The Singles Jukebox
The Chaff, Pt. 2

another huge week for singles (don’t panic, kids, next week is rubbish) means another two-part UK Singles Jukebox, and as tradition dictates, today is the day we cover the singles that we disliked more than the other singles. So strap yourselves in as Nate James has the gall to declare that Stevie Wonder is quite good, Ms Dynamite shames you for your mistakes in architecture, Paul Weller Has Still Got It©, and Jo From S Club does the whole ‘great voice’/’loud voice’ confusing thing. First up, though – have you ever, at any point, thought that the Zero 7 remix of ‘Up With People’ had anything over the original version? Well, have yourself a merry fucking Christmas, then.


X-Press 2 ft. Kurt Wagner – Give It
[3.09]


Dom Passantino: Well, now that alt.country has achieved its designated aim of being the worst genre of music ever, its leading lights have free reign to go out and make dreadful tracks in other genres as well. Here, the lead singer from a band called "Lambchop" (ask your parents) has his disinterested eulogist vocals buried into the mix of coffee-table house hell, and then they decided to do a sea shanty. Of use and interest to absolutely nobody.
[1]

Jonathan Bradley: I could usually just ignore this sort of house-anthem thing, but what on earth is Lambchop’s Kurt Wagner doing in the middle of it all? Somebody get him out! It’s a trap, Kurt! You deserve better than being reduced to the faceless vocalist separating one Ibiza club track from all the rest!
[2]

Patrick McNally: The corpse of a beached whale left rotting in the sun. Kurt Wagner sounds like a constipated Joe Cocker. One of two singles this week to feature gospel choirs not for any musical reason but as an unearned symbol of gravitas.
[2]

Hillary Brown: Gruffness plus disco is slightly appealing, but much, much too long.
[3]

Edward Oculicz: This is decent in nearly every way imaginable, but agreeable decency when it comes to records whose intent is ostensibly to get you up and dancing is a thing of pointlessness, and this also goes on far too long. A dud for the dancefloor, a waste of time outside of it, though in its own way tantalisingly close to working its way toward soulful euphoria. But that's now what repetitive dance music is for, is it?
[4]


Paul Weller – Come On/Let’s Go
[3.15]


Paul Scott: If you are that way inclined – perhaps you are Phill Jupitus – this is Weller making a rousing, invigorated return to his Jam era muse, again finding the fire and skill that powered those white hot anthems. If not, it's a grumpy old man from Woking trying to make the Ordinary Boys sound modernist. Redeemed slightly by a fun if half hearted "freak out" at the end.
[4]

Joe Macare: Trying to be The Jam again! Who would have expected that? And as a result of that, being a lot better than Paul Weller has been for years. Which is not that good, really, but it's still an improvement.
[6]

John Cameron: At first listen, this was a nice tune; a little melancholy, but rollicking and generally good. A second, cursory run-through, however, made me kind of sad. It's listenable, and it's better than a lot of modern rock singles, sure, but it doesn't seem to go anywhere. Some artists are able to pull off having a song just work steadily at the same dynamic level; Weller's not one of them.
[4]

Alex Macpherson: Utterly grim attempt to prove that the repellent Weller isn't letting age slow him down. His vocal affectations are indescribably embarrassing for all concerned, and the quite unnecessary amount of effort he puts into that "ooh" halfway through makes my skin crawl: you can virtually hear him screwing up his eyes.
[0]

Edward Oculicz: This sounds like a 80s indie equivalent of "Dakota" by the Stereophonics, only done by someone even more dislikable, and bearing all the energy of your grandfather on a bike. Plodding would be an understatement.
[0]


Jo O’Meara – What Hurts The Most
[3.57]


Jessica Popper: Jo was my fave S Club girl, so by rights this should be even better than Rachel's solo work! Sadly Jo doesn't have any songs by Richard X or Vacuum, but she has still come up with a lovely ballad which grows on me with every listen and shows off her great pop vocals. Whether or not she still has the support of the public is yet to be seen, but she definitely has mine.
[8]

