New Hits Friday: 17th May 2019

Five new hits in the chart this week.

Mark Ronson and Lykke Li – Late Night Feelings

I’ve loved this one for weeks and am really glad it’s got into the top 40 today! Lovely retro sound, great piece of pop.

The video is super ’70s retro and features Lykke Li dressing up and dancing around her house while taking lots of drugs and gazing at pictures of Mark Ronson. The decor and costumes are fab!

DaBeatFreakz, Swarmz, Dappy and Deno – Motorola

I like the slightly Latino atmosphere on this one.

The video is all mansions and high-stakes poker until they get raided by the police. There’s then a very long car chase in a Lamborghini that appears to be haemorrhaging money, before they all get together for a good stand around in front of some cars.

James Arthur – Falling Like The Stars

Saccharine and mumbly and acoustic-y as ever from James Arthur. Not really my thing.

There’s no official video for this one yet.

Skepta – Greaze Mode

Too repetitive for me, with not enough melody going on, although the backing track does get more atmospheric as it goes on (there’s a slight videogame edge to it).

Again, there’s no video for this.

Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber – I Don’t Care

This unholy mash-up of Sheeran and Bieber sounds exactly as you would expect. It’s an okay tune but it’s a bit cheesy. I thoroughly expect it to make far too many appearances on my earworm playlist over the next few months.

The video is utterly bizarre and has some serious ’80s/’90s retro vibes, with the two singers being badly greenscreened into a succession of random scenarios while wearing comedy costumes.

More new hits next week.

New Hits Friday: 1st February 2019

Six new hits in the chart this week.

Kehlani and Ty Dolla Sign – Nights Like This

It’s very generic, but at least there’s some melody.

The video, however, is great! It’s got an actual story, with a sort of robot-Frankenstein-betrayal thing going on (and Kehlani and Ty Dolla Sign actually playing characters in the story). So much better than dancing in clubs or standing around next to expensive cars!

A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie and 6ix9ine – Swervin’

I like the atmosphere and the bass-heavy backing track. On the whole, though, it’s not exciting enough for me.

There’s no video yet.

Little Mix and Ty Dolla Sign – Think About Us

Good beat, good pop tune. I quite like this one.

Again, no video for this one yet.

Yungen and Dappy – Comfortable

Really like the Caribbean sound on the backing track – it provides a great atmosphere. There’s not much of a hook though.

The video is a bit of a ‘standing around next to cars’ video, but there’s some interesting stuff going on with colour.

Dua Lipa – Swan Song

The instrumentals on the intro are quite interesting, and the atmosphere’s good (it’s from a film soundtrack so it’s appropriately epic), but the vocal’s not interesting enough for me.

The video ties in with the film, so it’s all very dusty and apocalyptic.

J Cole – Middle Child

Jarring instrumentals, repetitive rap. Not my thing.

No video yet for this track.

Music Video Monday: recent chart catchup

A few videos from last year’s chart hits to catch up with today.

The Plug, Nafe Smallz, M Huncho and Gunna – Broken Homes

I mentioned this song in my giant New Hits catchup from late last year, but the video wasn’t out at that point. I found that it’s subsequently appeared online when I was trawling YouTube this morning.

It’s a fairly typical hip-hop video – urban setting, illicit substances, lots of bling – so it doesn’t really stand out among the many similar songs that have been in the charts lately. The baby doll on fire is probably the most visually interesting point, but I’m not really sure what it’s meant to represent.

XXXTentacion – Bad

Another one I mentioned on the giant catchup. I said then that I didn’t think there’d be a video made for this due to XXXTentacion’s death, but I spoke too soon – they’ve made an animated one!

I really like animated videos as they’re much more interesting than live action ones – live action videos can be very generic these days as they all tend to follow the familiar themes of their genre (urban settings and bling for hip-hop, random backpacking kids wandering around Thailand or Ibiza for EDM, bright colours and hundreds of costume changes for pop). The animation follows XXXTentacion wandering around a desolate landscape with lots of vines and water and other pretty visuals, and it’s all very arty and soothing.

