Golf (feat. Karen Parry)
lbum chart notes: Eva Cassidy has a new collection of her trilling at #1, and it's the only new entry in the top 20 this week. On account of this slowness, we get played a wide variety of old favourites—'Sunrise', 'Leave Right Now', 'Super Duper Love'… Joss Stone's new album is called Mind, Body and Soul. Oh dear.
And McFly drop to 3, as the Streets climb to 2 and the Scissors are back at number one. They're the new Dido and Melua. But they play 'Laura', which can never be a bad thing.
And today, Jamelia is live in session. On the one hand, Jamelia is a good thing. On the other, it does involve Wes talking. An awful, awful lot. So there will be much blocking out of him.
New entries outside the top 20: Nelly Furtado #40 (the official song of UEFA Euro 2004, sounding about as proud to be associated with UEFA Euro 2004 as Mastercard, Hyundai, Budweiser and whoever else were); Bloc Party #38 (strangely half decent London post-punk—you get the feeling you shouldn't like it, but somehow… you do. Hmm); Mull Historical Society #37 (erratic Scots tunester is probably still a bit rubbish live, but comes out OK here, possibly sounding a touch Midge Ure on 'ooh, science, future, scary' number that hefts and hums its way along in a pretty sweet if unmemorable manner);Velvet Revolver #35 (Audioslave but with hair); Counting Crows #28 (Toy Story got Randy Newman, Shrek 2 gets this. Seems about right); and Snow Patrol #23 (SP get twee in Flock of Seagulls-like manner, but an awful lot better than that might suggest).
The Jamelia live experience is rapidly descending into jam-session hell.
THE UK TOP 20: FEATURING 'GOLFERS'
20) THE BLACK EYED PEAS – Let's Get It Started
Yes, this afternoon we find ourselves typing this in front of the telly while The Open Championship 2004 winds to a close. Hazel Irvine in one ear, this in the other. Hmm.
19) ELVIS PRESLEY – That's All Right
Six new entries up here this week. Phil Mickelson's just hit his second to the front edge of the 16th green, as Colin Montgomerie finishes with a round of 76, 2 over for the championship.
18) JAY SEAN ft. RISHI RICH PROJECT – Eyes On You
A good month or so in the top twenty for this now. Mickelson eyes up his putt as leader Todd Hamilton does an utter beauty of a chip to within a foot of the fifteenth hole. He's 2 clear of Mickelson and Ernie Els.
17) WILL YOUNG – Friday's Child
Will continues to be a serious artist, dressing up for TOTP like he's going to a wedding. Not in a sort of ironic wedding theme, you understand, but because he's looking serious. Jazz influence. Flute. Fucking horrible cover of 'Hey Ya'. Mickelson birdies 16 to get within one.
16) MARILLION – Don't Hurt Yourself (NEW ENTRY)
Marillion's continuing push towards the new millennium sees them sounding like Ireland have entered The Rasmus for Eurovision. With an accordion.
15) KELIS – Trick Me
The incidental music they're using for the golf is 'Somewhere Only We Know', which is bizarrely appropriate if no reason other than Tiger Woods does always looks like he's on the verge of bursting into tears.
14) McFLY – Obviously
Tom's a precocious git who talks about 'the industry' with him out of Busted, Dougie's got a distinctly horrendous voice like the tall one out of Busted, but other than that, they're alright. Mickelson performs more outrageous chipping to stay within one.
13) SHAZNAY LEWIS – Never Felt Like This Before
'Bad-ass tune' it was, then. If anyone can explain to me how this is any better than 'Part Of The Process' by Morcheeba, then please do. She's gone and nicked their singer's dance moves, in any case. Out of nowhere, Todd Hamilton retakes his two-shot lead by birdying the 16th. Here's a picture:
Who says there's no characters left in the game?
12) GIRLS ALOUD – The Show
Then again, golf's idea of character probably involves Lee Trevino.
11) FLIP N FILL ft. KAREN PARRY – Discoland (NEW ENTRY)
Characteristically so-so Northern house banging. Sounds almost exactly like the menu music from Pro Evolution Soccer 3, but ft. Karen Parry. Mickelson doesn't get anything more than par on the last, leaving him leading in the clubhouse at nine under. Hamilton pars 17 to lead by two with one hole left… until Els birdies it to move to within one. They're the only two left on the course, as it comes down to the last hole…
Usher does a jingle about how dancing improves your fitness. Cuff-adjust-a-cise, perhaps.
10) MARIO WINANS ft. P DIDDY & ENYA – I Don't Wanna Know
Officially less interesting than the golf. Els cracks an utter beauty of a drive straight down the middle of the 18th… as Hamilton plonks his in the long grass down the right hand side. Ooh dear. Mario continues to piddle about in the background. Diddy still knows where you live.
