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Pop Playground
The UK Corral : Rugby Union Is Shit




lbum Chart Notes:

1) Inoffensive New Zealander Hayley Westenra’s album has been hanging around the album chart for months now (this week #18). This week, it is revealed that she covers ‘Wuthering Heights’ on it. I am quite glad Wes doesn’t ever play anything off it now.

2) Britney Spears’ album gets to #14. ARE SCHOOL UNIFORMS DEAD?

3) Britney’s new single gets played too… more of that later.

4) Ooh, I’m a tease.

5) Sheryl Crow’s at #10, and a brief snatch of ‘All I Wanna Do’ gets played. It’s quite good, isn’t it? Can’t say I’m fussed about the rest of her oeuvre, but she’d have made a very good one hit wonder.

6) No, Meredith Brooks was rubbish.

7) Kylie’s album enters at #6. Her new single gets played. Why does pop now want to sound like Ladytron or Goldfrapp but less good?

8) REM #5, Wes plays a brief snatch of ‘Orange Crush’. Red Hot Chilli Peppers enter at #4, Wes plays ‘By The Way’ in full. I hate this man. Even if it isn’t his fault. However, I don’t know whose fault it is if it isn’t his. Thus, I hate him.

9) Busted #2, Michael Jackson #1. I could give a toss. Oh yes, and Wes plays their new singles. Again, I could give a toss.

New Entries outside the top 20: Starsailor #40 (Slow ballad thing with pi-a-noh. And James Walsh. Tripe); Kelly Clarkson #35 (like when Mel C ‘goes rock’, and just as rubbish); Belle & Sebastian #32 (that being eight places higher than Starsailor. I’m rather chuffed, and may write more about this song later. Or just gloat about it being more popular than Starsailor. Whichever); The White Stripes #23 (sounds a bit like Jonathan Fire*Eater, probably, except duller); and Shania Twain #21 (bit country, bit rubbish, bit oh well, then).

Oh yes, and this Friday is new look Top Of The Pops, which is getting bigged up. As is Wes’ Busted competition. I might be getting a bit narky by number one.

20) RED HOT CHILLI PEPPERS – Fortune Faded

So then, All New Top Of The Pops. One whole hour of it. Presented by A Man From MTV, and Richard Bacon & Margherita Taylor. Its new logo is like the one they had for BBC News and Liquid News, except in black & white. Marcello is right – Kylie really does hold too much sway over this country. Oddly enough, they seem to be distancing themselves from the charts nowadays – think they only played one or two of the top ten last week, despite the fact there were five or six new entries. Wes is bigging up the amount of new videos they’ll be playing. The live performance – Victoria Beckham. I await Friday with nerves a-jangling.

(The Red Hot Chilli Peppers Do Not Matter.)

19) JAMELIA – Superstar

Ten weeks on and down one. Sweet. I didn’t buy the album in the end cos I didn’t have change for the bus into town.

18) PINK – Trouble

So then, Belle & Sebastian. ‘Step Into My Office, Baby’ is the single, and it’s #32. Not even near to best song off the album, but still swish as anything, nice bit of flute in the intro, and it whisks along for its four minutes, with a couple of quiet bits that Stuart Murdoch’s voice was born for. Classy, classy, classy, and eight higher than Starsailor. Gertcha.

17) BLACK EYED PEAS – Where Is The Love

So then… there’s at least eight new entries left now. Maybe this will be this song’s last week in the top 20. Wouldn’t bet on it though. They have a new single out in a couple of weeks, which features more of Girly Pea singing. It sounds like Spooks. I don’t much care for it, to be honest. It’s probably a bit better than this, I just can’t remember right now. Hmm.

Do you think they’ll be launching All New Top Of The Pops with a performance from Status Quo? No, actually, it’ll be Pink, won’t it. Dunno why Pink… it just seems to fit, somehow. Cos it won’t signify anything whatsoever, which would appear to fit with the general theme of it thus far.

16) MISSY ELLIOTT – Pass That Dutch

Why would you need five seconds to catch your breath to this anyway? Over-vigorous handclapping?

