The F*CK?: Live In Leeds
lbum Chart Notes: Back, and late, seen as how I been done gone down to Safeway. Needed milk. Anyway, we join the album chart halfway through—SMiLE befits its status as The Greatest Lost Album Of All Time by entering one place behind Groove Armada's Greatest Hits, at #7. So yep, we get “At The River” instead, which ain't so bad really, is it? Could've been worse, they could've played something off the Tom Jones & Jools Holland collaboration instead (new at #5). They do, however, play Marilyn Manson's cover of “Personal Jesus” to celebrate his greatest hits entering at #4. It sounds exactly like you'd imagine. Hmm.
And your new number one album is Joss Stone. Hooray for Joss. Wes interviews her over the phone and she sounds pneumonic. They play “Spoiled”, and it sounds rather nice, really. Bit Carole King-esque in places, but that's a good thing to these ears. Like Alicia Keys but without all those annoying flashes of Amazingly Talentedness. I like it. Yep, you've really been missing that kind of insightfulness this past month, eh?
(What I missed: THE SALES R BACK!!! Which, with depressing inevitability, means the Stereophonics are back in the top 20, along with The Best Of Blur and, somewhat confusingly, Ziggy Stardust. Yer other new entry was Mark Knopfler at #11. They might've played something off it, but I wouldn't bet on it.)
New Entries Outside The Top Twenty: Danny Howells & Dick Trevor #37 (decent Latin-tinged house); Minnie Driver #34 (Siobhan Donaghy, but nowhere near as good. And “alt-country”? Fuck off); Beverley Knight #31 (Bev returns to doing slow ones, and it's all a bit ponderous and disappointing. Her accent remains lovely, mind); and The Cheeky Girls #29 (Cheekies vs. Flamenco, sounds like a taco bar opening in Bracknell, but none the worse for all that).
THE UK TOP 20: WEST YORKSHIRE-STYLE
20) JENTINA – French Kisses (NEW ENTRY)
I really want a sandwich. Bugger. Anyway—it's The British Kelis, and, er, she's an awful lot better than she used to be. The backing is lovely, there's this relentless low strumming under it, occasional flashes of string. All dead intense and steamy, exceedingly dizzying and pretty much fantastic. The lyrics are a bit pish, though—"I'm still crazy for your horny love"—and there's a 'rap breakdown' that could, at best, be described as ill-advised, but considering how dodgy “Bad-Ass Strippa” was, this is a giant leap forwards.
19) JOSS STONE – You Had Me
The guitars sound a bit like “Superstition”! It's a formula, and it's pretty winning—the backing band hold it steady and let Joss get on with doing her stuff up front, all sounding peculiarly relaxed. As her singles have come to be noted for, it's got the one wonderfully imitable moment, namely the bit where she goes "messing with moy mye-eend!" and it's just generally pretty tops. I'm in a good mood so far today.
18) MAROON 5 – Shiwiiiiiiw Billughh
So far. Went to the freshers' ball thing last night cos the rest of the flat were going, so I thought I'd be sociable an' that. It was alright, really, just not particularly memorable—except for two things. Firstly, this was the big dancefloor number of the evening. Secondly, the 411's next single samples “Sour Times” by Portishead, and is amazing. Other than that, I continued with my uncanny knack of avoding the spectacular, or perhaps it's the spectacular that avoids me. I dunno.
17) GROOVE ARMADA – I See You Baby
I'll be getting that sandwich then.
16) SUPER FURRY ANIMALS – The Man Don't Give A Fuck – Live From London's Hammersmith Apollo (NEW ENTRY)
Ah Christ—the pita bread is under the grill, but I really wanna hear this… oh fuck. Well, anyway, this is still the sweariest single to have ever entered the top 40 (57 fucks in just under five minutes), but this here new edition is possibly also the longest single to have ever gone top 40, being as it is 22 and a half minutes long. Which means it's probably even swearier too, though I couldn't tell because we got a slightly edited version that lasted about three minutes. It's still one of their best moments in any case, that huge clomping chorus, the bit towards the end where it almost goes a bit finger-clicky—"Y'know they don't givva fuckaboww annybody else…" I actually went out and bought it today, so I might give the whole thing a listen and let you know how it sounds a bit later, if I can get a spare half hour.
