually that is a little unfair as if anyone has the potential to be the next antipodean superstar it is Vanessa Amorosi. Absolutely Everybody has shattered chart records in the 19 year old's native Australia and the thundering, storming pop record (easily one of the best of the year as far as I am concerned) has given her a Top 10 single first week out. Those who had the stamina to sit through the opening ceremony for the Olympics will have seen the lady perform the song Heroes Live Forever and indeed she is also booked to round off the games at the closing ceremony.
10 WITH MY OWN EYES (Sash)
The usual Sash formula applies, energetic keyboards and female vocals although this single is less of a dancefloor stormer and instead follows the melodic, melancholic feel of his last single Just Around The Hill which was a Number 8 hit. Slowly but surely Sash is becoming one of the most consistent dance acts ever. This is now his 10th hit single, all but one of which has made the Top 10.
16 TELL ME IT'S REAL (K-Ci and JoJo)
Not all remixes are bad things. Tell Me It's Real was a hit for K-Ci and JoJo in October last year. It was far from one of their biggest, barely scraping into the chart at Number 40, a fine piece of slushy soul just not what the charts needed at the time. Then came the remix, an inspired garage reworking of the track which preserves their vocals, the harmonies and the spirit of the song but at the same time turned it into a stormer and possibly their most appealing (to British ears at least) single to date. Agia Napa loved it during the summer and it is not hard to see why. The new version of the single crashes into the Top 20 to match the peak of Don't Rush (Take Love Slowly) and become their joint second-biggest hit ever. Their only track to perform better was All My Life which made Number 8 in April 1998.
21 C'MON PEOPLE (WE'RE MAKING IT NOW) (Richard Ashcroft)
Apparently a musicologist was called in to analyse the start of Richard Ashcroft's new single, just to prove that there was no danger of any accusations of plagiarism. Said expert found that the opening line of the song was similar but musically different enough to count so we can drop any talk that the "Sometimes I feel like I can't go on.." opening line has anything to do with Reach Out (I'll Be There). Opening bars aside, this new single is typical solo Ashcroft, all atmosphere and impressive chord sequences and the kind of song that lodges itself inside your head (heck, it even has a chorus!). The chart position may not look that impressive but it isn't too far away from the Number 17 peak of his last hit Money To Burn. Quality doesn't always equal commercialism and that isn't necessarily a bad thing you know...
23 SCORCHIO (Sasha/Emerson)
Talk about a dance supergroup. Sasha is well, Sasha, sporadic hitmaker but creator of some genuine 90s classics, biggest of which was the 1996 Number 17 hit Be As One. Emerson is Darren Emerson, recent defector from Underworld and the man whose next career move has been the subject of much speculation. Here then is their first collaboration, a big club hit albeit not one that was ever likely to set the charts on fire. To me it is a collection of strange banging noises. Enjoy it if it is to your personal taste.
26 SPIRITUALISED (Finley Quaye)
The story behind Finley Quaye's first album made for fascinating reading when the full story emerged. One of a battle between the artist himself who had his own unique vision of how he wanted his music to sound and producers Kevin Bacon and Jonathan Quarnby who knew they could make him a star if only they could suppress some of his less commercial leanings. Out of this battle came the 1997 album Maverick A Strike which featured a mixture of both styles, including the Top 10 single Even After All and the radio favourite Your Love Gets Sweeter. His second album has been a long time coming and if nothing else it will be fascinating to see which direction it takes. The first single adds to that fascination if nothing else, an upbeat rocker with a hint of the blues and I cannot for the life of me work out who it reminds me of.
27 YOU DO SOMETHING TO ME (Dum Dums)
Hit single Number 3 for the Dum Dums who have neatly ploughed their own pop-rock furrow this year without causing much of a stir. You Do Something To Me is their smallest hit so far, following their debut Everything which made Number 21 and Can't Get You Out Of My Thoughts which made Number 18 in July. Their debut album is released this week and a support role on Robbie Williams' tour may well help to raise their profile but I'm not holding my breath.
31 WHATEVER (Ideal US featuring Lil' Mo)
A debut hit single for Ideal US, this coming in the wake of their recent appearance at the Notting Hill carnival.
34 ACCELERATOR (Primal Scream)
Second hit single of the year for Primal Scream, the follow-up to April's Number 24 single Kill All Hippies. The third release from the album, it sadly contrives to be their smallest hit single since Cry Myself Blind reached Number 49 in December 1994.