15) RADIOHEAD – 2+2 = 5 (NEW ENTRY)

Hmm, bit shoegaze. Starts off like Paranoid Android, then gets rather quiet and Sigur Ros-like, then goes all fast and Paranoid Android-like again, and a bit jangly, oddly enough. Then it stops, like Blur. It’s alright, really.

14) BLAZIN’ SQUAD – Flip Reverse

In common with pretty much every other pop act in Britain, they were on Children In Need. My dad’s reaction: “I don’t know how people can call this music. How many of them are there?” Personally, I like the effects that are dotted all around this song, the intro, the “YEEEEH!” bits, them going “HOAAA!”, etc. However, I refuse to believe they have a truck. And the one that sings the hook’s balls have quite blatantly not dropped.

13) MIS-TEEQ – Style (NEW ENTRY)

IS SHOUTING DEAD? Though I came to realise while watching them on Children In Need, without Alesha (she does the shouting), Mis-Teeq wouldn’t be much cop, really. Bit like when Eternal were down to two. With her, they’re quite good, but only cos she’s there. The other two sing a bit, but are utterly expendable really. This song itself… isn’t very interesting, other than that they have a DJ miming in the back of all their performances on the telly. I have no idea why he is there.

12) KYLIE – Slow

On her Top Of The Pops performance, all the dancers were holding light tubes, like they were gonna start whacking each over the back with them like backyard wrestling types do. Instead, they started dancing like Kraftwerk. Oh well.

11) ENRIQUE IGLESIAS – Addicted (NEW ENTRY)

Joey from Friends but without the humour, and with a rubbish ballad that makes a godawful drugs-as-love-or-love-as-drugs-or-something metaphor go on for about a year. Rubbishly.

10) PET SHOP BOYS – Miracles (NEW ENTRY)

Imagine. Another world. A world where ‘Slow’ is half as clever as it thinks it is, yet moreso. Where sex and love actually have something to do with each other. Where electrics can signify warmth instead of “grimy dirty elektro noise,” or whatever Holly Valance’s last single’s press release called it. A world where men can sing about beauty and adulation for others without sounding like an insincere ego-prick or a filthy shag-fuelled perv. Where ‘clever’ lyrics don’t put your back out with their crapness. In this world, see, ‘Miracles’ is number one, and it’s on the Radio 1 playlist (don’t even get me started about how Radio 1 would sound there), and no-one bats an eyelid that two forty-somethings have made a genius pop record that everyone loves. In this world, the Pet Shop Boys have somehow managed to push the slab of beauty and glory that is ‘Miracles’ to number ten. And in this world, that’s like Latvia winning Euro 2004. “Sun is shining… it’s a new day…” – technically, no. Metaphorically, yes.

9) FATMAN SCOOP – Be Faithful

I nearly forgot what this was called. Bit frazzled. Not sure why. But yes. Best chart jingle ever – “THIS IS FATMAN SCOOP AKA BIG COLORADO AKA THE PARTY MOVER DON’ PHONE ME AT FOUR O’CLOCK ON SUNDAY CUZ I WILL BE LISTENING TO THE OFFICIAL CHART SHOW ON RADIO 1 W-O-N – YEAH, I SPELT IT WRONG, BUT I DON’T CARE!!!” He is Fatman Scoop, we aren’t. We lose. And I’m miles behind this week again so I can’t quite fully write about the genius, again. Next week. Dinner permitting.

8) OUTKAST – Hey Ya

The video for this is fantastic too. Lots of people dancing badly to the song on American Bandstand or something, as Outkast (represented by about ten different permutations of Andre 3000) play their hit single ‘Hey Ya’, whilst also dancing badly. All the Outkast types are dressed in green, black and white. The lead Andre 3000 has his hair combed out straight, and it looks fabulous. Aww. Outkast Universally Accepted, and how.

7) KEVIN LYTTLE – Turn Me On

OK, so perhaps Christmas number one was a bit ambitious. New Year number one, then. It’s not like anyone gives a toss about the New Year charts anyway.

