I Am Very Very Happy
lbum Chart Notes: I was in Birmingham and didn’t get home in time to listen to this live, but I gather that Jamelia’s one-woman quest to make British pop that teensy bit more fantastic continued at number four, which is good, and that Zero 7’s new album entered at number three, which is not so good. Other than that, not much happened. Kay-teee is number one, still.
(Oh, and Hundred Reasons are #20.)
New Entries Outside The Top 20: MC Jig #33 (the non-import version, entering four whole places higher than the import version did last week. Apparently that counts…); Goldfrapp #28 (Stupidly ruddy beautiful title track off their album, and the fourth top forty single off it – possibly more on this later, depending how things go); Starsailor #24 (if the Scissor Sisters’ ‘Laura’ was a lot slower, had some nice strings, and was sung by him out of Starsailor, it’d be this); and Timbaland & Magoo ft. Missy Elliott #22 (god, but Timbaland has a boring voice, doesn’t he? Missy threatens to break the legs of bootleggers. Cos ‘Pass That Dutch’ was so good on its own, wasn’t it? Dunno if Magoo actually does anything. ‘Vibes’, maybe.)
One of Wes’ jingles almost threatens to break out into ‘Lovefool’. But it doesn’t. Bugg-Ra.
Someone else does the DVD Chart that isn’t James King. I don’t know who. The DVD Chart is still a shit idea, though.
Mark Ecclestone, it is. He used to do something on the telly.
THE UK TOP 20: EIGHT NEW ENTRIES – AND SOME OF THEM ARE QUITE GOOD!
20) 50 CENT – If I Can’t
Right, this week is a good week. First off, 50 Cent would appear to have briefly been overtaken as the most famous hip-hop person by… DJ Danger Mouse. Well, he’s the lead review in the Observer, anyway. Tee-hee.
19) BOOGIE PIMPS – Somebody To Love
This Week Is A Good Week pt. 2 – This is still in the top 20. Katie Melua isn’t.
18) BUSTED – Who’s David
Part Three – This was number one two weeks ago. Suddenly, it’s plummeting. Hard. Fantastic.
17) NO DOUBT – It’s My Life/Bathwater (NEW ENTRY)
Part Four – in a staggeringly pointless bit of re-release action, this, which got to #20 all of about three months ago, re-enters at #17. This isn’t so much ‘good’ as ‘amusing’. Nice song, mind, but I still prefer the original. The song it’s bundled with, ‘Bathwater’, is a very good little stomping ska-type thing, but not quite sounding like Reel Big Fish, which can’t be a bad thing.
16) LEMAR – Another Day
Part Five – It’s Lemar! Things can’t be that awful if he’s around, even if this does sound like one of those slow ones that Daniel Bedingfield does. I still haven’t bought Lemar’s album, by the way. I’m going to wait till I can find a promo that doesn’t have that godawful sleeve. Seriously, lovely voice an’ all, but I do not need to see your Rab C. Nesbitt impression.
Wes is doing a pre-recorded interview with Kylie. It is shit. For the purposes of this week, we will try to ignore that.
15) KELIS – Milkshake
Part Six – well, this is quite good, isn’t it?
14) KEANE – Somewhere Only We Know
Part Seven – the Goldfrapp single. In all the scrabbling to proclaim them as King, Queen and Chief Session Musicians of Slightly Pervy Electro-Pop That Gets In The Top 40 A Bit, there’s been something of a move to distance them from their ‘chill-out’ roots. Chill-out music’s a weird thing, a genre of music made worse by the people who seem to tend to listen to it. Bland, unoriginal… Goldfrapp were never quite that though. ‘Black Cherry’ (the song) could be seen as ‘a return to their chill-out roots’, in so far as it isn’t ‘disco’, but that would be to sell it far too short. Alison Goldfrapp’s voice is in full-on angelic mode, dripping dazed and dreamy lines (“All my world in one grain of sand… and I’ve blown it…”) over muted synth lines, with the twisting and escalating chorus and post-chorus… it’s fucking lovely, really.
