To my great surprise I found myself sunbathing at the beach this weekend (in the north-east of England! in April!), hence this week’s music videos are all beach-themed as I dream of the summer ahead and the summers from thirty-odd years ago.
10. Belinda Carlisle – Circle In The Sand
A nice near-literal video for this pretty 1988 track – there’s a lot of sand but not a lot of circles.
9. Don Henley – The Boys Of Summer
It was perhaps inevitable that the ultimate ’80s summer anthem would have a beach scene in the video. The black and white film makes it a bit gloomy, but that’s consistent with the pessimistic feel of the song.
8. Boy Meets Girl – Waiting For A Star To Fall
The video for this late ’80s cheesefest starts off with a suitably cheesy beach running scene. Love that epic sax solo!
7. Fleetwood Mac – Big Love
This is a more familiar sight for a British beach! Fleetwood Mac huddle in coats and scarves on a night-time beach in one of the many sequences of this brilliant video.
6. Blondie – Call Me
Bit of a seasonally-confused video here, as the beach shots of Debbie Harry are interspersed with her in a coat looking cold in New York City. Maybe she goes on holiday somewhere for the beach scenes.
5. Erasure – Ship Of Fools
The beach in this video is all made up of rocks and shells and therefore not at all suitable for sunbathing, although Andy Bell gives it a good go.
4. Wham! – Club Tropicana
Most of this ultimate summer holiday video is poolside, but George Michael does take a brief trip to the beach halfway through. It looks a bit overcast, though, so I don’t blame him for heading back to the pool.
3. The Bangles – Eternal Flame
A nice sunset beach scene here among the floaty images of Susanna Hoffs and co singing along to the song.
2. Duran Duran – Rio
Duran Duran made pretty much all of their videos on beaches during the jetsetting Rio era, but this one for the album’s title track is the most colourful and fun. The yacht scenes are the most iconic, but the beach scenes are blue-skied and beautiful and make me want to book a holiday.
1. Elton John – I’m Still Standing
I love everything about this ridiculous Cannes romp, from the ostentatious outdoor piano to Elton’s comedy glasses to the pre-Strictly Bruno Tonioli dancing his way through Cannes in a succession of ’80s leotards. The best bit, though, is when Elton lines up the dancers on the beach and pushes them over in a chain of human dominoes.
It’s starting to grey over here in Newcastle, so I suspect I won’t be taking any more trips to the beach for a couple of months now. I’ll have to make do with ’80s videos in the meantime!
It’s a solid pop track, but there’s not enough of a hook for me.
The video is all colourful candy dreamscapes and lots of dancing. I do like it, but I’m a bit surprised that it’s had 167 million views (as of 19th April 2019) and broken all the YouTube records. I guess BTS must have a lot of fans.
Avicii and Aloe Blacc – SOS
Lovely and in some ways haunting to hear a ‘new’ posthumous track from Avicii. There’s a feel of the bluegrass for which his previous Aloe Blacc collaborations were known, and also a hint of Japanese music in there. Nice track.
There’s no official video, but there has been a ‘fan memories’ video made with quotations from fans on the screen.
A couple more videos have recently been released for current chart hits.
Marshmello and Chvrches – Here With Me
Following the placeholder neon video from a few weeks ago, a new video has been released for this song that follows the story of a firefighter and his family. It’s a sweet story, but I think I prefer the neon one.
Meduza – Piece Of Your Heart
There’s not much to this video – it’s all about people skateboarding, dancing, and being in love in an urban setting – but there are some cool upside down shots of the cityscape.
Back to the classic videos (and possibly a red phone box) next week.
I was too busy with Now! #102 to get this post up yesterday, so here it is today!
There were five new hits in the chart this week.
Jonas Brothers – Cool
Cheesy theme, and it’s a little too acoustic-y for me (except for a slightly halfhearted electric guitar solo in the middle).
The video is nice and colourful, I love the retro sportswear on the dancers, and OMG I BELIEVE THAT’S AN HOMAGE TO ELTON JOHN’S I’M STILL STANDING VIDEO WITH THE HUMAN DOMINOES ON THE BEACH. Awesome!
Alec Benjamin and Alessia Cara – Let Me Down Slowly
There’s something a bit epic and summery about it, which is nice. Quite like this one.
The video is a bit depressing and wistful due to the breakup theme, with lots of people sitting around looking sad in darkened rooms, but it’s quite pretty.
