Playlist, Top 5, and Album Review : May 10, 2010 - England Swings - The BEST music from the UK
Last night, we had a very special England Swings show honoring mothers. The music was interspersed with dozens of voices of mothers and children, some simply giving messages to their mothers, and others requesting songs. It was an all-request show, and here is what we played : 

Rod Stewart - (What a) Wonderful World (The Great American Songbook Volume III)
Jay-Z ft. Mr. Hudson - Young Forever (The Blueprint 3)

Spice Girls - Wannabe
James Blunt - You're Beautiful

Beatles - Octopus's Garden (Abbey Road)
Beatles - Yellow Submarine (Revolver)
Beatles - I Will (The Beatles)
Beatles - Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da (The Beatles)

Michael Jackson & Paul McCartney - The Girl Is Mine (Thriller)
Cure - Just Like Heaven (Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me)
Hollies - The Air That I Breathe

Ozzy Osbourne - Mama I'm Coming Home (No More Tears)
Journey - Don't Stop Believing

Beatles - Come Together (Abbey Road)
Beatles - Let It Be (Let It Be)
Beatles - When I'm Sixty-Four (Sgt. Peppers)
Beatles - Penny Lane (Magical Mystery Tour)

Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons - Beggin' (Pilooski remix)

Martina McBride - Anyway (Waking Up Laughing)

Grupo Rana - Colombia Rock

Massive Attack - Teardrop (Mezzanine)

David Bowie - The Prettiest Star (Aladdin Sane)

Vera Lynn - Shine On Harvest Moon

We also did a brief synopsis of the week's top 5 tunes in the UK : 

5). Aggro Santos ft. Kimberly Wyatt - Candy (new)
4). Pendulum - Watercolour (new)
3). Plan B - She Said (non-mover)
2). Usher - OMG (non-mover)
1). Roll Deep - Good Times (non-mover)


The top 3 songs remain untouched, and for a change, new songs come in at the lower end of the top 5. And what interesting songs they are - ! Let's take a look : 

So which one of the Pussycat Dolls is Kimberly Wyatt? Was she the red-headed one? She was HOT. Is she doing a solo album? 

Oh, I should pay attention to the fact that the lead on the song is Aggro Santos, and that he has a mercifully forceful style of rapping. So many of the UK's rappers sound like they're just whining, that it's refreshing to have this fellow not taking the same voice. "Candy" enters the UK charts at number 5 this week.

Of course, there's not much to say about the song itself. It's nearly monotonal in execution, and mostly consists of Kimberly going "Come and get you some/Candy!". 


It's got a fairly strong synth backing, and Aggro weaves himself in and out of the song. Not . . . much . . . else to say . . . 

I guess I'll go with a 6 on the England Swings scale of 1-10.

Pendulum's back, and this time they've hit the big leagues! "Watercolour" lands at number 4, making it the Perthians (Perthese?) biggest hit ever. 

It's not bad, yo. It's a bit repetitive, but holds one's interest for most of the time. "Feed your fire/break your vision/Throw your fists up/Come on with me" is repeated several times. The whole thing sounds very synthesized, as if it were created by that songwriting machine in Orwell's "1984". There's not a ton of new stuff here, but it's a pleasant enough distraction. I'll give it a 7. 

Now I will repeat what I've said for the umpteenth time about the top three songs because they haven't changed. I'll truncate : 

Plan B at number 3 with "She Said" : it's clever and well-constructed. Ben Drew (Plan B) sings in a falsetto that sounds as if his trousers are too tight, but it works. It's an innovative hit, mixing old soul and modern UK rap. Still there. Still good. It's an 8.

"OMG" by Usher remains at 2. Why? Ush himself just gives off a creepy vibe nowadays. The song has also risen to number 1 in the USA this week. The song is a woozy sex tape with the video off and the audio on. It's occasionally sonically interesting, but also just kind of chilly. It gets a 5.5.

Roll Deep, the original grime collective that no longer sounds even slightly grimy, stays at number 1 for a second week with "Good Times". It's a wisp of a tune, sounding much like what now seems like hundreds of counterparts. It's not bad, but it's sure not great. Let's go with a 6.


Kate Nash - My Best Friend Is You

I'm beginning to get worried about Kate's mental state. 

