Posted on Monday, January 21, 2013 by Paul in Music
After a long, long run of weird Christmassy charts and dead weeks, we’re finally back to something approaching normal. Except with a singing actress, a lot of underachievers at the lower end, and an upset at number one.
38. Dizzee Rascal – “Bassline Junkie”
This is actually the lead track from a mixtape EP from Dizzee’s personal record label, and it’s been out since January 1st, but for some reason the public didn’t seem to notice until the middle of this week, when it suddenly started climbing the iTunes chart. It’s a bit of a return to his underground roots, even though it’s still emphatically a dancefloor track. But it’s got the best video we’ve had in ages. That first minute is fantastic. (The other guy is a comedian called Eric Lampaert, if you’re wondering.) I expect this to go further, now that people have finally noticed it’s out.
34. Conor Maynard (featuring Wiley) – “Animal”
I haven’t heard this one before. Is Conor Maynard an animal? Let’s find out!
That’ll be no, then. It’s one of those tracks that sounds vaguely promising in the verses but reveals itself as an off the peg boy band number when it hits the chorus. (And yes, I know there’s only one of him.) There’s half decent Wiley record in here, actually, but it needs some serious work. To be fair, this is the fourth single from his album “Contrast”, which came out back in July, so it’s really a case of reminding people that Conor Maynard exists. Even so, the promotion’s been underway for a few weeks now, so it’s not exactly catching fire.
33. Flo Rida – “Let It Roll”
The fifth single from his album “Wild Ones”, clambering from the lower reaches as promotion starts to kick in. Again, I’m not sure this is necessarily going to go much further. It hasn’t been a great success internationally – Wikipedia bills it as “his first single to miss the Billboard Top 100”. The sample is from “Let The Good Times Roll” by blues guitarist Freddie King, who died in 1976.
31. Ne-Yo – “Forever Now”
With eight credited songwriters and somewhere in excess of six producers, this is truly pop by committee. According to Wikipedia, it came out internationally in November and doesn’t seem to have made a huge impact anywhere. It’s pretty much a generic Ne-Yo single, and considering it’s only the second single from his current album, you’d think they’d have found something more notable.
28. Lawson – “Learn To Love Again”
Another one that was nowhere to be seen in the midweeks but suddenly started picking up sales as the week went on – even though it’s been out for a fortnight. Lawson, you’ll recall, are the boy band with guitars – or, if you prefer, the band with guitars who are marketed to the boy band audience. This one makes tentative nods in the direction of Calvin Harris at points, which is something a little different for them. It’s the fourth single from their current album, so diminished returns might be expected, but at time of writing it’s at 14 on iTunes – look for this to hang around for a while, then.
22. Anne Hathaway – “I Dreamed A Dream”
Yes, that Anne Hathaway, and that “I Dreamed A Dream”. The song has previously charted for Susan Boyle (number 37 in 2009) and the Glee Cast (number 36 in 2010). It comes, of course, from Les Miserables, which I’ve never seen, but sounds like a bundle of laughs.
There is, obviously, no video for this, but it did feature in the original teaser trailer, which is what I’ve posted above. It’s a very acting-heavy version of the song (as it should be, of course, given the source), but it’s a famous person doing the big number, and so it makes the chart.
14. Biffy Clyro – “Black Chandelier”
A title like “Black Chandelier”, an opening line like “I shouldn’t laugh but I know I’m a failure in your eyes…” – yes, it’s sentimental emo-sodden rock. (With a hefty dose of the Foo Fighters in the chorus, and a dash of Belle & Sebastian in that bridge, if I’m not mistaken.) But Biffy Clyro are pretty unusual these days in getting this sort of thing so far up the singles chart. Admittedly, it’s the first single from their new album and they’ve been doing the pre-release promotion since November, but still – number 14 for any form of alt-rock is not that common at the moment, and it’s largely because Biffy Clyro do this stuff well.
Those of you who seem to think we sound Scottish on the podcast may wish to note that Biffy Clyro sound Very Scottish Indeed.
This is their sixteenth top 40 hit in a chart career dating back to 2003. Their biggest hit is actually “Mountains” from 2008, which not only made number 5 but also spent four weeks in the top 10. But their best known song is probably “Many of Horror”, if only because it was implausibly pressed into service as the coronation single for X Factor winner Matt Cardle in 2010 under the title “When We Collide”.
12. Psy – “Gangnam Style”
Yes, it’s finally dropped out of the top ten, after seventeen straight weeks. Thought that was worth mentioning.
This is Justin Timberlake’s first single since “Lovestroned/I Think She Knows” in 2007, and for some reason he’s chosen to open it with the worst intro in the history of pop music. Forty five seconds of it, there is, and it’s truly dreadful. Was it meant as a practical joke to freak out the fans? Is the video going to start with him stumbling his way home and vomiting in a gutter before segueing into a flashback with a twinkle-eyed beaming Timberlake adjusting his tie as he sets out for the night?
Once it finally gets going, though, “Suit & Tie” turns out to be a sort of updated 80s R&B track about the joys of sartorial elegance and classy sophistication, as represented by menswear. Even some of the more positive reviews I’ve read have had a distinct tone of “Well, we need to be realistic with our expectations…”, but it fits with Timberlake’s persona and it’s undeniably catchy in a frothy way. Yes, the intro is outrageously abysmal, and that rap from Jay-Z in the middle will have any reasonable listener yelling “Jesus, is he not done yet?” when it gets past sixteen bars – particularly since all that half-pace slurring is just not right for the song. There’s a good radio edit in here, though.
This is the lead single from 50 Cent’s comeback album “Street King Immortal”; the Americans apparently got a track called “New Day” last July but it doesn’t seem to have registered in Britain at all. It’s basically sub-Eminem except for the bits which actually are Eminem. You’d think that if you were a plodding journeyman like 50 Cent you’d know better than to invite comparisons to somebody more, well, interesting to listen to. But then the words “50 Cent” and “know better” rarely feature in close proximity.
It was number one in the midweeks, but ends up simply matching the peak of “Ayo Technology” from 2007. But what seemed to be a fight for number one between 50 Cent and Justin Timberlake ends unexpectedly, with both tracks flaring out in the course of the week. (Regretting that intro yet, Justin?) And the result is…
…a second week on top for a record that came out before Christmas. I don’t think anyone would have bet on this making it two weeks on top. Could it make three? It’s such a ridiculous prospect that I’m kind of rooting for it.
On the album chart:
The Les Miserable soundtrack climbs to 1.
“Arc” by Everything Everything at 5 – the single “Cough Cough” reached 37 in October.
“Long Live Rocky” by A$AP Rocky at 7. First proper album from a rapper who’s had a lot of critical support.
“Awayland” by the Villagers at 16. An Irish indie folk band; their previous album was nominated for the Mercury.
“Lost Sirens” by New Order at 23. A collection of material that they’ve had lying in a vault since 2004.