I Like It, I Like It...
lbum Chart Notes: Gary Jules is the only new entry, at #12. However, there’s a fair few climbers. Joss Stone’s album enters the top 20 for the first time at #14, and Kelis is up to #11 from #21 last week. Most significant climber of all is at #1, where for the first time in yonks it isn’t Dido or Will Young. No, it’s Katie bloody Melua instead. We get to hear ‘The Closest Thing To Crazy’ for the first time in ages, and it isn’t as horrid as it used to be, yet still rather irksome.
New Entries Outside The Top 20: Easyworld #27 (piano ballad. Some can do ‘em, some can’t. Easyworld can’t); and Ryan Adams #21 (someone has heard ‘Born To Run’. OK, but not much more).
THE UK TOP 20 – ISN’T IT GREAT HOW WE CAN LAUGH AT OURSELVES?
20) VICTORIA BECKHAM – Let Your Head Go/This Groove
Remember when this was meant to be huge? Anyway, for the first time on the Top 40 we get to hear ‘Let Your Head Go’, a slice of slightly skewed to bits disco that could be being sung by anyone but is pretty decent tune in and of itself, and certainly much better than dear old ‘This Groove’. Oh well.
19) THE ZUTONS – Pressure Point (NEW ENTRY)
I love January. The first of the Liverpool bands that sprung up in the wake of The Coral to make the top 20, The Zutons have been compared to Dexys Midnight Runners. As with every other band that has ever been compared to Dexys Midnight Runners, what this means is that they have a saxophone. In contrast to a lot of the bands that have been compared to Dexys Midnight Runners, this isn’t that bad. It ticks along very nicely, with the whole outfit going “ah-ooh, ooh, ooh” as a man from Liverpool sings about how he is under pressure or something like that. It just feels like there’s meant to be a lot more happening than there actually is – it’s not a bad way to spend three minutes, but you wouldn’t go out of your way for it.
18) ULTRABEAT – Feelin’ Fine
Think we only get a minute of this this week. Normally I’d whinge about this, but somehow I can’t be arsed.
17) TUPAC ft. NOTORIOUS B.I.G. – Runnin’ (Dyin’ To Live) (NEW ENTRY)
Wes decides to fill us in on the history of Tupac and Biggie: “Tupac and Notorious B.I.G. both died in the late 90’s.” And that’s it. He then announces this song as “again featuring Notorious B.I.G.” Right. This is poo. The beats are slow and clompy and rubbish, there are some samples mixed in at barely audible volume, and the vocals are cut and pasted in so clumsily that you can’t make out the words. Worst of all is the ‘hook’, which is sung in the manner of someone taking the piss out of someone using an artificial voicebox because their own one has been bunged up via smoking. Perhaps it is about peace or the police or G-Unit’s exclusive line of sneakers.
16) DELAYS – Long Time Coming (NEW ENTRY)
Southampton indie types jangling for fun and profit but precious little point, and sounding quite similar to Ryan Adams. A bit more memorable than the Tupac single, but not much.
15) BEYONCE – Me, Myself & I
Beyonce is Ashanti except taller and not necessarily featuring people that are mates with Irv Gotti. Discuss. Or not.
14) WILL YOUNG – Leave Right Now
Best song in the top 20 thus far. I love January.
13) MAROON 5 – Harder To Breathe (NEW ENTRY)
I don’t think I like this, I just don’t hate it, but that reaction feels like liking it because Maroon 5 just seem like the kind of band that will inspire massed ire in people generally. It all sounds a bit Nickelback/Red Hot Chilli Peppers, but crucially not featuring the vocalists of said groups, so it’s a bit better than that. The singer’s voice might be a bit grating if I give it enough time, and the song’s not that great, it’s just… OK. Kind of like ‘Get Over It’ by OK Go, if you remember that. It had that organ line in it, not the one from ‘Swing Swing’, a different one. Anyway, I don’t hate this, and I feel like I should, yet I don’t. I am deeply confused…
12) BLACK EYED PEAS – Shut Up
I hate this though, that’s easy enough.
11) THE OFFSPRING – Hit That (NEW ENTRY)
Back to keyboard lines, this has the one from ‘Don’t Tell Me You’re Sorry’ by S Club 8/Juniors. And underneath it, it’s A The Offspring Single. So here’s Dexter Holland sort-of shouting about ISSUES and GIRLS, and, there’s some sort of OI action in the background, and essentially it’s a somewhat edgier Smashmouth, but a bit better than that sounds. Not making sense this afternoon… can’t be fussed with that.
10) SCISSOR SISTERS – Comfortably Numb (NEW ENTRY)
This is the last new entry in this week’s chart. Coincidentally, it’s also the best one. The Sisters’ album of demos is widely-ish available on the P2P places and is incredibly worth downloading. Disco-glammer-camp-pop of the highest order, bagfuls of tunes and hooks and singalong bits and laugh out loud bits and bits for dancing in your bedroom to and bits for dancing in your bathroom to and bits for accidentally singing out loud in the presence of others… it’s just generally mega-great. ‘Comfortably Numb’ is probably not one of their strongest moments either, as it sort of carries itself along at the same tempo all the way through, centred around this mega-nice chikka-chikk guitar riff and permanently ultra-falsetto vocals. Occasionally there is a bit of ‘ambient synth’ or something like it… lovely video though. Flotation tank and neon-dayglo jellyfish. Warm, cosy, and sweet.
