Radio Ga Ga
elcome to the weekly UK Singles Jukebox: Radio Gaga. As if Outkast hadn’t got enough praise this year they took the much coveted Chalice of Pop last week from the grips of freshfaced newcomer Taz. What are we doing here? We lift the blouse of six UK chartbound singles, and let the reviewers tickle the fancy of the acts. We are a part of the Rhythm Nation.
Peter Parrish: They’re so upset these days that even the meagre effort required to write a proper chorus has slipped from their flailing grasp. Instead, local man Steve Jones (31) has been drafted in to say “down / down / down / down” in his best post-ironic, water-cooler discussion monotone. Meanwhile, our chief larnyx-botherer continues to find simple joy in elongating innocent vowels far beyond their natural breaking point. To irritating effect.
Edward Oculicz: They get better and better with every release, though to be fair, from "Stay Together For The Kids" the only way was up. They should be bearable by about 2009.
Dom Passantino: So drummer boy wants punky-punk like “Feelin’ This”, the other two want Cure-ism grandiosity a la “I Miss You”, they try both here at the same time, and boy do those flavours cancel each other out. As average a song as you’ll hear all year.
Scott Mckeating: From their very very impressive eponymous album, this is a bit more restrained and ‘musical’ than their expected output and builds brilliantly; I have to give Barker his props once again as an incredibly inventive drummer. DeLonge now pretty much rules melancholic Pop-Punk.
Dave McGonigle: What's their age again? About 35, sadly; although they made the transition from punk scatboys into mature indie rockers on their last album, I yearn for the ye olde pop whiplash of bygone days. “Down” is all well and good, but the only spiky thing about this lot these days is their coiffures.
Peter Parrish: At first I thought someone was trying to channel the spirit of Seal. That’s “It’s the loneliness that’s the killer” Seal, not the sleek aquatic mammal with a torpedo-shaped body and limbs that are modified into paddlelike flippers. In fact, neither was the case, however hard I wished for it. Which is a shame because there’s an unfortunate scarcity of songs about eating tasty fish and dramatically escaping from polar bears, whereas there are plenty of tracks which struggle to overcome their own painful tweeness. And fail.
Edward Oculicz: The worse he gets, the more people are actually professing to like him, even going so far as to waste their money on his records. Why is this happening?
Dave McGonigle: Usher gets all sentimental, backed only by an instrumental quartet he discovered down at his local Italian restaurant (Volare! Weddings, funerals, Bar Mitzvahs; call 718-498-1043, and ask for Janice). He feels that “but we done been fell apart” and “man I don't know what I’m gonna do without my boo booh”. Yup, I know that feeling.
Dom Passantino: Tiny ballad from tiny-headed man. He’s now the world’s biggest pop star you realise? Man, that’s depressing.
Scott Mckeating: The King of RnB singles, he just keeps improving and thankfully the public seem to be appreciating it. Even the cheesy spoken word intro can be forgiven through simple application of the chorus. He may not be as prolific as, or have the range of the urinetastic R.Kelly but the way he flows over the song without Mariahing the notes is so much more the human than your typical singer. When he brings out his Best of compilation y’all better bow down.
Peter Parrish : Featuring the infamously not-racist Cheryl Tweedy, and some other people. They’re not ripping off “Vision Thing” or “My Sharona” this time, but I’m sure I picked up on some vague references to the Beverly Hills Cop theme in there. Perhaps just because I wanted to. Cheryl would certainly have no reason to dislike Eddie Murphy, so that could make sense. God help me, I actually don’t mind this track, I blame the line about underwear. And my terrible opium addiction.
Edward Oculicz: In which Xenomania go all meta, showing that perhaps they are cognizant of the actual REAL sound of the underground, mentioning jumping (do you see, their last single was called "Jump" ha ha) and shunning all conventions of classic pop songwriting structure in favour of basically every good song idea Brian Higgins had together because he was too tired to finish it properly. And resident solo hungus Nadine kept nicely in check. Perfect.
Dom Passantino: Of course, this is YOUR single of the year, as decided by people much more important than you, so what I think is quite irrelevant. However, that’s my job, so…this is the first triumphant gunshot fired for the 90s revivalism movement. Very SEB, except with the Vengaboys and J-Pop and euphoric mid 90s house and the usual Girls Aloud cultural magpieism added to the mix. Worthy of the plaudits.
Dave McGonigle: Gets more that it really deserves due to fiscal-related shenanigans of a transaction kind from my nieces. Botheration.
