The UK Corral Goes Live
551: Swygart decides to chronicle this week's top 40 via means of a 'live update' thread on ILX. He appears to think this will be more 'fun'. He fills the intervening time 'warming up' by listening to 'Macarthur Park' and looking at Dawn Of The Replicants' website.
1551: 'titchyschneider' proclaims: "Cool!"
1555: Swygart decides to commemorate milestone event by doing this Stylus piece in the form of a running chronology, For Those Who Were Not There.
1603: The radio is turned on, and Swygart is greeted by 'Everybody's Changing', which remains as inoffensive as ever. I decide to assume the first person for fear of sounding too much like Audley Harrison.
1604: It ends, Wes emerges. Ugh. He has a competition which he plugs in his usual self-effacingly understated manner. I don't know if there's actually a station called Chiltern FM, but if there is, he really ought to end up there.
1606: "…this album has the bizarre name of Aha Shake Handshake…" Actually, no it doesn't, but regardless we get subjected to 'The Bucket', which remains one of the worst singles of the year.
1608: Wes corrects his earlier error, then adds "Everyone, and I mean everyone, in the chatroom was loving that one." Dom and Ed O did try to infiltrate the chatroom the other week, but they got bored and gave up.
1609: Green Day's new album is #14, and 'Boulevard Of Broken Dreams' is played. It's… rather good, in a sort of inexplicable way. The lyrics ain't too clever or owt, but… I dunno, it's got something. Not sure as yet, but it'll be in the singles chart soon enough so perhaps I'll have figured it out by then.
1613: "That is great!" quoth Wes. Not quite. Perhaps it's relative, cos Wet Wet Wet have their greatest hits at #13.
1614: Most of the greatest hits type stuff from last week is falling.
1616: 'Wes Interviews Daniel Bedingfield'. I am stopped from attempting to smash my eye socket by the bloke from downstairs asking if I'd prefer to go for a drink. I'd love to, but I'm committed to this for the next few hours. I don't honestly reckon I'm the winner there. Here's 'Nothing Hurts Like Love' to commemorate Dan-Dan's second album being new at #8.
1620: Shania Twain's compilation of things is new at #6. Fucking hell.
1621: Westlife Go Rat Pack is #3. We are played their 'take' on 'Ain't That A Kick In The Head'. I resist the urge to vomit out of the window, somehow.
1623: That hurt. I mean, really, really fucking painful. Awful. Horrible. Britney's greatest hits is yr #2. Nothing is played off it because 'My Prerogative' is presumably still in the top 20, and that's obviously a thoroughly fitting way to cap her career…
1625: whereas 'Just Lose It' gets played in full because Encore is number one. I will be hearing this song twice this afternoon. I said I quite liked this last week. That was quite possibly because I hadn't had to listen to Westlife sticking steak knives in Dean Martin's corpse beforehand.
1628: It's the first phone-in competition of the afternoon! Sound off, thanx, turn back up and Spoony's plugging Freeview.
1630: Wes reminds us that the programme doesn't feature ad breaks every ten minutes. No, but it does feature your voice every five, mate, which is equally as irritating.
1631: WIN A DATE WITH LEMAR!
1632: Rooster are #39, but we get to hear 'Come Get Some' in full, again, anyway. "Why do you sanctify something that already died?" Perhaps you should be asking the Pope about that one, chuck.
1635: Oh for fuck's sakes. #38 – The Noise Next Door. Played in full. For the third week in a row. 'Jellybean' announces that she's considering going to heckle Rooster at one of their 'proper gigs' that they are doing, but fears the teenagers. Probably well founded.
1638: Lemar is open to being met by men, but in a non-date fashion. Here's 'Radio' (#37). This is the high point thus far, obviously…
1640: Food consumed - Morrison's Individual Apple & Blackcurrant Pie, one.
1642: Wes interviews Lemar. Lemar feels that he gave 110% on this album.
