Wonderful show last night with all sorts of new music, including tracks from a couple of unsigned bands, noted below : 

Ou Est Le Swimming Pool - The Key (The Golden Year)
Klaxons - Twin Flames (Surfing the Void)

Status Quo - In the Army Now
Scouting For Girls - Don't Want To Leave You (Everybody Wants To Be On TV)

Fran Healy - Buttercups (Wreckorder)
June Tabor - Geordie (Silly Sisters)

 . . . an unsigned band from Toronto :

Clockwise - Opposites Attract (Faders On Stun)
Clockwise - Water On the Moon (Faders On Stun)

Mahogany Rush - Roadhouse Blues (What's Next)

The Fab Four Freakout, featuring John Lennon : 

Beatles - Bad To Me (demo)
John Lennon - Look At Me (John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band)
John Lennon - Imagine (Imagine)

Chapel Club - All the Eastern Girls
Devlin - Runaway

...an unsigned band from Newcastle, UK : 

Hexachord Hex - Shout It Out Loud
Hexachord Hex - Keep the Faith (Holy Island)

Donovan - There Is a Mountain

...and this week's Top 5 songs in the UK : 

5). Swedish House Mafia - Miami 2 Ibiza (new)
4). Bruno Mars - Just the Way You Are (-2)
3). Tinie Tempah - Written In the Stars (-2)
2). Robbie Williams & Gary Barlow - Shame (new)
1). Cee-Lo - Forget You (new)


There's a considerable amount of nepotism in the top 5 this week. Get this : of the 5 songs, two of them feature Tinie Tempah. Two of them were at least co-written by Bruno Mars. And one of them features the collaboration of former bandmates for the first time in fifteen years. 

All of this makes for an interesting top 5, as we have yet another three news songs entering near the top again this week. Say what you will about the British charts, they're much more fascinating to follow because of their changeability than their American counterparts, where a given week frequently doesn't even see one new entry into the Top TEN, let alone the top five.

The track at number 5, Swedish House Mafia's "Miami 2 Ibiza", is an old-fashioned club slammer. It's still a lot of fun, though. It features Tinie Tempah adding occasional vocals, and has nice deep synths. The lyrics are almost comical ("She wants to see what's hiding in my CK briefs"), and the whole song just flies along. I'm currently listening to the longer version, and it's not wearing on me. Yet. 

I give the Mafia a 7.5 on the England Swings scale of 1-10.

Bruno Mars drops another couple of spaces this week to number 4, while maintaining supremacy for the third week in the USA. The singer performed the song this weekend on Saturday Night Live, so that gives the song even more prominence in America. 

The song, unimpressive at the first listen, grows on the listener over time and becomes inevitable. There's doo-wop backing vocals, a tinkling piano, and a syncopated drumbeat that adds urgency to the tune. 

As I've said before, there's a certain R&B style becoming prevalent nowadays that doesn't know as many boundaries as the past. The international nature of this sound is evident in the hit status of this song in the UK, and of Taio Cruz and the like in America. I'm anxiously waiting for other countries (France, maybe? Maybe not) to pick up on it and add to the diversity of modern performers. 

Anyway, it's a boss track Bruno did, and it gets an 8 on the England Swings scale. 

Tinie Tempah has a ways to go yet to achieve international (i.e. American) success. He's very British, you know, and I'm not sure how that will play in Iowa. "Written In the Stars", featuring Bruno clone Eric Turner, drops two places this week from the top of the charts to number three.

The song has the insistence of Tinie's other hits, but with extra added R&B feel. It tells the story of Tinie's rise to success. This is not necessarily an original idea, seeing as every rap star from Jay-Z onwards has done the same thing. Tinie Tempah executes it well, though. 

See tomorrow's post for a review of his new album, won't you?

In the meanwhile, I give "Written In the Stars" a 7.5.

Oh, look at this! Robbie and Gary, together again! And what a cute song they've made!

"Shame", by the above-mentioned Misters Williams and Barlow, enters the chart at number 2 in the UK this week, and there's already a backlash. Somehow people must have expected more, because the general consensus seems to be "Okay song, kinda boring". 

I can see that, for sure, but I like the track. It's self-referential, all about the sundered relationship between Take That and Robbie himself. That makes it slightly clever, and slightly funny ("So I got busy throwing everybody under the bus"...). It's got a pretty clopping horse, and some "Blackbird" guitar. All of that ends up getting swallowed in sappy strings by the middle of the tune, but it still is kinda okay and kinda nice. I give it a 7 on the scale.

Cee-Lo has come up with a song to rival Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy", co-written by Bruno Mars. "Forget You" is the radio version of a song initially titled, um, something else. It's a funk-soul tour-de-force, sung beautifully and arranged for maximum effect. It's immediately lovable, this song, and a deserved hit. It's going to have some longevity, I think, so we'd best get used to hearing it. It's a happy-sounding song, purposefully done to disguise the meanness of the sentiments expressed. 

It's a hit!

I give it an 8.5 on the scale this week.

Album review tomorrow, same place as this!

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