POP-EYE 18/3/02

There was a time, about two years ago, when the news was a wee bit slow and silly season had kicked in when the papers suggested that the UK charts were too fast. Singles were barrelling in to number one and bouncing way back out again two weeks later. The blame was put on pitifully low sales, pre-release playing to death and over-motivated fanbases. The general opinion was that this was a BAD THING.

Of course those newspapers got back to the business of doing the news and did not write a pop column every other week. And frankly this year has been slow. And I think this has been a BAD THING. Not that any of the new releases out this week particularly deserves to be a number one — but boredom sets in. So suffice to say that Will Young is still number one and move on. Nothing literally to see here.

Number two, and possibly on a normal week the power of the novelty celebrity comedy single would have fired up Julie by Shaggy and Alistair Lesley Graham. Musically it is pretty minimalist with Shaggy doing his dirty growl and Sacha Baron Cohen trotting out as many Ali G catchphrases and double-entendres as he possibly can which showing what a lousy rapping voice he has. Problem is the whole affair turns out a bit sweet rather than uproariously funny. Not a good Shaggy single, not a good comedy single — it just is. And in two weeks time, after the film has come out, you will never ever hear it again.

I have a difficult relationship with Jennifer Lopez (mainly predicated on the fact that she never returns my calls). I was initially annoyed that someone who I considered a good actress was become all precious and pop star on us. Especially since her first batch of singles were poor. However the last few things she have done has all had a few redeeming features and this remix of Ain’t It Funny is no exception. The relentless looped beat is repetitive and most of the monotonous verses grate. But then she has easily one of the best self-referential lyrics I’ve heard in years ‘Thought you could bribe me with you blingy-bling/Thought I told you love don’t cost a thing’ ‘ topped off with the schoolgirl ‘Hey boy is that your girlfriend‘ chant which I find rather irresistible. Not great but not bad.

The other two new entries in the top ten are old stalwarts — with so much in common. Celine Dion and Iron Maiden. Only one of these artists are truly scary and that honour goes to Dion. Unfortunately she is back and All Woman collections are waiting with baited breath. I’ll admit that I have not heard ‘A New Day Has Come’ — but I feel I can safely say that its not a new day in the sense of musical directions. When it comes to ver Maiden’s Run To The Hills it is also a matter of the same old same old. Literally in this case as Run To The Hills is about seventeen years old. I understand that the historical metallers are doing a world tour to raise money for their drummer who is ill (and obviously did not save during the fat Dickinson years). Run To The Hills itself is one of Maidens best singles — and also works rather well as a piece of GCSE History empathy coursework about Native Americans. It also shows those nu-metallers a thing or two. Mainly about annoying things like twiddly guitar solos and pointless tempo changes.

This week is a bad week for the Kerrang sponsored folk. System Of A Downs’ well described Toxicity and the Lost Prophet’s Fake Sound Of Progress both fail to pierce the top twenty. I would say this is because neither are much cop (and I would say that) except the ‘Back (Nickleback for those of you who don’t wear black, poorly printed T-Shirts) are still in the top five.

It is very easy to get the Wrong Impression about Natalie Imbruglia’s pop career. One good single off each album followed by something mature, guitary and bland. Number ten is far too good for this poor impression of The Sundays. And equally poor impression was the one when I initially thought of comparing Tillman Urmacher’s Run For The Sun with a train. It is sleek, it fast and it has chuffing and whooo-whoo noises on it. Solid piece of trance house — but its always nice to have a German in the charts.

So with a brief mention of Popstars rejects reject Warren Stacy’s creditable if forgettable My Girl at twenty five, Bjork settling dorn to getting similar critical raves and charts success as PJ Harvey we get to Felon. West London singer so called because of the time she spent in prison for attempted armed robbery. Only twenty one she recorded this in prison. Must we throw this pop filth at out kids? Well its that or Gareth Gates. Next week. I’m leaving the country.