Posted on Monday, November 12, 2012 by Paul in Music
You may or (more likely) may not be interested to know that this is the week that the Official Charts Company chooses to deem the sixtieth anniversary of the chart. Strictly speaking, it’s a bit of a fudge. The current “official” chart, which is official in the sense that it’s recognised by the British record industry, actually dates from 1969. Before that, there were various unofficial and frequently contradictory charts. But because of the obvious desirability of having a list of “official” number 1s stretching back to the dawn of rock and roll, the OCC recognises two of the earlier charts as being retroactively official. So what actually happened sixty years ago was the first appearance of the NME chart – though even that’s a rather grand description of a bloke ringing round some record shops and preparing a top 12 (it was meant to be a top ten, but the sample size was so low that there were several ties).
But hey, from small acorns and so forth.
40. Pink – “Try”
I think we’re supposed to be calling her P!nk again, actually, but I have an old-fashioned commitment to vowels. The second single from her album “The Truth About Love” is, I think, not officially being promoted in the UK yet, but since there’s a video in circulation and it’s available as an album track, the spillover effect sends it (barely) into the charts. It’s a perfectly okay pop rock song which I suspect will get a better reception from American radio than British.
36. Gabrielle Aplin – “The Power of Love”
This was only released on Saturday, so it’s charting on the strength of one day’s sales. It’s going to rocket into the top ten next week.
Aplin is a singer-songwriter who’s been floating around for a couple of years now, but this is a cover version of the record that made number 1 for Frankie Goes To Hollywood, the zeitgeist band of 1984. It would have been that year’s Christmas number one had it not got stuck behind Band Aid, and lest some you might be too young to remember, the original release had the added dimension of the marked contrast from their controversy-baiting previous singles, “Two Tribes” and “Relax” – possessors of two of the most mid-80s videos you’ll ever see.
Why is this in the chart now? Why, it’s a quirkily fragile cover version of a mid-80s song by a previously little known act – why do you think it’s in the chart?
35. Sneakbo – “Zim Zimma”
It may be credited to Sneakbo, but the heavy lifting here is being done by producer Ill Blue, if you ask me. Essentially a dance record with a bit of rapping on top – the vocal doesn’t even get start until over a minute in – it still gives Sneakbo his first top 40 hit. That’ll please Radio 1, who’ve been pushing him for months. He’s not contributing much of interest to this track, though.
34. Willy Moon – “Yeah Yeah”
Currently being used in an iTunes advert. Doesn’t look like it’s going any further, but I like it. Kind of a big beat throwback with a song attached.
Good vocal, rather generic song, video trying a bit too hard. This is the lead single for her new album, and while you might think number 14 seems a bit disappointing, the reality is that she passed her commercial peak a while back. She hasn’t been in the top ten with one of her own records since “Ain’t No Other Man” six years ago, and while her last album made number 1 on first-week sales, it didn’t even go gold. (The one before that, platinum. The one before that, quintuple platinum. You get my point.)
12. Sub Focus (featuring Alpines) – “Tidal Wave”
The first top ten hit for producer Nick Douwma. He’s the blond guy wandering around in the video. He’s had two minor hits before, “Rock It”/”Follow The Light” in 2009 and “Out The Blue” (sic) in May. It’s basically a drum and bass record, though there’s a song to go with it.
Alpines, who co-wrote the song, are an electropop duo comprising singer Catherine Pockson, who’s in the video above, and producer Bob Matthews, who isn’t.
10. Rita Ora – “Shine Ya Light”
One of those songs where Rita Ora sounds like something of an own-brand Rihanna. It’s one of those all purpose songs about how we should all celebrate our something or other, and the chorus sounds alarmingly like it ought to be soundtracking a Coke advert. The verses take a more unlikely stab at dub. It somehow kind of holds together – I have to admit it’s growing on me – but it’s still not exactly inspired. The video, where she returns to her native Kosovo, feels like it belongs on a more personal song.
9. Misha B – “Do You Think Of Me”
Good news here for the X Factor escapee, who was meant to be one of the favourites in season 8, but got voted off rather quickly for (it would appear) the crime of acting like a diva instead of just singing like one. Simon Cowell passed on his option for her, so she’s now signed to the rather more sympathetic Relentless label. Her first single “Home Run” peaked at 11, so this is a step up.
