Pop Playground
Swygart: Gone Again

wygart is still away, so for the first time in five years I’m actually listening to the chart, as opposed to squinting at the mid-weeks and having a half-hearted eyebrow raise of disbelief (‘People actually buy music?’). This week the magical revolving host system blesses us with Jo Whiley and Colin Murray. Apparently much hilarity will ensue. I’m so glad to be sharing this imminent joyfulness with you all.

Album Chart Notes: Up with Mediocrity!

Feeder ‘battled’ for the top spot with their own special brand of boredom, but Athlete managed to be that wee bit more dirgesome and redundant, and thus were victorious. More importantly, Maroon 5 have been on the chart for 55 weeks. Keane for 32 weeks. Let’s just think about that.

New Entries Outside the Top 20: Down here for a reason.

Lil Jon only makes #38 with something angry and crunked and yawnsome. There doesn’t seem to be a hook or chorus, so really, what was the point? Deyaah ‘hits’ #37 and I’m still sleeping. Apparently she has a plan of her own; cornering the market in ethnically-ambigous, r ‘n’ b lite crap, perhaps. Wait a minute, they don’t play every single track anymore? Jesus, I really haven’t listened in a long time. The Wedding Present briefly pique my interest at #34: it’s sort of rambling, but not without a certain jaunty charm. Colin cannot count. #29 is the 22-20s: overwrought drums and guitars and pounding, but at least they tried. #27 is a re-entry of Elvis, as BMG cackle manically in the background. Cam’ron and Mona Lisa at #25 brutally murder Cyndi Lauper and appropriate ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’ in that excruciatingly bland, high-pitched sample fashion that brings Mariah Carey to mind. *Mariah Carey*. THAT’S how bad it is!

THE UK TOP 20: Please someone, make it stop.


What’s not to love about this song? Thrumming faux-rock chords, grating chorus and deliciously questionable lyrics: truly a fine example of pop song perfection. People who care that she can’t really sing should be locked in a room with her sister. Plus, of course this track carries the joy of Papa Joe sending his darling daughter out into the world to ‘sing’ about being a sex-starved rampant whore! Even Colin says she’s dirty.

19) HANSON – Penny and Me

The quality hummable tunage continues. Lilting, sunny and undemanding, with Samaire Armstrong in the video. The new series of the OC’s started, but access to our college TV is hampered by smelly men with their endless football. This is probably for the best, since I’ve heard there’s a new music venue set, so that endless indie darlings can be inflicted on the unwitting moneyed teen demographics.

18) LINKIN PARK/ JAY-Z – Encore/Numb

Oh dear. Definitely the sum is less than the parts. So who do you reckon would win an all-out brawl between Hanson and The Noise Next Door? I would hope Hanson, and maybe with their years of touring they’ve become secretly hardcore—at least enough to smash in the ugly faces of those bargain-basement British guitar pop brats. Now that’s a pleasant thought.

17) FEEFALLER – Do This, Do That

Fucking hell. My opinion of The Noise Next Door is rapidly rising in comparison to these utter cunts. “Never break me down”, eh? I honestly can’t comprehend how this has a release, because, HELLO! It’s past 2000, there’s really no excuse for nu-punk-pop-pap like this. Jo dares to suggest they might be the new Busted. SHAME ON YOU!

16) LOVEFREEKz – Shine

Dance music. It doesn’t make me want to dance. Since we’re this high in the chart, and taking into consideration the abysmal taste of the British record-buying public, I can assume Head Automatica haven’t charted. Which is a sin, because ‘Beating Heart Baby’ is one of the best songs I’ve heard this year: The guy from Glassjaw + Dan the Automator Man = vibrantly crashing chords and a damn crazy organ going. But no, the Top 40 listening public are denied the pleasure of this fantastic blur of neon joy and melodramatic wailing.

15) LUCIE SILVAS – Breathe In

Instead we get the girl who changed her surname to try and be less Jewish, but forgot that cutting a syllable wouldn’t bless her with originality or talent. So utterly inane. Because we wouldn’t breathe in and out unless you told us to, right sweetie? And now Jo tells us she’s written for Gareth Gates and Liberty X. I’m strangely unmoved by these services to substandard pop.

14) ELVIS – Now or Never

When I’m at home, my mother and I browse the papers with Radio 2’s ‘Sunday Love Songs’ on, this being a staple for unimaginative hoards who always request Ronan Keating and Aerosmith. My mother and I keep a running commentary of catty remarks about the dedications from people who think ‘I love you’ is a box of cheap chocolates and a signed photograph from Steve Wright. I say a little prayer that my life holds more than theirs.