There's some decidedly crazy sh*t going on here. 

It starts out innocently enough, with "Paris" being catchy and clever as anything. A rolling piano riff, accentuated with strings, and a lyric that manages to capture the wacked Kate chakra : "You'll never listen to me" being the main line. Then there's a pretty section where she repeats "You said you'd loan me anything/I think I'll choose your company". Very nice. 

"Kiss That Grrrl" comes next, with a 1960s girl-group feel, and words that are becoming a bit more  . . . unhinged. It's all about jealousy, as Kate's guy (Ryan?) meeting another girl at a party and paying just a little bit too much attention to her. When this happens, Kate thinks up all sorts of revenge. 

Now the crazy stuff begins to kick in. "Don't You Want To Share the Guilt" is a litany of neurotica that starts with a smooth electric guitar riff playing against a strummed acoustic guitar. The first line? "Barbecue food is good". It goes on to express a twisted relationship in minute detail, including plasters and saying "shut up". Bizarre, but still within the realm of sanity. Barely. 

"I Just Love You More". Uh-oh. Deep end! Kate intones, screeches, and squeaks for three minutes, set against chunking guitars. Interesting while you're listening, but not the sort of thing you'd want to hear again. It reminds me a little of Lennon's "Primal Scream" period. 

First single "Do Wah Doo" follows. Here we've got handclaps. grumbling guitars, and a semi-normal vocal. It's all about jealousy again, though, and how Kate tries unsuccessfully to deal with it ("I'll just read a book instead..."). It features a catchy "bom-de-bom-de-bom" part, with cool harmonies, and ends (of course) with the words "I think she's a b*tch.". 

Kate seems quite mad, in all senses of the word. 

"Take Me To a Higher Plane" : imagine a punk song with fiddles. No, not quite like the Pogues, but with Kate screeching "My li-ha-ha-ha-ha-ife" and adding in a few of those squeals. 

Let's skip for a bit then, to "Mansion Song". 


This could generously be called an "experimental" tune, but it's not really a tune at all. It mostly consists of Kate doing an obscene monologue with much anger (and scratchy operatic singing in the background). Halfway through, drums kick and Kate sings "I don't have to be your baby" several times. 

Is this the sign of a healthy mind? 

Ms. Nash has some mercy after this, and "Early Christmas Present" is yet another paean to green emotion. This time, though, the tune is gentle. Kate's still majorly ticked off, though. "Later On" is quite nice, with a marching drum, fade-in-and-out chords. It has a power to it that appeals. Of course, it's all about a relationship gone awry. 

Have you ever met a person, male or female, that does nothing but create problems in relationships? "Addicted to drama" people, who manage to throw a spanner into the simplest of situtations? 

That might be Kate. 

"Pickpocket" is jumpy and hesitant, with odd pauses. It's exactly the sort of tune that would expect a institutionalized person to put together. It's just queer enough to be uncomfortable. The chorus is suddenly beautiful, though.

"You Were So Far Away" could be a gorgeous song, too, but the doubled vocals that don't quite match make it offputting.

 . . . And we end with "I Hate Seagulls", which is a list of things Kate hates, followed by another list of stuff she sort of likes. It shows that no matter how old she gets, or how many albums she makes, Kate will always write about herself and her neuroticism. In this song, though, the relationship seems to finally go right (Ryan?). Pretty. Pretty disturbing, too. 

There's a short hidden track which is probably entitled "You Are My Best Friend" which is praise for . . . someone (Ryan?). 

Kate moves through all of these phases on the album, but the ending stays hopeful. Maybe there's hope? 

Or maybe the thorazine just entered her bloodstream on the last couple of songs. 

All told, this was not the album we were expecting. I think we all expected Kate Nash to mellow out and put together a semi-folky record of pretty tunes. She's defied expectations with "My Best Friend Is You", and has given us her unadulterated self. She ain't mellow. She's occasionally uncomfortably manic. 

Much of the album is listenable and worth listening to. Have your remote close by, though, because you'll not want to hear some of these songs again (Okay, you might want to play them to friends just for shock value, but otherwise . . . ). 

Kate Nash - a modern conundrum, all wrapped up in a freckled, crazy package. 

I'm giving the album a 7.5 on the England Swings scale of 1-10. 

Leave a Reply.