Posted on Wednesday, February 20, 2013 by Paul in Music
After a few exceptionally quiet weeks, we’ve suddenly got a real flurry of activity, with almost a quarter of the chart made up of new entries.
37. Zedd (featuring Foxes) – “Clarity”
One part sensitive synthpop, one part dance anthem, and it pulls off the balance better than many. Takes a while to get going (about a minute, actually), but then hits its stride. Debut hit for both artists – Zedd is German producer Anton Zaslavski, and Foxes is London-based singer Louisa Allen. Technically this is just an album track in the UK, but in America it was released as the fourth single from the album of the same name and has done reasonably well.
This is the second single from his upcoming album “20/20 Experience”, released without prior warning at the start of the week. It’s eight minutes long, and when pop acts start making eight minute singles, your Michael Jackson Hubris Alarm should be sounding. Also of note, this is being released on iTunes as an “instant gratification” track for people pre-ordering the album, but it’s apparently being counted towards the chart. So it seems that the de facto disqualification of those tracks from the chart has been sorted across the board, not just for David Bowie.
Oh yes, the record. It’d be a middling record at three minutes, but it’s ridiculously overextended at eight. “Suit & Tie” also had a pointlessly long intro and rap section; between them, these two songs are showing worrying signs of self-indulgent bloat.
25. Drake – “Started From The Bottom”
Yeah, that’s what your video needed – a comedy skit spliced into the middle.
Drake’s biggest UK hit is… well, technically it’s his appearance on “What’s My Name” by Rihanna, which made number 1 in 2010. In his own right, though, it’s “Take Care”, which scraped the lower end of the top 10 in 2011. (Because Rihanna was on it.) This is the lead track from his next album. Lyrically it’s a familiar declaration of success in the field of social mobility, but it’s musically more interesting, and not an obvious choice of single.
24. Pink (featuring Nate Ruess) – “Just Give Me A Reason”
A sturdy retro ballad, hewn from oak by traditionalist songsmiths. I like it, actually – it sounds like something that belongs on radio in 1986, but it’s a great melody. Your granny would approve of it.
Nate Ruess is the lead singer of fun., so he’s something of a fixture in the chart by this point. This is his first solo chart credit.
23. Foals – “My Numbers”
Well, this is a surprise. Foals are an indie band from Oxford who’ve been around for a few years; this is from their third album, which is at number one on the midweek chart. But they’re not regulars on the singles chart by any means; they had a couple of minor hits in 2007-8, but none of the singles from the previous album made the top 75, and nor did the previous single “Inhaler”. This is a pretty commercial track, though, and I can well imagine Radio 1 getting behind it. Unusually for a single in this genre, it’s not plummetting down iTunes, either. The album enters at number 2, so they’re having a good week.
7. Bruno Mars – “When I Was Your Man”
That’s a second straight “mock retro” video from Bruno Mars. This isn’t necessarily smart – there’s something about the guy that gives the impression that he’s just working through styles from the past for the sake of doing it, if you know what I mean. Not that you necessarily expect these “woe is me” break-up songs to be genuinely real-world sincere, but videos like this really do lampshade the fact that he doesn’t mean it, he’s just emulating other people.
3. Gabrielle Aplin – “Please Don’t Say You Love Me”
Hey, Gabrielle Aplin! Score another name off the One Hit Wonders list!
Aplin’s cover of “The Power of Love” for a John Lewis advert gave her an unexpected number one in December. This is one of her own songs, and while it’s an odd choice to release in the week of Valentine’s Day – “Please don’t say you love me / Cos I might not say it back” – it’s really quite good. Starts off echoing “Fast Car”, then goes a bit country, which isn’t something you can often say about English singer-songwriters. Not the ones who make the chart, at any rate.
The video’s actually been up for four months, but it’s being repromoted in advance of the release of her album, for obvious reasons.
Whoa. This has been out for months, but it was nowhere a week ago, it was at 22 in the midweeks, and now it’s in the top three.
If you don’t know, this is a YouTube meme. There’s a ton of videos on YouTube using this track, all variations on the same basic idea. Somewhere during the last week it evidently crossed the Atlantic and caught fire in the UK. Baauer, who’s a New York producer, can’t possibly have expected this seemingly uncommercial track to take off like this. It doesn’t even have an official video of its own.
The “Harlem Shake” videos are basically… well, it’s variations on “one person dances while everyone ignores him, then suddenly everyone’s dancing badly in masks”. Here’s KSLA News from Louisiana to give you the general idea.
1. Avicii vs Nicky Romero – “I Could Be The One (Nicktim)”
Hey, great video. Old idea, but very well done.
Avicii’s first number one, coming as a slight surprise considering that he’s never previously made it above 4, and “Levels” was surely a better track. This is a solid pop song, though, and it doesn’t have a competing Flo Rida version around, so you can see why it might do better. Nicky Romero isn’t the singer, he’s a Dutch producer. He’s been active for a few years, but hasn’t previously cropped up in the UK charts; his track “Toulouse” apparently did quite well on the continent last year.
The uncredited and sped-up singer is Noonie Bao, who I know nothing about aside from the fact that she’s Swedish and clearly could do with a stroppier manager. Here’s her own recent single “Bodywork Lover”. To be fair, she was added to the track at a later stage – hence the subtitle “Nicktim”, which was the name of the original instrumental. (Tim being Avicii’s first name.)
Over on the album chart:-
The Les Miserable OST remains unbudgeable at number 1.
“Holy Fire” by Foals at number 2, as already mentioned.
“Temper Temper” by Bullet for My Valentine at 11. Welsh metal band. Their previous two albums both made the top five.
“Electric” by Richard Thompson at 16. His fourteenth solo album and his highest chart place. He’s a member of Fairport Convention.
“I Belong To You” by Emilia Mitiku at 22. Swedish pop singer, best known for her sickly 1998 single “Big Big World”, which was an international hit and made number 5 in the UK. (It’s the one that went “I’m a big big girl / In a big big world / It’s not a big big thing if you leave me.”) She hasn’t had any international success since, and hasn’t had a hit in Sweden since 2009, so I’m not quite sure why this is here.
“Evolution Theory” by Modestep at 23. Dubstep act who had a couple of hits in 2011.
“Heartthrob” by Tegan & Sara at 38. The identical twins finally get one of their albums into the UK chart.