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Jan 03

POP-EYE 26/1/03

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Every time I do a Pop-Eye (and it has been a while) I learn something new. This time I have become increasingly sure that despite the idea that this is a rundown of the most popular records in the country, the top three are a bit of an anomaly because by far the worse songs in the top ten are the occupying those slots. That means David Sneddon is still at the top. But even though he came out of that awful Fame Academy thing – its okay – he wrote this song himself. Which may explain why no-one has slagged off this sub Del Amitri mid-tempo blah tune as much as they should Hence he is literally living the lie that he is a good songwriter. David, back to the streets with you.

Jay-Z does not knock Sneddon off the top. Which is a mixed bag because Bonnie & Clyde is not all that good. Beyonce does not really do that much here except watch Sex And The City and get soppy about being girlfriend and boyfriend. True there is a brief discussion about the difference between loving and humping, but beyond that hinting how much better an old Prince song is than the one you are listening to is a pretty bad idea. Almost as bad an idea as a trance tune called The Opera Song (Jurgen Vries featuring Charlotte Church). Its probably not getting many plays on Classic FM. Hopefully, its not getting many plays anywhere. Note that on the Opera Song Charlotte has no vision of the future – unlike the much better single at number four – where there is a strong vision of the future.

In the future not much will have changed except we will live underwater. Year 3000 by Busted has taken the silly that was What I Go To School For and squared it. Every line of this song is lyrical gold – joyously daft and Busted prove they are the male Daphne And Celeste. And yes, I obviously like it because his time travelling, great, great, great, grandaughter shagging neighbour is called Peter – which is not a name often mentioned in pop. I need to get hold of one of those flux things.

Anyway Busted starts a solid run of great records. Its has been proved elsewhere that Sound Of The Underground is the best Popstars related hit, and also that it is a Frankenstein’s monster of well over eighty other songs. Punjabi MC is still in the top ten, and we’ll see if this is just novelty value or breaking a new wave of Bhangra in the charts. I’d love it to be the latter, but it is probably the former. There are tracks this goof out there, but this has only made it where it is with the sly hip-hop connections the song has. Still sounds brilliant on the count down. Especially next to Lose Yourself (which ought to add to its worldwide number one status add best song from a film Oscar). Go B.Rabbit.

At ten – Craig David and we ask ourselves – is he relying too much on his mate the guitarist? He has proved he can do it live and a rhythmically plucked acoustic guitar can approximate nicely for a garage beat. But its the garage beats we want on the tunes Craig, plus lyrics we can take the piss out of in the pub. So instead Jameison and Angel Blu gives us the best UK garage can offer us at the moment in the charts one higher, and it is a pretty good approximation of the Artful Dodger with perhaps too much going on. Daniel Bedingfield – another so called UK G player is still in the top ten at eight with exactly the reason why he is the best British popstar at the moment. A softies charter of a ballad where he doesn’t mind sounding like the most craven man in the world. The kind of song that could never come out of the Popstars process by the way. And if it had come out of Fame Academy it would never have sound this good.

And so to the new entries that didn’t make the top ten. Lemon Jelly at sixteen with Nice Weather For Ducks. Oh look, a pleasantly wacky pastoral sample. This comes from the Mr Scruff comedy track school of dance/ambient tunes – the sad thing being that these tracks are often the best thing on otherwise pretty insipid albums. Also about as danceable as Lemon Jelly gets – this is plenty of fun, mainly for its High Chaparal strings. There is an air of the kitchen sink about it though. With Stormy In The North, Calmer In the South at seventeen, who says the British aren’t pre-occupied by weather? Considering its been about seven years since The Wildhearts had a single, this sounds surprisingly fun and fresh. They aren’t exactly the future of rock’n’roll anymore though, and this certainly does not sound like and future rock’n’roll would ever aspire to have..

Which finally leaves us with Darren Hayes : 1980 Me. A tribute to the decade that gave us famine in Africa, war in Afghanistan and ridiculous Republican politicians in the White House. So how Darren managed to get into the mindset of the eighties one cannot fathom. Actually the sum of its pastiche is a few cheap synth sounds, and a lyrical hint which is about as culturally specific as a talking head on I heart The Eighties. ‘I wish I was eleven again when ET was my friend’, Hayes says – accidentally tipping the wink that he is now 31. Or a million years old to the teenage girls who ought to be his constituency.

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