Blackpink – Kill This Love
Nice upbeat bit of K-Pop. Good stuff.
The video is a riot of bright colours, funky costumes, and dramatic settings, which is exactly what you want from a girl group.
Khalid – My Bad
It’s a little slow for me, but again it’s got a really nice chilled-out summery vibe.
There’s no video for this one yet.
Jax Jones, Martin Solveig and Madison Beer – All Day And Night
Solid dance tune, but there’s nothing to make it stand out.
The video is a street scene with hundreds of copies of Madison Beer singing to the camera, with a million messy, confusing animations in the background. The camera spins constantly, making the viewer feel sick. Not recommended.
Now! #102 has been released today, 12th April 2019! EDIT: I only just realised that it’s been a whole year today since I started my marathon of the first 100 Now! compilations with Now! #1. Great timing!
Let’s have a look at the Now! compilers’ roundup of what’s been going on in the chart recently.
A decade ago, I would not have believed you if you’d told me I would ever grow to like a Jonas Brothers song. They’ve grown up now, though, and they make much better music. This is a fairly decent pop song, and I always nod along when it’s on the radio.
This one’s not been in the charts since last year, so I’m a bit surprised they’ve held it back for this Now! instalment. As is usually the case with James Arthur’s stuff, it’s too saccharine for me, but I’ll grant you it’s got a good atmosphere on the chorus.
I could have told you that my feelings would not have changed about this ridiculous bastardisation of Andrea Bocelli’s Time To Say Goodbye. Awful interpolation that has me running screaming for the comfort of the original every single time.
Track 13: Little Mix and Ty Dolla Sign – Think About Us
One of those tracks that I found a bit slow to begin with and have grown to appreciate. Lovely acoustic track from the A Star Is Born soundtrack (no interest in seeing the film, but the song is gorgeous).
Track 28: Keala Settle and The Greatest Showman Cast – This Is Me
Another one where the Now! compilers have been a bit tardy – this track first entered the charts well over a year ago – but it’s a great feelgood musical number, and probably the best song on the soundtrack.
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had James Arthur on track 10.
One of the tracks from the Greatest Showman Reimagined album, where pop stars do karaoke versions of the songs from the musical. It’s okay, but not a patch on the original.
Track 32: Jack Savoretti – Candlelight
This wasn’t a hit – it only got to number 70. As I’ve been discussing since Now! #99, the Now! compilers have recently started to include songs that haven’t actually made the Top 40, but have been featured on hit albums – there’s less crossover than there used to be between the album and singles chart (mainly because the former is for older people like me who prefer classic pop and rock, and the latter is for the kids who like these strange new songs I’m always ranting about on here after listening to the chart on Fridays!). I wasn’t sure about this at first, but I think I’m okay about it now. After all, it’s probably an older demographic who actually still buys Now! albums. The Radio 2 demographic, if you like. This album got to number one, so I think it’s allowed.
Anyway, this track’s got a great atmosphere – lovely eerie instrumentals, lots of piano. Love this kind of epic tune!
Track 33: The 1975 – It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You)
As I understand it, this is one of the few new tracks on Take That’s recent remastered retrospective. It’s a bit dull until the second chorus kicks in. Also, the self-referential spoken word bit at the end is a bit odd.
Track 36: Hozier – Almost (Sweet Music)
The single only got to number 82, but the album went top ten, getting to number six.
Love this danceable, atmospheric song! So yeah, this is the point where I’m officially on board with the Now! compilers including songs-from-hit-albums that didn’t make the singles chart, because the notion of Rod Stewart still managing to get his new songs onto Now! compilations is the BESTEST THING.
Track 40: Hugh Jackman, Keala Settle, Zac Efron, Zendaya and The Greatest Showman Cast – The Greatest Show
Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had the Greatest Showman cast on track 28.
Great stompalong number though. Fab track.
Track 41: Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Relax
We’ve already had this track on Now! #2! How dare they be so lazy…wait. I can’t really start ranting in this case, because what’s going on here is that the Now! compilers have chosen to include six tracks from Now! #2 in order to advertise the fact that it’s had a re-release on CD today, the same release day as Now! #102. I’m hopeful that this pattern will continue, and will be scouting out the re-release for my collection this weekend!
Anyway, see the link for my review – it was track 16 on Now! #2.
