Here's the playlist from last night's England Swings show : Manic Street Preachers - (It's Not War) Just the End Of LoveMark Ronson & the Business INTL - The Bike SongSpooky Tooth - Waiting For the Wind (Spooky Two)Magnetic Man ft. Katy B - Perfect StrangerTing Tings - HandsTemper Trap - Sweet Disposition (live)Lost Legions - Make Me (Thanks, Peter! http://www.myspace.com/lostlegionsband)Velvet Underground - Waiting For My Man (Velvet Underground & Nico)The Fab Four Freakout : Beatles - Instrumental/Blowin' In the Wind/Hare KrishnaBeatles - Savoy Truffle (The Beatles)Beatles - Don't Let Me Down (Let It Be)Monarchy - Love Get Out Of My WayElvis Costello - Little Triggers (This Year's Model)Chemical Brothers - Another World (Further)Billie Anthony - This Ole HouseBreakaways - SukiyakiMumford & Sons - Little Lion Man (live)...and this week's top 5 in the UK : 5). Script - For the First Time (new)4). Olly Murs - Please Don't Let Me Go (-3)3). Taio Cruz - Dynamite (non-mover)2). Katy Perry - Teenage Dream (non-mover)1). Alexandra Burke - Start Without You (new)TOP 5 ANALYSIS and REVIEWA few months ago I would have said that the British charts were becoming topheavy with urban music. Between the plethora of songs that Dizzee Rascal was churning out, Roll Deep, and many more, it looked like the current wave of popular tunes was tipping toward grime, rap, and R&B. It just goes to show that you never can tell. This week, we have a ton of pop at the top. There's some ersatz urban with Alexandra, but the rest . . . The Script release their most successful song in England since "The Man Who Can't Be Moved" two years ago. Unsurprisingly enough, the song is ballad that sounds a lot like, um, "The Man Who Can't Be Moved". Since that song broke in the summer of 2008, the Script have had an odd career arc. Several other singles in the UK didn't do nearly as well, but one of them - "Breakeven" - ended up becoming a fair hit in the United States. If you liked "Breakeven", or even "The Man", you'll like this. It's pleasant enough. Gorgeously harmonized vocals, thumping piano, a cello, and strummed acoustic guitars, followed by a chorus straight out of the Snow Patrol book of tricks. It's all good, if somewhat predictable. On the England Swings scale of 1-10, I'm giving it a 7.The enigma that is Olly Murs drops from the top position to number four this week, which might actually be longer in the top 5 than anyone expected. For a prefab X Factor runner up, it's not awful. There's a reggae lite feel to it, with a theremin-like thread in the song. He almost ruins it with the "da-da-deet-da-da" in the middle, but that's quickly over. All in all, I supposed it could be worse. A lot worse. I give the song a 6.A pair of non-movers occupy the numbers three and two slot on the British charts this week. First, we've got "Dynamite" by Taio Cruz. Based on the international hit status of the song, it's obvious that Taio has hit on the dream formula for UK artists : how can you be "pop" enough to succeed in England, and yet still "street" enough to climb the American charts? Taio's done it, with this frothy concoction with ringing guitars, squelching synths, and a deadpan vocal that fits the song perfectly. Cheers, Mr. Cruz! We give you a 7.5.And from the other side of the Atlantic, Katy Perry does exactly the same thing. At number 2 in England, "Teenage Dream" is by far the best thing on her new album. It has more of a rock bent (indeed, 1980s rock) than the Taio Cruise, but it also has the same ephemeral pop feel to the chorus. That sound has managed to propel the song to the top in America, FINALLY replacing the Eminem/Rihanna abomination that has ruled for seven weeks. See last week for a review of the album, but the mediocrity of the whole package doesn't take away from the fact that this is a great song. I give it an 8.Alexandra's back! She's still being forced into the groove that Simon Cowell and company have chosen for her, though. She's "urban", but it's urban with no edge - she remains a "safe" choice for most who want to seem all modern, but can't deal with the obscenities and innuendo of most modern rap/R&B. "Start Without You", based on an old Boney M song (and several nursery rhymes before that), has an American rapper who sounds Jamaican, some occasional auto-tune, and a bouncy synth rhythm. With every song that Alexandra releases, you can see the calculation in it. Every song is a carefully focused grab for the American market. But as usual, the producers have missed the mark. The song is STILL too happy and British for American ears. It's much closer to the Fast Food Rockers or S Club 7 than it is to, say, Ke$ha. Americans won't get it. Then again, what do I know? I mean, Mumford and Sons is catching on in the USA. What's up with that? Nope, I still contend that Alexandra is going to have to get a lot rougher to hit the American charts. This song ain't the one. I give my cousin Ali a 6 just for being joyful. Album review tomorrow!

 


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