9) O-ZONE – Dragostea Din Tei
Right, from the subtitling on the video, 'haiduc' would appear to mean 'outlaw'. Does that in any way relate to Hajduk Split? Anyway—still not on Top Of The Pops. Instead, we got a feature about popular music in New Zealand, which revealed that their version of Top Of The Pops has EXACTLY THE SAME SET, except they have Bic Runga instead of Shaznay Lewis, so they win on that one. Anyway, it managed to completely avoid mentioning the Datsuns, preferring to instead talk about the winner of New Zealand Idol and some godawful band that sounded like Bon Jovi, so they lose in that regard. The Datsuns had one good song, at least. Oh, and then—The Calling. The Moldovan boys woz so fucking robbed.
8) NINA SKY – Move Ya Body
Els hits a beauty of a second, to within ten feet of the flag. Todders slices his second from the long stuff on the right to the long stuff on the left. He's going to need to get down in two, probably to just get a play-off.
7) BRITNEY SPEARS – Everytime
This shit is soundtracking it perfectly. Those strings and that pizzicato tinkle. This song is really good… as Hamilton hits out of the grass, rolls yards past the hole… it's makeable. But not that much. This is stupidly tense.
Hamilton's putt rolls up just short on the left. Els putts for it… it's short! Els pars, Hamilton bogies, and it's a play-off between the hyper-successful South African and the unknown American over four holes for the title…
6) MORRISSEY – First Of The Gang To Die (NEW ENTRY)
Meanwhile, here's Morrissey being nothing at all like Gene. A tale of the doomed youth, as Morrissey lays out his standards for knowing beauty and love—"You have never known love till you have seen the stars reflect in the reservoir"—before embarking on a touching and slightly stinging essay on the fallacy of the glamour of gang culture. The pretty boys who pose on the street, and the leader's feathers in his cap are recited—"the first of the gang with a gun in his hand, the first to do time, the first of the gang to die… such a silly boy… He stole from the rich, and he stole from the not very rich, and he stole from the poor, and he stole from the very very poor…" It's really rather good.
5) JAMELIA – See It In A Boy's Eyes (NEW ENTRY)
Oh. Well, the record version of this is very good, her trilling and a lovely piano line. But, you see, because The Official Chart Show With Wes has her exclusively live in the studio, she does a live version. And it's a special live version, because it's a 'remix'. You can tell this cos after the first half hour of interminable jam there's a squiggly noise and then Jamelia yells "RE-MIX!" At which we get a slightly faster interminable jam. Maybe we'll get the proper version next week. Somehow, I rather doubt it.
4) J-KWON – Tipsy (NEW ENTRY)
And you might have to wait till next week for my thoughts on this as well, cos it was the first time I heard it and I could make out the beat was that slow, rock-crushing one that sounded like 'Fix Up Look Sharp', but I couldn't make out much vocal-wise beyond "E'erybody in club get tipsy." Next week it is then.
3) USHER – Burn
And in the play-off, your winner is…
The Hamster. Well done, sir.
2) RACHEL STEVENS – Some Girls (NEW ENTRY)
And so, following ‘The Show’, it's British pop's second big hope for this year, a teaming of Richard X and Miss Stevens on what is purportedly the theme for the charity telethon Sport Relief (anyone that can find anything this has to suggest it was an appropriate idea, answers on a reasonably sized postcard. Nothing smutty.), but what seems more likely to have been a convenient opportunity to relaunch Stevens' solo career. Now, our American viewers may well have become somewhat familiar with her solo debut, 'Sweet Dreams My LA Ex', a number two single over here last year, which was also garlanded with a fair degree of critical acclaim (not from these quarters, mind, but still). You probably aren't familiar with the second single off the album, 'Funky Dory'. That's because it charted at number twenty-six over here, and also suffered from being slightly rubbish, containing the line "You're like a piece of pop art / I wanna hang you on the wall." Now, for a figure with such high public profile (formerly a member of S Club 7, and regularly voted Sexiest Woman In Britain by people who vote to decide Sexiest Woman In Britain), that's rather embarrassing. Rachel Stevens required a relaunching, and a relaunching on a quite grand scale.
