Ding Dong, The Wes Is Dead!
lbum Chart Notes: Having popped out to find that Safeway doesn't sell chapstick (bloody winter), we return to find Blue's Best Of at #6, and they're playing 'All Rise'. Would this be the point where I say that it's actually a really good song? No, it wouldn't, because it's toss. Destiny's Child are #5. 'Lose My Breath' gets its first play this afternoon. They play the clip from a couple of weeks ago where Beyonce talks about the album in the Zombie Dave style except without the subtle swearing. Eminem is still number one. Here's 'Toy Soldiers'. Pompt de pompt de not very good, really.
Really, 'Toy Soldiers' is very boring. It does make me want to hear the original again, though, to see if it was any better. I'm fairly sure it didn't mention Benzino or Murder Inc., which is a start.
New Entries Outside The Top 20: UNKLE ft. Ian Brown #40 (Sometimes Ian Brown is alright. Here, he sounds bored out of his mind as UNKLE do the whole strings and breakbeats bollocks in the back, then get him to do some puns on 'reign'/'rain'. Nearly as bad as when Ja Rule did it); The Thrills #39 (They stop being so feeble, and they have so much more. My reaction to it from a few months back. It still stands); Delerium ft. Sarah McLachlan #38 ('Silence' is recycled for the 2K4 as they attempt to drown Sarah under some unnecessary additional fuzz and plinking—the shell of the lovely original is still there, but the new gubbins really makes it look quite, quite ugly); Fabolous #28 ("I get better year by year, like they say wine do." That's his best lyric, that is. That's his 'dope rhyme'); Anastacia #25 (sounds like Delta Goodrem, in a not very good way); Avwiw Wuveen #24 (Gets her over-strained vowels on in a surprisingly effective manner—not quite "It's not like we're dead", but still… not bad, y'know); and The 411 #23 (So, you get inspiration off Portishead, release best single ever… and this is yer reward? Hmm. Ignore the knockers, though, cos this really is very decent indeed – the sample pretty much ensures they can't put a foot wrong, and they don't. The lyrics remain rather duff, but much less noticeably than before).
THE UK TOP 20: YES! WES IS GETTING THE BOOT! BUT…
20) KHIA – My Neck, My Back
So last week, Ed O asks me "What do you think about Wes getting sacked?" I am greatly excited. I race over to the BBC entertainment news bit.
IT IS TRUE!:
BBC Radio 1's chart show presenter Wes Butters is to leave the station as part of a shake-up of its schedules. Butters will leave in February… And I am ecstatic! If I knew how, I would be cartwheeling all over! Wes! Gone! YES!!!
…to be replaced by DJ duo JK & Joel, who only joined the station in the summer from Manchester's Key 103.
NO!!! The BBC's press release puts it like this: Following a very successful start on the station, JK & Joel will move to the prestigious Sunday afternoon slot. They will host a brand new chart show that will mix their unique take on the world with new download, album and single charts.
To put it another way—Wes hasn't been doing anywhere near enough talking over records, shouting, continually reminding people that this is the only official chart, 'interviewing' the 'stars', plugging his shite competitions ever five minutes, and just generally acting like a bog-standard student radio cunthead. Finally, we can stop pretending the chart has anything to do with music at all. Hey, perhaps they might even bring back the DVD chart! FINGERS CROSSED, POP-PICKERS!!!
19) I DREAM – Dreaming (NEW ENTRY)
Frankie and Calvin from S Club Juniors/8 sing really, really boring tune from some kids telly show about A Stage School (I hope Irene Cara's happy now) in a really, really boring fashion. It's all about dreams, or something. I'd be stunned if anyone cares.
18) PAUL WELLER – Thinking Of You (NEW ENTRY)
Pleasant acoustic strummalong. Some nice trumpets. Distinct lack of scatting, though.
17) MICHAEL GRAY – The Weekend
IT'S THE FUTURE! IT'S THE FUTURE!
16) THE WHITE STRIPES – Jolene (Live Under Blackpool Lights) (NEW ENTRY)
The White Stripes cover Jolene. Basically, you can guess how this sounds. Except live, in Blackpool. I like it. The idea of being 'Live Under Blackpool Lights' is a quite a nice one at this time of year, isn't it? Makes me feel all warm and cosy, which is never a bad thing. Even if it's not a patch on the original.
15) BRITNEY SPEARS – My Prerogative
Geri Halliwell is the guest this week. She's bloody unbearable. Her new single's not particularly great either.
14) JAMELIA – Stop/DJ
Is half-decent, to be honest. Better than Eminem's version of 'Toy Soldiers'. At least she doesn't bring her beef with Peter Andre into it.
