Radio Ga Ga
elcome to the weekly UK Singles Jukebox. Last week’s winner was undoubtedly Kelis, who trounced the opposition thoroughly despite being described as both a skank and better looking than Beyonce.
The format is simple: we take the cream of UK chartbound pop singles, let the wolves/reviewers give them the once over and tally up the average of the bloody red scoring. Bloodclot…Yu waan tess mi?
Beastie Boys - Ch-Check it Out
Peter Parrish : I’m reviewing the clean version, because I am a precious and sensitive flower…and it’s the only one I could find. Poster ads for this depict a rodent singing its fuzzy little head off into a microphone, which is pretty much irrelevant--but I found it quite adorable. I probably missed the point somewhere along the line. Intriguing references to Klingons aside, n-n-nuh-nuh-not very exciting. Or good.
Edward Oculicz: If you liked “Intergalactic” or “Root Down” or any of their other singles, you'll like this as it's a well-worn and successful template they're using. Personally, I can't see what the fuss is about and find them intolerably awful, their critical praise and universal hipness be buggered. As far as songs whose hooks are based on repeating the beginning sound of a word several times, the standard-bearer is still “S-S-S-Single Bed”. Admit it, their rhymes are crap.
Scott Mckeating: After the lack the focus and decent tunes on Hello Nasty this is a welcome return to form. Good old fashioned fun Hip-Hop in an age of Casio gangstas. Ad Rock rules the roost.
Dom Passantino: It’s a Beastie Boys single. In 2004. What do you expect? The video looks like an Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeout highlight reel.
Dave McGonigle: Turn that frown upside down - summer has arrived! There's a lot riding on this, the first single since Hello Nasty got used as an expensive Frisbee in McG-land. Just as the horn stab throughout the verse threatens to get boring, the Boys bring the organ and the NY block party vibe breaks through the clouds. Old skool like a pair of smelly Adidas, and twice as likely to make you dance in a spasmodic fashion.
The Killers - Mr. Brightside
Peter Parrish: These people look MOODY and have BAD HAIR. As a Cure fan, I am instantly and unwholesomely attracted to this. Alas, I wish the song were a little more interesting. The singer does this, the guitars do that, but it’s hard to care all that much. On the other hand, it’s better than everything else in this abortive nightmare of a musical week. Muted huzzahs.
Scott Mckeating: If you must rehash old played out styles, than at least inject some melody or fun into them. I can’t imagine anyone getting off to this as it’s dull as day old dog urine in a dusty jam jar.
Edward Oculicz: A welcome surprise in the Top 10 from the dronier side of pop.
Dom Passantino: Imagine Placebo with all the androgyny and angst removed and replaced by absolutely fucking nothing.
Dave McGonigle: Well, it's indie, it's guitar-ie, it's not badd-ie...but is there some kind of competition going on, where if you're the 1000th band to re-write “Love Will Tear Us Apart”, you get a holiday to Manchester and Bowie's back catalogue? On the global Manc-meter, more Monaco than New Order.
Drowning Pool – Step Up
Peter Parrish : These people look MOODY and have TERRIBLE DRESS SENSE. As a Cure fan, I am...wait, hang on, why are they shouting at me? I think someone has a few issues with RAGE and ANGST to work out. Blah. Are all the guitar sounds for this kind of band churned out by the same vast production warehouse? I fear the answer is yes.
Edward Oculicz: This could have been all right but the singer needs a cough lolly and someone to give him a big hug and say "You know, it's not all that bad". Rocking hard isn't an excuse for tunelessness.
Scott Mckeating: Chunky. Never liked the last singer and this one doesn’t really stand out from a mile long queue of raspy grumblers either; just another Anselmo wannabe without the white hot rage to bring out. The band appear competent enough, just need a better vocalist. Ho-hum.
Dom Passantino: Broody metal bands should not base songs around riffs that sound like mid-period Offspring. The replacement for that one dead guy gives it some of that Hetfield sore-throat vocal antics, but it’s a losing battle.
Dave McGonigle: Tighter than a mosquito's tweeter and only half as irritating: good job, lads. Grinding guitars? Check. Gratuitous use of the 'f' word? Check? Annoyingly good chorus that prevents me ripping the scalp from its head and making silly jokes at its dura mater? Check, sadly. Will accompany all your trips to Barstow, as the drugs begin to take hold.