Dappy and Ay Em – Oh My

This urban-set video is brightened up very nicely by all the squiggly neon animations that have been added to the edges of the buildings (very ’80s!), as well as the fact that they seem to have shot it on a rare sunny day!

More music videos next Monday.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #81

Day 81 means Now! #81, which came out on 2nd April 2012.

April 2012
This is the way the world looked in April 2012 (actually March). Dublin was unseasonably warm, but the statue of Oscar Wilde was still chillin’ on his crag. I should probably get rid of that coat, as it’s too big for me now.

On with the 2012 hits!

Now! That's What I Call Music #81
Track 1: Gotye and Kimbra – Somebody That I Used To Know

Gorgeous song that was deservedly number one for weeks and weeks.  Love this track.

Track 2: Coldplay – Paradise

I normally find Coldplay songs pretty depressing, but this is a beautiful tune.

Track 3: Ed Sheeran – Lego House

I find this one fairly dull, but the video with Rupert Grint is funny.

Track 4: Emeli Sandé – Next To Me

There’s something that irritates me about the tune.

Track 5: Kelly Clarkson – Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)

Nice solid pop song, quite like this track.

Track 6: Jessie J – Domino

Another feelgood pop track, but the tune’s not particularly exciting.

Track 7: David Guetta and Sia – Titanium

Great vocals, good tune.

Track 8: Flo Rida – Good Feeling

Flo Rida sampling Avicii sampling Etta James.  It’s a great hook, so I can see why.

Track 9: Katy Perry – The One That Got Away

I find this one a bit depressing.

Track 10: Labrinth – Last Time

Nice atmosphere, but the tune’s a bit pedestrian.

Track 11: Rizzle Kicks – Mama Do The Hump

Great, danceable track!  The video with Jordan Stephens’ mum and James Corden is also hilarious.

Track 12: Olly Murs – Dance With Me Tonight

In my Zumba class in Southampton, we always did a really fun jive number to this one.  Great, upbeat track.

Track 13: Pixie Lott – Kiss The Stars

Good upbeat dance tune – happily nodding along here.

Track 14: One Direction – One Thing

It’s always really annoyed me that this song rips off the chord sequence of Backstreet Boys’ I Want It That Way.  As such, I can’t hear it without getting a weird mash-up of the two songs stuck in my head.

Track 15: Marcus Collins – Seven Nation Army

Interesting, eerie, soul-tinged cover of the White Stripes classic.  Good stuff.

Track 16: Florence & The Machine – Shake It Out

Nice tune – quite like the build on this one.

Track 17: Drake and Rihanna – Take Care

Pretty tune, but it’s too slow for me.  I like the It’s My Party callback though!

Track 18: Lana Del Rey – Born To Die

Gorgeous atmosphere – really like this track.

Track 19: Little Mix – Cannonball

Pointless cover of the Damien Rice song (see Now! #80 review from yesterday) by the 2011 X Factor winners.  Thankfully Little Mix would go on to release much more interesting songs.

Track 20: JLS – Proud

Boring ballad, not keen.

Track 21: Military Wives and Gareth Malone – Wherever You Are

The Christmas number one for 2011 – a pretty tune from one of Gareth Malone’s TV choir projects.

Track 22: LMFAO – Sexy And I Know It

Hilarious song – this one’s a shameless pleasure!

Track 23: Flo Rida and Sia – Wild Ones

Double repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Flo Rida on track 8 and Sia on track 7.

The tune’s really irritating, bu the rap’s okay.

Track 24: Lady Gaga – Marry The Night

Good solid pop – great tune.

Track 25: Avicii – Levels

This is the Avicii song that Flo Rida was sampling on track 8; in turn, this track samples Etta James’ 1962 song Something’s Got A Hold On Me.  There’s some great hooks going on throughout.

Track 26: Pitbull and Chris Brown – International Love

Awful theme, awful song.

