Top Ten Reasons Why "Beverly Hills" Isn’t The Worst Single of 2005
o yes, as you may have noticed, “Beverly Hills” isn’t a particularly brilliant record. Matter of fact, it’s kinda shit, really. The guitars are all chunky an’ stuff, which is alright, but the vocals are all smarmy and ewww, the lyrics are tossed-off lazy self-pitying cobblers playing up to the idea of nerdiness as feeble defence mechanism, whining about celebrities is so very, very boring, and in terms of ugly middle-aged guitar bands getting hype for their songs by putting scantily-clad women in the video, “Stacy’s Mom” is in an entirely different league. This may have a lot to do with the fact that “Stacy’s Mom” forces British types to pronounce “mom” as “mom” rather than “mum,” which presumably annoys a lot of people who are very much worth annoying, but never mind.
But the thing is, it’s not the worst single of the year. What follows is a list of ten reasons, in a vague kind of order, why all those that are making “Beverly Hills” this year’s critical pariah’s critical pariah should perhaps step off just a touch.
10) For one week, “Beverly Hills” made Weezer the biggest-selling boyband in the UK
You read that right. Over here “Beverly Hills” made number nine in the UK singles chart, not only giving Weezer their first UK top ten hit but, for one week only, making them the highest-positioned all male group-band-type affair in the top 40. So that week, when a bloke came up to me and started moaning about how the charts are filled with manufactured pop, I just pointed at “Beverly Hills” and sort of went “Ahhhhh. Ahhhhhhhhhhh. There’s your boyband shit right there. AHHHHHHHHHHH.” Which was fun. For me.
9) That said, have you seen the state of our boybands lately?
Loath as I am to say it, Busted definitely changed the face of UK pop by way of The Guitar. After they split up, the all-singing all-dancing boyband was history. Now, boybands have GUITARS. They have ATTITUDE. Perhaps most importantly of all, they have freed up the boybands that follow them to write songs about WANKING. Ladies and gentlemen, here’s The Noise Next Door:
Better than Miss January“Beverly Hills” is a piss-weak impersonation of Weezer. I dread to suggest that “Calendar Girl” is a piss-weak impersonation of anything, because I don’t want The Vapors putting out a contract on me.
Fitter than Miss February
Girl you make me hotter than July
Wo wo wo
August right through to November
You’re more cool than Miss December
You’re my world
Now you’re my calendar girl
8) Actually, you want a piss-weak impersonation… (pt. 1)
Weezer took five albums to travel this far up their collective arse. 50 Cent managed it on the first single off his second album. Cos gawd, no matter how half-arsedly Rivers Cuomo yawns about “rolling like a suh-leb-ruh-day,” the never-ending tide of metaphors for Fiddy’s cock that is “Candy Shop” surely out-strips it. “I’ll let you play with the stick.” Yes. Admittedly, nothing in either song quite tops that time Pharrell went “Get it? LOVE? NEST?,” but that all happened last year, so for the purposes of this article it doesn’t count.
7) Joanie is bored to death by Chachi
“Beverly Hills’” attempt at a video is predictably half-arsed. Here’s Weezer at The Playboy Mansion. Here’s some hot girls. Here’s Weezer. Notice how Weezer are not hot girls, but are in fact wearing glasses and are thirtysomething men. Do you see?
Now, that’s lazy, predictable, half-arsed etc. However, the opening few seconds do feature the drummer lounging around in a smoking jacket pretending to smoke a pipe, which vastly outranks the entirety of the video for “Welcome To My Life” by Simple Plan. To whit—Simple Plan whine about how hard they’ve got it while performing their song on a road bridge, thus creating a massive fuck-off traffic jam. At no point does anyone suggest to Simple Plan that this might be a slightly cuntish thing to do. Instead, they are so captivated by Simple Plan’s emotive pow-uh—“Are you stuck inside a world you hate? / Are you sick of everyone around? / With their big fake smiles and stupid lies / While deep inside you're bleeding”—that, far from calling Slipknot and getting them to bring the oil drums round, they get out of their cars and walk with them. “Beverly Hills” might be being ironic in a deeply shitty manner, but… fuck’s sakes, eh?
