POP-EYE 14/4/02

Guess what readers. Unchained Melody is still number one. Mr Gates (now sadly relieved of his white suit) holds off all comers yet again — not that the top ten reveals many artists who could be called comers in any sense of the word (except a couple of them being wankers). At this point I will therefore divert your attention from Gates fourth week at the top to notice that Shakira and Nickleback have now been in the top five for the last seven weeks. You choose which is the worse statistic.

The only serious contender this week was X-Press 2’s Lazy — and given the general vibe and feel of the track it deserves its number two spot much more. After all going to the top of the charts would not be particularly lazy. And not only are the David Byrne sung lyrics a great paean to laziness in themselves they are sung in a lazy way over pretty lazy music. This is not to say the overall effect isn’t great, the track has wheedled its way into my consciousness without me ever really actively liking it. But like it I do — and it’s a perfect number two (quality of 2002 will be judged by its number twos I fear).

Then scurry down to number six for the start of two terrible singles allied with Faithless. I have never actively disliked Faithless before — and considering that they have had Dido on several of their records this is not to lay all of the blame on Rollo’s little sister. But heavens — One Step Too Far is one single too far (cheers) for a shy unassuming lad like me. Faithless have always had their hand firmly on the cod philosophy button but at least in the past you could dance to their records. A record to literally take one step too far on to a railway line.

Faithless spin off One Giant Leap (too far) wibbles in at number nine, and hasn’t just got the cod philosophy button pressed down, they have it on overdrive. Imagine if you will going round the world recording snippets of music from different cultures. Words of wisdom from authors, religious leaders, musicians and — er — Robbie Williams. And then imagine making it into a- surprise surprise ambient house record. Maxi Jazz’s somnambulant rapping compares nicely with Robbie Williams self obsessed nattering, but it is all so worthy that the project collapses under the weight of its own coffee table status.

This weeks female vocals over a trance re-release is Beautiful by Matt Darey. You know, for clubbers.

At eleven we have son of Steps — 3SL, the boy band made up of the rest of the equally talented Scott-Lee kids . In the footsteps of their more successful, and probably always will be, sister Lisa from Steps. Boy band upbeat by numbers. There is a reason why Gareth Gates is still number one you know. No-one is tossing out any decent singles. Mind you when good tracks like U-Turn by Usher and Ride Wid Us by the So Solid Crew linger in the high teens its obvious people are still too dazzled by the (failed) Pop Idol to care. Ride Wid Us is double derivative but the Knight Rider theme tune sounds much better with a garage backing than it did on Busta Rhymes track.

Ushers U-Turn is the best ‘how to do a dance’ record to come out in years — even if the U-Turn appears to look like someone taking a shit on a turntable. It is also the best ‘history of New Jack Swing’ single to come out ever. The slow down speed up mid-section is clunky, but overall it’s a pretty fun tune.

The rest of the new entries should not bother us — merely to notice Ryan Adams in with a bullet at 38, and the record which apparent number two in the Tower Records chart being number 27 in the real chart (Garbage — Theme To Daria The Movie). And so to next week where we wait with baited breath to see if Unbeaten Melody is still there.