1644: Lemar invites you to guess what song of his he is humming. It sounds suspiciously like the intro to 'So Rotton' by Blak Twang, but it's apparently 'Dance With U'. Oh well. Here's Angel City (#36).
1646: I've just realised how long this article is going to be. Oh crumbs.
1648: Dancin' Ashlee is at #35, and is the fifth song in a row that gets played in full, so presumably there's not many new entries outside the top 20.
1651: The BBC have a man live at the recording of the new Band Aid single. He opens by making a joke about how everyone other than him is 'eating pies'. Wes calls out "Who ate all the pies?" twice. Bob Geldof presumably not available for opinion.
1654: New Entry – The Finn Brothers, 'Nothing Wrong With You', #31 - bombastic radio rock but in a fairly good way… then it starts to go a little OTT towards the end, and that's not such a wonderful thing.
1658 Amateur skankmaster Tyler James is #30. There are some fucking lovely trumpets on this record, and it is generally sweet as a nut. Highly recommended on the off-chance that people that are more relevant than me are reading.
1701: Sudden piano tinkle cascading in from nowhere! "Text reaction for that is amazing!" Just a quick check – no, he's not on the Radio 1 playlist.
1703: New Entry – Ma$e, 'Welcome Back' #29 - A woman informs Ma$e that right here is where he is needed. A kids' choir chants "Welcome Back". The people in the south love Ma$e. Ma$e knows you like that. Brilliant, in a brilliant kind of way. Maybe even better than "I'mma feed you carrots till you think you a rabbit”.
1707: New Entry – Twista ft. R Kelly, 'So Sexy' #28 - So how come everyone wants to point out how many tracks Sean Paul guests on and no-one pulls Kelly up for it? Twista's doing his whole 'rapping far too quickly' thing again. I think at one point he says he wants to hit his girl with cocaine, though I might not have heard that right. It's not that great anyway.
1711: Dannii is played in full at #27. This gets better every time I hear it, really it does.
1714: And still better, 'I Believe My Heart' has left the top 20, and gets skipped over in favour of "PUMP EDD UP! YOU GOT TO PUMP EDD UP!"
1715: "PUMP EDD UP! YOU GOT TO PUMP EDD UP!"
1716: "PUMP EDD UP! YOU GOT TO PUMP EDD UP!"
1717: Into 'Flashdance' (#24). Oh yes. The mood, it is good. 'latetotheparty' wants to give Radio 1's Friday night schedule a good kicking.
1719: I realise that I am bobbing about vigorously to Deep Dish in front of an open window. Fuck it, Jamie Cullum's covering 'Everlasting Love' later on, I need to enjoy this while I can…
1720: "No further questions, you have passed my test – Happ-eh Pee-poo-oo-ouu!" If you removed the whole 'Wes' voice plus clips of other songs in between' bits, the past ten minutes would have been quite perfect.
1724: Party's over, here's Jay Sean. Not terrible by any means, just not very good. Top 20 up after this.
1727: I want to listen to Tyler James instead. Or be down the pub. But no, I made my choices, and now I must pay by listening to…
THE UK TOP 20: THE EXCHANGE STUDENTS ARE LOOKING AT ME SUSPICIOUSLY
1730: 20) JAMIE CULLUM – Everlasting Love (NEW ENTRY)
Cullum tries to turn 'Everlasting Love' into a David Gray song, removes all the verve and swing and vitality from the tune then tries to stuff it back in. He fails, and it all sounds horrendously weak and watered down. Though I didn't have any hopes for it at all, it really can only be described as disappointing.
1732: 19) STERIOGRAM – Walkie Talkie Man (NEW ENTRY)
iPod-pimping Kiwis simultaneously say "Hello" and "Goodbye" to the top 20, presumably. But anyhow – half-decent standard-issue punking but with backing vocals done in the style of Ride and lead vocals done in the style of 28 Days. Yet not really quite as good as that sounds.
