lbum Chart Notes: Snow Patrol up 21 to #19. Hooray. And the Super Furries best of is new at #18, despite being quite probably the best record that will be released this year. So obviously they aren't playing anything off it. I would scream, but what's the point?
Tom Waits is new at #16. Nothing is played. But hey, here's Fatboy Slim who is obviously far more massively popular at #14. So we are played “Slashdotdash”. Thank you Radio 1. Jesus…
Usher climbs to #10, Manilow climbs to #9, I go to Safeway cos I need some oranges.
(What I miss: REM are the new number one. Hurroo.)
New entries outside the top 20: Jimmy Eat World #38 (mmm, oranges. And this is very nice, full-bore MTV emo-rock but not laughable, just very fast, loud and infectious. I like this. I get the feeling I shouldn't, but soddit); Bowling For Soup #35 (wow, it's like 2002 all over again! And this lot are still kind of not bad for the kind of stuff they do I suppose well maybe, but as ILX will doubtless be quick to proclaim, 'Eighties Coming Back' did this much better); The Dead 60's #30 (And this is very nice—discombobulated Scouse skank-funk, scattergunning across the dancefloor like the idiot son Franz Ferdinand locked in the attic for not being cool enough. Delightful); Eamon #27 (ignoring Ludacris' failure to make any impact on the top 10, Eamon replaces 'fuck' with 'ho', and, well, he's #27. The sample is very nice indeed, though); and Terror Squad ft. Fat Joe & Remy #24 (the beat—yes. The chorus—yes. The verses—erm… it basically sounds like Fat Joe's just been running for the bus. Which, perversely, doesn't quite work).
THE UK TOP 20: CLEAN, NEAT, READY TO EAT
20) 3 OF A KIND – Babycakes
There's 12 new entries left today. An awful lot of which are terrible.
19) GREEN DAY – American Idiot
It's a live version in session for Zane Lowe live in session live! And it sounds roughly the same as the recorded version but with added 16-year-olds moshing. Joy.
18) GIRLS ALOUD – Love Machine
Not live in session for Zane Lowe. Still just as fantastic as it was last week. And I've just realised what this sounds exactly like—“Return Of Evil Bill”! By Clinic!
A wig here, a surgical mask there… HOW DID I NOT SEE THIS BEFORE?
(N.B. As you've probably already guessed, Nicola's just off the right edge of the so-called 'Clinic' picture…)
17) NELLY – Flap Your Wings/My Place
Why do they persist in playing “Flap Your Wings”? They only like him when he does the ballads, innit? “Dilemma” and “My Place” were number 1, “Iz U” was number 36. Not that his ballads are actually any good, mind, but, y'know. Just saying.
16) DJ CASPER ft. THE GAP BAND – Oops Upside Your Head (NEW ENTRY)
It's “Cha-Cha Slide” but with the blipping augmented by “Oops Upside Your Head”. There are probably some new moves in there somewhere. Whoever it was from the Gap Band that cleared the sample gets a shout out at the end. Which is nice.
15) EST'ELLE – Free (NEW ENTRY)
A somewhat disappointing follow-up to “1980”, the positivity sounding oh-so-close to being a wee bit generic. The beat's a very nice bit of piano-humping, but the verses are all a bit incoherent, the chorus just isn't very memorable at all—it's enjoyable, but it's also a fairly hefty letdown.
14) ASHLEE SIMPSON – Pieces Of Me
I still can't remember how this goes. However, they did play that Big Brovaz single from last week in full earlier on… and it really was rather good, y'know. Now the blokes aren't all "witness our skillz! Collective! Group! South London! Unsigned! Talent! Collective!" they're a whole ton more bearable. But they've been dropped now. And considering how bloody awful all their singles prior to “Yours Fatally” were, I don't really think I care.
13) MARILYN MANSON – Personal Jesus (NEW ENTRY)
Yes, you can guess exactly how this sounds. I can too. Difference is I've just had to listen to it. Oh dear.
12) GOOD CHARLOTTE – Predictable (NEW ENTRY)
Oh no. 'Mature direction'. Oh no. This means they now sound like the Foo Fighters. Here's a piano. Here's some strings. It's not actually that horrible. Except somehow, it is. There's bits where he screams that pull the whole thing right back down again, after the soaringness of the chorus was really good an' all. It's an uncomfortable mish-mash… but give me another two or three weeks, and we'll see what I think then.
11) BRANDY – Afrodisiac (NEW ENTRY)
Hang on, there's a car alarm going off outside. Right, now they've sorted that out—no, hang on, some feller from the other flat wants to borrow me Windows XP disc. This sounded half-decent, but other than that I've totally forgotten. Beyonce with a bit more Mumm-Raa, I vaguely remember thinking…
Something may have happened in the download chart, I really don't care. Oh yeah, that U2 thing. Probably.
