Posts from 24th October 2000

24
Oct 00

After all the nasty things

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After all the nasty things I’ve said about Rolling Stone, they have to go and run this.

POP-EYE U.S. 10/24

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POP-EYE U.S. 10/24

hi-ho, and welcome to what may be, could be, very likely will be a regular feature contributed by yours truly as a counterpart to tom’s synopsis of the u.k. singles chart. here in america, there’s less turnover — i mean, for God’s sake, there are a handful of tracks in this country that have topped the charts for 15 weeks or so each — and, let’s face it, singles mean very little in the grand scheme of things. for example, sisqo’s “the thong song” hit number 3, without benefit of a single, but his “incomplete” topped the charts. why? because there was a mix of “the thong song” on the b-side. now, i dare you, sing a few bars of “incomplete” for me. by comparison, the brits actually wager on what will be the christmas number one: then again, what won’t they bet on? outside of mariah carey and her ego — one which, incidentally, is nearly as large as her frame these days — i’d reckon that no artist even cares about a number one single anymore. with that enthusiastic lead-in, let’s dive into the charts shall we?

there’s been absolutely no change whatsoever in the top 5 this week. for whatever reason, christina aguilera’s dull, dull, super-dull, “come on over baby” continues to top the charts. madonna hangs around even more inexplicably at number 2 with “music,” though she got her number one, so i doubt she even cares anymore good luck selling that next single, though, the unmemorable “don’t tell me”: of course, this comes from the man who said that “music” would be her lowest charting first single ever. *coughs*

creed have corporate rocked their way to number three and are holding tight with “arms open wide”. say what you want about the pearl-jam-goes-power-ballad “higher,” but at least it was catchy. 3 doors down remain the highest-ranked album cut with “kryptonite” which asks, “if i went crazy now would you still call me superman?” well, for evidence, look at superman 3: even though, as a result of richard pryor’s machinations, superman turned evil, they still called him superman, they would just say, “wow, that superman sure is evil!” if you’re wondering about the song itself, well, to put it into perspective, superman 3 is infinitely more interesting. rounding out the top 5 is pink’s “most girls,” a bit of a surprise. oh, it’s better than anything in the top 5, but i’d gone and relegated pink to the one-hit wonder bin but here she is again: “most girls” is jagged r&b/pop with a rising chorus: solid if not spectacular.

this week’s greatest gainer in sales comes in the form of irish singer, samantha mumba. her single, “gotta tell you,” jumped ten spots to the tenth spot. it was helped, doubtlessly, by the sticker the record company placed on the single, essentially saying, “this is that one song that goes ‘don’t wanna love you if you don’t love me, etc.'” i like it quite a bit, particularly the way the (presumably) synth strings are arranged during the chorus: often times, it’s the little things, like this, that make all the difference. destiny’s child’s “independent women, part i” was the greatest gainer in airplay, jumping jumping the song from 23 to 15. *coughs* like the movie that spawned it, charlie’s angels, i’m not really anticipating the sequels. and, finally, janet jackson’s “doesn’t really matter” suffered the biggest fall-off, going from number 8 to 20. the song was pleasant janet fill-in-the-gap material, a la “runaway,” and it’s quick fall from the top of the charts should be troublesome to janet: it doesn’t seem like the fans are really clamoring for new material. but does it really matter to janet? and will christina aguilera hold on to her top spot? will there be any movement in the top 5 next week? answers to these questions and a lot more in the next edition of pop-eye on the u.s.!

THE FIVE BEST
pink – “most girls” (5)
destiny’s child – “jumpin’ jumpin'” (6)
samantha mumba – “gotta tell you” (10)
nelly – “(hot sh*t) country grammar” (12)
mystikal – “shake ya ass” (13)

Today’s forum question

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Today’s forum question: otherwise cool bands ruined by their irritating fans? (With thanks to Kathleen)

Sharp-eyed readers will also notice that I am a hooer and have inserted BlogHop rating buttons in the right-hand column. I know it’s very unfashionable to do this kind of thing but the simple fact is that I think more people should be reading NYLPM and I’ll happily take roundabout steps to achieve that, particularly when my main server is down.