Track 27: Lloyd, André 3000 and Lil’ Wayne – Dedication To My Ex (Miss That)

Another bad theme, but I actually really like this song!  Just make sure to avoid the squicky explicit version.

Track 28: Sean Paul – She Doesn’t Mind

Good beat, good tune.  Really like this one.

Track 29: Taio Cruz – Troublemaker

The lyrics are sort of hilarious and terrible at the same time.  Could do with a bit more melody as well!

Track 30: Alexandra Burke and Erick Morillo – Elephant

Great theme, and it’s got a good beat.  The tune’s a little generic, though.

Track 31: Swedish House Mafia and Knife Party – Antidote

It’s very danceable, but there’s not enough of a memorable hook for me.

Track 32: Rizzle Kicks – When I Was A Youngster

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Rizzle Kicks on track 11.

The theme annoys me on this one, but the tune’s nice and feelgood.

Track 33: Stooshe and Travie McCoy – Love Me

Mid-century retro jazz-tinged song with Spice Girls-esque cackling interspersed throughout.  It’s not a bad tune.

Track 34: Gym Class Heroes and Neon Hitch – Get Yourself Back Home

‘Not on Spotify’ Type 2: YouTube Pause (TM).

I quite like the tune on the chorus, but the rest of the track is pretty dull.

Also, though I don’t class band/individual repetitions as a repeated artist, that’s two songs in a row with Travie McCoy’s vocals on.

Track 35: Rihanna – You Da One

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Rihanna on track 17.

This tune is a bit irritating to my ears – not a fan.

Track 36: Tinchy Stryder and Pixie Lott – Bright Lights

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Pixie Lott on track 13.

Bland, forgettable tune, and the rap’s nothing special.

Track 37: Cover Drive – Twilight

The tune’s pretty dull.  I’m sure I did like at least one of Cover Drive’s songs, but this wasn’t it.

Track 38: Alyssa Reid and Jump Smokers – Alone Again

Utterly appalling cover of Heart’s Alone, with a rap partway through it and new, terrible verses.  The original is special to me (partly because it was on the sacred tome that is Now! #10) and so I find this mess pretty offensive.

Track 39: Jessie J – Who You Are

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Jessie J on track 6.

Boring ballad with overblown vocals.  Not my thing.

Track 40: Chiddy Bang – Ray Charles

Good retro-sounding track – very noddable.

Track 41: will.i.am, Jennifer Lopez and Mick Jagger – THE (The Hardest Ever)

Fantastic track!  I love the atmosphere, the build, the melding of the three very different vocal styles.  Wonderful stuff.

Track 42: Dappy and Brian May – Rockstar

I’m a bit irritated that a legend like Brian May got roped into contributing to this very uninspired song.  The rap’s okay, but the tune’s really generic, and the theme is my least favourite: the whole ‘look, I’m rich and famous now, let me brag about it in a song!’ thing.  The brief guitar solo is, of course, epic.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #80

Day 80 brings us to Now! #80, which came out on 21st November 2011.

November 2011
This is how the world looked in November 2011 (actually October). This was a pub somewhere near Southampton, but I have no idea exactly where. I’m actually wearing that hoodie right now, but it is getting a bit worse for wear.

Let’s see what was soundtracking my first few months living in Southampton.

Now! That's What I Call Music #80
Track 1: Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera – Moves Like Jagger

This one reminds me of unpacking all the stuff in our new flat when we first moved to Southampton.  I’ve always really liked this one – great tune, and the theme is awesome.

Track 2: Rihanna and Calvin Harris – We Found Love

Nice tune, but it’s a bit repetitive.

Track 3: One Direction – What Makes You Beautiful

Revoltingly saccharine!  Everything about this track is just irritating.

Track 4: Bruno Mars – Marry You

It’s a bit cheesy, but I quite like the tune.

Track 5: JLS – Take A Chance On Me

I like the piano at the start, but again, the song in general is too saccharine for me.