Without the video, it sounds like a song lamenting a break-up and pining for an ex-partner, albeit in unusually upbeat style. As the video makes rather more clear, it’s actually supposed to be about her parents (neither of whom she knows), though the lyrics still feature more than a few stock images from the break-up genre. The dial remains rather incongruously set to “anthem”, but it’s got a certain charm.
3. The Wanted – “I Found You”
This is the lead single from the Wanted’s third album. Given that they’ve been promoting it on radio for two months, they’ll surely have been hoping for a third number one. But. Here we are.
The record sets off as a fairly ordinary dance-pop track, only for the chorus to suddenly go full-bore Bee Gees falsetto. You can almost hear them girding themselves for the challenge – “Courage, lads! If we take it in unison, we might just get through it!” Actually, they more or less carry it off, but it’s still an unusual choice for a group like them. Quite takes you by surprise if you’re not expecting it.
The Wanted are a boy band carefully positioned to look a little less like a boy band than they actually are. So they don’t dress like teenagers, their records veer somewhat into dance territory, and they make videos like the one above. (The “parental advisory” warning at the start drastically oversells the ensuing content, it should be said.) But at core they’re still a boy band, just one pitched at a slightly more sophisticated level than One Direction. “I Found You” is at root a fairly typical boy band song lyric – I was Very Sad until I became Very Happy thanks to the redemptive love of A Girl Who Could Be You. Making this explicit in the video would be a little too obviously conventional, which is why we’ve got the ironic inversion above. This was the second stab at making a video for it, by the way – the unreleased first version had them being chased by rabid fans, which was probably a little too on the nose.
Still, it may be calculated, but that’s not the same thing as being cynical; at least the Wanted (or rather, their management) seem to have some interest in making sure the records are halfway decent, and toying with the formula around the edges, instead of just phoning it in.
Being a boy band, the Wanted’s sales are very frontloaded – look for this to drop out of the top ten next week.
A second week at the top, but in a strong week for new releases, he won’t manage three.
There’s been some minor squabbling (not, to be fair, from Robbie Williams himself) over the fact that Radio 1 has not been playing this song. Some seem to think that the fact that it’s spent two weeks at number one proves that to be a miscalculation. Not so; Radio 1 is currently going through one of its periodic purges where it tries to reassert its official remit of aiming at audiences aged 25 and under, hence the dumping of long-serving breakfast DJ Chris Moyles. This happens from time to time, as Radio 1 tries to resist the urge to grow older with its audience, and instead attempts to usher older listeners in the general direction of Radios 2 or 6, according to taste. Robbie Williams has been in the business for 22 years. His core audience is older than Radio 1’s demographic.
On the album chart:-
“Take the Crown” by Robbie Williams at 1, which was pretty much always guaranteed.
“Magic of the Movies” by Andre Rieu & The Johann Strauss Orchestra at 2. Are you buying your Christmas presents for those elderly relatives yet?
“Evolution” by JLS at 3. Yes, behind the Johann Strauss Orchestra. They’ll love that.
“Stronger Together” by the Military Wives at 5. The choir originally formed for a TV show last year has now expanded to a collective of some 700 people. It is the time of year for such records.
“Opera” by Andrea Bocelli at 10. Does-what-it-says-on-the-tin tenor anthology.
“The Difficult Second Album” by Chris Moyles at 13. A second comedy album from the aforementioned ex-Radio 1 breakfast presenter. The reviews have been not so much scathing as scorched earth, but to be honest, I suspect he’ll be pleasantly surprised he’s shifted this many. Again, we’re getting into the Christmas season.
“Music From Another Dimension” by Aerosmith at 14. Their first completely new album in over a decade. Supposedly middling to meh.
“Ora” by Rita Ora re-enters at 16 on the strength of a deluxe edition re-issue.
“R.E.D.” by Ne-Yo at 17. Wow, that’s surprisingly low. At least JLS outsold Chris Moyles.
“Dark Black” by Kristina Train at 27. UK-based American pop/soul singer, apparently.