The Singles Jukebox
Embrace! Unbelievable!

album Chart Notes: Oh dear god. I get in from Safeway. My ears are all afrosted. What greets me?

"Wherever U2 play there is always a buzz in the city, the arena—it's never a club—and it is always sold out! They are truly Monsters Of Rock!"

Fuck off Vernon.

"With her sixteenth week in the charts it's the gorgeous Lucie Silvas and her album is called Breathe In."

Fuck off Spoony.

"47th Grammy awards tonight! Unbelievable!"


Yes, I have returned from Theatreland to be greeted by VERNON FUCKING KAY and DJ SODDING SPOONY. Perhaps the BBC was reading what I wrote about Wes. And perhaps now, they are aiming to make me suffer.

I have this horrible feeling that Vernon is meant to be bringing the comedy here.

They hilariously sing over “Dancing On The Ceiling.” "Joss Stone is over in America for the Grammys! Unbelievable! She is nominated for several awards! Maybe she can do it—for the Brits!" It's as though the script is written on their foreheads in Magic Marker and they're trying to read it in the mirror.

"Are we like, the two quirkiest characters on Radio 1?"

"Well, behind JK & Joel… and Coxy, and Chris Moyles and Comedy Dave…"

"Haha! Perhaps not then! Haha! But we're having fun here…"

Vernon hilariously sings along to some Elvis.

Oh fucking hell, Michael Bublé has a new album out.

"And look out for Radio 1 and Green Day in… June!"

"So they picked up three awards at the Brit Awards this week, and to be honest with you, I'm not surprised that they're in the top two albums this week… it's Scissor Sisters…"

Vernon does some horribly long-winded thing about how great Keane are and how great Radio 1 is for liking Keane and erm yeah. He sounds like he's desperately stalling for time when he starts his sentences. This is going to be a very, very long three hours.

They're clapping Keane. "The future's bright, the future's Keane!" Fuck off, Vernon.

New Entries Outside The Top 20: The Beautiful South #36 (Their covers album really is good. I dunno why they've not released 'Don't Stop Moving', but this 'un will very definitely do. Big, soft string-laden twanged-up Radio 2 cover of 'This Will Be Our Year'. Heaton's not on it, so here's Dave Hemingway instead. That's alright, he's good too. It's Sunday afternoon and this just sounds absolutely perfect. Chunky cardigans for goalposts. Ends far too soon. I love them. Fuck you all); The Duke Spirit #25 (flashy, slightly headless rock charging with rather good female singer type who's forever bigging up Emma Pollock and reckons Muse are shit. I quite like this lot, yeah); and The Kills #23 (So, the next Domino band to have a hit after Franz Ferdinand is this lot. The backing goes a-buzz and a-tinkle. "Did you get me the good ones? Did you get me the real good ones?" goes the woman. The bits that go a-tinkle are quite good, plus I sense that Vernon and Spoony are very, very confused by it, and that pleases me a bit).


20) ELVIS PRESLEY – Are You Lonesome Tonight?

Hmm. This… is going on a bit. I think I'd like it more if I weren't dreading the ha-ha's that Vernon and Spoony are about to bring.

Vernon simultaneously does an Elvis impersonation and requires a kicking. They discuss 'Swap Shop'.

19) BLOC PARTY – So Here We Are

I fucking love this record. I love how the guitars sound, how slow, open and resonant against the scattergun drums splayed out across the background—the space they create between the two, drums drive and guitars meander. Kele Okereke does not have the greatest voice in the world, but he resides in the space, and here he is awesome. And at the end, as the guitars get faster, the bass more insistent, and he howls "I've figured it out! I've figured it out!" like a man hammering on the windows of the train pulling out of the station, I can feel my heartstrings crackle and my tearducts swell. "I can see it again! I can see it again!"