Scott McKeating: You’ve got my email and the comments option at the bottom of the page if you want to try and convince me this is anything other than noise to cover the sound of young men masturbating. Pop has been kidnapped and they aren’t returning it even if we pay them.
Peter Parrish : This is entirely too floaty to be proper chocolate, it’s more like one of those rubbish Aero bars where they’ve managed to turn air into an exciting, marketable feature. Or cheap and nasty chocolate mousses that pretty much disappear when you stir it. Similarly, if you gave this level of production a quick stir the track may well vanish completely. What the hell did they do to her voice? I hope I didn’t miss Chipmunks revival week again. Anyhow, Kylie has clearly never eaten a whole Toblerone in one sitting and therefore cannot be trusted on this subject.
Edward Oculicz: One of her best recent songs but the disemboweling of it for radio is a shocker. The problem with the album version was that most of its 5 minutes consisted of repeated choruses. Instead of reducing those in numbers the cretins involved decided to cut out the greatest bit, the middle-eight with Kylie rap-chanting. And it still goes too long. Also, seems to have been slightly re-recorded to little effect and exactly no benefit. The tell-tale signs of an artist whose ideas above their station are leading them to an embarrassing retreat.
Dom Passantino: She’s not even trying anymore.
Scott Mckeating: She’s coasting it and it’s really really starting to show. I predict her next album will be overly desperate barrier pushing in a feeble attempt to become Bjork as Minogue’s shiny face and arse begin to wrinkle.
Dave McGonigle: The increasingly commidification of Kylie gets me down; hard to believe she was once a spunky auzzie full of pop goodness (and little else) when you see her gyrating across the screen in Agent Provocateur. And, while I'd love to witness a transient recapitulation of “Can't get you out of my Head”'s genius, “Chocolate” aint' it; sounds like the background music to an advert for edible body spread, basically.
Bad Ass Strippa
Peter Parrish: But...but...strippers should have good arses. I am noticeably confused, for desperately limited comic effect. This is still rubbish though, blathering on and on like a dribbling, half-crazed mercury sniffer. You recognise the tragic plight, but deep down just wish it would go away. I bet you spit on Big Issue sellers too, you horrific monster. For shame!
Edward Oculicz: This is absolutely fantastic, dirty and raunchy and dance-inducing until Jentina herself comes in. What a dud of a chorus. Gains some points for the unimaginative but effective SFX, the pronunciation of "St Tropez", but basically, this is a cut-price "Lick Shots" and as such is utterly pointless.
Dom Passantino: Gypsies in pop: a good thing. David Essex, the Gypsy Kings, “Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves”: all getting thumbs up from me. Jentina, on the other hand, makes me want to ask our fiddle-playing knife-wielding pierced-ear brethren what it is they think they’re doing, as they’ve just given us a British Kelis, except with a tenth of the IQ and a fiftieth of the sex appeal.
Dave McGonigle: Well, it has grown on me since my first listen, but not really enough to make me change my mind. “Bad Ass Strippa” sounds like it was grown in a vat, a savagely cynical track that comes off the loser from its frequent wannabe Timbaland-isms; God only knows what Jimmy Douglas was smoking when he agreed to produce this track.
Scott Mckeating: The least ‘bad ass’ vocal since Sesame Street’s Elmo.
Peter Parrish : Listening to Basement Jaxx is a distracting exercise, there always seems to be entirely too much happening at once; a bit like trying to watch TV whilst being continually bothered by a twittering fool wearing glove puppets. Just as you feebly manage to drag your brain into the area designated for ‘concentration’, you’re slapped around the face with some man-made fibres. That said, the disconcerting elements tend to gradually drift together and form something half-decent. This is pretty much the same but with added Bellrays!.
Edward Oculicz: No, you can't blame them when their album has underperformed so spectacularly, and while this is a crass cash-in that won't do a thing for them in anyway, it remains a wonderful song, a great piece of pop drama and most importantly, a receptacle for some of the most TERRIFYING SHOUTY BITS EVER.
Dom Passantino: They used to be really popular once, you know? Now they aren’t. Shite like this is part of the reason why.
Scott Mckeating: Basement Jaxx have a limited lifespan for home listening in my house, I don’t mind them in the car though. I’ve still got time for the “Guns of Brixton” guitar bits but overall it’s kinda too boring to really make me want to get up.
Dave McGonigle: An absolutely spot on funking fantastic unstoppable shocked and awed assault of strings, beats and, at the centre, Lisa Kekaula's vocal firestorm. “I will Survive” for the third millennium.
By: UK Stylus Staff
Published on: 2004-07-01