Track 6: Christina Perri – Jar Of Hearts

It would be a good song if she could actually sing.  Seriously, it’s so off-key!  Why was this even allowed to be released?

Track 7: Kelly Clarkson – Mr Know It All

Highly irritating tune, and I’m not keen on the theme.

Track 8: Olly Murs and Rizzle Kicks – Heart Skips A Beat

Great track – I love this one!  Upbeat, feelgood, awesome tune.

Track 9: The Wanted – Lightning

I like the instrumentals, but the vocals are kind of annoying.

Track 10: Pixie Lott – All About Tonight

Good solid danceable pop, and lyrical references to shoes are always a winner with me.

Track 11: The Saturdays – All Fired Up

Fairly generic dance track, but the tune’s okay, and it’s quite danceable.

Track 12: Lady Gaga – The Edge Of Glory

Great pop tune!  Love the sax solo too, obviously.

Track 13: Will Young – Jealousy

Irritatingly whiny and insipid.

Track 14: James Morrison – I Won’t Let You Go

Painfully boring and depressing ballad.

Track 15: Ed Sheeran – You Need Me, I Don’t Need You

Great upbeat track, and I’m sorry, but I still find the elevator lyric hilarious.

Track 16: Damien Rice – Cannonball

Too slow and earnest for me.

Track 17: Lana Del Rey – Video Games

Gorgeous tune!  An all-time favourite.

Track 18: Charlene Soraia – Wherever You Will Go

Slow, dull ‘TV advert’ cover of the Calling song.  It’s a good tune, but the original beats this hands down.

Track 19: Goo Goo Dolls – Iris

Absolutely beautiful tune – a classic rock track from the ’90s, back in the charts due to somebody performing it on Britain’s Got Talent.

Track 20: Matt Cardle – Run For Your Life

Achingly boring.

Track 21: Westlife – Lighthouse

Jarring lines, saccharine vocals.  Not a fan of this one.

Track 22: Adele – Set Fire To The Rain

Gorgeous tune – love the atmosphere on this.

Track 23: Professor Green and Emeli Sandé – Read All About It

I find this one a bit depressing.

Track 24: Gym Class Heroes and Adam Levine – Stereo Hearts

The tune’s okay, but the rap’s really uninspired.

Track 25: Labrinth and Tinie Tempah – Earthquake

Great, danceable track – really like this one!  That monastic bit is wild.

Track 26: Jason Derulo – It Girl

Cheesy and forgettable.  Not a great song.

Track 27: Dappy – No Regrets

Again, there’s something very depressing about the tune on this one.

Track 28: David Guetta and Usher – Without You

Boring tune, uninspired lines.

Track 29: Calvin Harris – Feel So Close

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Calvin Harris on track 2.

I find this tune pretty dull.

Track 30: Leona Lewis and Avicii – Collide

I remember there was a bit of upset at the time, according to the Radio 1 DJs, because Avicii hadn’t originally been credited despite the fact that it was his track and Leona Lewis was just singing over the top.  Anyway, the tune’s a bit repetitive and bland.

Track 31: Example – Stay Awake

Slightly awkward theme, but the vocals are good.

Track 32: Sean Kingston – Party All Night (Sleep All Day)

Daft theme, but it’s a pleasant enough tune, if a bit bland.

Track 33: Tinchy Stryder, Calvin Harris and Matthew Burns – Off The Record

Repeated artist mega alert!  We’ve already had Calvin Harris on both track 2 and track 29.

Boring electro hook, generic rap.  Not a fan.

Track 34: Sak Noel – Loca People

Another daft theme, and the track itself is pretty repetitive and dull.

Track 35: Rizzle Kicks – Down With The Trumpets

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Rizzle Kicks on track 8.

This song is great though – wonderful atmosphere.  I absolutely love the vocal style, and the lyrics are brilliant.

Track 36: Cher Lloyd and Mike Posner – With Ur Love

Extremely generic and forgettable.

Track 37: Jessie J – Who’s Laughing Now

Very irritating hooks and vocals, and I’m not keen on the theme.

