Posted on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 by Paul in Music
It’s not the busiest week, but there are a few interesting records here nonetheless.
Admittedly, not so much this first one.
39. Paramore – “Now”
Well, that was non-specifically discontented. It’s alright, but I think they wrote better tunes when they were doing straight power pop. It’s their 6th UK hit; the biggest was “Ignorance”, which made number 14 in 2009. Sales on this must have been hugely frontloaded by fan purchases, since it was at 23 in the midweeks.
32. Laura Mvula – “Green Garden”
Laura Mvula is a songwriter from Birmingham, who cropped up on several of those “ones to watch in 2013” lists back at Christmas. Usually that just indicates that the act has a somewhat anticipated album due out in the first few months of the year (thus enabling the writer to look prescient to a mainstream audience by the simple expedient of flicking through a release schedule), and indeed, Mvula’s album is out this week.
She had a single out last year, “She”, but this one has been given some more serious mainstream promotion. And it’s certainly got something. There are other tracks from the album on her YouTube channel which have a more obvious jazz angle to her other songs, and that could well be a gap in the market. (They’ve also been given animated videos all in the same style, which is a new one on me – the label must be looking for cheap visuals to put on YouTube that are more interesting than a static picture and more inventive than a lyric video.)
Since there’s not much going on in the middle of the chart, let’s note that this is gathering pace – it’s gone 37-34-29. If you’d prefer it just as a song without the dancy bits, by the way, there’s an alternative video for what’s described as an “acoustic version”, although the nitpicker in me feels obliged to point out that a keyboard surely doesn’t become an acoustic instrument just because you’ve selected the piano preset.
Climbing to the top 10 in its third week out. I suspect this will be around for a while.
9. Wiley (featuring Chip) – “Reload”
Another of Wiley’s recent dance anthems, and it works for him. “Chip” is the artist formerly known as Chipmunk, who had some pop-rap crossover hits a few years back. He picked up the Chipmunk name when he was a teenager and it’s rather outlived its usefulness, but of course changing a bad name is easier said than done. In fact, he announced the name change back in January 2012, but hasn’t released anything since then – so this is effectively his relaunch single.
The singer is Wiley’s regular collaborator Ms D, and I have no idea why she isn’t officially listed on the artist credit.
2. Bastille – “Pompeii”
Bastille are a vehicle for songwriter Dan Smith, and they had their debut hit back in October when “Flaws” just missed the top 20. This is obviously a tremendous improvement. If it weren’t for the Brits effect on Justin Timberlake’s sales, they’d be at number one.
It’s a grower, and the backing vocals certainly give it a hook. That said, it’s not an obvious record to be a major hit – the song is literally about the destruction of Pompeii (from the perspective of someone killed in it), which is not conventional territory for this end of the chart. And the video is just dreadful, let’s be blunt.
Okay, so it’s not just the Brits effect, since he’s still selling a week later. But it’s the Brits performance that pushed this over into mainstream public attention. I still think it’s absurdly overlong, though.
This is his second UK solo number one, the first (of course) being “SexyBack” from 2006. He’s also a guest on two other number ones – Timbaland’s “Give It To Me” from 2007, and Madonna’s “4 Minutes” in 2008. And before you ask, no, his old band N Sync never made it to number one in this country (though they came very close).
On the album chart:-
“Our Version of Events” by Emeli Sande is still number 1.
“Amok” by Atoms For Peace at number 5. Atoms for Peace – named after a US propaganda campaign of the 1950s – are a supergroup including Thom Yorke of Radiohead and Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
“Both Sides Now” by Michael Ball at number 8. Easy listening in extremis.
“All That Echoes” by Josh Groban at number 9. More easy listening. He’s a bigger star in America, and this is his highest charting album in the UK.
“The Messenger” by Johnny Marr at number 10. The first solo album from the legendary Smiths guitarist.
“180” by Palma Violets at number 11. This year’s hotly tipped trad indie band. Their single “Last Of The Summer Wine” seems to be gunning for the hotly-contested Worst Video Ever award.
“Lost In You” by Petula Clark at number 24. An album of original material, and the single “Cut Copy Me” is surprisingly good.
“The Raven That Refused To Sing” by Steven Wilson at number 28. A solo project from the frontman of prog group Porcupine Tree.