Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Ahead Of The Curve

Some 'music reviews' from the cutting edge of pop:

Stooshe - 'Waterfalls'
A cover that could well be described as anthemic, if only as a result of a mishap involving autocorrect and the word anaemic. (Seriously if you have spellcheck set to US English then there's potential for anything.) It's not exactly going to send them freewheeling towards the dumper, but only serves to further their potential of prematurely becoming a 'remember them?' act - almost impressive at a time when it seems there are hardly any acts regularly in the charts and on the airwaves anyway. (And that's not just uncorroborated perception either, but something proven by science here.)

JLS - 'Hottest Girl In The World'
This is very enjoyable, and that's a vital quality for a JLS single in 2012 because their time is probably running out - there are no guarantees that their singles will be big hits any more, so it helps to make them good, something borne out by the genuine, lasting success of 'She Makes Me Wanna' and the vanishing act played by charity-propelled nothingathon 'Proud'. And on top of it sounding good, it's brilliant to see a pop act launch an album on such a profound, existential rumination on gender. Well done, JLS.

Steps - 'Light Up The World'
If Radio 2 was a song, this would be it. Amazing. In an alternate universe - presumably one in which H & Claire's letters got lost in the post, leading to Steps dominating pop for an additional ten years - it could be the new Bond theme.

Private - 'Everywhere' feat Genasis
The utter beauty of this is exemplified by its very existence in the face of Genasis' attempt at total and complete destruction. Bluntly, the verse he was for some reason asked to provide features the line "putting my butter all over her muffin" early on, before descending into another that begins with the word sucking and leads into a rhyme with a word that's frankly just too uncouth to be printed on these fair pages, never mind, gentle reader, your imagination. As a whole it's sort of reminiscent of Briskeby's 'Miss You Like Crazy' (another A++ bit of Scandipop, fact fans), just more synthy. And yes, there probably are better comparisons than that but if you're after one then you're very clearly in the wrong place. Just listen to it instead.

Martin - 'Show The World'
Speaking of Private, Thomas Troelsen - aka Private - co-wrote this disco track for Martin, the winner of the first series of the Danish X Factor, four years ago and it is incredible. The production is slightly naff, but Martin's voice sounds very good, which should explain how he won the show aged only 15. It was one of two Number One singles he had from his debut album (also a Number One), after which he disappeared off the face of the earth. Now 20, he declined an invitation earlier this year to reappear on the X Factor final, telling newspaper Berlingske he's happy enough without the whole to-do. "I have my home studio, where every day I produce music... I think it's great [for people] to sit and develop themselves in this way. I feel really fat!" :(

Monday, 22 October 2012

'Two Fingers' Ra Ra Ra

Jake Bugg sold 35,785 copies of his eponymous debut album to make Number One this week. Well done Jake Bugg. Meanwhile, Leona Lewis' third album 'Glassheart' could only manage Number Three, with sales of 27,642.

But oh no! Bugg has said this, apparently (NME.com give no source in their 'report'):
"I guess it proves my point – people still want to hear guitar music. It’s my job to keep that X Factor shit off the top of the charts."
Maybe he should be cut some slack - he's just completed a fantastic moral victory for under-appreciated, under-exposed something blah blah, after all. Simon Cowell acts like Leona have had a monopoly on the charts and radio since he invented Pop Idol - it's about time he got what was coming to him!

So with that dominance in mind, let's see just how Radio 1, the nation's favourite radio station, have 'supported' the unadulterated, real music of Bugg this year compared to Lucifer-powered X Factor hellchild Leona's. (Not that it means much to look at just this one avenue of promotion, but make of it whatever you will alright.)

