Playlist and top 5 : June 14, 2010 - England Swings - The BEST music from the UK
It was a special day yesterday, and the England Swings show aired twice during the course of it. Why, you might ask? Because our annual "Celebrate Fairfax!" event was on this weekend, and if you stopped by to see KC and the Sunshine Band, or Carolina Liar, or even country singer Jimmy Wayne, you might have seen the WEBR radio producers doing a remote live broadcast from the Fairgrounds at our Government Center here in semi-urban Fairfax County, Virginia. All of us signed up for slots, and mine was at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday. Here's what I played, hoping the bring the best, brightest, newest, and coolest music from the UK to the masses of people passing by and stopping in : 

Taio Cruz - Break Your Heart
La Roux - Bulletproof
David Guetta - Getting Over You
Tinie Tempah - Frisky
Robyn - Dancing On My Own
Alexandra Burke - All Night Long
Biffy Clyro - Bubbles
Kate Nash - Paris
Scouting For Girls - This Ain't a Love Song
Rox - My Baby Left Me
Gorillaz - Stylo
Plan B - She Said

Most of this would have been unfamiliar to Americans, and that's exactly why I played it. As you can see, I also tried to play songs that had a big beat. It was fun to see the visceral reaction as people walked by and would start moving to the beats. I got a lot of positive comments from fairgoers!

It was 90 degrees in the shade there, hot, humid, and hazy, but it was a lot of fun. If you were listening earlier or later, you might have heard me make guest appearances on Mickey Bo's Rock 'n' Roll Revue, or Doug Goffus's show. 

After stuffing myself on jambalaya and fresh-cut fries, plus massive amounts of lemonade, I was off to the WEBR studios to do the "regular" England Swings show at 6:00 p.m. We had a flawless transition from the live remote broadcast to the studio, and here's what I occupied the next couple of hours with : 

Sound Of Guns - Architects
Turzi - Baltimore (B)

Focus - Hocus Pocus (Moving Waves)
Everything Everything - Schoolin'

Russ Ballard - Voices (Russ Ballard)
Brian Eno - Cindy Tells Me (Here Come the Warm Jets)

Wu Lyf - Heavy Pop
N-Dubs ft. Bodyrox - We Dance On

The Fab Four Freakout : 

Beatles - Three Cool Cats (Decca audition)
Beatles - Doctor Robert (Revolver)
Beatles - Matchbox
Beatles - Good Day Sunshine (Revolver)

Foals - Spanish Sahara (Total Life Forever)

Katie Melua - Red Balloons (The House)

Shakin' Stevens - Oh Julie
Police - Message In a Bottle (Reggatta De Blanc)
Badfinger - Day After Day (Straight Up)

...and this week's top 5 tunes in the UK : 

5). Eminem - Not Afraid (re-entry)
4). David Guetta - Getting Over You (-3)
3). K'naan - Waving Flag (new)
2). Tinie Tempah - Frisky (new)
1). Shout For England (Dizzee Rascal & James Corden) - Shout (new)


World Cup fever took over the top 5 this week, as two new songs addressing the competition wind up high in the chart, and a new performer has a second hit. There were three new entries altogether, last week's number 1 dropped precipitously, and a re-entry matched its peak of a couple of weeks ago. Let's run 'em down : 

In the USA, Eminem's "Not Afraid" entered the charts at number one, and then dropped out of the top 10 after two more weeks. That's usually the domain of novelty records, or artists that have a limited buying base like, say, Miley Cyrus. It doesn't compare to Em's hits from earlier in the century, which hung around the top ten for weeks on end. This one had a buzz that turned into a sputter. 

In England, though, the song has actually risen a bit this week to re-enter the top 5. This seemed to be spontaneous, in that Em didn't perform on Britain's Got Talent or any other shows. Usher, after reaching number one weeks ago and then dropping, rose back to number 6 this week after his BGT appearance, so that's understandable. 

So why Eminem? As I noted when the song first came into the British top 5, he's now a middle-aged angry man, and much of his youth appeal is gone. 

It could be that this is just a song that appeals to the British psyche. And if you listen closely, the song is not so much angry as inspirational. That puts it in the same category, in some ways, with all those countless songs about empowering yourself and looking for rainbows that have been huge British hits over the years. I'm thinking that people realized that it was a fun song to sing along with, and began buying it again in numbers. 

If you haven't heard it, it's an almost-shouty song all about, well, Eminem. He talks about his rehab experience, and how he plans to go on making the same sorts of songs he's always made, and continue regaling his audience with more of his songs about himself. 


The track has grown on me, though, and while I'm still not singing along that much, I'll give it some respect with a 7 on the England Swings scale of 1-10. 

David Guetta, faced with some stiff competition, drops way down to number 4 this week from the top position. 

That's a shame, really, because the song is good. We've got Fergie reprising a line from "I Gotta Feeling", LMFAO rhythmically rapping, and Chris Willis wailing, all backed by Guetta-ized synths and a killer beat. To top it all off, we've got a straight-to-the-point chorus with "I'ma party, and party and party...". It all is a bit quirky, and a bit fun, and very catchy. I'm giving it a 7.5 on the scale.

Somalian performer K'naan, after a recent collaboration with Keane, of all people, brings the first of the World Cup songs with "Waving Flag", and guess what? It's anthemic and way cool and just a perfect accompaniment to watch Germany kick the crap out of Australia (or your game of choice). K'naan opened the World Cup concert with this song, and that probably boosted sales at the last minute. 

The song is irresistable; I can almost guarantee you'll like it if you haven't heard it. I'm giving it an 8.5.

Pity poor Tinie Tempah, who could have had another number one under his belt if it wasn't the opening week of World Cup. His new song "Frisky" comes in at number 2 instead. While not quite as clever as "Pass Out" from earlier this year, it's got all those SFX that are becoming a TT trademark. There's another deep male chorus, this time going "boom!" instead of "ooommm". Although it's almost as if the song never quite gets going, it's pretty darn good. I'm pretty sure that the man's got a future. He's got ears. A pair of them, most likely. I give the song an 8.

Rush-recorded, rush-released, and just in time, Shout For England (which is Dizzee Rascal and comedian James Corden) tear up to the top of the chart with "Shout". Based on Tears For Fears song of the same name, the song has a series of effects and choral voices, all with Dizzee squeaking as usual over it all. It all sounds a bit . . . hurried, but you've got to give props to them for rising to the number one position after waiting until last Wednesday to be released. It's not a great song, although it works well enough. I'm going with a 6.5.

And with that, I'm going to wait a bit before doing the album review - the heat here in Virginia is finally breaking and that means a mean thunderstorm is brewing. I'll have to sign off until it's all over . . . back soon!

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