If you spend any time watching the Now! ’80s channel, which often replays the classic TV adverts for the classic ’80s Now! compilations, you will be familiar with this song as the centrepiece for the Now! #2 advert due to it’s ‘hold me now‘ (geddit?) refrain on the chorus. Still a great track, and it was a highlight when I saw Tom Bailey supporting Culture Club in November.
Great choices for those bonus tracks. Could have done with a bit of love for Duran Duran’s New Moon On Monday (track 29) but I’m hopeful for The Reflex if they do this again when they re-release Now! #3!
Unusually, today’s featured video doesn’t have a red phone box in it, though I assure you we’ll be straight back to the retro communication equipment next time we visit the ’80s. No, this week I felt the need to discuss another red-related issue, namely the fact that the eponymous Lady in Chris De Burgh’s video for Lady In Red wears nine different outfits throughout the course of the video…and only one of them is red. Maybe one and a half if you squint! Let’s have a look at all of her irritatingly non-red outfits.
Outfit 1: Lady in Grey and White
For lounging on the patio, the Lady wears a grey skirt and white bardot top. It’s a very nice combination, but it’s not red.
Outfit 2: Lady in Black with White Polka Dots
There’s some slightly odd artistic split-screen going on here, but you should be able to see that the halterneck dress worn by the Lady to pass by this window is also most definitely not red.
Outfit 3: Lady in Black and White Patterns and Blue Denim
For doing some softly-lit sketching, the Lady wears a more casual ensemble of a black and white patterned top with blue jeans. The bow in her hair appears to be red, which is at least a start, but she can’t really be said to be ‘in red’ here!
Outfit 4: Lady in Florals
In this sunny flower-picking sequence, the Lady goes for a floral summer playsuit. It’s cute, but it’s not red.
Outfit 5: Lady in Pale Blue and More Blue Denim
More summer hijinks as the Lady runs past camera on a sun-dappled path, and this time she’s all in blue. Not a hint of red!
Outfit 6: Lady in Black Swimwear
There’s a very brief shot of the Lady bathing in a black swimsuit. They couldn’t even be bothered to make her swimwear red.
Outfit 7: Lady in Black and…Possibly Red? Maybe?
There’s a very blurry and softly-lit sequence of the Lady dancing in workout gear. Her leggings are definitely black, but it’s almost impossible to make out the colour of her top. It could be red, but this is by no means clear-cut!
Outfit 8: Lady in Cream
Presumably heading off to work, the Lady has chosen a smart cream suit. Very professional-looking (love those ’80s power shoulders!) but still not red.
Outfit 9: Lady in Red…Finally!
The Lady looks lovely in her one red outfit of the whole video, but one out of nine is far from a great hit rate! It would have been awesome if every outfit had been red. A real missed opportunity for a good video.
Bonus Outfit: Chris De Burgh in Grey
Oh yeah, and Chris De Burgh is actually in this video too, but not in any scenes with the Lady. The film footage of her mostly non-red clothes is interspersed with video footage of Chris performing on stage that looks like it was copied straight over from Top of the Pops, presumably because, as far as I can tell from the identical outfit and stage decor of the TOTP clip below, it was.
Watch the full video and look out for the Lady’s rare ‘in red’ appearances:
It’s fairly generic and there’s not much of a tune or hook to speak of. I like the Monopoly reference though.
The video is all Snapchat filters and old-school home video effects, with some bonus massive shoulders on Ariana’s outfit.
Lil’ Nas X – Old Town Road
Rap meets country ‘n’ western? That’s a new one on me. I have to say I quite like it, if only for the novelty value. (I laughed out loud at the line ‘cowboy hat from Gucci’ – possibly the only ‘Gucci’ line in a song that has ever not made me roll my eyes!)
The video takes the form of a trailer for a cowboy videogame with graphics from circa 2006. Good stuff!
Westlife – Better Man
Starts off sounding like every other Westlife ballad ever released over the last twenty years, then the chorus reveals hints of its Ed-Sheeran-written nature. I was all about this kind of cheese back in 1999, but it’s not my thing nowadays really.
The video is the group singing in the studio, interspersed with a ’90s teenage love story. These two plot threads come together at the end when the teenage characters are revealed to be the studio’s sound engineer and her husband, promptly making everyone feel old.
Jay1 – Your Mrs
There’s a nice ominous feel on the backing track, but it’s not tuneful enough for me. I do like it when the robot-sounding voice joins in on the last verse though!
