Here's the playlist from Sunday's show : 

An Army Of Lights - An Army Of Lights
Ash - Carnal Love

Rod Stewart - Maggie May (Every Picture Tells a Story)
Pearl & the Puppets - Make Me Smile

Robert Plant - Angel Dance
Alesha Dixon - Drummer Boy

Barron Knights - Pop Go the Workers
Bonzo Dog Band - Rhinocratic Oaths (The Doughnut In Granny's Greenhouse)

The Fab Four Freakout : 

Beatles - Love Of Loved (Decca demo)
Beatles - The Fool On the Hill (Magical Mystery Tour)
Beatles - Love Me Do

Phil Collins - (Love Is Like a) Heatwave
Fever Ray - Mercy Street

Stealers Wheel - Everyone's Agreed That Everything Is Just Fine

Cribs - Housewife
Jay Sean ft. Nicki Minaj - 2012 (It's Not the End)

Leapy Lee - Little Arrows
Jack Penate - Have I Been a Fool (Matinee)

...and this week's Top 5 songs in England :

5). Katy B - Katy On a Mission (new)
4). Roll Deep - Green Light (-3)
3). Flo Rida - Club Can't Handle Me (non-mover)
2). Eminem - Love the Way You Lie (non-mover)
1). Taio Cruz - Dynamite (new)


Two new entries come into the top 5 this week, as the former number one tumbles three places. There are also two non-movers, and one of those has been in the top 5 for a record (this year) eight weeks.

Katy B reaches the number 5 position this week with "Katy On a Mission". Since the song is produced by Benga, I think we might safely say that this is the highest that a single that's dubstep-oriented has climbed. Of course, dubstep has morphed over the last year to become a viable, commercial form of music : it's become less formless and more immediate. This song retains some of the tropes of the genre : we've got the deep, nearly subsonic bass, the choppy drums and synth. Katy does a nice, echoey job on the vocals. On the England Swings scale of 1-10, the song gets an 8. It's a breakthrough!

Roll Deep rolls itself down several spaces to number 4 this week with "Green Light", and there are some similarities between this song and the Katy B track at number 5. The Roll Deep track is not as choppy, but the overall feel of the song is comparable. We've got killer bass synth here doing things that would be impossible for a human to replicate. There's a hook, and it's a good one. All in all, though, it seems a bit . . . punier, somehow. I give it a 7.

Flo Rida maintains his spot at number 3 with "Club Can't Handle Me". The tune here is adequate, but it's the vocals that make the song here; Flo himself taking the lead competently, and great backup vocals. David Guetta's production is complex and affecting. I'm still going with an 8 on this.

Eminem. Still at number 2. Still ugly. I just can't see the attraction here, but apparently millions of others do. I suppose I could be wrong about the lack of originality and the plain venality of the song.

But I don't think so. I mean, you can't exactly play it at parties, can you? Or can you? The storyline is depressing, the tune itself is mediocre and mundane . . . no. No turnaround on this one. I give it a 2. 

It's no surprise that Taio Cruz goes straight in at the top with "Dynamite"; if it weren't for that Eminem abomination it would be number one in America, too. 

Taio, along with Jay Sean, represent the new wave of British pop, and this time it's crossing over to the USA. One piece of evidence for that is the fact that the song was released long ago in America, but has just come out in the UK. 

The best way to describe this kind of music is as pop with a blend of American style R&B and techno. I don't think the genre has been named yet, but I'm pretty sure we'll be seeing a lot more of it. It's British, yes, but in some ways it's disguised as American. I'll propose the name EurAnglicanicana.

Okay, maybe not. 

The song is muscular, clean, and has a monstrous groove. I give it an 8. 


Hoosiers - The Illusion Of Safety

You remember the Hoosiers from a couple of years ago? They were kind of in the mold of the Kooks or the Twang, but sillier. "Worried About Ray", "Goodbye Mr. A", both a bit frantic, but a fair amount of fun. 

For their sophomore album, the Hoosiers have changed just enough to gain some credibility, but not enough to alienate the legion of folks who liked their initial sound. They're still silly here at times, but not nearly as much as they used to be. They've . . . 


Witness the single from the record, "Choices". It's more sophisticated musically than any of their former songs, and lead vocalist Irwin Sparkes has gotten his yelp under control. It's still got a pop hook, but even after several listenings, it doesn't become annoying. There's an assurance here that the band didn't have before. 

"Choices" is followed on the album by a couple of other good pop songs. "Bumpy Ride" actually could be a Sugababes song, but whereas they would make it sound artificial, the Hoosiers make it organic and confident. "Who Said Anything (About Falling in Love" is a song that might do Take That proud, but because Irwin Sparkes has a unique vocal style, the middle-of-the-road tropes have some freshness. 

A little later on, the old jokey feel comes back. "Lovers In My Head" and "Live By the Ocean" are closer to the "old" Hoosiers, especially the former. "Glorious" takes on the goonier aspects of Queen and does them faithfully. 

Still, the album tends to keep one's interest until two-thirds of the way through, when we're confronted by "Made To Measure" and "Giddy Up". The first of these songs is about as generic as can be, and the horseclop rhythm of the other is banal and verges on obnoxious. 

The Hoosiers save a surprise for nearly last. "Sarajevo" is the longest track on the record, and hardly a second is wasted. Sparkes does an effective vocal, the song is serious and meaningful, and constructed beautifully. There's a variety here that, while not completely lacking in the rest of the record, becomes effective. 

It's a shame they had to follow it with "Little Brutes", which is not a jokey song, but just comes off as ugly and headache-inducing. Not a wise choice on their part, if you'll pardon the pun.

All in all, the Hoosiers show us here that they've got the chutzpah to become a major band. There are missteps, sure, but for the most part, the band is evolving for the better. Let's hope they keep it up. 

"The Illusion of Safety" gets a 7 on the England Swings scale of 1-10.

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