6) BRITNEY SPEARS ft. MADONNA – Me Against The Music

So then, Britney’s new single. Called ‘Outrageous’, and it sounds a bit like Mis-Teeq without Alesha might sound if instead of the other two members they had Britney Spears on vocals. Su-Elise could do theremin, and Sabrina could do slap-bass. Still, it’s half-decent, and better than this. There’s a line about her being in a club wearing ‘sexy jeans’, which unfortunately is not delivered in the style of ‘Sexy Eyes’ by Dr Hook. Should’ve been the lead single, probably, but no, it didn’t have Britney and Madonna snogging in the video and as such was not A GIGANTIC WORLD POP CULTURAL SEISMIC SHIFT IN THINGS that couldn’t keep Busted off number one, like Ultrabeat did. Oh well.

5) LEMAR – 50/50 (NEW ENTRY)

Wherein Mr Obika launches his campaign to be Britain’s Swingbeatiest Man 2003. He does this by nicking the “Bounce, bounce, bounce” line off ‘Ignition (Remix)’, except instead of randomly dropping it in he puts it underneath the beat for the entire song. Never mind, though, cos this is dead good, not as dead good as ‘Dance (With U)’ was, due primarily to there being a hugely awkward sounding line about a “shopping spree” (Lemar: you are not Big Brovaz, and you really don’t want to be), but it’s nice anyway, bass clomping along, Lemar’s voice just rides it smooth-style, and in a weird way it’s rather catchy. His control and ease of the tune shines through, and overall it just leaves that the impression that he knows what he’s doing, and he’s really very good at it too.

4) BUSTED – Crashed The Wedding

Pitman says:

“Yer can’t gerrin to pubs/Cos yer look about twelve/Yer all by yer sen (ohhhhh nohhhh).”

I have no idea why, but that seems like the most spot-on thing one could say about Busted. Even if Pitman was actually talking about Adam F or someone like that at the time.

3) ALEX PARKS – Maybe That’s What It Takes (NEW ENTRY)

Oh dear. I feel rather sorry for Alex. Firstly, because she performed ‘Yellow’ on Fame Academy that often that it’s inevitable all her solo stuff will sound like Coldplay but worse. Which this does, taking the piano bit from ‘Trouble’ and proceeding to do shit all with it. Also, however, because on Children in Need they had her as part of the opening ensemble, along with Shane Richie, Mis-Teeq and Atomic Kitten. Via the genius of choreography, poor old Alex found herself standing directly behind Shane Richie, who’s at least a foot taller than her. The BBC then made the masterstroke of having her perform her single on the show, thus obviously gaining her massive exposure. Except they put her on at a quarter to two in the morning, immediately after The Reduced Shakespeare Company had completely killed the atmosphere by being bloody awful and thus removing anyone that was still watching. She’s got a decent voice too… but The Evil Hands Of Carrie Grant might well have scarred her. Shame.

2) GIRLS ALOUD – Jump (For My Love) (NEW ENTRY)

Hmm. This no longer sounds as rubbish as it once did, but there’s a definite degree of Girls-Aloud-By-Numbers here – Nadine goes a-hollering, Cheryl goes a-growling, the other three go a-standing at the back and smiling politely. And the backing is quite loud and ‘retro-future’, like how their backing always is. There are worse things in this world, but there are better things on their album. Then again, these things are not on the soundtrack of #1 SMASH HIT BRIT-COM ‘LOVE ACTUALLY’, STARRING EVERY BRITISH ACTOR EVER!!! ANDREW LINCOLN!!! HUGH GRANT!!! THAT GIT OFF ‘MY FAMILY’!!! TOGETHER AT LAST!!! WELCOME TO BRITAIN – IT’S PERFECTLY ACCEPTABLE!!! Thus, they lose, I suppose.

1) WESTLIFE – Mandy (NEW ENTRY)

Ah shite. The devil, he has this habit of letting you think you’re winning then popping back up and farting in your face. So ‘Hey Whatever’ got to #3 or #5 or something, and Westlife think to themselves “Hmm, that ‘up-tempo’ thing, they don’t want that. Where’s the bar stools?” So we get Westlife covering a Barry Manilow ballad. It sounds like Westlife covering a Barry Manilow ballad. It’s shit. But somehow, despite coming up with precisely sod-all memorable tunes in their career, Westlife are probably now the most successful Irish thing ever. Moreso than The Thrills and The Cranberries combined, even.

Life sucks, dunnit?


By: William B. Swygart
2003-11-24


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