Patrick McNally: When teeny pop singers attempt to prove that they ‘really can sing’ why do they do it with the blandest of material? Is unsalted porridge more real than a juicy steak?
[1]

Tom Ewing: Surely what hurts the most is your S Club bandmate hoovering up all the brilliant pop songs? There might well have been room for two S Club 7 solo careers but the time to launch one was 2003, not now, and the way to launch it is, oh, a tabloid-friendly schaffel pop masterpiece maybe, not a dishwater ballad about nothing. I hope the other five Not-Rachels learn this lesson.
[3]

Fergal O’Reilly: Jo is apparently wary of falling into the Rachel Stevens pattern of releasing clever electropop that gets praised to high fuckery by People Like Us but then scrapes into the top ten by a whisker; her chosen alternate path, however, apparently involves dirgey string-drenched ballads with very few distinguishing characteristics. Her voice here is about the seventh or eighth least interesting thing in the world.
[2]

Alex Macpherson: Possibly the most unbearable thing about low-rent British pop like this is the way it's really obvious that at no point during the writing, production and performing process did anyone involved give more than two seconds' brief thought to what the drums would sound like before some work experience kid slapped a Casio preset over it at the last minute. It's by no means the only unbearable thing, though.
[3]


Nate James – The Message
[3.71]


Jonathan Bradley: Isn’t one Jamiroquai enough?
[2]

Joe Macare: An actually anti-pop pop song! About how music these days isn't "real" and how it was better in the old school days when music had - can you guess? - a message! Nate, music is GREAT these days! This week alone is proof of that. But maybe poor Nate is too busy listening to his own shoddy Stevie Wonder impression to appreciate that.
[1]

Patrick McNally: James’ message is that modern jams don’t compare to the ones from the good old days. I’ve performed a rigorous comparison of his track with some by Otis Redding, Minnie Riperton, Brenda and the Tabulations, Stacey Q and Magma and I’ll hand it to him; he’s got a point. Nate, you’ve just talked yourself out of a job.
[2]

Fergal O’Reilly: The "back in my day, this were all Off The Wall/come on everyone, let's all be AUTHENTIC" sentiments would probably grate a tad if the song made a worse attempt at its chosen brand of chirpy disco; fortunately it's agreeably breezy, particularly the pile of Jackson-like wailing backing vocals that arrive at the end.
[7]

Hillary Brown: There’s that bit in Ghost World where the lame student-government-type girl puts her hands out to her sides, palms down, and describes something as “funky” in a particularly excruciating way. This song makes me think of that bit.
[3]


Ms Dynamite – Judgement Day
[3.71]


Tom Ewing: An essential purchase if you want to know the Top 10 Things Ms Dynamite Thinks Are Bad. What's that? You can guess them already? Oh...well...it's a good thing she's set them to such a memorable tune, then...isn't...it....
[2]

Alex Macpherson: Why is it that British 'conscious' 'urban' acts (or act, rather, as only one is ever deemed acceptable at any one time) seem to assume that the more they align themselves with The Guardian, the more their message will be heard by the youths on the street? Ms Dynamite's penchant for haranguing the rest of the world about their problems reaches epic proportions here, even if the only people who'll listen closely are those so far removed from street violence that such moralising probably feels all gritty and dangerous to them. It's by no means a truly horrid song but it's the principle of the thing, isn't it Ms D?
[6]

Jonathan Bradley: Washing the blood from your hands should be so much more interesting than vaguely reggae-tinged R&B-by-numbers. It’s a long fall from that Mercury award.
[3]

Hillary Brown: Sounds like some serious finger-shaking, but unfortunately with no actual tune to it.
[2]

Joe Macare: One day you will die, and when you die, God will give you the third degree about all the bad things you have done and then he will judge you and then possibly he will send you to Hell. That's the cheering message of the new single from Ms Dynamite, who has officially "done a Lauryn Hill", that is to say, gone crap and overly God-bothering. I could forgive this if she actually sounded fiery and angry, but as it is she just sounds sappy and moralistic and tedious. If she knocked on my door preaching this shit I would send her away without so much as a cup of tea.
[2]