15) BIG BROVAZ – Yours Fatally (NEW ENTRY)
And so, having got rid of Filthy Drug Monster, they return and get nowhere near the top 10, which is a bit of a shame cos this is probably the best thing they've ever done. They sound intentionally a bit evil. One of them appears to have attempted to cop Mike Skinner's flow, which isn't the greatest idea they could ever have had.
Actually, I've completely forgotten how this goes, and I really can't be arsed trying to remember any more. Sorry.
14) NATASHA BEDINGFIELD – These Words
I've softened on this during my absence.
13) BRYAN/BRIAN McFADDEN – Real To Me
If you ever spot me thinking this is a good idea, though, then please punch me in the face. Hard. With a brick.
12) TWISTA ft. ANTHONY HAMILTON – Sunshine
Cannily realises that no song that sounds like “Lovely Day” can ever be a bad thing. This, therefore, is a good thing. I'm studying Reason & Argument as part of Philosophy. I'm learning quickly, eh?
11) 3 OF A KIND – Babycakes
Did a PA thing at the Freshers' Ball. The girl really is that short.
At which juncture we get the download chart which no-one gives a shit about (they don't do the DVD chart anymore, mind, which must be some kind of a blessing), so I'd best be saying my thanks to the Special Guest Presenters, Ed, Barima, Lex and Cis—you were even better than I imagined you'd be, and have raised the bar for me to a nigh-unacceptable level. Sorry about the whole 'enforced listening to toss', mind, but then again I've got that frigging Robbie Williams single next week.
10) THE STREETS – Blinded By The Lights (NEW ENTRY)
And the trouble with concept albums is there aren't that many obvious singles, so here's Mike at Shit Rave (in the video, a 'wedding'), getting pissed off by crap drugs, losing his bird to his best mate (though he doesn't realise it yet), crap drinks, and dodgy mobile reception. For all its non-radio-friendly nature, it does work pretty well. At least it's not “Not Addicted”, anyway.
9) GREEN DAY – American Idiot
Sorry, dancing to number 8—but this is good too. I'm probably the only person who's reading this that reckons the "Welcome to a new kind of tension" line is strangely perfect, the way it's delivered, the way the guitars sound at that precise moment … so good, the rest of the song could be Billie Joe Armstrong saying "LADIES & GENTLEMEN—MISTER KELLY JONES!" before they launch into a cover of “Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me” and it wouldn't make a blind bit of difference.
Sorry, no, I've just imagined that happening and I suddenly need the toilet.
8) GIRLS ALOUD – Love Machine
2) The song itself. There's something incredibly irresistible about this one, the random slap of half-cut 'sultry slow bit' in between The New Sound Of Psycho-Skiffle, the way that apart from those bits it's basically head-down can-can skiffle-shuffle CHEEEEEE-ARRRRGE all the way, practically screaming out for tambourines to be whacked against thighs while bobbing about like a mad bastard.
3) The video, which is actually terrible, but terrible in that uniquely Girls Aloud way. Cos even when they're terrible, they're so much better at being terrible than everyone else that it doesn't really seem to matter…
7) JOJO – Leave (Get Out)
Ah, JoJo. A staggeringly average, nigh-Lopezular bit of R&B, redeemed by the one bit of this song no-one ever talks about—the brackets in the title. I keep wanting to yell "LEAVE BRACKETS GET OUT!!!" at people, just because it feels like a really really good catchphrase for reasons I can't actually justify. Try it yourself, cos I've not quite got the bottle.
6) NELLY – Flap Ya Wings/My Place
This was number one? What for? He's short, he's got a side parting shaved into his hair, and he always sounds like he's wanking furiously. And you're meant to look at those album sleeves with a straight face? Kee-reist. Anyway, this stumbles around all over the place for ages, Nelly keeps going on about 'getting your eagle on' like he's in some way The Bestest Rapping Man In The World Ever, there's no hook, no point… seriously, this was number one? Fucking hell.