10) RONAN KEATING – I Hope You Dance
Seven new entries left. But first, this. Grrr.
9) CHRISTINA MILIAN ft. JOE BUDDEN – Whatever U Want (NEW ENTRY)
Ooh, nice. Souly-funky guitar bump 'n' hustle, Milian's nice and snappy, Joe Budden… is Joe Budden, it's all quite sweet really. Bit second single, I suppose, but none the worse for all that.
8) ANGEL CITY ft. LARA McALLEN – (Do You Know) I Go Crazy (NEW ENTRY)
Or Lara McAllen goes all breathy trance vocalist over the top of “Children” by Robert Miles. With some handclaps or something in the background, and somehow it's actually more than the sum of its parts. I dunno how, mind—it's probably all down to just how good the pianos off “Children” sound, I suppose. The original was better. This is OK.
7) LUCIE SILVAS – What You're Made Of (NEW ENTRY)
It's—The English Delta Goodrem! She wrote “Jumpin’” for Liberty X and has also written for Rachel Stevens and Gareth Gates! Piano! Straining! "Oh-uhwhoaoh-oh-oh!" Tasteful violins that are almost exactly the same as the violins off the Good Charlotte record! Plod! Plod! Plod! Apparently Kristian Leontiou was so good that someone decided we needed a female version. Hurrah, or something.
6) DEEP DISH – Flashdance
I have now decided that this is actually great after all. Still don't understand how it's this high up, though.
5) DURAN DURAN – Sunrise (NEW ENTRY)
They're back, and they sound like Culture Club! No, really! If Culture Club were recording nowadays and had left all that bothersome 'reggae' stuff alone and were just bloody awful… actually, no, it's Stephen Gately's first solo single, “A New Beginning”! But worse. It's one of those things where expensive has been confused for being any good, so there's lot of money here and it's very loud but when your song sounds like it wouldn't be out of place on a Dodgy B-Side that really makes fuck-all difference.
4) KHIA – My Neck, My Back (Lick It) (NEW ENTRY)
Quite-old-now R&B fuck-anthem finally surfaces over here and sounds like it'd kick the shit out of quite a lot of the things in the top twenty so far. The beat is lovely, blipping and ticking along in the Timbaland/Missy style, and Khia herself is marvellous, contemptuous as fuck—"on yo' knees!" Sometimes you hear records where you wonder why anyone else bothers, and this feels like one of those occasions—you hear people like Beyonce or whoever trying to do 'sexy' by sort of moaning a bit, and you want to get a big neon arrow with "THIS IS HOW YOU DO IT!" written on it and point it straight at this. Fantastic.
3) RACHEL STEVENS – More More More (NEW ENTRY)
Right, that whole 'quality' thing didn't get to number one—let's go back to sounding like S Club 7! Anaemic.
2) ERIC PRYDZ – Call On Me
Oh, there's been worse number ones. At this point I'll be plugging my radio programme, 4 till 6 Wednesday morning UK time, www.lsrfm.com, because, well, I feel like it. Come and hear my lovely voice.
1) ROBBIE WILLIAMS – Radio (NEW ENTRY)
OK, this is unexpected, sort of. Remembering that this feller did once work with Neil Hannon, he's decided to adopt the louche, arched eyebrow smoking-jacket persona too—"You might have a job, my dear!" This sounds like Dead Or Alive. Then he starts coming off all “Walk Like A Panther”: "He's stolen my Oscars, he trades on my jokes…" To be honest, yes, this is a surprise. You wouldn't have expected him to come back quite like this. Beforehand Wes 'treats' us to a medley of Everyone Loves Robbie's #1's, which reminds us that “Eternity” and “Somethin' Stupid” both got to #1, as did “She's The One” and (oh JESUS) “Rock DJ”. “Millennium” is half decent, though.
This doesn't sound like any of those. This does sound like The Divine Comedy, Dead Or Alive, “Walk Like A Panther” and the Scissor Sisters, a bit. The key thing is that it just isn't as good as any of them. Yes, Robbie, you've done something different, you've pushed in a newer, odder direction, and it is all distinctive and shit. But why are you expecting me to care beyond, like, the opening minute (which I will concede is very good)? Your singing voice is rubbish, for goodness' sakes, and once we're past the opening minute that's more or less all we get. You go "Ouch", and all I can think of is how much better Roisin Murphy is at going "Ouch"—yes, you are Robbie Williams, and this doesn't sound like any of your singles so far. That is the only respect in which this is a great record. Once we stray from those terms, and we start to compare it to other records by people other than you, then it becomes pretty much OK. Still, if you're happy with that…