Radio Ga Ga
elcome to the weekly UK Singles Jukebox: Radio Gaga. Last week The Streets took the honour of highest rated record with an ‘OK’ rating 5/10 despite being labeled by Dom as ‘tedious crap’. This week, a smattering of legends, chancers and the one, the only Ghostface Killah.
The format is simple: we take the cream of UK chartbound pop singles, get our reviewers to blab on about them and tally up the average of their scores. Let’s have it…
Dave McGonigle: Look, Scooter: if you’re hoping to become cool by association, find someone to hand around with who’s cooler than flippin’ Enya, for fluff’s sake. Exactly why your latest single consists of a bizarre mixture of straightforward Happy Hardcore and great big sodding chunks of the afore-mentioned Celtic ambient pixie is a question that I believe will bedevil scholars for centuries to come. Until the machines take over, that is.
Edward Oculicz: There doesn't even seem to be a joke in this one - they're serious! Wider success has gone to their heads, their air-headed, predictable mid-90s fare was far more whimsical and enjoyable.
Peter Parrish: I was all set to declare this the worst track ever created in the history of all time. Then it faded out and some pseudo-Celtic type thing appeared. It wasn’t an especially great pseudo-Celtic thing, but the fact that it happened at all was enough to throw me off a little.
Scott Mckeating: Sadly not a Jay-Z diss track, but the guy on the mic seriously believes he has skills. The track skids into a sub Enya / Lord of the Rings Elf chant before it belts back into the usual BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! stomp that Scooter use. Cack.
Dom Passantino: GET DOWN MIT DER TENKO PARTEEEE MIT SCOOTER!11111 The only band in existence consisting of three clones of Will Ferrell’s character from Zoolander put out one of those techno songs that only exist in club scenes from American action movies. Business as usual, nosebleeds start…and then Enya turns up! It’s a new age rave! You see, these operatic house tunes usually make me want to start selling cyanide stomped flat with smiley faces drawn on them (qf: Jurgen Vries). But this…well, it’s Scooter, innit? Long may they reign.
Zero 7 feat. Sia
Dave McGonigle: Nope. I liked “Destiny”; no shame there. This sounds like “Destiny” after three weeks on the Atkins diet. Not good, pop-pickers. Next!
Edward Oculicz: I like Sia's voice, but I don't like the way she veils it in breathy restraint. I like Zero 7's musical nimbleness, but I hate their propensity towards abandoning it in favour of coffee-tableism. You could always assume that there are some good songs on their second album, like their first, but on the strength of this dull, listless effort, I don't think I'll even bother downloading. Trance-inducing, and not in a good way.
Peter Parrish: Their website broke on me, so I’m just going to have to guess what this sounds like. To me, “Sommersault” suggests a grim little ode to the days of punishing P.E. lessons; being forced into demeaning acts of physical exercise whilst wearing nothing more than your pants and vest. In the rain. With clogs on. Or it could be something about ninjas, I suppose.
Scott Mckeating: I’m normally quick to put the boot into chillage shit like this, but with both an awesome N.E.R.D. remix and a strong recommendation that this doesn’t suck from a friend this is slowly growing on me. If it wasn’t for that I’d probably call it toothless Morcheeba with a touch of Moon Safari vibes.
Dom Passantino: The worst thing about Zero 7, and this song is a prime example of it, is that you can’t tell if you’ve heard this song already in a cinema advert for mobile phone networks, or if it’s just been written with the intent of being used as such and your mind has just made this great leap forward three months. Guest vocals sound like Morcheeba.
Up at the Lake
Dave McGonigle: It’s been some time since The Charlatans made any impact on me, I can’t remember listening to the last album (couldn’t even tell you its title). Nevertheless, this is an ok-ish slice of stomping, barrel-rolling-let’s-have-a-sing-song Britpop, being ‘a little bit garage’ in the same way that Prince is ‘a little bit funky’. Points off for a guitar solo straight out of Unnecessary Guitar Solos Vol. 1 and a chorus as unwelcome as an after-dinner fart, but at least the band sound committed. A clarification: I mean ‘committed’ in a good way, rather than a ‘padded room with your own straitjacket’ way.
Peter Parrish: You’d think they’d have just taken a few sandwiches or something, but they seem to have kidnapped a 60s rhythm section instead. No-one really wants to hear that during a trip to the lake; why don’t they know this? It should be all silent and tranquil and stuff. Or re-written as a slow Doppler-effect aeroplane drone, interspersed with water lapping against rushes and the insistent yet melodic cry of a thieving duck who wants to steal your cakes. No littering, no dogs, no falsetto.
Edward Oculicz: I'm so indie, we're so indie.
Scott Mckeating: What the fuck is up with Tim’s hair…its proper shit. This starts off like “Fit But You Know You It” and plods along nicely enough with a Parklife swagger. A big thick fingered guitar solo pops up from nowhere spoiling the pop stamping up and down. The Charlatans never quite brilliant, but never quite shite.
Dom Passantino: As they say up in the North Stand: “It’s nice to know you’re here/ It’s nice to know you’re here/ It’s nice to know you’re here/ Fuck off”. Yep, The Charlatans are still around, and now they’re giving us some of that old time rock and roll. Or maybe they’ve just realised that crappy East Coast revivalism was quite popular six months ago and thought they’d bandwagon hop. Who knows/cares.
