Gorillaz - Doncamatic
Gruff Rhys - Shark Ridden Waters
Steve Hackett - Narnia (Please Don't Touch)
Prinzhorn Dance School - Seed Crop Harvest
Duffy ft. the Roots - Well Well Well
Robyn - Indestructible
Big Audio Dynamite II - The Globe (The Globe)
Tommy Steele - Rock With the Caveman
Herman's Hermits - Mrs. Brown You've Got a Lovely Daughter
Hexachord Hex - If I Only Had Time
Broken Records - A Leaving Song (Let Me Come Home)
The Fab Four Freakout :
Beatles - House Of the Rising Sun (Let It Be Sessions)
Beatles - Anna (Go To Him) (Please Please Me)
Beatles - Honey Pie (The Beatles)
Florence & the Machine - Heavy In Your Arms (Twilight : Eclipse OST)
Gold Panda - You (Snow and Taxis)
Cliff Richard - Congratulations
Cliff Richard - I've Got You Under My Skin (Bold As Brass)
...and this week's top 5 songs in the UK :
5). Bruno Mars - Just the Way You Are (-2)
4). Katy Perry - Firework (re-entry)
3). Alexis Jordan - Happiness (new)
2). Cheryl Cole - Promise This (-1)
1). Rihanna - Only Girl (In the World) (+1)
TOP 5 ANALYSIS and REVIEW
While we prepare for the onslaught of Take That (Take Three), we have some interesting developments in the top 5 this week. The top songs flip-flopped. There's a re-entry. There's one new entry.
And Bruno Mars is still hanging in there.
"Just the Way You Are" drops to number 5 this week, and that makes it seven weeks in the top 5, including two separate weeks at number one. The tune has become one of the most ubiquitous of the fall; I'm guessing you've heard it by now - it's an R&B throwback of sorts while maintaining modernity.
Although it's become so familiar, I still like it. I'm giving it a 7 on the England Swings scale of 1-10 this week.
Tired of Katy Perry yet, UK? Apparently not, as "Firework", her third hit this year, rebounds back into the top 5 to land at number 4, its highest position so far. As usual, America is slowly revving up to appreciate the tune, as it sits at number 29 on the Billboard charts this week. No one's expecting the performance of "California Girls" or "Teenage Dream" from it, but it will probably embed itself into the American consciousness sooner or later.
The tune grows on you. Perry's vocal, while sounding occasionally off-key, is energetic and effective. The whole thing sounds a bit like an outtake by P!nk, really. The instrumentation is almost completely synthesized, from the drum-machine clomps to the fizzy water synths. There is what appear to be a couple of real violins in there, but they're probably programmed in as well.
It all falls together as a pretty good pop song, though. I give it a 7.5.
Who Is Alexis Jordan? Why Does She Have a Major British Hit?
She's an eighteen-year-old with a spookily Beyonce-esque voice, discovered by Jay-Z and given to Stargate. "Happiness" managed to stay under the radar in the USA, except for the dance stations (and where are the dance stations, anyway? I think I heard one in Miami once).
So once again, the British propel an American star to the heights, while in the USA, no one's heard of her. "Happiness" is a surprisingly mellow tune, beautifully produced and ear-catching. If Beyonce went totally electro, this is what it would sound like. Alexis does a nice hum (mm-mm-mm mm-mm), and has a versatile, clear voice. She's happy. We're happy. We give it an 8.
Cheryl Cole, the darling of British pop, only hung onto the number one song for a week with "Promise This", which drops to number 2.
I finally figured out that the odd vocal interjection that starts the song is French, mostly the word "Alouette". The song has a frantic, hyperactive pace; so much so that it takes a while to sink in. When it does, it reveals itself as a fair-to-middling pop song. Not her best, but not her worst, I give it a 6.5. And see last week's blog for a review of the album, yeah?
Rihanna has moved away from the edge of the building, and gone back to catchy little songs that are innocuous. No "getting it up" (like in "Rude Boy"), and no clicking revolvers ("Russian Roulette"). "Only Girl (In the World)" harkens back to the innocence of "Umbrella", which - one must assume Rihanna has figured out - is her bread and butter.
Performed on X Factor last weekend, it was inevitable that it would rise to number 1 this week. Not so in the USA, where the song peaked at 3, and is now sitting at number 4. Respectable, but no "Umbrella", then.
It does the job. I give it a 7.
There'll be an album review here tomorrow, so come back on in.