6) ‘Waiting For A Star To Fall’ syndrome
One of “Beverly Hills’” more irksome features is the irritating vocal loop of a girl going “Can you feel me? Can you feel me?” Consider, however, the plight of a young man who lives next door to this girl who has this habit of listening to “Star To Fall” by Cabin Crew, a Northern House stomper that samples the vocals from “Waiting For A Star To Fall” by Boy Meets Girl, at very loud volume on repeat. Consider that it’s not a bad record on its own. Then consider that she never listens to all of it, but rather thirty seconds of it. Consider that she does this by turning the volume up to full whack for thirty seconds. Consider that it’s always the same thirty seconds. Consider how it might feel to have “WAIIITING FOR A STAR TO FALL, CARRY YOU BACK INTO MY ARMS, THAT’S WHERE YOU BELONG IN MY ARMS BAY-BEH” with accompanying *THUNK THUNK THUNK THUNK* beat blasted through your adjoining wall before being swiftly faded down. Consider going through that all again about three minutes later. And again. And again. THEN consider what exactly constitutes a fucking “irritating vocal loop,” you spawny bastards.
5) Actually, you want a piss-weak impersonation… (pt. 2)
McFly’s singles output has basically been a series of increasingly diminishing returns ever since they put out the genuinely fantastic “Obviously” then decided to follow it up with the even-more-genuinely bobbins “That Girl” and the incredibly-genuinely-what-the-fuck-note-is-he-trying-to-reach-there- stoppitstoppitstoppit-OWWW painful “Room On The Third Floor.” Earlier this year they got to #1 with “All About You,” or the sound of McFly slowly boring themselves to death. “It’s all about you (it’s about you), it’s all about you baby.” The “it’s about you” bit is delivered in the style of a class of teenage boys greeting their physics teacher on a Tuesday morning. There’s some orchestra bits on it. It attempts to swing by featuring a guitar solo. It fails. It’s the sound of trying to fall asleep when you’ve left the television on, so you end up being kept awake by motocross highlights and just generally feel like shite. At least the guitars on “Beverly Hills” are a bit loud…
4) “A year ago, this charted at #26. Today, it charts at…” *number twwwwwenty-sixxxxxx...*
If nothing else, at least “Beverly Hills” has only been released once. The all-new all-depressing chart trend is for British guitar bands to re-release singles that have not only already charted, but have already charted in the past year. Chief offenders, annoyingly, include The Futureheads. After “Hounds Of Love” blitzed the top ten, there were many ways the record company could have chosen to follow it up, but for some reason they decided to re-release “Decent Days And Nights,” a song that charted at #26 last summer. The re-release also charted at #26. Still, at least that featured a rather delightful Max Tundra remix as a B-side, something which can’t be said about the re-release of Kasabian’s “Club Foot,” which charted at #21 eleven months after the original had charted at #19, or the re-release of “All Mapped Out” by The Departure, which wound up at #33 a couple of weeks ago. Last August, it charted at #30. This process is seemingly utterly inexplicable, as though it has been decided that every album from now on shall have a maximum of three songs to be used as singles that get repeatedly flogged regardless of the consequences, And That’s The Bottom Line, Cos The Street-Team Department Says So. No-one seems to gain anything by it (it’s especially baffling in the Daparture’s case, as “All Mapped Out” got released twice on the same label before the album had even come out), it doesn’t seem to make any kind of profit or increase exposure particularly, and it’s just generally a fucking stupid idea. “Beverly Hills” doesn’t help to change this situation, but at least it doesn’t perpetuate it.
3) “I still can’t believe “Speed Of Sound” got beaten to #1 by The Crazy Frog!”
Another factor in “Beverly Hills’” favour that it didn’t have anything to do with is the fact that it isn’t the new Coldplay album. Now, I have no idea how inescapable they are elsewhere, but in the UK you cannot MOVE for the bastards. I don’t have anything against Coldplay themselves and I don’t mind their music too much, but I would like to be able to turn on the telly and not hear “Speed Of Sound” being played to signify something being associated with music. Because Music Is Coldplay right about now. Glastonbury “All that noise, and all that sound” Festival. Steve “All those places I have found” Lamacq has a “Birds keep flying at the speed of sound” interview with Noel “Lights came flying from the underground” Gallagher. Top Of “Lights go flying at the speed of sound” The Pops. It does your nut in. Yes, we’ve got a group that sells records elsewhere, thus THE BRITISH ARE COMING, perhaps we can get some poor bastards to take Keane off our hands…
So yes, “Beverly Hills” hasn’t been involved in any of that, thus it wins.
2) The Ballad Of Jamie Scott
“Welcome To My Life” is irksome. “Beverly Hills” is too smart-arsed. However, ladies and gentlemen, I give you the real actual whiniest single of the year thus far—“Searchin’” by Jamie Scott, which charted at #33 in January. CHORUS!
