Swygart’s Gone Again
vening, I’m Fergal O'Reilly. William Swygart is Away. The dog ate my album chart notes, but a cursory glance reveals that almost nothing changed from last week.
New Entries Outside The Top 20: The Mooney Suzuki at 38 (garage rock, riffage, no actual mental Can frontman involvement, boring). Wes interviews Hanson. ‘Do you like having your hair long or short best?’, asks a fan. They answer in some detail, to their credit. Rachel McFarlane at 36 (rerecorded version of the old ‘Lover’ single; great vocal). Roots Manuva at 33 (slow n’ lethargic, sounds a bit like a stoned guy going into a synth shop and messing around with as many of the dials as possible, kinda cool). Mercury Rev at 28 (jangly guitar, saw/waily backing vocals, general Rev-like beautiful weirdness, very nice soaring falsetto n’ strings bit in the middle as well). Soulwax at 27 (ridiculous synth-fuzz bass dominates the whole thing; the noise is cool but the actual tune’s a bit bland) The Others at 21 (not sure how funny the REBELLIOUS PUNK vocals/lyrics are supposed to be, as it kind of evokes Wire’s ‘Mr Suit’. Either way. Spectacularly unimaginative but kind of better than it should be at a couple of the full-on-up-to-11 bits). More Hanson interview. They seem like nice lads. Conversation inexplicably turns to M&M;’s, prompting a joke about MnMnMmBop, or something, from Wes, bless him. It occurs to me that I’ve never seen Wes speak, and that his Standard Issue Inane DJ Voice now seems impossible to reconcile with his rubbery child face. Hanson’s New Song itself is predictable enough; crunchy anthemic guitars and three part harmonies (now with dropped balls!).
THE UK TOP 20: ELVIS, ELVIS, ELVIS
20) Elvis Presley - One Night
Down a whole nineteen places. We have a new number 1! Awright! But it might still be Elvis. OK.
19) Darius - Live Twice
Opening lines delivered like a Shatner-style ‘bowels loosening...light....fading...!’ deathbed monologue. BY A COCK. A bit Bedingfield-like once it gets going, insofar as it does, Only Not As Good.
18) Scissor Sisters - Filthy/Gorgeous
Never one of their best songs, and without a full-blown Ana Matronic monologue about taking the Revlon contract it’s further down the list. Also needs more lyrics about monkeys in nappies and not having an asshole, but then they probably wouldn’t get on CD:UK so I suppose it’s a trade-off. I still think they could get away with more of the crazy shit they used to do if they were careful about it.
17) Gwen Stefani - What You Waiting For
See, she’s got a million dollar contract and this is miles better.
16) Dana Rayne - Object Of My Desire
Inane buzzy-synthed trance with waily female vocals about needin’ yaw luuuuurb n’shit. Almost enough to make you glad there are so many shitty indie bands getting in the charts these days. Wes reassures us these are the real charts - not made up. Cor, imagine if Chris Morris was still into duping celebs...
15) Ian Brown - Time Is My Everything (NEW ENTRY)
Oddly stern brass intro gives way to guitar arpeggios over a drum machine, with occasional squelching noises in the background. Then the brass comes back, which makes for a bit of a weird mix but it’s surprisingly cool for the most part. It’s almost a shame Ian Brown’s on it—no idea what he’s going on about and his voice is as weak as ever, but it’s not really at the centre of things enough to ruin it.
14) Linkin Park and Jay-Z - Numb/Encore
Linkin Park’s songs don’t really work without big jagged detuned guitars playing the angsty chord sequences do they?
13) Soul Central ft. Kathy Brown - Strings Of Life (Stronger On My Own)
S’alright this! Uh. Southampton beat Liverpool 2-0 on Saturday. Meanwhile Aston Villa’s Mark Delaney suffered an injury in the 3-1 defeat to Manchester Utd and may have serious ligament damage. That’s kind of shit.
12) Steve Brookstein - Against All Odds
And so is this. Do you see what I did there?
11) Green Day - Boulevard Of Broken Dreams
A bit like ‘Goddess On A Highway’ by Mercury Rev isn’t it? This may have already been noted. It’s not as good as that jauntier one they released before.
10) Rooster - Staring At The Sun
Wes interviews Rooster Man, who talks about being blinded by love, and promises that with them you’ll always get a big riff and a singalong chorus. A sing-along to this would probably be a pretty depressing experience. Very sludgy and dull, it’s almost enough to make you wish the charts were full of inane buzzy-synthed trance records with waily female vocals. Mercifully I’ve already forgotten what it sounds like as a result. It was definitely plodding and earnest, anyway.
9) Stonebridge ft Therese - Take Me Away (NEW ENTRY)
This is alright, there’s something about the chord sequence that’s a bit unsatisfying, but it still sounds lush and Therese’s sugary voice sounds pretty great when she’s doing the breathy falsetto thing.