Jake Bugg
68 plays on BBC Radio 1 in the past 28 days as recorded by comparemyradio.com
Tracks from the album 'Jake Bugg' played 192 times on BBC Radio 1 this year as recorded by their last.fm page (eight of its fourteen songs at least once)

Leona Lewis
37 plays on BBC Radio 1 in the past 28 days as recorded by comparemyradio.com
Tracks from the album 'Glassheart' played 44 times on BBC Radio 1 this year as recorded by their last.fm page (all 'Trouble')

27,000 copies for Leona Lewis isn't really very good, but on that showing 36,000 for Jake Bugg probably isn't either. But anyway, yeah. Rock and indeed roll.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

The Anthem Won't Explain It

Six years ago this week My Chemical Romance's 'Welcome To The Black Parade' took its place as one of the most absurd UK Number One singles of all time.

It's not often that such ludicrous bombast reaches the top of the chart, never mind from a band with only three minor Top 40 hits to their name*, and so looking at it now it seems even more anomalous than it did at the time. Obviously it had context then, representing the peak of the mainstream success of the dreaded emo cult, but it was still a rather odd thing to happen.

It's a good job it did happen. Emo's time as A Thing ended up being very brief; while My Chemical Romance did very well out of it, they didn't have nearly as much success when they returned in 2010. It's a perfect example of a Number One single as a time capsule - if it hadn't have been such a hit, what would be the reference point for emo when Jack Whitehall eventually does some Channel 4 programme feigning nostalgia for things that happened in 2006?

This has all been a load of waffle about nothing, hasn't it. Anyway, it needed ('needed') to be noted that 'Welcome To The Black Parade' is one of the most surreal and best Number One singles ever and if you feel otherwise then you're basically wrong. It's embedded below for proof. You could call it a 'Bohemian Rhapsody' for the MySpace generation*, if that were to mean anything.

Other vital information: 'Welcome To The Black Parade' actually managed to last a fortnight at Number One, selling 33,883 in its first week and 29,201 in the second, figures that would only have scraped a Top Ten place this week.

Also in the Top 10 in the first week were Razorlight, Scissor Sisters and Beatfreakz, appearing with their second single. Second single. The past really is a foreign country, of which Lil' Chris, who was at Number 6, is probably a Junior Minister.

*See? It almost ties together now if you squint.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Some Songs That Were Released This Week

Because it's always good to be ahead of the curve, here is a list of some songs that Woolworths have been selling since Monday.

Alexandra Stan'Lemonade' Surely heading for the top spot this weekend. Even better, albeit lacking any cod cod-reggae, is its b-side, '1.000.000', which features the chorus "milli-million milli-million milli-milli-milli-milli-milli-million, milli-million milli-million milli-milli-milli-milli-milli-million". Consider that a challenge, Him From The Vaccines. (No but really, don't.)

AlunaGeorge - 'Your Drums, Your Love' Sort of pop music but sort of not, so you're definitely allowed to like it. Zane Lowe would merely respect what they're doing with it, while Nick Grimshaw would play it sans irony. But it's nonetheless really good.

Leona Lewis – 'Trouble' feat Childish Gambino It'll be interesting to see how much longer Leona can get by on the patent fact that she is a Global Songstress, given that she is a Global Songstress with only one real hit - a cover - since her first album. Also there's a bit in the non-rap version of this (the "run away now" part known 'in the biz' as the - technical term - 'middle 8') that has exactly the same melody as the chorus of Delerium's 'Silence', which is also a good song.

Loverush UK! vs Tiltin - 'I Wanna Get Out' feat Kitty Brucknell Actually not the worst thing in the world. Nor the best.

Madeon – 'The City' It has noises that sound like bagpipes! But it's struggling to keep inside the iTunes Top 100! What a world.

Shy & DRS - 'The Love Is Gone' feat Sandi Thom If you'd have told Sandi Thom back in 2006 - the year she invented the internet AND flower-toting punks LIVE from her Tooting dungeon - that just six years later her career would have soared to the heights of featuring on the Marillion-sampling debut single of Scottish rap duo Sly & DRS, she would surely have balked. Poor Sandi. Born too late into a world that doesn't care.

Swedish House Mafia - 'Don't You Worry Child' feat John Martin Bosh with an Enrique impersonator trying for SIGNIFICANCE to the point of COSMIC over the top. Totally sincere in its grandiose attempt at grandeur though, a key component of its brilliance.

Well that was worthwhile.