POP-EYE 14/1/01

I get all the best weeks. Tom has to grope around trying to write interesting things about Rui Da Silva – a known impossibility – whilst I get the pop charts version of an extremely rare astral conjunction. In this case it is the equivalent of the Sun moving into Xerxes: two historical chart happenings. First – the Baha Men have moved out of the top ten. And second, for only the second time in history the UK does not have a number one.

So bye-bye Baha Men. Its a massive drop to for them, seven to eighteen and methinks it may not strictly be precipitated solely by lack of sales. You see the Baha Men foolishly have another single out next week. It will – of course – bomb like a Messerschmitt but the record company have recognised that ‘Who Let The Dogs Out’ may scupper its chances. The savvy record buyer will go in to the shop, see said dogs record and buy it – because it is better than whatever pasted down reggae / Wimoweh hybrid the Baha’s loose on us. So they have not been sending copies of the Dogs to the shops. Eventually reducing their final profits. So Bye Bye Baha Men – it was nice to know you.

But back to the more shocking news. The last time Britain did not have a number one was when ‘God Save the Queen’ by the Sex Pistols topped the charts and the BBC forgot to mention its existence. Listening to Mark Goodier this week much the same happened – it was almost as if some form of static interference got in the way. Certainly I could distinguish nothing resembling a song.

So to lower in the charts. 2-4 is the remains of last week. Trance Da Silva, Steps and their baroque piece of chancery – and of course Fragma with the bird with the silly voice singing. At five, gallantly aiming for the ‘number one in January when no fucker buys records’ is Britain’s answer to the question ‘Are there any good British rock bands’. This answer is no. Feeder, an equal opportunities band, rock in with Buck Rogers: a tune which breaks the mould of modern rock tracks. Quiet bit, loud bit, quiet bit, loud bit. Forty five years of rock and roll and no-one had thought of that before. The track – of course – is nothing to do with the pilot catapulted into the 25th century, or even Tweekie – his improbably voiced metal pal. Instead Feeder are playing the Ash game, where song titles bear absolutely no relation to tracks (Goldfinger anyone) which warms us up for the return of the Northern Irish scallies in a few weeks. Oh – and Feeder appear to think you can get ‘cider from a lemon’. I think the phrase here is : paging Tanya.

Where-oh-where has this new slang of ‘Smile’ come from? Last year we were told about a ‘secret smile’ which was thinly veiled reference to a ladies front bottom. Now Sharlene Spitteri and her band of anonymouses bang on about her ‘Inner Smile’ – which makes her feel wonderful. I daresay it does, especially since your career was revived when you invented ‘The New Plagiarism’ four years ago. By use of the Marvin Gaye’s ‘Sexual Healing’ rip-off that was ‘Say What You Want’ Texas have shown how you can write new songs that remind you of old songs without giving up any of the publishing rights. Robbie Williams, Steps and even U2 are eternally grateful. ‘Inner Smile’ by the way is Texas by numbers, which is all number twos.

Eight. Mis-Teeq. Which it remains for me since i don’t think i have heard it. Still, calling a song Why? leaves you open for obvious jokes.

Nine. Camels. Santos. Sweet. Impossible to dance to. Dance record. Pointless. The looped orchestral bit is rather intriguing on the first five listens. Thoroughly annoying afterwards. But worth a listen at least.

Unlike the battle royale of the DJ’s which seems to take place of page two (of five) on Ceefax’s chart page. I was lead to believe that the ding-dong battle for the top of the charts this week might be between David Morales and Fatboy Slim. Not if they are charting at eleven and sixteen respectively. Morales effort is inoffensively forgettable. Cook’s has Macy Gray on it and a thoroughly annoying video. Victory – as it is – goes to Morales. But I think the Chemical Brothers said this best: ‘Superstar DJ’s – there they go’ career wise anyhow.

The superstar DJ sandwich is filled (in a Spinal Tap way) at thirteen by Creed. This will be a disappointment to anyone involved in AOR. It is however a thorough victory for UK pop that in a week where they cannot even muster a number one, they can relegate this heavily pushed record to the ‘unlucky for some’ spot. We did not fight the Counting Crows wars to let some jangling gruff voiced men into our charts. The posters may have said ‘Five million Americans can’t be wrong’ – but the British public rightly said ‘Why not? They’ve been wrong before.’ The audio equivalent of voting for George W.Bush.

Not much more of note, unless St Ettienne’s Boy Is Crying slipping in at 34 is your fancy. I quite like it, but secretly know it is not the future of pop as we know it. Black Jesus by Everlast limps to 37 due to the concerted campaign against it by the church. Plus Jews, Muslims, Hindu’s and even the usually calm Buddhist were seen burning copies due to its lack of anything resembling sonic quality.

Oh, news flash. There is a British number one after all. The reason I did not hear it is that it is so bland, so unremarkable it makes everything else in the charts look like genius, and since Creed are in the charts that would be a tall order. Jennifer Lopez, or J Lo as she likes to be called now (as if sounding like a supermarket version of Diet Sunny Delight is a good thing). She tells us that her Love Doesn’t Cost A Thing, which is good to know – since the expense of paying for her hotel rooms, grape peelers and own hand woven tooth floss will rack up any fella’s credit card bill. At least the love bit costs nothing. And, from the sounds of it, neither did this song. This would only be a deserved number one if it was a chart of blandness.

THE BEST FIVE (Ha! You’ve seen these before)
EMINEM – Stan (10)
DESTINY’S CHILD – Independent Woman (Part 1) (17)
WU TANG CLAN – Gravel Pit (24)
SUGABABES – New Year (30)
DAFT PUNK – One More Time (35)