13) FYA ft. SMUJJI – It Must Be Love (NEW ENTRY)
Not quite Part Eight, actually – nice enough tune, except you can quite blatantly see whoever came up with it thinking “Mis-Teeq crossed with Kevin Lyttle = UNITZ!!!” It’s not as good as either of them though, passable where it should be interesting.
12) VS – Love You Like Mad
Remains quite stunningly awful. Containing reference to “Chaberlet wine.” Is there such a thing?
11) LMC vs. U2 – Take Me To The Clouds Above
Part Eight – Listened to ‘Something’s Gotten Hold Of My Heart’ by Marc Almond and Gene Pitney last night for the first time in at least a decade. It is an amazing record, and the only decent number one of 1989. Can’t remember the exact reasons for the loving, but the vocals by both parties were heart-rending, the backing turned up to 17 at the very least… ‘stirring’ would be the word, I think. Seek out and adore.
10) WESTLIFE – Obvious
Part Nine – Having been outdone by Jamelia last week, this week sees them being yet another addition to the list of records that ‘Hey Ya!’ is going to outlast in the chart. Ha.
9) OUTKAST – Hey Ya!
Part Ten – 17 weeks in the chart.
8) BLINK-182 – I Miss You (NEW ENTRY)
Part Eleven – Best single of the year thus far. Blink-182 are a band who seem a bit insecure about how credible they are. Witness their ‘credible’ side-projects, Boxcar Racer and The Transplants. The way their last single sounded like leading ‘credible band’ Jimmy Eat World. And now… the most beautifully confused song I’ve heard in ages. They’ve decided to do a ballad. All the instruments are acoustic – violins, brushed drums, stand-up bass, that sort of thing. So far, so ‘credible’, so predictable. What you don’t see coming is the vocals. Mark Hoppus (the short fat one) does it like he normally does it, but very hushed and mumbled. Tom DeLonge (the tall thin one), on the other hand, sings exactly the same as he always does. In his usual manner, he pronounces at least one word in a deeply wrong fashion (in this case it’s ‘treason’). The first time I heard him start his verse by squawking “Wherrarr YOHH? And I’M SO SORRY…” I almost felt cheated. Up till that point, it had all been put together so intricately, Hoppus muttering “I miss you, I miss you, I miss you” in the background, then along comes Tom… then the next time I heard it, it worked. This is just how Tom DeLonge sings. Sure, he could try and sound like Turin Brakes or whoever is sensitive or something, but he instead chooses his ordinary “Is it COOL if oi THENK it’s LAME to DAYNCE?” yowl. And it sounds… beautiful? Yeah, beautiful. It does feel like the wrong word, yes – he’s not so much out of tune as ignorant of tune, and so is Hoppus, really. There’s not really any attempt at adding extra emotion or craft to the vocals, they just roll on in a sort of monotone style, but that highlights the lyrics, which, again, you wouldn’t usually call beautiful – “we’ll have Halloween on Christmas,” “I counted all the spiders, catching things and eating their insides” – but in a deeply geeky kind of way, they are. The observation, the care they seem to have invested in them, it’s not showy, but rather suggests that this is just something they wanted to say. It isn’t a ballad for effect or contractual obligation, but because they felt within themselves that this song had to be written. The chorus is DeLonge yelling “Don’t WASTE, your TIME, on MEEE, you’re al, READY, the voice inside moy ‘edd,” then Hoppus mutters “I miss you, I miss you, I miss you…” I’d never have thought Blink-182 were capable of this. That has got something to do with it, but not as much as it feels like it should. It’s overwhelming.
7) BEENIE MAN ft. MISS THING – Dude (NEW ENTRY)
Part Twelve – this is quite good too. It took me a while to write the Blink-182 entry, as you might imagine, so I’ve forgotten what Beenie Man’s verses sound like, but the chorus is quite good, bouncy pop reggae as Miss Thing declares that she wants a dude with a wickedest thang who will do her in his van. I can’t remember much about this song, but I do remember liking that bit.