8) Uniting Nations - Out Of Touch
Utterly, poundingly repetitive, in a way that’s more impressive in its superb bloody-mindedness than annoying. Gotta love the abrupt little disco guitar riff thing as well.
7) The Killers - Somebody Told Me
The intro and verses to this are so breathlessly, headache-inducingly melodramatic they’re brilliant, all shout-singing and snarling guitars and those slightly incongruous default-preset synths (especially on the second verse where they’re high in the mix at the ‘bring it back down...’ bit - like, dude), and those two perfectly placed thuds of the drum set up the chorus beautifully. Shame it’s such a non-entity and has those goddamn lyrics (boyfriend who looks like a girlfriend—haw haw!). It makes you wonder how they managed to piss away all that lovely giddy momentum so quickly. I suspect this sort of dashed-hopes frustration is central to why I don’t like the Killers, but I can’t remember what the rest of their stuff sounds like because I deleted their album from my hard drive in a fit of rage once I got to ‘Glamorous Indie Rock And Roll.’
6) Lucie Silvas - Breathe (NEW ENTRY)
Bland, strummy ballad, with ostensibly funky sequenced bass shoehorned uncomfortably into MOR context. A bit like ‘My Name Is Luka’ but apparently about breathing rather than child abuse and thus less interesting.
5) Feeder - Tumble and Fall (NEW ENTRY)
A bit confusing, given that Razorlight have a single called ‘Stumble and Fall’. I don’t think I’ve heard the Razorlight one but at least its title makes more sense. This is very low key mopey stuff, plods along without doing very much and announces every spectacularly gentle chord change several minutes in advance. There’s no real attempt at any drama or a hook or anything—the Nickelback’s of the world, in their quest to play the perfect four chords in sequence, occasionally stumble across something so melodramatic it sounds good in a ridiculous Spinal Tap kinda way. Feeder’s four chords are duuuuuull.
4) Athlete - Wires (NEW ENTRY)
It uh, it sounds like Coldplay. Joel thingy’s now carefully replicating the Chris Martin voice (he wasn’t quite that Chris-y before, was he?), and the song’s all mournful, simplistic piano motifs and echoey slide guitars. They don’t really have Coldplay’s ear for a tune though, and he’s not as good at failing to hit the high notes in an endearing way as Chris Martin. Better than Feeder, I suppose.
3) Chemical Brothers - Galvanise (NEW ENTRY)
OK, this is pretty awesome, especially after the last three songs. The one-two punch intro’s good, the machine-gun drum machine claps are great (cos they pretty much always are), and the maddeningly atonal eastern string sample is plain awesome, and they know it is, so the entire middle section is pretty much them leaving it out so they can build back up to it, partially by way of Q-Tip shouting ‘ma finger! is on the button!’. It’s predictable as hell but it works, and when it comes back in it sounds like utter chaos.
It gets truncated a bit so Wes can go mad with power because he’s the only person in the country who knows Official For Sure Serious This Time whether Elvis is number one. He seems to quite relish announcing that he’s actually
2) Elvis Presley - A Fool Such As I (NEW ENTRY)
...not, which I suppose is to his credit. Fuck you, Heritage of Rock Heritage! Crunk gets stronger! Etc! Anyway, nothing against Elvis (this is miles better than “One Night,” at least), but c’mon, 18 weeks? That’s a bit much isn’t it? Remember when James Chance covered Jailhouse Rock and called it ‘something for all those of you who live in the past, and that’s about 99% of you idiots out there’? There’s a message there, underneath the bile, probably. Elvis is gone, man.
1) Ciara - Goodies (NEW ENTRY)
Wes interviews Ciara, telling her he expected her to look much worse than she does and pointing out that her name is pronounced the same way as the name of a shit car. Yeesh. Next week is his last week presenting the chart, so I suppose he has to enjoy that sort of thing while he can. Usher phones him to enthusiastically talk about how Ciara’s worked hard and deserves her success and that, with Wes just sort of awkwardly responding ‘y-yeah!’ and ‘cheers mate!’ like he’s Alan Partridge’s retarded nephew.
The song’s like a fiercely minimalist ‘Yeah’ (the Usher one, obviously), with the sparse clap beat (awright!) and one of those portamento synth noises that sounds a bit like whistling, sort of slowly stuttering between two notes. It has the same stabbing synth thing as ‘Yeah’ going on too, but it never quite breaks out into the full-fledged riff it threatens to. On top of this is Ciara icily taunting the fuck out of everyone over how sexy she is, harmonising with herself and tossing in the odd mumbled backing vocal whenever she feels like it, and generally sounding like she’s supremely confident with the austere arrangement behind her. There’s not a wasted note in the whole thing. Why, it’s the best number 1 of the year so far!
Next week: The death of Wes.