Track 38: Rihanna – Cheers (Drink To That)

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Rihanna on track 2.

Nice feelgood tune, quite like this one.

Track 39: Sean Paul and Alexis Jordan – Got 2 Luv U

Good beat, and I quite like the vocal hook.

Track 40: Emeli Sandé – Heaven

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Emeli Sandé on track 23.

This track’s awesome, though – very Massive Attack-esque.

Track 41: Maverick Sabre – I Need

Boring, forgettable tune.

Track 42: Wretch 32 and Josh Kumra – Don’t Go

Gorgeous tune, even if it is a little depressing.

Track 43: The Collective – Teardrop

Too many artists to mention collaborating on the Children In Need single for 2011 – a cover of Massive Attack’s Teardrop.  There’s a lot of misplaced rap; it’s not horrible but it’s pretty uninspired.

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #79

Day 79 equals Now! #79, which came out on 25th July 2011.

July 2011
This is how the world looked in July 2011. That summer, Geth and I were living with Mum and Dad, as we’d had to give up our flat in May when Geth’s last University of Edinburgh fellowship salary came to an end, and we wouldn’t be moving for him to start his new job in Southampton until September. When I wasn’t doing my volunteer shop job at Oxfam or attending the many weddings we were invited to that year, I spent most of the summer (which was characterised by a lot of thunderstorms) on my old childhood bed with my laptop. Geth did the same on the spare bed with his laptop, which meant we were often visited by José – like most cats, he loved laptops, as they were cosy and warm to lie on. We kept having to move him off. If I’d known he would only live for a couple more months, I’d have let him lie on my laptop for as long as he liked 🙁

The thunderstorms weren’t really conducive to summer songs, but from what I remember there were an awful lot of them that year.  Let’s have a listen.

Now! That's What I Call Music #79
Track 1: Adele – Someone Like You

Beautiful tune, but I’m not really into slow ballads.

Track 2: Aloe Blacc – I Need A Dollar

Great track!  Love the atmosphere on this one.

Track 3: Bruno Mars – The Lazy Song

A welcome break from Bruno Mars’ saccharine ballads.  This one’s very funny, and the video is great.

Track 4: Jason Derulo – Don’t Wanna Go Home

It’s the one with the sample of Show Me Love that I mentioned in my Now! #24 review.  Good beat, happily nodding along here.

Track 5: Lady Gaga – Born This Way

Great beat, very danceable.

Track 6: Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull – On The Floor

Another great dance track – really like this one.  The Lambada sample is immense!

Track 7: Alexandra Stan – Mr Saxobeat

An all-time favourite!  I love this track, especially the jaunty saxophone hooks throughout.

Track 8: Katy Perry – Last Friday Night (TGIF)

The song’s a solid pop track, but it’s the hilarious video that really makes this one (Hanson!  Rebecca Black!  Just Dance!).  Also, I REALLY appreciate the sax solo, ’cause you hardly ever hear them in 2010s pop.

Track 9: The Wanted – Glad You Came

Great summer dance track – this was another favourite of mine that year.

Track 10: Nicole Scherzinger – Don’t Hold Your Breath

Gorgeous tune – yet another favourite!

Track 11: The Black Eyed Peas – Just Can’t Get Enough

Thankfully/sadly (?) not a cover of the Depeche Mode song.  I’m not really a fan of songs copying classic song titles unless they’ve got some link to the original – it causes confusion apart from anything else.

It’s a nice tune though – quite like this one.

Track 12: Take That – Love Love

Nice feelgood tune – quite like this track.  Love that bassline!

Track 13: Jessie J – Nobody’s Perfect

Irritating tune, and I’m not keen on the theme.

Track 14: The Saturdays – Notorious

Another track that borrows a classic title (see track 11 above).  Not a cover of the Duran Duran song.

I actually really like this track, though – I just wish they’d used a more original title!

Track 15: Rihanna – California King Bed

It’s the kind of ballad that would normally be too slow for me, but the tune’s so gorgeous that I really like it.  Also, that rock guitar solo is retro and epic!