Enter Richard X, the man whose work with The Sugababes on 'Freak Like Me' helped catapult them from has-beens to the leading girl group in the country, and producer of the X-Factor Volume 1 album of last year, which yielded a pair of top ten singles featuring Kelis and Liberty X. Presumably what has happened is Stevens' people commission Mr. X to write the song to turn it all around, a big hit that goes down a storm with the critics and 'the kids', the song that puts Rachel right back in the spotlight once more. At the same time, the profile of the job gives Mr X a shot at the top, right at the top—sure, getting sweet words in your ear is nice, but the number one, the solid gold seal of quality… Plus which, all the singles X had been associated with thus far were bootlegs, covers and splicings of other songs. The opportunity to write a number one, all on your tod, to prove yourself as The Proper Artist, The Hitmaker, not just some bedroom noodle… X must have leapt on this.
The fruit of the labours is, well, awesome. X turns in one of his trademark dark and moody pieces, casting Stevens as the tragic heroine swallowed by the (self)importance of the pop world, the girl who saw the hype and ate it all up. "HEY! STOP! You made a promise, to make me a star… you made a promise, to get to the top…" The verses talk of how "My baby drives a car… he takes me where he wants… he likes to put his old red coats on, he likes to tell me the things he's done, such a strange way of having fun… And Away We Go!" Is this contempt? Or is X fulfilling his fantasy? Is he laughing at it? Is he laughing at us? Is he mocking the concept of pop as cool, or embracing it? The postmodern sneer, or the resigned sigh at the postmodern sneer? And how is Stevens herself reading it? Cos this is the chorus:
Some girls always get what they wanna wanna
All I seem to get is the other other
This won't last for long, not for ever
And the champagne makes it taste so much better better
Some girls always get what they wanna wanna
All I seem to get is the other other
Dreams of number one last for ever
It's the only way to make you feel better
Now… it's possible that X just wrote this with no-one in mind, but that chorus is so specific, so tailored—S Club 7, lest we forget, were bloody huge once upon a time, picking up the number ones left, right and centre, and glittering solo careers were meant to follow, particularly for Rachel, the sex symbol of the group. No one knew what her voice sounded like, but then again, no one really knew what any of their voices sounded like, with the exception of Jo, who always seemed to have the lead vocal, and Bradley, who would usually take the lead when the male vocal was required. 'Sweet Dreams…' was adored by the critics and the public alike, supposed to be bound for number one, and it fell short. 'Funky Dory' sank like a stone… this is the relaunch, this is Rachel Stevens' grand return, and this chorus knows it. Is this therefore an elaborate joke, a mocking of Rachel and her people's quest for fame, or is it wider and less specific than that? Is Rachel in on this? It isn't exactly subtle in its meaning… Is it X biting the hand that feeds him, the company scrabbling for credibility by association with him, while at the same time giving them just what they want—more than they want, perhaps? You can't imagine he was much of an admirer of the brasso'd-up stuff that S Club used to come out with…
God knows. What is true—'Some Girls' is great. Amazingly great. The backing is dark, grimy, and oppressive, but head-bobbingly compulsive, with the shouts of "HEY! STOP!" thrown in to mix it up even further. And that chorus is possibly the catchiest thing this year, this decade even, the opening line almost "Mai-ai hii" esque in the instant memorability stakes, the kind of thing you start instinctively doing the Blockbusters hand jive to the second you hear it. It's so simple, so effective… you can sit and analyse all you want, but this song is even just on the surface staggeringly catchy and enjoyable. You could make a film about it. Someone probably already has.
1) SHAPESHIFTERS – Lola's Theme (NEW ENTRY)
So then, on the face of it, another exceptional pop concoction gets robbed of number one by an unworthy fluke. Cruising around various chart forums, the invective directed at Usher for keeping Girls Aloud off number one was quite something to see. Complaints of "It's becoming just like the US it's all R&B and (C)rap LOL DARREN HAYES—POP!ULAR OUT AUGUST 31st!!!" were commonplace. Now, 'The Show' is better than 'Burn' and 'Some Girls' is better than this (in my opinion), but the general feeling that 'pop' is being robbed of number one by R&B & dance and non-pop and IT IS NOT FAIR… naff off. Cos this here, this is rather good. We have here the kind of tune that gives Dave Pearce a not-utter-shit name every now and then, the one half-decent tune he'll play every now and then in between launching the careers of Ian van Dahl and Flip N Fill. It has this irresistible trumpet snatch, euphorically tooting the chorus line, drum majorettes a-twirling all the way, as this big-lunged gospel gal bellows about how "you turned my life a-round". You can spot it coming from a mile off, the subdued bits for 'verses' opening up through the clouding into the big trumpet parping, the diva vocals that have obviously been added to the original instrumental version for selling purposes… does it matter? Nah. 'Take Me To The Clouds Above' was dreary and dull, with uninspired vocals that just didn't connect with the original at all, a meanderingly sluggish experience. This… has got soul? Sounds wrong… feels about right though. Maybe 'Some Girls' is better, but denying this little beauty its moment just feels very, very harsh.