9) SEAN PAUL ft. SASHA – I’m Still In Love With You
And here’s Sean and his piano line loping over the horizon. I’ve just realised that, with the exception of a couple of songs, this is actually going to be a really pretty good top ten.
8) OZZY & KELLY OSBOURNE – Changes
An exception, obviously, but I’ve spent most of its duration thinking of ‘Comfortably Numb,’ so that’s OK.
7) FRANZ FERDINAND – Take Me Out
This week including the intro! Hu-ZZAH! Yes, sounds a lot like lots of other things, and isn’t as good as a lot of them. However, they didn’t go top ten and get on Top Of The Pops and didn’t feature Dancin’ Nick McCarthy And His Fantastic Hair on the guitar (his dance on Top Of The Pops wasn’t the hokey-cokey either, it was him wobbling his shoulders and whacking his left thigh against his right one Freddie & The Dreamers style, and it was SO CUTE!!!). I think I’m rapidly learning to love this lot…
6) 2PLAY ft. RAGHAV & JUCXI – So Confused
And this is climbing two, and the shaking piano and bass lines are really sounding lush this week. The new Wee Kev? Could be…
5) MICHAEL ANDREWS ft. GARY JULES – Mad World
As time goes on, I’m learning to like this too. Perhaps it’s because poor old Gary’s now starting to get The Backlash. All those people who thought this was cool at Christmas are now the ones starting to say, “Hey, this is DEPRESSING! You are DEPRESSING! And your hat!” And they’re all after saying he’s a one-hit wonder, and the poor lad just doesn’t seem that cut out to be a popstar… that video still isn’t much cop. But this song really isn’t that bad, honestly not. There may have been several people who planned for it to be a hit, but it just doesn’t feel like Gary’s one of them. It’s not that depressing either, not by comparison to bloody ‘Changes’ in any case, or most of the bottom half of this week’s top 20. Those things that irritated me once don’t really irritate me any more… it’s OK, you know? And when the rest of the top 10 is this good, this gets carried along too.
4) OUTKAST – Hey Ya!
Is there an exclamation mark? There is this week! Yes, for the first time in ages ‘highest climber’ actually means something, as the centuries old Polaroid-picture shaker climbs FIVE to reach its highest chart position ever. It is cut short just as Andre addresses the Beyonce’s and Lucy Liu’s, because we have a phone-in competition to hang out with Wes and Tim Kash backstage at Top Of The Pops. Possibly an omen that Michelle is still at number one.
3) BOOGIE PIMPS – Somebody To Love
The hits keep coming. Not ‘pans’, genius. “Ooobubb wyerbb zumbaheelurrrv” indeed.
2) KELIS – Milkshake
On the one hand, this completes a run of quality singles the likes of which we have not seen in a couple of months at the very least. On the other, it means Michelle’s still at number one. This is also cut short so we can hear a jingle advertising that Zane Lowe is live from New York next week. Hurrah.
1) MICHELLE McMANUS – All This Time
First things first – in terms of quality, that was a dead good top ten, this being one of only two proper low points. Next week, I’d reckon it’s getting deposed by Pink’s horrid new single (essentially Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s last one, but ‘rock’ instead of ‘disco’). The top ten will also more than likely feature rubbish new entries by Jaimeson, LMC and, if we’re really unlucky, P Diddy & Lenny Kravitz. So, for now, grateful for small mercies and stuff.
Now bear in mind this song was going to be the first single for whoever won Pop Idol this year, not one that was specifically selected for Michelle, and what we have is a smarmy reptile of a song:
This time yesterday,
I thought I was gonna die,
Standing at the edge,
Of my ordinary life
See? Isn’t Pop Idol great? We’ve opened the keys to the celebrity factory! For YOU, yes YOU ordinary person! Because you WANT to be famous, and this is how it is done! GET IT? DO YOU?
What annoys me about the whole “ugh, reality TV is shit” angle is the assumption that there is a distinction between your ordinary human type and the ‘proper celebrity’. ‘All This Time’ is a moany piece of shit about how hard reality TV type has had to work to get to this, and how all them haters can go ‘n fuck themselves, and is the kind of thing that a lot of reality TV contestants feel obliged to put out (see: ‘Bring It On’, ‘I Can’t Break Down’, ‘Best Of Order’) as if they need to justify their position. Obviously being on television for three or four months helps propel these acts up the charts. But what exactly is the problem? Reality TV talent contests are hard to win, certainly. You’re on prime-time Saturday night with the whole country ready to take the piss out of the way you pronounce your O’s, singing live for several weeks on the spin. Fail to win or reach the final three, and you are forgotten. Fail to release a decent single and you’re down the pan superfast, set as a laughing stock for the ages or as long as people remember your face, whichever is shorter. Better still, you might even end up on one of the ‘auditions’ programmes so people can laugh at you being rubbish at singing Billie Jean. Go away! You are not Brian Harvey!
Myself and Dom were looking at the number ones of the 1990’s the other day, and noticed that the charts were getting dull and number ones becoming consistently pretty dire a fair few years before Hear’Say ever popped up (and ‘Pure and Simple’ certainly beats most of Boyzone and Westlife’s collective output hands down). Why do people get cross? “You can’t be a pop star, cos…” you haven’t done schools tours? You didn’t go to stage school? You don’t even have an AGENT? Yizch!
Yes, reality TV is cruel. It does chew people up and spit them out. So does everything else. How many of this week’s top twenty will still be making music in ten years time? Don’t hate ‘All This Time’ because it’s reality TV. Hate it because it’s smug, snide and sung and arranged in a very boring manner indeed.