6) JAMELIA – Thank You
Part Thirteen – See Lemar’s entry, but replacing the bit about not buying it because I don’t like the sleeve with a bit about her album being two quid cheaper in Woolworths so I’m waiting till I can get to Woolworths before buying it. Oh, and ignore the bit about sounding like Bedingfield.
5) KYLIE MINOGUE – Red Blooded Woman (NEW ENTRY)
Like FYA, this isn’t quite good enough. It’s a nice chorus, the echoed “Boyee!” is good, but that bit about “Got me spinning round - like a record!” just really pisses me off. Name-checking old records for the sake of name-checking old records is rubbish.
4) GEORGE MICHAEL – Amazing (NEW ENTRY)
Allegedly a return to form, possibly due it not being as dreadful as his previous two singles. Unfortunately, I can’t remember anything about it other than him singing “I think you’re amazing” at some point. Perhaps I’ll love it next week, I don’t know.
3) PETER ANDRE – Mysterious Girl
Part Fourteen – Southampton were briefly going to appoint Glenn Hoddle as their new manager. You may remember Mr Hoddle from the picture ‘ohdear_200.jpg’, which was a favourite of this rundown a little while ago. As such, his appointment as manager of Southampton would be both irritating and embarrassing to me. Fortunately, a large amount of Southampton fans were also greatly cross at the possibility that Mr Hoddle would be the new manager, and protested quite loudly. The volume of this discontent caused Hoddle to reconsider, as he felt the club would not support him fully. Apparently this doesn’t constitute a backing down, according to him, because he is King Of Making Sense. Instead, our new manager is Mr Paul Sturrock, who’s recently got Plymouth Argyle to the verge of a second successive promotion up the Football League. This is a very good thing, and bodes well for Southampton. To celebrate, here’s what Paul Sturrock doesn’t look like:
I would post his actual face, but he’s quite ugly, and that picture is funnier.
2) DJ CASPER – Cha Cha Slide (NEW ENTRY)
Part Fifteen – this record is rubbish. It is a man narrating dance instructions over a slightly rubbish dance track from a few years ago that I have forgotten the name of. Fatman Scoop can get away with that because the tracks he yells over tend to be quite good, and, well, he’s Fatman Scoop, and has enough charisma to fill the whole of, ooh, Hartlepool at least. DJ Casper sounds like the commentary track to a basketball game on the Sega Saturn. It’s all a bit depressing. But – and this is the crucial thing – it isn’t number one. Because –
1) BRITNEY SPEARS – Toxic (NEW ENTRY)
Part Sixteen – Wes talks to Britney on the phone, and she sounds utterly hammered. “Umm… wowww, yeahhh, uh, I’m… shocked, cos, yeah, I’ve not been, umm, number one, in the UK, in, like, a while… so, yeah, I’m a happy bunny, yesss…” Wes doesn’t quite know what to do. If this were a ‘lesser’ artist, he’d be taking the piss. But this, lest we forget, is The Princess Of Pop, so he ploughs on. She has no idea what he’s asking her. You sense he doesn’t know what her replies are either. This is beautiful.
Oh, and Part Seventeen – finally, a number one worthy of the name. This track is quality from start to finish. It uses a vocoder and gets away with it. It nicks a line off M People and gets away with it. The strings – oh, the strings! Nee-ner-nee-ner! The little guitar noise at the start of the chorus, the way that I can sort of make out the lyrics, except I can’t. The way in which Britney’s growling doesn’t sound like it’s trying too hard for the first time in, like, ever! The staccato-ing of the words in the chorus! The perplexing question of why they held this back till after ‘Me Against The Music’! It’s all so very, very good, and to be honest, the rest of the top five really isn’t much cop, but still… it’s been a very good week. A very good week indeed.