13) ERIC PRYDZ – Call On Me
Now in its tenth glorious week. And still I have fuck-all to say about it. I cobbled together a singles of the year list earlier on today… whittling it down to a top twenty really was very, very hard. It's not even the final version. Trouble is, not many of them have seen any kind of extended service in the upper reaches of the chart. The big things haven't been happening up the top end of the chart, somehow. This is one of the most successful singles this year… and I really cannot think of very much to say about it at all. Perhaps that's my fault, though. I dunno.
12) BLUE – Curtain Falls
Oh, and I forgot this existed. I'm a bit hungry, actually. Need sandwich.
11) EMBRACE – Ashes (NEW ENTRY)
Surprisingly absent from the Band Aid record (I reckon they'd have made a very good job of it), Danny Mac, his brother, and the others return with a song that sounds like they usually sound, but also a bit like Doves' 'enthusiastic' numbers. Big, cuddly, anthemic indie. I like Embrace, please don't ever think otherwise.
10) CHRISTINA AGUILERA & MISSY ELLIOTT – Car Wash
Had sandwich. Mmm. Ham, flora, warm pitta bread. Niceness.
9) USHER ft. ALICIA KEYS – My Boo
Usher's had two number ones this year. It just feels like he's filling space till something more interesting happens. And evidently, it's not happened yet, or at least it doesn't feel like it.
8) JOJO ft. BIG HARD SCARY BOW WOW – Baby It's You (NEW ENTRY)
Pleasant junior swingbeat. JoJo has a very nice, proficient voice, and seems to have a bit more sense about her than Britney or others, which is very nice to see. Expect her to be making her money off songwriting when she grows up. Bow Wow… is better than Fabolous.
7) U2 – Vertigo
EXCLUSIVE RADIO 1 LIVE VERSION NOT ON HIT40UK OR THE SMASH HITS CHART WITH MARK SO-CALLED GOODIER WE'RE NOT GETTING DESPERATE OR OWT FUCK ME NO. Lemar covered this for Radio 1, and that makes U2's version pretty redundant, to put it mildly.
6) EMINEM – Just Lose It
I'm not really sure if this is actually any better than 'Toy Soldiers', but then again I've only heard 'Toy Soldiers' the once.
5) McFLY – Room On The 3rd Floor (NEW ENTRY)
So their previous single was like their first single but less good, and now this is like their second single but less good. I sniff a pattern = their fifth single will be a cover of 'Slight Return'.
4) GWEN STEFANI – What You Waiting For? (NEW ENTRY)
Ed O says this sounds like Travel Girl, which it, er, doesn't, really. Instead, it's Gwen getting her 'eclectic' on by going all Europop. It sounds like too much of an appropriation, though, somehow. Like she's not engaging, like it's just some kind of flirtation with the style, like she's not fallen for it but she's showing she can do it, and she says 'ho', and she shouts a lot, and her voice goes all squeaky. It's OK, but Alcazar and 'Don't Speak' are both much better.
Hang on a second.
Alcazar and 'Don't Speak'.
Now that is an idea, no?
3) LEMAR – If There's Any Justice (NEW ENTRY)
Lemar gets a bit too close to his classic soul stuff, and ends up sounding a wee bit like Simply Red, but sung by a man with an utter peach of a voice. The cover of 'Vertigo' really is one of the best things I've heard all year; Lemar and the acoustic guitar are surprisingly fantastic bedfellows. Just leave the voice alone and the spine tingles. He hits the falsetto for the spoken-word bit and it takes yer breath away. The boy has it in him to be something truly, truly great. This ain't quite showing it, though.
2) DESTINY'S CHILD – Lose My Breath
Right, there's The Big Darts Match on in a little bit. Phil Taylor vs. Andy Fordham, the two reigning world champions (darts has two world titles, PDC (on Sky, legs go from 301) and BDO (on BBC, legs go from 501)). Biggest darts match in, ooh, quite a while.
So I'll be off down the pub in a little bit, hopefully not with this ringing in my ears. You lot don't know what you're missing…
1) GIRLS ALOUD – I'll Stand By You (NEW ENTRY)
It is perhaps saying something that one of the major pleasures of my life lately is telling most of the people I meet how much I'm looking forward to the Girls Aloud album. They always think I'm taking the piss. I am unsure why. From what I've heard, it's going to be brilliant…
With the possible exception of this. This is Girls Aloud covering a ballad by The Pretenders for Children In Need. And for all the frequent mind-bending genius of their singles, the Aloud haven't really ever produced much quality in the field of the ballad. This is about as good as you could have hoped. There's a very nice UFO effect in there, some lovely slow bips, slightly wanky guitars—the girls actually sound rather swamped by it all, to be honest. But… in a half-decent way. By comparison to their other singles, it's just a bit underwhelming. But good apart from that.