Track 16: Scouting For Girls – Love How It Hurts

Too saccharine for me.

Track 17: Coldplay – Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall

I find this tune a bit irritating.

Track 18: Cee Lo Green – I Want You (Hold Onto Love)

Nice retro disco feel, but the tune’s a bit forgettable.

Track 19: Yasmin – Finish Line

Dull and uninspired, and that As sample is just ill-fitting.

Track 20: Ed Sheeran – The A Team

Lovely tune, but I find the theme a bit on-the-nose.

Track 21: Birdy – Skinny Love

Highly irritating whiny ballad.  Not a fan.

Track 22: Templecloud – One Big Family

I like the vocals, and it’s a good atmosphere, but it’s too slow for my liking.

Track 23: Pitbull, Ne-Yo, Afrojack and Nayer – Give Me Everything

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Pitbull on track 6.

This is a great track though – I love the tune on the chorus.

Track 24: LMFAO, Lauren Bennett and GoonRock – Party Rock Anthem

I’ve always really liked this daft dance track – it was played at every wedding I went to in 2011 (and there were a lot of them!)

Track 25: DJ Fresh and Sian Evans – Louder

’90s-tinged dubstep, which was a big thing at the time and which I had kind of forgotten about until now.  Good beat, but the tune’s a bit generic.

Track 26: Example – Changed The Way You Kiss Me

An absolute classic!  Wonderful track – love the tune, the way it builds, everything.

Track 27: David Guetta, Flo Rida and Nicki Minaj – Where Them Girls At

I like that chant-along chorus, and I’ve always had a soft spot for the video.

Track 28: Chris Brown and Benny Benassi – Beautiful People

Annoying chorus, and the rest of the tune’s just uninspired.

Track 29: Calvin Harris and Kelis – Bounce

Great feelgood dance tune!  Gorgeous stuff.

Track 30: Loick Essien and Tanya Lacey – How We Roll

‘Not on Spotify’ Type 2: YouTube Pause (TM).

Great atmosphere, good beat.  Quite like this one.

Track 31: Nicki Minaj – Super Bass

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Nicki Minaj on track 27.

This tune’s okay, but it’s a bit generic.

Track 32: Tinchy Stryder and Dappy – Spaceship

Daft track that always makes me laugh with its ridiculous lyrics.  I’m not sure if that was intentional or not.

Track 33: Wretch 32 and Example – Unorthodox

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Example on track 26.

This is another great track though – love that chorus.  The Fools’ Gold sample is awesome too.

Track 34: Vato Gonzalez and Foreign Beggars – Badman Riddim (Jump)

Some good lines on this dance track, but it’s a little messy.

Track 35: Snoop Dogg and David Guetta – Sweat

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had David Guetta on track 27.

Good beat, good atmosphere – very danceable.

Track 36: Swedish House Mafia and John Martin – Save The World

Repetitive, irritating tune, and in general I just find this one a bit bland.

Track 37: Dev, The Cataracs and Tinie Tempah – Bass Down Low

Daft theme, but I really like this one!

Track 38: Mann and 50 Cent – Buzzin’

Another pleasingly daft song, but I find the tune a bit annoying.

Track 39: Chase & Status and Tinie Tempah – Hitz

Repeated artist alert!  We’ve already had Tinie Tempah on track 37.

This one’s too messy for my liking, although Tinie Tempah’s whimsical rapping is always appreciated.

Track 40: Katy B – Broken Record

I find the tune very irritating, but the beat’s okay.

Track 41: Nero – Guilt

This one’s pretty boring, but I quite like the dubstep bass once it gets going.

Track 42: Alex Gaudino and Kelly Rowland – What A Feeling

The tune’s too cheesy for me, but it’s got a good beat.

Track 43: Wynter Gordon – Dirty Talk

Another solid pop track – really like this one.

Track 44: Inna – Sun Is Up

The tune’s a bit dull, but it’s fairly danceable.