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Pop Playground
It Takes A Worried Man To Sing The Worried Song

lbum Chart Notes: Right, I managed to miss more or less all of this, but from what I can make out the following happened: Lucie Silvas was new at #11, Daniel "How Old Do You Think I Am? Go On, Guess. Go On. Ahhhh… ha ha ha…" O'Donnell releases Yet Another Fucking Daniel O'Donnell Album and it's number 9, just behind the new Good Charlotte album at #8. Celine Dion is #5, Duran Duran are #3, and Ronan Keating is your new number one with his greatest hits album, 10 Years Of Hits. Do you want to make the pun, or shall I? Go on, you have a go.

New Entries Outside The Top 20:The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster #40 (as reliably daft as ever, a 'Psychosis Safari'-esque romp with obligatory quiet bassy bit into obligatory loud squawky bit—not quite as genius as usual, but still adorable, in a scuzzy kind of way); Velvet Revolver #32 (it's their big rock ballad. Not as good as Stiltskin); VS #29 (Ah, British R&B; act do R&B; song that sounds like it's been written by someone who writes R&B; songs, and it's bombed. Where have we seen this before, then?); Rhiann Benson #27 (it's the new Sade! Hooray); and The Beautiful South #24 (they cover ELO, and it all sounds dead twee inna 1989-style. I'm still looking forward to their covers album, which is out in a week's time. No, really).


20) NELLY – Flap Ya Wings/My Place

And they play “My Place”, at long last, and it's oh so very toss. The chorus features the line "Why don't you sit yourself down and take a seat," which sounds like the kind of thing a recruitment consultant would say for some reason. Jaheim tries to keep a straight face, then doesn't. And there's Nelly, trying to be, um, sensitive, perhaps, dunno. LL Cool J made this all seem a bit irrelevant back when he did 'I Need A Girl', anyway. And that was terrible

19) EST'ELLE – Free

I'm not entirely sure as to whether or not she has the apostrophe in her name anymore, actually. This sounds a bit better than it did last week, though.


OK, right, finally listening to this properly… and yes, it's rubbish. Avwiw takes all.

17) KASABIAN – Processed Beats (NEW ENTRY)

See, the thing about Kasabian is that overall they're pretty cack, but their songs do have Some Nice Bits. The chorus on this, for instance, has a very nice sort of droney sound to it. There's some blips, they're quite nice too. The drumming is also nice. Then, however, there's the rest of it to contend with. The lyrics feature bits about "terrorists," "Chinese burns" and "the grateful dead". The singer's a bit… blahhh, isn't he? It's all very Kula Shaker Second Album, this, except failing to contain anything quite so genius as "Yorra wizard inna blizzard of MYS-TI-CAL MA-CHINE GUN!!!" But not so bad for all that.

16) RONAN KEATING – I Hope You Dance

OK, so when I missed this being #1 in the albums chart I missed Wes interviewing Ronaaaan. "10 Years Of Hits, and you're not even thirty… and it's all good stuff!"

Just sit back and think about that for a second.

Ronan Keating.

"… it's all good stuff!"

Ronan Keating.

… fuck's sakes.

15) DURAN DURAN – Sunshine

See, Radio 1 have now decided that Wes is their “face of pop”. On the front page there's a picture of his face next to the words “Pop Lovers”. Click on this and there is a poll where it asks you to pick which artists off the Radio 1 A-List playlist you consider to be “pop”. It then asks “do you think Radio 1 plays enough pop?”, who are your three favourite “current pop acts”, How do you find about about “new pop music”, and, perhaps best of all, “How many times have you been to a live pop event this year?”

Radio 1 has no idea what pop is.

We're a bit fucked then, aren't we? I'll return to this later, cos right now:


It's the ballad. It's pretty sweet, as these things go. I've not listened to the album in months, mind, but this is still a very nice song that, yes, probably sounds exactly like Elton John (you'd need to ask someone who has some Elton John records, to be honest). I like it.


I mean… it's a weird question, isn't it, “What is pop?” I have myself down as liking pop, and yet every week I listen to this and cannot help but think that the majority of the songs are toss. Popjustice has a list of great boyband ballads and I can't think of a single one that I actually like. I'm indie, there's no denying that, and yet the album I'm looking forward to most this year is definitely the Girls Aloud one. But is that enough to say I like pop? GA are pretty much universally adored by the proper music critics of the country. It feels like a right old cop-out, somehow, like I need to buy some Atomic Kitten albums or start making out like I find Blue bearable lest I be outed as some kind of horrendous charlatan. The possibility that I only like “credible pop” is one that worries me greatly. And yet when you encounter twats like the radio station people that inform that "this is where we keep the ironic stuff… the pop, in other words!", the people who reckon I'm only after liking the Emma Bunton album because I'm being ironic, that I can't “really” like it actua-properly, it just makes me wanna fucking scream! There's some prat who reckons Razorlight are the best band ever, and he was deeply confused when I started playing Ace Of Base. "Why are we playing Ace Of Base?" Because we are, fucko. God. It's very difficult to have any idea of where I'm standing.