1735: 18) NAS ft. OLU DARA – Bridging The Gap (NEW ENTRY)
Nas pays tribute to his dad, and his dad simultaneously pays tribute to him. In the background, the blues and hip-hop get crammed together awkwardly on the back seat of the bus, but it feels just so very sweet somehow. I really do like this an awful lot. Sentimental in the sort of way that just kind of gets to me a bit. Innit.
1739: I decant some ginger beer into an empty liquor bottle and swig it copiously in the hope that whoever walks past the window will think I'm hard.
17) KELIS ft. ANDRE 3000 – Millionaire
"I woke up early this morning – I Don't Think Y'All Heard Me! Said I woke up early this morning – I Don't Think Y'All Heard Me!" This song probably wouldn't work quite so well without 3000 on it, but really – not his best work. And that's not mentioning his closing verse, either…
1743: Cut to girl screaming at possibility of winning date with Lemar. Volume down, ta.
1744: 16) EYE OPENER – Hungry Eyes (NEW ENTRY)
'Dirty Dancing' tune gets Northern House going-over. No thanks.
1747: 15) KHIA – My Neck, My Back (Lick It)
Football? Go on then. Southampton won yesterday! 2-1 against Portsmouth! Dexter Blackstock scored!
This puts us above West Brom in the table (i.e. We Are 17th)! Not that I'm clutching at straws or owt.
1750: 14) DIZZEE RASCAL – Dream (NEW ENTRY)
There are people out there who apparently reckon this song is not a good idea. Bollocks to they. Dizzee does a sort of 'story of my life thus far' type thing, samples 'Happy Talk' by Captain Sensible, and does a track that sounds immensely light and happy. Bouncy. Fluffy? Dizzee? Well, yeah. And bloody good at it an' all. Plus, as has previously been mentioned in this column, the video looks something like this:
1754: 13) MICHAEL GRAY – The Weekend
The video to this, however, is pish. 'Sexy photocopying' is not the new 'sexy beefeaters'.
1757: More Band Aid updates. Roving reporter man says the lineup is "full of artists who get number ones in their own rights", then mentions a string of artists who have never had a number one. This lad's going far, believe me.
1759: In case we forget the issue at hand, it is mentioned twice that Chris Moyles has the exclusive first play. That's two times more than Ethiopia gets mentioned.
12) V – You Stood Up (NEW ENTRY)
It's their ballad, and fuck me but the boy at the start can sing. In fact, they all can. And… it's really good. There's a choir, and they don't sound shit. There's also a worrying over-extension of the theme of "standing up and stealing it" (where 'it' is presumably '(his) heart' or '(his) love' or something), but the whole effect is oddly ethereal, dreamy even. There's the odd bit of overcooking, and yet it doesn't matter. It just works. The ending is a bit rushed, true, but this really is very intriguing.
1804: 11) JA RULE ft. R KELLY & ASHANTI – Wonderful
At no point in this song is anything described as being 'wonderful'. Such a hater.
1807: It's the download chart.
Food consumed - Morrison's Individual Apple & Blackcurrant Pie, one. U2 still number one. Hurrah.
1808: 10) JAMELIA – Stop/DJ
Reacquainted myself with the original this week. It is better. Jamelia's being far too subtle. She isn't yowling "go-and-break-my-heart!" anywhere near painfully enough.
1812: Wes interviews Delta Goodrem. No.
1813: 9) DELTA GOODREM – Out Of The Blue (NEW ENTRY)
So how much has Celine Dion got to answer for, then? Cos Delta's got her piano out again… oh hang on, here's a portentous guitar… and here's some unnecessary high notes inserted at random… oh go on, it's not so bad. It feels like everyone wants to tell me about what they've been going through lately today. Her "eyes were wide shut", apparently. It's just a bit meandering, though, like most of the new entries today with the exception of, er, Dizzee. He's gone and out-popped them all. But here's some strings, they're good, here's several (i.e. two) layers of backing vocals, and some trumpets, and they're all really nice, but this could just do with being a bit more jarring is all.
