Monday, July 14, 2003

WEEKLY CHARTWATCH: Normally, this last couple of weeks before school holidays is the easiest time to drop a single straight to the top of the charts; indeed, sales are so low that any major artist who can't enter right at number one is in a position where they really should consider giving up. Which means that Madonna's torpid Hollywood crawling to number two should give the former Great One pause for thought. Of course, why she thought anyone would be interested in her experiences in Hollywood in record form when nobody wanted to see them in movie form is still open to debate. The mighty Beyonce keeps her position at the top of the singles listing, and Pink should consider herself lucky to make number three with the 'will this do?' theme from Charlies Angels Full Throttle. Javine trickles in at number four (is she a Fame Academyer? A Popstars Rivalette? Was she in eastenders?) and Eminem can only manage number six - it might be a bit early to start writing him off, but he seems to have started to have the Madonna Palsy; a condition which leaves the sufferer unable to convert column inches into a high chart position. Whatever, Business ain't doing the, ah, business.

Doing humiliating first thing in the morning PA sessions in outer Manchester gyms has rewarded Kym Marsh with an entry at number ten for Come On Over. Really, it's time she accepted with grace that the public have invested all they're going to in her career, and if she keeps sticking singles out she's going to have to cope with chart peaks in double figures. If she's lucky.

Having said which, she's by no means the ark who's run aground furthest up Mount Ararat. Blur's 18 for Crazy Beat would have been disappointing during the days they were still being labelled Scene That Celebrates Itself; We're sure Mick Hucknall will suggest that hitting twenty one for Fake is no major problem (they're all about the albums, see, and they don't have a big company doing promo for them, the Simply Red) but Avril Lavigne's people will be having to take the top off and poke about inside when her newbie Losing Grip can only enter at twenty-two.

Further down, The Sleepy Jackson register enough to make it to number 50 with Vampire Racecourse, and a very small payback for her not-noticeably-well-received Party In The Park set sees Melanie C's distinctly underperforming On The Horizon turn round and rise again (only to 62, admittedly, but last week it looked like her Top 75 time was up altogether).

Beyonce holds the Album Chart firmly between her thighs and bites the head off all comers there, too; in the main battle for hearts and minds between the 70's Throwback Rock of The Darkness' Permission To Land and the 60's revisited beardy Kings of Leon's Youth and Young Manhood, it's the Darkness which comes out the best, entering at two; the hairies manage only five. There's still enough Ocean Colour Scene fans out there to get North Atlantic Drift into number 14 - it's an aptly titled album; wet, windy, in the way and feels like its been around forever. Just htting - as irony would dictate - the early thirties, Suzanne Vega's best of appears further down; Michelle Branch (or what the young vega would have been if anyone had dared suggesting a swimsuit shoot to her) has hotel paper debut at 35.

Even death has its upside: The Barry White Collection has made its way back in to the listing at 68. Robbie William's escapology also re-enters the chart, although he hasn't felt the need to die to get those extra sales. Yet. But we're sure EMI have got a plan along those lines somewhere.

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