Editors - Bullets
[4.54]


Hillary Brown: Short, but proves you can be kind of boring within only three minutes. Trebleicious.
[4]

John Cameron: Soaring, energetic-yet-world-weary synth-rock, better than The Killers or most of their brethren have been doing it; it doesn't warm my entire soul the way that the Go! Team does, but its Echo-reminiscent beauty hooks me pretty solidly.
[7]

Fergal O’Reilly: I have a certain fondness for Editors based on their capable rhythm section and their ability to go off on expectation-confounding dynamic shifts at just the right points, but this is the lighter-waving breakthrough single in waiting and pretty horrendous; they're much better doing clattery Interpol sulk-disco knockoffs than when they're trying to distil that "Love Will Tear Us Apart" morbid-but-anthemic thing into overwrought shrieky shit like this.
[1]

Edward Oculicz: A fantastic, jagged guitar riff, some ludicrously earnest singing of some awful lyrics, but all carried off with a degree of charm and effortlessness that makes it sound natural and likeable. "You don't need this disease" is the kind of line that could easily make the whole thing overwrought and laughable, but there's something in Editor bloke's voice that makes it work quite well, oh, and listening to it just now reveals that it's got a rather lovely bass line too that forgives an awful lot of sins.
[8]

Dom Passantino: It's definitely comedy that a band who obviously take so many cues from Interpol would use the lyric "You don't need this disease" though. I'm sure Carlos appreciates the sentiments, guys.
[2]


King Biscuit Time – C I Am 15
[4.62]


Patrick McNally: Whatever was supposed to be great about the Beta Band always passed me by, the hyperbolic descriptions of their music never marrying up with the dull nature of the actual physical reality. Anyway, this is another ground breaking, genre smashing, forward looking slice of effortless pop genius from our man.
[3]

Dom Passantino: Because Ian Brown doesn't release enough bad music on his own, he obviously needs some tribute acts. Anyway, a guy who was formery in the Boo Radleys or the Beta Band or Mansun or something has just "copped" "word on the street" that George "Dubbya" Bush has plans to invade Iraq! Not approving of these actions, our man has rushed out this protest single at the height of topicality, and really sets off those well reasoned and considered political thoughts with some toe-tapping beats and a ragga artist at the end who sounds absolutely nothing like Apache Indian. You know, from the DFS adverts.
[1]

Alex Macpherson: Aimless, hookless, pointless nonsense; the sound of stoner students chasing their own tails, trudging round the same three chords in ever-decreasing circles. Oh look, what is this they've added at the end to liven proceedings up: why it's some terrible Look At My Politics ragga toasting. The adjective 'wanky' was invented for such works as this.
[3]

Tom Ewing: A political record, of sorts, the Guardian said it was, so I guess it must be. There are two ways to make a good political song in this cynical age. One is to be riddling and oblique, letting the fragmentation of meaning illuminate the paranoia and impotence of 21st century living. The other is to stick a low-quality toaster on and let him bang on about "Mr Bush and Mr Blair". King Biscuit Time do both! And good for them.
[7]

Joe Macare: So odd that it makes the Beta Band seem like Athlete in comparison. Steve Mason croons mournfully over quirky, chirpy, clattering beats, then it turns into politicised dancehall. I don't know quite what to make of it, but I could really get used to it.
[7]


Liberty X ft. Reverend Run – Song 4 Lovers
[4.92]


Dom Passantino: Run obviously got saddled with the responsibility of having to pay off Jay's cocaine debts, huh?
[7]

Tom Ewing: The first half of this ridiculous track is a naked cash-grab by Run DMC, brash piano Dad-hop that makes "Where Is The Love?" sound hardcore. The second half is a gospel number by the reliably dull Liberty X. Both acts' best years (or best week, in Lib X' case) are audibly years behind them and "Song For Lovers" has no idea what it wants to be but even so the first half has a crude pop energy I can't totally discount.
[3]