I play a 6 string for a livin'“Searchin’” (note the apostrophe, in case someone confuses it with “Searching” by China Black, which is actually quite good) is a song wherein Jamie Scott complains that people don’t appreciate how good he is at being a singer-songwriter. As tends to be the case with these things, he sets out to prove how good he is by going on about how good he is.
But I ain't about to give in
'Cos I'm constantly just searchin for that vibe
I believe in what I'm doin
though at times my life feels ruined
And my confidence needs lifting, woah
What's the point in tryin to knock me down?This lyrical theme may be a bit familiar. Perhaps this is because David Sneddon covered this ground in “Best Of Order.” Or perhaps it’s because Alistair Griffin covered this ground in “Bring It On.” Alternatively, perhaps it’s because Michelle McManus covered this ground in “All This Time.” There’s a common link here, i.e. All Songs Where Artists Whine About How You Don’t Appreciate Just How Bloody Hard They’ve Had To Bloody Work To Get This Bloody Far Are Utter Fucking Gash. “Hate It Or Love It” is quite good, yes, but then again it does offer some slightly more profound lyrical insights than “I hold my head up to the sky / And I feel no shame / I walk the lonely streets at night / And I feel no pain.”
Don't even hear the words you say right now and that's not right
There's no rhyme or reason to what you say,
Don't you think its about time I had my day?
I don't know why, ooh baby
So open up your eyes and see,
Cos it won't take the soul from me, no way
Perhaps, though, that’s a way in which we can appreciate “Beverly Hills,” by viewing it as the antithesis to this wretched strain:
I'm just a no-class beat down foolYes, they obviously don’t mean it and are about as tight-arsed as all the rest of them. But take it at face value. Imagine those lines gently slapping Jamie Scott in the face. Suddenly, it ain’t so merit-less after all…
And I will always be that way
I might as well enjoy my life
And watch the stars play
1) SCARRRRRVES. Bloody SCARRRRRVES.
But perhaps most importantly of all, there’s a single that does everything “Beverly Hills” does, except worse. There’s smarm. There’s smugness. There’s toothless satire. There’s something that attempts to be a hook, and fails. And the guitars are really quite annoying. The number one reason why “Beverly Hills” isn’t the worst single of the year:
“Fishing For A Dream” by Turin Brakes.
The initial reason this made the list was because it was the only song released thus far this year that featured a worse pronunciation of “celebrity.” “Suh-leb-ruh-dee,” with all its feigned frat-boy-ness, is annoying, but the way Turin Brakes slide “sleb-riddee par-dees” through the teeth just comes off even worse, like a lazy jibe in Private Eye magazine at people who can’t understand Latin. The smugness with which they deliver it suddenly makes “celebrity parties” seem like the most obvious target ever, yet they feel so clever for having spotted it, because that’s not real love, oh no. As everyone knows, unless you’ve got an acoustic guitar you can go whistle for it. Ideally accompanied by someone playing piano really slowly.
What makes it worse it that it’s the main line of the song: “Celebrity parties, the red carpet mile / Nothing is too good there for my girl,” sung and then hollered over and over again, just to emphasise how loving and tender it is. Anyone who’s ever been given the creeps by Peter Sarstedt’s laugh on “Where Do You Go To My Lovely”—here’s the long lost grandchild!
“Beverly Hills” is a pointless song, lazy, cack-handed, unfunny, nothing like as clever as it thinks it is, and just generally a complete waste of time. “Fishing For A Dream,” however, is all those things amped up further. Compare, for instance, the rubbish guitar line and crap vocal sample of “Beverly Hills” with the quite, quite wretched “do-doo-do do-do-do-do doo-doo” line that’s been bolted on to “Fishing For A Dream,” as though Turin Brakes have decided to “include a catchy bit,” a “hook line” specifically designed for milkmen to whistle, a remnant from somewhere else that could perhaps have been a half-decent song once upon a time, or likes to think it could have been. But just repeating the same syllable over and over does not automatically become catchy or endearing or whatever you want, just because it’s the same syllable over and over—it has to flow with the song, to go somewhere, to make people want to join in, and here it does fuck all, just sticks its hand in the air and goes “Hey, catchiness over here! Woo!” It doesn’t lead onto anything, it doesn’t change anything about the song, it just sort of sticks out a bit then fucks off again because they have to bellow about “sleb-ridee par-dees” some more.
Basically, I can’t be bothered getting angry about “Beverly Hills” when “Fishing For A Dream” is everything that’s crap about it, but even worse. Except, of course, for the fact that Weezer recorded “Buddy Holly,” and Turin Brakes didn’t. Which might in fact be the reason why everyone else is so het up about it.
By: William B. Swygart
Published on: 2005-07-01