12) BRANDY – Afrodisiac

I actually properly listened to this this week, too. It's not quite as good as I'd hoped. Or, indeed, anywhere near as good. Actually, I think I've forgotten what it sounded like now…

11) LUCIE SILVAS – What You're Made Of

But this really was just as bad as it was last week. It doesn't sound as bad in comparison to Good Charlotte, though, because I heard that song in full again earlier… Christ, it's terrible, isn't it? SHUT UP ABOUT YOUR GIRL.

10) ANGEL CITY ft. LARA McALLEN – Do You Know I Go Crazy

Meanwhile, in the Download Chart the top 5 are in Exactly The Same Order as they were last week. William Shatner's cover of “Common People” is new at number nine ahead of becoming Christmas number one. Trust me. Assuming The Delgados don't release “Girls Of Valour” in time.

9) CLIFF RICHARD – Something Is Going On (NEW ENTRY)

He's back, Wes interviews him and I turn the stereo right down, turning it back up again to hear a slickly produced sort of uptempo number that sounds like Daniel O'Donnell but better sung. It's OK in a sort of not-very-OK way, but the “Beautiful South” single was so much better. I really am quite excited about their album, honestly. They're very capable of being awful, but at the same time they can be really great. Admittedly, that hasn't happened very often since Briana Corrigan left... They cover “Don't Stop Moving” and “You're The One That I Want”. I'm either very excited or utterly terrified, and I can't quite tell.

8) MORRISSEY – Let Me Kiss You (NEW ENTRY)

It's a ballad that he wrote for Nancy Sinatra, and her version has entered somewhere outside the top 40 this week. Morrissey's version is a bit drab, to be honest. The whole self-pitying thing just doesn't wash, somehow, "Close your eyes and think of someone that you physically admire… then open them and see someone you physically despise…" It's all dreadfully bedsit, y'know, like when the Beautiful South are rubbish.

7) ROOSTER – Come Get Some (NEW ENTRY)

THEY ADVERTISED FOR A BASSIST IN KERRANG OMFG!!! This doesn't sound anything like the Beautiful South, which is a pity, because instead it sounds like an horrendous fusion of Busted in 'slow number' mode and Jet, and is fucking weak.

6) DEEP DISH – Flashdance

Now the best song in the top 10 easy. BAUNG, Baung, baung, baung…

5) RACHEL STEVENS – More, More, More

As we suddenly realise exactly what Radio 1 thinks pop is and why they can get a fucking monkey like Wes to rep for it. We look at Radio 1's daytime line-up. Nemone (reliable, experienced, boring as all hell), Chris Moyles (big name at breakfast—also, tosser), Jo Whiley (“credible”), Colin & Edith (student radio but with production values—GREAT!), and Scott Mills (they do a trailer for him just before the top 5, in which he prank phone calls former Blue Peter presenter Yvette Fielding because she isn't famous anymore). And if any of them have any idea what pop is… which is why it's been passed over to Wes, who is now in the position of Chief Ronan Keating Liker, because Ronan Keating is popular and therefore Ronan Keating = pop do you see?

4) KHIA – My Neck, My Back (Lick It)

A cursory glance at Radio 1's playlist reveals Khia's only on the B-List, behind Ashlee Simpson (#18), Marilyn Manson (not in the top 40 anymore) and Joss Stone (#34).


And the third time I hear it, I'm completely nonplussed.


Oh my god. It's Duncan from Blue and an opera singing woman. This is a ballad, and how fucking slow is it? They're all sort of deep and meaningful and REALLY FUCKING SLOW, as Duncan does a verse with this piano going THUD THUD THUD THUD THUD THUD and now here's Keedie and the piano goes THUD THUD THUD THUD THUD THUD and then a chorus and the piano goes THUD THUD THUD THUD THUD THUD and then they start SINGING TOGETHER REALLY SLOWLY, and now here's a guitar being played by a twelve year old attempting to play along with Brian May's performance during the Queen's Golden Jubilee celebrations and the piano goes THUD THUD THUD THUD THUD THUD and there's probably an orchestra in there somewhere but I was too busy banging my head on the desk in an attempt to make it all just go away.

1) ERIC PRYDZ – Call On Me

He's ba-ack… but is he pop? Goodness knows, and goodness cares. I actually met Annie Mac off Radio 1 this week, and she's bloody lovely. Her radio programme's also rather good, too. Then again, she's not daytime. Daytime Radio 1, the nation's popular music station, is centred around student radio standard features presented by student radio standard presenters, with about as much knowledge or regard for popular music as most student radio presenters, and here's Wes. Hi, he's Wes. There's probably a whole major point I'm forgetting to make. Aren't Kasabian great, eh?

By: William B. Swygart

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Posted 10/24/2004 - 08:33:15 PM by IanMathers:
 Deep sympathy for the point made at #13.
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