13) XZIBIT – Hey Now

Mildly more intriguing than most gangsta thuggin’. Actually no, I’m bored now so I’m going to go and cook: chicken with sweet potatoes in a sort of casserole I think.

12) ATHLETE – Wires

Sometimes I add lemon, if I’m slow-roasting the chicken. In chunks it adds a great bite to what can be a bland dish. Nigella recommends garlic too, but I might be going out later, so am passing this time.

11) DURAN DURAN – What Happens Tomorrow (NEW ENTRY)

The great thing with that kind of dish of course is how low maintenance it is. Just stock and oil and foil, in the oven at about 200/220 degrees for an hour, give or take. Also, try baking some cherry tomatoes alongside in the last twenty minutes: fabulously sweet and juicy.

10) UNITING NATIONS – Out of Touch

More dance. I’m still not dancing. And all the hilarity they promised us, long, long ago? It has yet to ensue.

9) GOOD CHARLOTTE – I Just Want to Live (NEW ENTRY)

Sigh. Whiny chorus and mock raps don’t really do much for me. Although they do an excellent version of Ashlee Simpson’s jig of shame in the video. I found it very interesting how much was made of that affair—that we only tolerate teen singers who obviously don’t play their own instruments and obviously don’t write their own songs if they can hit a few notes on live TV. What’s the bother if they don’t? Her songs stand as recorded, and as such they are occasionally above-average angst rock fare. As the wonderful Emma Forrest wrote, “I don’t see what’s so good about being genuine. Clog dancing is genuine. Isn’t being fake more of an achievement? At least that takes some inspiration.” Indeed.

8) ONE WORLD PROJECT – Grief Never Grows Old

Charity record? Fuck. I don’t care, it’s still excruciatingly agonizingly toe-curlingly AWFUL. Make it stop, please someone, make it stop! This is an uber-abysmal slow death of a record: Cliff Richard. The Bee Gees. Religion. God. I think even Westlife are in there too. JESUS! A mournful indulgent guitar solo! When will this torture cease?!


OK, this is more bearable. Interesting and engaging in a whole ‘oh so fashionable’ way. Lots of noise and ‘Push the button’ threats, so I’m nodding along benignly. And then it ends and I’m entirely nonplussed.

6) CIARA – Goodies

My interview with Ciara was a disappointment, to say the least. It may have been jet-lag, or the horrific Radio 1/Popworld/CD:UK/TOPTP routine these people are subjected to, but I’ve had conversations with people tripping off three types of pills that were more coherent than this girl.

Me: So what was it like working with Missy and Ludacris?
Her: Well, it was an incredible…Oh shoot! Where was I? What was I saying? God…I just don’t know…um… It was such an honor to…Oh shoot! I…I…What did I just say?

I kid you not.

5) BLOC PARTY – So Here We Are (NEW ENTRY)

Colin the closet rockist wets his pant in joy. Look! A real band! With instruments and writing and everything! Let’s all swoon in relief. Not the best track off the album by any way, but still insistent and chiming, with plenty of energy and poignancy.

4) ASHANTI – Only U

“Oh baby, I love you so much and I’m nothing without you and you’re my everything and I’ll die if you leave me because I’m a submissive, down-trodden influence with no independent sense of self-worth or esteem; designed solely as an anti-entity to counter those subversive fem’nists who pretend women could ever be sufficient without someone to emotionally abuse them.” Ahem.


Darling Delta, why must you demean yourself so? Step away from the dirty ex-boyband man! Flee now with your dignity only slightly spoiled! Run far, far away from the insipid balladry and tawdry tabloid rumors of an affair! Sigh.

2) ELVIS – Are You Lonesome Tonight (NEW ENTRY)

HUH?! POPBITCH WERE WRONG?! Damn you, damn you all! This is a perfectly respectable song, money-grabbing corporate machinations aside. Certainly more worthy of the (obviously meaningful) crown of #1 than Eminem’s stupid little rap-wars saga.

1) EMINEM – Toy Soldiers (NEW ENTRY)

Sample…rap…sample…angst…yawn. And then, blissfully, it’s over! My journey through the depths of depair and tedious DJ banter has come to a close. There was no hilarity, and for that I apologize. Next week Will is back, to enjoy the bounteous delights of new Daniel Bedingfield material and DJ Spooney. MWAHAHAHA.

By: Abigail McDonald

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