1819: 8) ERIC PRYDZ – Call On Me
Outside The Boy In The Seafood T-Shirt and his girlfriend get something out of the glovebox of their car. God, I need to sort myself out.
1821: 7) BRITNEY SPEARS – My Prerogative
Word confirms I have spelt 'prerogative' right. Seriously, there are points that do sound like they have actually been cut and pasted straight from The Backstreet Boys. As in, not re-recorded, just ported straight across, random notes. I'm looking at the bottle of 'Raspberry Rippleade' that's a bit to the left of me, and it looks tempting, but I should probably finish the ginger beer first. There's only two new entries to come, so I may well be keeping you up to date on further developments in this field. Unfortunately.
1825: 6) CHRISTINA AGUILERA & MISSY ELLIOTT – Car Wash
They mercilessly shear the "This is, A Shark's Tale, exclusive" bit this week, which mercifully absolves me of any responsibility to care about this.
1827: I really want some 'Raspberry Rippleade'. The two bottles are next to each other. The ginger beer just looks flaccid. The 'Raspberry Rippleade' is all pink and enticing, like cleaning fluid. I'm not quite licking my lips. But I'm close.
1829: 5) USHER ft. ALICIA KEYS – My Boo/Confessions part II
This actually almost sounds… good. I mean, even taking into account Usher's nasty habit of subbing shouting for charisma. It's like it's from some alternate dimension. Wes again reminds us that Radio 1 is massive. God, I want to punch him.
1831: Ed O is thrilled that I like 'You Stood Up'.
1833: 4) BLUE – Curtain Falls (NEW ENTRY)
To commemorate Blue not splitting up, here's a single about how "(they've) done it but (they've) done it (their) way." Blue are bitter about their struggle to get to this point. Lee Ryan grunts impassionedly. There is some sampling of the thing that 'Gangsta's Paradise' sampled. The voice effects on the chorus and the rubbish rap thing are the same as they were on 'All Rise', not that Blue are doing some kind of self-reflexive career retrospective type thing, because Blue aren't splitting up. Not if Duncan's solo single's anything to go by anyhow.
1836: 3) EMINEM – Just Lose It
Sounds a little bit better now. But… not very good. Yer bored, yes… and so am I now. Which is probably what you wanted. So, erm, you win. Oh well.
1839: Goes on a bit, doesn't it?
1840: Next week, competition to meet Geri Halliwell. How wonderful.
2) DESTINY'S CHILD – Lose My Breath
It is possible to get bored of floods of electric noise. No, really. Take that away, it just feels like a less good version of Christina Milian's last single. And that had Joe Budden on. This is just a bit boring, lacking in hook, like some sort of early demo for 'The Show' or something. Destiny's Child 'Go Electro', Ben Affleck 'Does Comedy'. Same difference.
1844: That was dispiriting. U2 are number one. Later, Dave Pearce will have Michael Gray and Shapeshifters and Urban Cookie Collective live in his house or whatever. What's that Clinic song where he sings about being bored? 'Kimberley', is it? That'd fit the mood right now, anyway.
1848: 1) U2 – Vertigo (NEW ENTRY)
Erm. Right. So… this is great, then, is it? Well, no. What it isn't is 'Beautiful Day', which is always quite the relief. This is… OK, isn't it? It doesn't sound quite as try-hard as it could have done. But equally, I really don't give much of a shit. I do like 'Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me', though.
1852: There is then pimping of U2 pwning Radio 1's midweek. Zane Lowe is interviewed over phone, is enthusiastic. Then goes on to talk about his relationship with Eminem in anticipation of his interview with him later tonight. It ends, and now, Dave Pearce, live from the Escape club in Swansea. Goodnight, little kids, good niiiight… we off? Good, well that oughta hold the little bastards…
1856: (there really aren't enough Cuban Boys homages in this world.)