Emma Bunton – Crickets Sing for Anamaria
Peter Parrish : This week’s award for most bizarre title goes to... she of the fantastic disappearing surname. Emma is embracing the musical culture of Latin America by producing a cheap and cheerful knock-off of it. With whistles. Lyrically, it flows like an epic primary school holiday essay; ‘and then we got some ice-cream / and then it rained / and then the crickets sang a happy song / and then we went to the beach’. And then our heads exploded.
Edward Oculicz: An inspired choice of cover, delightfully dippy and whimsical, and Emma does well with it. It really fits with the swinging 60s image, she's having fun, the listener is having fun and she doesn't sound like she gives a shit about chart positions while still having respectable ones.
Scott Mckeating: Cheeky cheery pop drivel with a hint of Eurovison from the Buntster who still refuses to give up on her slowly sinking pop career. It’s obvious to everyone but her and her slothful cash siphoning management that a career in ‘presenting’ on some crappy shopping channel is looming ever closer. This single does absolutely nothing at all for me; utter cackosaurus.
Dom Passantino: With Euro 2004 just around the corner, it may be worth pointing out how great us Catholics are at football, and, listening to this, we seem to make pretty good topics for bossa nova single of the year candidates.
Dave McGonigle: Well, she's trying, at least: extra points for the most random cover of the week to Atkins Spice. She's certainly no Astrid Gilberto, though, and if you listen to the track too often, it begins to sound like the “Taco Taco Burrito” song that Cartman's hand sings when it's pretending to be Jennifer Lopez.
Pop! – Heaven and Earth
Peter Parrish : No.
Scott Mckeating: Straight into the charts and straight back out, I sometimes wonder if members of these sort of bands are just fame obsessed vacant tarts or whether they actually believe or like the stuff they pump out. We need Nick Broomfield to follow these fallow minded gogglebox addicted wannabes around the dressing rooms of alco-pop fuelled nightclubs of the UK to get the answers.
Edward Oculicz: The new Steps? I think not, and I consider myself an expert on the subject. Steps were day-glo Abba-esque pop that never succumbed to the easy temptation of cheesy Euro-trance. Pop! have already mined the formula on their first single. Methinks longevity will not be an issue, particularly not with insipid, flat disco-lite numbers like this, in which genuine melody and hookiness has been assumed to come from singing in a shrill fashion. It doesn't, by the way.
Dom Passantino: New Steps, apparently, except Steps were quite interesting, if annoying, and this sounds about five years old, with some really bad faux Europop synth action. Apparently the video is a tribute to the Dance Dance Revolution craze. Yes, I know.
Dave McGonigle: ....or 'The One With the Video Like a Giant Twister Board'. In fact, so enamored was I of said video, I managed to completely forget to listen to the music. For all I know the song sounds like a cover of Metallica's “Enter Sandman” on Jew's harps backed by the Mormon Tabernack.....nah - I'm lying. It's tepid euro-disco. Move along, nothing to see here.
Jessica Simpson – With You
Peter Parrish : Well, at least it’s not her version of “Take My Breath Away”. In an attempt to exorcise that brutal cover from the ears of the planet once and for all, I shall now re-create the original’s magical synth introduction. BOW BOW BOW BOW BOWWWW, BOW BOW, BOW BOW BOW, BOW BOWWWW...
Edward Oculicz: Right, so she goes out of her way to create this zany, dippy persona and yet she insists on releasing these ridiculously straight-laced nothings? Sounds like the last 10 or so years of pop music were played to Jessica's producers, except they were all asleep at the time.
Scott Mckeating: She reminds me of one those life-size fully posable dolls with soft latex orifices that you can buy in Japan for a couple of thousand pounds.
Dom Passantino: Do people actually watch Newlyweds in the UK then? Isn’t it on opposite The Heaven and Earth Show? This sounds like the sort of thing Stacie Orricco excels at, except done by an asthmatic.
Dave McGonigle: Eek. With teeth so bright that I believe they can destroy asteroids, isn't Ms. Simpson (or Mrs. 98 wotsit, I forget) wasted as a pop singer? Shouldn't she be orbiting us, smiling at the Van Allen belt? Whatever, this piece of generica gets rated higher than Pop because: i) someone, however misguided, actually seems to have put some effort into it and ii) I (shocking confession alert!) actually like a couple of the tracks on her current album. But still: the orbiting defence idea is a keeper.
By: UK Stylus Staff
Published on: 2004-06-03