Irish Blood English Heart
Dave McGonigle: Remember that bit in Spinal Tap where the bass player gets stuck in the pod-thingy on stage. Ever think about what would have happened if he’d never been freed? Wonder no longer: Morrissey’s new single sounds like he’s been trapped in something similar ever since the end of Maladjusted, and he’s just managed to crowbar himself out with a bunch of petunias. Entire musical movements have risen and fallen, the global geopolitical situation has changed utterly – yet Mozza’s still singing about crying havoc and let loose the dogs of war, jim lad! One word for you, LA dweller in darkness: Foo’!
Scott Mckeating: If this had dropped a year and a half after Maladjusted it’d be lynched as the same old shit from the once great Morrissey. But take an enforced break (enforced by the fact that no one gives a flying one) for a few years and then glide back into the English press and suddenly it’s a comeback. Dullness x 10; where’s the bloody riff and the bloody lyrics.
Edward Oculicz: Venomous, but strangely polite with it. Aggressive riffs, but kind of comforting at the same time. Polemic, but in a restrained, resigned fashion. Catchy, though, gotta give it that.
Peter Parrish: OK, so Moz clearly isn’t impressed by current political shenanigans (especially not the Liberal Democrats, who don’t even warrant a mention) and he’s on familiar territory with attempts to distance patriotism from general twatishness, but beyond that I’m a bit lost. Why do “this royal line” still salute Oliver Cromwell? He wasn’t exactly a notorious monarchist, was he? Perhaps his actions ultimately enabled the current batch of muppets to take power, or something. And where does Ireland fit into everything (beyond the birthplace connection)? Oh well. It may be enigmatically historical, but I still love it. Because it’s Morrissey, you see. Bless ‘im.
Dom Passantino: The return of the Mack. He tried to tell you so, but I guess you didn’t know, and baby now he’s got the flow. Flows being what women have during rag week, of course. A return to form, maybe, but we could have been given so much more, a successful attempt at a “talking point” lyric, a slightly less successful attempt at a tune to go with it, but a nice “waarrrrrrrrrrrrggggghhhhhhhhh” sound from the guitar to take us into the chorus.
2 Play feat. Raghav
It can’t be Right
Dave McGonigle: Fabaroonie. Manages to hit the twin heights of being uptown and top-ranking: quite an achievement. One caveat, tho’: next time, try to limit the time that your drunken uncle spends ‘on the mic’. Cheers. Nice one. Appreciated.
Edward Oculicz: Quite an improvement over 2Play's last single, but something of a comedown compared to Raghav's. The female singer is good, she knows how to deliver a hook - maybe next time someone will give her one?
Peter Parrish: It must be wrong, then.
Scott Mckeating: Very familiar indeed. Has this been out before? Raghav has a nice enough voice but the verse by MC Noskillz thoroughly spoils it for everyone. This is harmless audio for daytime commercial radio.
Dom Passantino: She’s called Nail A Boss! Raghav, certainly the best Canado-Indian artist in the top 40 today, returns, hopefully rocking some of that Top Man chic he used to such great effect in the video to “So Confused”. This pretty much sounds exactly the same as “So Confused”, a bit more dancehall, and sadly without that great over-emotional middle eight that we were so grown to in earlier work. Still…Nail A Boss!
411 Feat Ghostface Killah
On my Knees
Dave McGonigle: Right. In the same way that Kosher cuisine ‘features’ dripping slabs of meaty dead pig. Enjoyable, tho’, even though it sounds like GK has been locked in the studio toilet for most of the song and only manages to make it to the mike half way through. Thought for the day: are there any three number permutations left that have yet to become a pop band’s moniker? Mail me.
Edward Oculicz: Classy, well-executed R&B/pop, midway between Sugababes and All Saints. Slightly damaged by unnecessary Ghostface cameo. Note to record companies: if you want your new group to look cool AND resilient, don't make it look like you're trying to prop them up. This song was more than good enough to stand on its own merits.
Scott Mckeating: Ghostface is the Hip-Hop equivalent of a lovely salad dressing; just add to a 12” plate of unappetizing old shite and it becomes instantly bearable for the remainder albeit through gritted teeth. Ghost has these little guest verse narratives down to a fine art and he saves the day from All Saints II.
Peter Parrish: If you’re called Ghostface Killer.. sorry, Killah, does that mean you have the face of a ghost and you kill people? Or is the implication that you pursue a ceaseless campaign of vigilante justice against those of a ghostly appearance? If it’s the latter, I guess you just spend your time harassing goths. Which is pretty cruel, since they’ll barely fight back. This is either about apologies or blowjobs. Or apologetic blowjobs. But manages to sound worse than any of those three options.
Dom Passantino: Despite not having heard it for five years, I’m sure this bears an uncanny resemblance to “Esperanto” by German rappy types Freundeskreis. It’s all good though, that was great, this is great, smoky jazz loops and one of them there post-Kanye chipmunk soul choruses. The 411 add nothing to the track at all (one of them sounds like her out of Spooks, for what it’s worth), but then ol’ Ghostface turns up and does the Ghostface thing, ending the track with “I love you man”. Those rumours just keep gathering momentum, huh?.
By: UK Stylus Staff
Published on: 2004-05-20