Best parts of the slightly NSFW video: the funky artwork on the walls of Jay1’s fancy house, and the comedy bit with the guy outside whose Mrs is apparently the subject of the track.
Billie Eilish – Bad Guy
Another nice creepy atmospheric track from Billie Eilish – there’s a bit of a classic lounge-y feel to this one as well. I’m really enjoying her stuff at the moment!
Lots of trippy imagery going on in the video, which is fairly standard for the artist.
I was interested to hear that there was a new Suzi Quatro album out this week! I first got into Suzi’s classic stuff in my late teens when I was going through my glam rock phase, and she’s still one of my favourite rock acts.
Let’s have a listen to the new tracks.
No Soul/No Control
I like the spooky atmosphere in this one – it sort of reminds me of gothabilly tracks I’ve heard.
It’s got a good swing rhythm, but I find the verse a bit repetitive.
This is a nice upbeat track with a real classic rock feel about it. Nice sweeping epic chorus too!
Love Isn’t Fair
Lots of stuff going on in this track – there’s a nice reggae/calypso bit in the instrumentals, a fun ’60s feel to the vocals, and a general party atmosphere. I really like this one.
Back to the harder guitar for this track, which is the most reminiscent so far of Suzi’s classic early ’70s period. Good piece of stompy rock.
A slightly slower track, though still quite upbeat, with lots of harmonica interspersed throughout. I really like the piano solo!
Despite the title, it’s again the piano that I most like in this track. It’s a lovely tune too, with a great atmosphere on the instrumentals.
Don’t Do Me Wrong
Another classic rock track with a nice swing rhythm. Love the harmonica on this one!
This is another track that could have come straight out of the ’70s. Huge bonus points for the sax solo.
I Can Teach You To Fly
This one is very reminiscent of Slade’s Coz I Love You, though it’s a little more uptempo. There are also slight hints of Abba’s later output in the vocals. It’s a very pleasing mishmash of sounds, and one of my favourite tracks on the album.
Going Down Blues
A very classic-sounding blues number to finish. Good stuff!
Overall a very interesting collection with lots of different sounds and genres going on. It feels slightly unfocused as an album, but there are quite a few standout tracks that will be going on my playlist.
Two weeks’ worth of New Hits today seeing as I didn’t manage it last week!
On the 22nd of March, there were three new hits in the chart.
Lizzo – Juice
Great classic retro-sounding tune! Really, really like this one.
The video does not disappoint – it is absolute gold, chock full of 20th century retro. I am going to be watching this over and over!
Ava Max – So Am I
Another solid pop tune from Ava Max. Good stuff!
The video is a sort of alt-tinged homage to Britney Spears’ classic 1999 video for …Baby One More Time. I really quite like it!
Marshmello and Chvrches – Here With Me
It’s a bit saccharine, and I’m missing the good synths you usually get with Chvrches, but it’s quite a nice tune, and I like the way it gets more epic on the chorus.
They’ve not released the official video yet, but they have done this placeholder one with lots of cool neon effects.
This week saw another four new hits enter the top 40.
George Ezra – Pretty Shining People
First time in the chart for this track due to George Ezra’s recent tour. Nothing to do with the similarly-titled REM song! It’s a standard nice upbeat George Ezra tune with a good singalong chorus.
The video is a fairly twee story about George being executive-meddled by some little kids. There are some excellent retro touches in the set dressing though!
Meduza – Piece Of Your Heart
Cheesy upbeat vocals over dark atmospheric instrumentals, which is a bit jarring. Good beat though.
There’s no video for this one yet.
Russ and Tion Wayne – Keisha And Becky
They really like these two women, but they don’t like the idea of putting any semblance of a tune in the track. The backing track to the rap is really dull and repetitive. I do like the reciting of the women’s names in the chorus, though.
I’ve got a horrible feeling that I already know what this video’s going to be like before I watch it.
I was right. It’s all cars and twerking girls. Highly NSFW, and not my thing.
Steel Banglez, AJ Traceyand Mostack – Fashion Week
There are some nice chilled steel drums going on in the background here, but the track in general is a bit repetitive.
There’s an awful lot of ‘sitting around on a kitchen island’ in this video! Towards the end they go outside and start standing around by a car instead, which is more familiar territory for videos in 2019.