5) REM – Leaving New York (NEW ENTRY)
And what's this? No, no, “Imitation Of Life” was a bad thing, and this sounds just like it but even drearier, plod, plod, ooh, I'mma get you Dubya, plod, plod… just… no. Try again. And stop thinking “Shiny Happy People” was a bad thing.
4) ASHLEE SIMPSON – Pieces Of Me (NEW ENTRY)
Outside my window, the dark has risen and the rain is bucketing down hard, and the chart is careering downhill accordingly. Did you think that Ashlee was gonna give it up to yohh, this tie-ee-yie-ee-ime… no, really, that's exactly how this sounds. I think. I dunno. In the meantime, here's an in-depth discussion of Avwiw and Hilarity Duff's relative merits.
3) DEEP DISH – Flashdance (NEW ENTRY)
Ooh, this is a bit of a surprise—their only previous chart action saw them collaborating with Everything But The Girl (you'd never have guessed they formed at university, would you?) and getting to #31, despite their massive reputation etc. What's even odder is that this tune has propelled them into the top three, because it's… well, describing it as “Is It 'Cos I'm Cool?: The Next Generation” isn't too far from the mark. The backing is a guitar riff that's probably been ripped off the Stones or AC/DC or someone, looped over and over. There's the odd finger-click here and there, house beat deep underneath, this reverb noise that crashes in and fades out every few seconds or so, and a woman singing in the style of the Detroit garage-soul types about how she never loved some man and she'd rather die or something. It makes no sense, this big slab of eerie house-noir, strumming, booming and slithering violently around, no chorus, just the sound, dropping in and out as she sings the song to herself. #3 this week, ladies and gentlemen, just behind…
2) RONAN KEATING – I Hope You Dance (NEW ENTRY)
Ronan does a slow one, and it's just as shit as all his other slow ones. He holds notes for too long. He does the craggy voice thing. He can fuck off.
1) ERIC PRYDZ – Call On Me
Yes, it's the song that, regardless of what volume it's played at, always sounds like you're listening to it outside a student pub at about quarter-to-eleven on a Friday evening! It isn't very good, really, is it?
Yes, I'm listening to this now. The first one and a half minutes is crowd noise intermingled with a Bill Hicks sample on loop about how all governments are murderers and criminals—and then the song. It starts quiet like it always does, Gruff and his acoustic, and the crowd start cheering like it's Coldplay headlining Glastonbury or something, and then: "YOU KNOW THEY DON'T GIVE A FUCK ABOUT ANYBODY ELSE! YOU KNOW THEY DON'T GIVE A FUCK ABOUT ANYBODY ELSE! YOU KNOW THEY DON'T GIVE A FUCK ABOUT ANYBODY ELSE!" Cos really, classic songwriting only gets you so far, doesn't it? Besides which, jumping around while repeatedly swearing really loudly is far more fun. Another verse, then more swearing… then at about six minutes, it fades into a Gigantic Bout Of Banging Techno, except somehow more fun than all that. Anyway, there's then about ten minutes of banging, then some loud guitars, and then back with the chorus for another four, before it all ends with a blast of air-raid siren and about a minute of crowd cheering and foghorns and stuff. It isn't that great, to be honest, because I'm listening to it in my bedroom as opposed to Live From London's Hammersmith Apollo, where it would doubtless have been something close to mind-blowing… but still, the singles collection is finally out tomorrow, and considering the songs that are on it (yes, even “Hello Sunshine”) it's probably going to be one of the greatest records ever released and go straight to number one in the album charts and stay there till at least next February. So inevitably, everyone'll buy the bloody REM album instead…
(Oh, and Annie's album Anniemal is allegedly being released tomorrow too, so get that as well. Assuming it is being released tomorrow. No-one seems entirely sure.)