The UK chart has picked up the pace in the last couple of weeks; this week, we've got two new entries in the top 5, which pushes down a couple of the hits from the previous weeks. 

At number 5, Chase and Status have their biggest hit ever with "Blind Faith". 

And it's deserved. With the background instrumentation an over-reverbed mess of electronics, it's the vocals of Liam Bailey as well as an unidentified female singer that make the tune. The whole effect of the song is anthemic, but sloppily so. On the England Swings scale of 1-10, this song rates a 7. 

The non-mover sits at number 4 for another week. The song is credited to "Diddy-Dirty Money ft. Skylar", which means that Sean Combs not only added a "group" to the song (as he does on his recent album), but also needed a guest singer. 

What he's come up with, though, is a song that has Kanye West histrionics over the concept of Eminem's "Stan". There's a mellow female singer (that must be Skylar) intoning a line about "coming home" (the song's title, by the way) while Sean raps about things he loves and hates and feels strong about. As for Dirty Money, I think they're relegated to occasional "oh! oh!" and "yeahh..." backing vocals. 

The song is derivative, but has managed to be a hit in the UK . . . and is creeping up the American charts. This week, it's reached number 13 in the USA. 

All that said, it's fairly inoffensive. I give it a 6.

Adele drops a place with "Rolling In the Deep" this week, landing at number 3. Her album, on the other hand, managed to outsell everything else in the top ten albums combined. She has now become one of the biggest performers in the UK to never have a number one song. 

"Rolling" is a tour-de-force, retro-soul monster that improves with subsequent listenings. It's got a thonking, thumping beat, good backing vocals, and a great lead vocal. 

Interestingly enough, the song has made a small dent in the USA, a full month before the album is released here. It currently sits at number 84 on Billboard's Hot 100. Will it climb further? Yeah, I think it will, but it will be a (pleasant) surprise if it cracks the top ten. It's a little TOO retro-soul for most Americans to get. After all, this is the country that didn't put Cee-Lo's "F*** You" in the top ten, and that was one of the best songs of last year. 

I give Adele an 8 this week. 

Bruno Mars' "Grenade" drops from two weeks at the top to number 2 this week. It still rules the charts in the USA. 

I go back and forth on this track - it's a little overdramatic for my taste, and reminds me of the debacle that was "Love the Way You Lie" from last year. That said, it's nicely put together. I wouldn't call it a retro-soul track like Adele's, but it does veer occasionally close to that. It's modern enough, though, that Americans can deal with it. I give it a 6.5.

At the top of the British charts, Ke$ha scores her first UK number one with "We R Who We R". The song was released - and went to number one - at the beginning of November in the USA. 

We all know that Ke$ha has very little natural talent, but she has managed to jump on the trends of the moment with panache and cleverness, and has impeccable production people. Just listen to the staccato vocal chorus of the song here, and - even though the whole thing is done with digital studio FX - you STILL want to sing along. The song has a monster hook, and that's what Ke$ha does best. As loathe as I am to admit it, this is a great song. I give it an 8. 

Album review here soon!
 


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