I love how with such tiny gestures they create so much, at a time when most bands use so much to do so very little, as I'm probably going to be very depressingly reminded of later. It's the gestures, the tics, the small things. 'Silent Alarm' is an incredibly romantic album. Sometimes, it slides off the surface and you're a bit nonplussed. Then you sit down and you listen and somehow it just hits you, it gets you. Bloc Party's strength is that sensitivity, the strange sorrow at the heart of it all. I never thought they'd make me feel this way, they were meant to be all empty hype, another soft target on the backs of the rockist student pricks for me to take aim at, another hype over substance phenomenon. They aren't, though. They move you with a slight shimmer of their guitars, the changes, and Okereke's voice, sounding so impossibly hurt, wounded and confused, staggering about in the fog his band have conjured—"I made a vow…"

This single makes me feel desperate and sad and emotional and in love, so very, very in love. "I've figured it out! I've figured it out!" I think I love them as much as The Futureheads. That's how good this is.

18) GREEN DAY – Boulevard of Broken Dreams

I almost keep going off this, because Launch keeps throwing it at me. But the ending is so messy, so awkward and scraggy—I love the way it's alternately drawn to and repelled by the temptation to be a big rock anthem, like Billy Joe's voice just will not let him, like he will not let himself do it, the fuzzy bluster clinging on, refusing to let go though it's got no idea of what exactly, but it just Cannot Let Go.

17) LUCIE SILVAS – Breathe In

She twitters a bit. There's an acoustic guitar. I don't care. Vernon has just compared 'Swap Shop' to 'Dick and Dom in Da Bungalow'.

Points of similarity:

1) on BBC1 on Saturday mornings

2) involves children.

And that is it. Vernon and Spoony's presenting style consists of reading bits off the press releases that they have highlighted. "BLOC PARTY are playing PLYMOUTH on the 16TH FEBRUARY!"

16) ATHLETE – Wires

Man writes song about kid, about panicking about its birth. It's really very bad. The chorus hovers on catchy. But his voice—so pedestrian, so plodding, and the strings are horrible, so gratingly obvious, so very WAVE LIGHTER HERE, following the model that got Snow Patrol a top 5 hit to the letter—strings, overblown-ness, jumpers, quiet week sales-wise, street-teaming, heavy push to sympathetic 'real music' Radio 1 types, bit where he gets really loud…so, so generic. Whatever feeling he has for that kid of his, whatever trauma he felt is clubbed out of him by the horrid production, the sheer obvious, club-footed, ham-fisted EEE-MOW-SHUN of it all. He sings "Down corridors / Through automatic doors" as the backing drops out because that's How Modern Corporate Indie Works and the rhyme feels fifteen, twenty times worse than it actually is. It's depressing that an event this emotive gets reduced to being this year's Token Breakthrough Indie Single, so generic that the apathy it engenders is just crushing.

15) XZIBIT – Hey Now (Mean Muggin')

This is good, this. I like Xzibit, mainly because he has really big forearms (see also: Ross Millard of the Futureheads). I like the beat, popping and clicking, shoulder-shuffling, and the chorus—it's a bit fast for my liking, but fast in that way that makes you think you know the words, then you realise that what you're singing is "Izzizzabuzzeewee subbing, buzzynuzzyfuzzynuzzy wee sum-ing, Hey Now, Hey Now." And there's nothing wrong with that at all.

14) JAY-Z vs. LINKIN PARK – Numb/Encore

"Wel-come baaack!"

13) UNITING NATIONS – Out Of Touch

"Wel-come baaack!"

12) DANIEL BEDINGFIELD – Wrap My Words Around You (NEW ENTRY)

Sorry, the chart had already finished by the time I got to here, so I popped downstairs to be sociable. I've got the replay of the chart up. It skipped to the last thirty seconds of this one. It wasn't especially memorable. He will wrap his words around you until you stay. I suspect it's a metaphor.


"They got their name by annoying their neighbours." Fuck off Spoony. 'Turning Japanese' is a good song. This, however, is masturbation end-of-the-pier style. They've modelled their singing style on Busted. There is calendar style metaphor along the lines of "Girl you make me hotter than July", and because the BBC Radio Player can only skip forward five minutes I'm having to listen to all of it.

"They're probably all sat round the radio listening to this." "They're making Noise Next Door, that's what they're doing." Fuck off.

10) CIARA ft. PETEY PABLO – Goodies

"If you're looking for the goodies keep on looking cos they stay in the jar." Is that not telling person where to find the goodies then? Hi, I'm Scott Mills.