Uncharactistically Joshlike thoughts

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Uncharactistically Joshlike thoughts strike me this morning while listening to Karenina, Charlemagne Palestine’s voice-and-harmonium tribute to his dead black labrador. The main characteristic of a piece of recorded music is that we can listen to it repeatedly, and our judgements of records tend to rest heavily on that fact. Karenina is mournful, difficult music, and I can’t imagine myself listening to it again often, if at all. Does that diminish it? I would say not – often the records that gather dust on our shelves are as important as the ones that become firm and much-played friends. And treating an album as an experience, maybe not one to be repeated, is as worthy a way to hear it as treating it as something to be pored over at length, or something which settles in the mind over time.

Of course if you accept this, it defuses a main criticism of difficult music – that hipster purchasers only end up with these records for show, and they don’t actually listen to them very often. The standard response to this is defensive – why yes I do listen to drone music all the time, it’s your conventional music I find intolerable, blah blah. The right response might be: “so what?”. (For real Zen listening, buy a record and never play it – allow it always to have that delicious suspended promise that it carries in the shop). And accepting that ‘experiencing once’ is as exciting a way to approach music as ‘listening often’ carries other implications, for the firefly delights of throwaway pop, and for ways to mix and blur music and ‘other’ writing a little more.

(Thanks to Mike Daddino, the most generous man on the net, for sending me this CD!)

POP-EYE 22/10/00

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POP-EYE 22/10/00

Ladies and gentlemen, an honest-to-goodness Top 40 climber has made this week‘s biggest impact: Paul Gambaccini and Tim Rice, those wizened guardians of pop propriety, would be delighted. Baha Men‘s “Who Let The Dogs Out?”, after skittering around the mid-teens for a week or two, has shot up to No.2, based on….what? It clearly should have been an enormous hit from the start, being quite the most idiotic record to trouble the charts in a vintage but rather tasteful year. Stadium-ready chanting of the title PLUS worldbeat generica PLUS ragga gibberish EQUALS obvious smash, no? Repeated exposure is like itching powder down the neck, but you can say that of any record eventually.

Meanwhile, Steps continue their adequacy odyssey with “Stomp”, which is one of their worse tracks but still hardly worth getting bothered about (especially if you’re George Michael! “Jesus To A Child”? Kettle to a fucking Pot, more like.) You’d have thought though that after licensing a sample to Modjo and letting them rather pervily breathe all over it, Chic would have had few problems with letting Steps assay an actual cover of “Everybody Dance”. Still, apparently not, meaning October in chartland continues as the unofficial Pop Month ‘O’ Plagiarism.

Despite being the funniest single in the charts, Fatboy Slim‘s “Bird Of Preyyyyyyyyy” hobbles to a disappointing No.9. It’s too long and it hardly impels you floorwards, but it’s a pleasant bit of hippy froth nonetheless and you have to assume the UK Garage uprising has caused problems for the shiny-pated ex-Housemartin. To add insult to other insult, it charts a mere one position higher than Blur‘s “Music Is My Radar”, which you will recall is the worst piece of music ever recorded. Who would have thought there were so many jaded indie rock hacks out there, eh?

Precious little action in the lower rungs – Moby brings home the very bacon he can’t eat with “Why Does My Car Sell So Good?”, a re-release of his winsome techno nasty, the electronica equivalent of big-eyed spaniel pictures. Even worse is the David Gray record, where surprisingly hard breakbeats are ruined by the man with the genetically modified larynx, a grisly crossbreed of 80s Bono and 80s Dylan. Ugh. And that’s your lot. This week, expect the Spice Girls to hit No.1 with their worst single, and no lightening of the pop clouds, as not a record company in the land is putting up any strong opposition (when Turin Brakes get into HMV’s new singles racks, you know it’s a slow week…)

THE FIVE BEST
ALL SAINTS – “Black Coffee” (7)
FATBOY SLIM – “Sunset (Bird Of Prey)” (9)
KERNKRAFT 400 – “Zombie Nation” (12)
AZZIDO DE BASS – “Dooms Night” (15)
EMINEM – “The Way I Am” (16)