Last evening's England Swings show was pre-recorded, because I had a concert to go to. That doesn't mean we didn't play some great stuff : 


Tame Impala - Solitude Is Bliss
Swedish House Mafia - One (Your Name)


David Essex - Rock On
Teenage Fanclub - Baby Lee (Shadows)


Bombay Bicycle Club - Rinse Me Down (Flaws)
Feeder - Renegades (Renegades)


Elton John - Levon (Madman Across the Water)
Merseys - Sorrow
Shirley Bassey - Get The Party Started (Get the Party Started)


The Fab Four Freakout : 


Beatles - Like Dreamers Do (Decca Demo)
Beatles - While My Guitar Gently Weeps (The Beatles)
Beatles - You Won't See Me (Rubber Soul)
Beatles - Hold Me Tight (With the Beatles)


Fugative - Bad Girl
Ian Brown - Fear (Music Of the Spheres)


Donovan - Wear Your Love Like Heaven
Dave Dee, Dozy, Beak, Mick, & Tich - Okay
Eric Burdon & the Animals - San Franciscan Nights
Cliff Richard & the Shadows - Do You Wanna Dance


Amy Winehouse - You Know I'm No Good (Back To Black)
2:54 - Creeping


Example - Kickstarts (Won't Go Quietly)
V V Brown - Shark In the Water (Lights)
Smiths - How Soon Is Now


Basement Jaxx - Romeo (Rooty)
Richard Harris - MacArthur Park


Lloyd Cole - No More Love Songs
Who - Anyway Anyhow Anywhere


We didn't play the top 5 songs in England this week, but here they are : 


5). Wanted - All Time Low (-4)
4). Eminem & Rihanna - Love the Way You Lie (non-mover)
3). Yolanda Be Cool & DCup - We No Speak Americano (-1)
2). Flo Rida & David Guetta - Club Can't Handle Me (+3)
1). Ne-Yo - Beautiful Monster (new)


TOP 5 ANALYSIS and REVIEW


Boy band drops! American rapper and Euro producer rise! And a new number one!


Oh, and that damn Eminem song still hasn't gone away. 


It was a week that didn't muster much movement in the top 5. Let's look at the songs : 


The Wanted take a considerable dive from the top to the bottom of the top 5 with "All Time Low". As I said last week, the song is pretty interesting. The Wanted are being promoted as a boy band, but if this first single is indicative of where the band is going, it might be a good ride. 


The orchestration, synthesizers, and layered harmonies make a great song. I give it an 8 on the England Swings scale of 1-10.


That damn Eminem song still hasn't gone away. 


Oh, I said that already. I've also expressed my growing dislike for this song. The tune is driven by bile and ugliness, and I won't buy into Eminem's "comeback". There's something to be said for aging gracefully; Marshall Mathers ain't doin' it. 


I give this song a 2. 


Yolanda Be Cool and DCup have dropped back another space, from two to three this week. That's okay, too - whereas I like the song, and appreciate its cleverness, I have to admit that it's beginning to wear out. 


I'm curious to see if the song was a hit in Italy . . . ?  


I like the fact that the song has been such a huge hit in the UK, because that just shows how the British public can still accept diversity in music. Look at the top 5 this week : a brand-new group, a rapper, a retro-techno song, a fused R&B-electro jam, and another R&B song. That's diversity!


Yolanda and company get a 6.5 this week.


The big riser this week is Flo Rida & David Guetta's "Club Can't Handle Me", a song which exemplifies modern popular music. It's a mix of American swagger with European bounce, and like so many songs nowadays, it's impossible to classify. The song is making strides in America as well, having risen 19 spaces in a week's time, from 52 to 33. It's going to continue, I think, because it's such an effective hybrid. You can sing along with the whole thing, unlike most rapper/producer collaborations where there's a rap part that just doesn't quite fit. Flo is in fine voice here, which is a surprise - most of us might have thought he wasn't capable of something like this. 


The song gets an 8. 


Blasting into the top position, Ne-Yo's "Beautiful Monster" doesn't seem to be having much success in the USA. It's actually dropping on the American charts, from number 53 last week to number 70 now. It's just starting to get some airplay here, though, so that may change. As usual, though, the UK is miles ahead of the USA. 


The song has a nice jivey feel to it, with synthesized bass nearly imitating a digeridoo in its tone. The vocals are nicely harmonized, and the hook is . . . 


Well, it's average. I'm thinking a few more listens before it kicks in. I'll give it a 6 this week.


ALBUM REVIEW


Best Coast - Crazy For You


It's another amazing obscurity this week in Best Coast. Some background : 


Best Coast is a duo from (where else?) California that consists of Bethany Cosentino and Bob Bruno, with Bethany taking the bulk of the attention on vocals. 


The band has managed to put together a lo-fi masterpiece in "Crazy For You". The recipe goes like this : 


Take strummy, occasional drony guitars (think R.E.M.), and put it together with a touch of 1960s girl-group harmonies drenched in reverb, add a Jay Reatard sensibility of lyrics so dumbed-down that they're purposefully ironic, and decidedly poignant at the same time. Apply a little J Mascis slackerism. 


What have you got? That's what Best Coast sounds like, and it all hangs together wonderfully. 


There's not much point discussing individual songs on the record, because each one follows the pattern outlined above. Nearly every song is as good as the others. None of them are over three minutes long, so they never wear themselves out. The album is so bright and catchy that the sound itself doesn't wear out. 


Another recipe for the UK readers : You know Glasvegas, right? Well, add in a sense of humor and a tendency to not overdo everything, and you've got Best Coast. Can you imagine Glasvegas throwing out lyrics like on "Goodbye" : "I lost my job/I miss my mom/I wish my cat could talk"? 


There's a theme to all this, too : nearly all the songs are about regrets. Bethany is constantly missing someone, or wishing she hadn't walked away, or hoping that what she did in the past didn't drive someone elsewhere. Of course, her persona comes across as so lazy and stoned, that you just know she'd do it again. 


Spinal Tap : "There's a fine line between clever and stupid."


Best Coast is toeing the clever side of that line. 


I give "Crazy For You" an 8 on the England Swings scale of 1-10. It's fun stuff!
 


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