Yeah, I like this record. I like the high-pitched oscilloscope noise, the way it rubs off the clanking bass, the way in which Ciara's voice can most definitely be described as like Janet Jackson but not so bloody cloying all the time. It's a record that just forces you to move in some way, like that bweee has been programmed to be synchronised with your vertebrae. Sweesh.


"They've been together for ELEVEN YEARS and sold over EIGHT MILLION ALBUMS!" Cheer up Will. Scott Mills and Nemone next week. Dear me.

Ah, this is good though. It's a lovely little pairing this, the production definitely a fair bit more retro-ish, almost mid-90's style hip-hop backing, the triple bass thump under Q-Tip's "DON'T-HOLD-BACK!"—cool as fuck, aye. Also, bonus points for repeated mention of the album title and yet somehow it not being irritating.

Hilarious ribbing about who should do the 40-2 recap. "Vote for Vernon, cos he's got a beautiful wife so he can perform under pressure!" "Heh Heh Heh! Steady on big man, it's nowhere near nine o'clock yet!"

8) ASHANTI – Only U

That thurr crunk be good, arr? It's a half-arsed, stone-washed knock off of Sia's 'Taken For Granted', with Ashanti bringing her usual payload of charisma to bear on the proceedings. You might think it's alright for about two seconds, and then you'll forget it completely.


Q: What is this?

A: This is more like it.

Raghav gets away from the piano line. And moves on to the bass line. And oh, that is a fucking bass line. It just cannot in any way be arsed. "C'mon, y'know yer moving. C'mon. I could stay here all night if you want, I'm not changing owt." Slow, plucked, with a big cheesy grin on its face. Frankye Maxx yells "RAGHAV!" and "YUH DUN KNOW!" every so often, usually when least needed. And then, the chorus. "Cuz mahbebbe'sgot ooooh-oooh-oooh-oooh ayeengel eyyyes, said mahbebbe'sgot ooooh-oooh-oooh-oooh ayeengel eyyyes…" It's so, so slinky, like a bulb's suddenly come on in Raghav's head, and he swirls his hips down. Groove, yeah? Oh yeah. You'd not trust him as far as you could throw him, but he does look pretty aerodynamic.

6) DOVES – Black & White Town (NEW ENTRY)

And this is a fucking intro. The piano loop is a wonder, hefty but nimble, clumping in with a peculiar deftness of touch, then the drums—amped up as usual, but brushing, hustling, keeping it honest. Atmosphere hangs heavy and anticipation mounts… and Jimi Goodwin's voice just doesn't live up to it at all. His slightly disgusted drawl can just about keep up for the verses, but when it gets to the chorus, it's Not There—hear the way he moans "under-grou-hound", the strange air of desperation about "You should, follow, me dow-howwwn…" And yet somehow that loop won't be denied, regardless of the dodgy guitar solo or even dodgier spoken word bit. They'll bounce in the discos, and they'll be right, but in a scenario where you can hear the vocals, your heart sinks a bit.


He's Enrique, she's Celine. They attempt to die in your arms tonight. You put your hands in your pockets.


There isn't anything wrong with this, but there's just so little right… De'i'y's Chile are looking for a man who is real hood and stuff. There's a beat that goes a bit clippy. T.I. comes in and fails to do that bit where he fans himself. It's just curiously routine, really, almost contractually obliged. Half-decent, but devoid of enjoyment.

3) EMINEM – Like Toy Soldiers

There is no skip function on that radio player. So here's Eminem. He has had beef. Beef is bad. There's some marching drums. The verses do not end. There's some nice soft pianos. He's being sensitive. And on it goes. It's not as good as 'Toy Soldiers', because it's cut out the "Won't you come out and play-with-me?"


It's an accordion. Oh hooray. Elvis jaunts his way through a German folk song in English. It's all very 'Oh Mein Papa', and it really isn't very good at all.

1) U2 – Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own (NEW ENTRY)

"It's brand new U2, but it sounds like vintage U2." Fuck off Spoony.

And we end with… well, it's alright, isn't it? Nice little ballad, possibly it'd be more touching if it weren't Bono with his "Tunnayt fank gawd it's them…"voice, and I've just listened to it and totally forgotten how it goes now. Oh.

"Maybe Embrace will be number 1 next week—they've never had a number one!" "Unbelievable!"


By: William B. Swygart
Published on: 2005-02-14
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