Jonathan Bradley: Liberty X decide that the only thing missing from the Spice Girls’ “Wannabe” was Run-D.M.C. rapping over the verses – no, seriously, am I the only one thinking that there’s some major breach of copyright going on here? Whatever the legal issues, it should be a crime to be exhuming the Reverend Run after so long. Sure, him and D.M.C. were great in the ‘80s, but it’s twenty years after “It’s Tricky,” and there is absolutely no need to be drafting either of them to be acting as token-rapper on this sort of thing. Everyone concerned gets points for trying, but that’s all.
[4]

Joe Macare: Works a lot better if you haven't seen the bonkers video, featuring Liberty X and the Reverend Run dressed absurdly in a big white church. However I have to say that I preferred Liberty X when they were sleazy sexpop merchants with canes. The transition between the Rev's raps and the vague, uncommitted gospel chorus sounds awkward, and I can't help but think that reflects the fact that Liberty X may not be totally down with the Word the Rev has come to spread, even though (as he tells us) he's a very trendy Rev who goes to parties and stuff. A song for lovers who don't do anything more naughty than hold hands.
[6]

Alex Macpherson: I think my brain just broke. It's hard to work out quite who's sinking lower here by recording this. Each of these four points is for the OMGWTF factor because they sure as hell can't be justified on the music.
[4]


Art Brut – Good Weekend
[5.23]


Dom Passantino: JESUS CHRIST GET SOME SINGING LESSONS YOU TUNELESS, HOWLING, CAT BEING TORTURED WITH A PAIR OF PLIERS, WANKING OFF OVER THE SPIRIT OF 77 TWAT. Apart from that, it's fine.
[1]

Paul Scott: It's no where near as good a song as ‘Emily Kane’ or even ‘Formed A Band’ but the critic, I forget which, who recently lambasted them for not deconstructing pop with he same intensity and intellectual rigour of Scritti Pollitti and the Gang of Four was spectacularly missing the point. The whole reason for this song to exist comes at 1;40 when Eddie Argos hollers with unadulterated joy "I've seen her naked... TWICE!!!" and to me at least it fulfils one of the most important functions of pop music. It reassures that there are other people out there at least as inept and stupidly grateful as you and by you I mean me obviously. In other words, Jilted John ‘05.
[8]

Alex Macpherson: Ew, indie kids talking about sex. I thought the point of everyone laughing at Damon All-Bran's mockney accent in the 90s was to dissuade anyone else from ever doing it? Because clearly Art Brut weren't sent the memo. Oh for fuck's sake, he's just started bellowing about how he's seen some girl naked twice: I realise that most self-respecting females would rather chew their own clitoris off than go back to Mr Art Brut for seconds, but my god that's got to be one of the most nauseating lines ever committed to record.
[0]

Joe Macare: Weirdly, I know people who think this lot are good, and I mean actual people with decent taste in music, not just people who've had lobotomies or people who think Pete Doherty is a poet. But Art Brut are not good, they are bad, they are bad in the way that things like treading in dog poo or being stuck on a Tube train that's stopped between stations are bad. "I've seen her naked - twice!" yelps the singer. What does he want, a medal?
[1]

John Cameron: When this song plays, I picture the TV show "Are You Being Served," as written and performed by a bunch of dance-punk brats, and instead of being about a hijinx-laden department store it's about these damn kids basically running around town doing whatever the hell they want, finding girlfriends, going to parties, and having a fun time being "less Catholic." The stomping bridge and lines like the especially fantastic "I've seen her naked / TWICE!" are put out there with such glee that I can't help envying the band and their antics. Damn you, Art Brut, for in song you lead the life I wish I could lead. Damn you, I say.
[9]


By: UK Stylus Staff
Published on: 2005-09-26
Comments (23)
 

 
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