Tuesday, November 30, 2004

I never understood, and I still don't...

But the CFB Goes Pop girls seem very keen...

Monday, November 29, 2004

Gwen Stefani - 'Love Angel Music Baby'

Hello! I promised Hannah I'd make a short post about the Gwen Stefani album, 'Love, Angel, Music, Baby'. It's not a full review, it's just some of my thoughts on the album.

First of all: it's a little...odd. I don't what I expected but it wasn't this. Not that it's bad - it's very listenable, although a couple of songs probably fall down on closer inspection.

What You Waiting For 5/5
... is genius. As you know.

Rich Girl 4.1/5
Yes, it is indeed based on 'If I Were a Rich Man (nanananannanana..)', only Gwen sings about 'cleaning out Viven Westwood' and doesn't worry about little things like grammar ('If I was a rich girl...'). Surprisingly, it works.

Hollaback Girl 3/5
Appears to be about... cheerleading. Good job we weren't expecting anything deep from Gwen. With the, um, eloquent refrain 'Oooh, this my shit, this my shit' plus the, ummmm, inspired chant 'This shit is bananas / B-A-N-A-N-A-S', it's not exactly the work of lyrical genius.
Fun if you're in the right mood, but could get irritating.

Cool 3/5
A little bland, but a nice tune. Quite No Doubt-style.

Bubble Pop Electric 4.6/5
With a name like that, you know this song is going to be good. It's bubbly. It's poppy. It's electric. 'Tonight, I'm gonna give you all my love in the back seat'. Did I mention it's classy? Some of the cheesier 'bubble pop' moments are a little 'Barbie Girl'-ish, but don't let that put you off. This is frenetic, upbeat and fun and one of the stronger tracks on the album.

Luxurious 3/5
There's nothing wrong with this, it's just... not that brilliant.

Harajuku Girls 4/5
Very enjoyable, with a chorus that gets into your head and hilarious contributions from some excited Japanese girls. ('Super cute in Japanese!'). Another strong track.

Crash 4.6/5
I love this one, though the car theme does put one in mind of Life Mechanics a bit... You will want to sing. You will want to dance. Overall, a great pop song.

The Real Thing 4/5
The opening bars always remind me of Patrick Wolf 'Pigeon Song' and the rest really reminds me of something that I can't quite put my finger on. Madonna perhaps? It's a little Holidayish. Quite a good track anyway.

Serious 4/5
Another good one. Very Kylie/Dannii Fever/Neon Nights. If you know what I mean.

Danger Zone 4/5
Like a lot of the songs on this album, this sounds very familiar. In a good way though.

Long Way To Go
'We've got a long way to go / When snow hits the asphalt, cold looks and bad talk come / We've got a long way to go / It's beyond Martin Luther, upgrade computer.
Strange collaboration with Andre 3000, with clips from the 'I Have A Dream' speech interspersed. The bouncy chorus could irritate after a while, but it's a pleasant end to the album.

(FYI: Bonus tracks: the 'Elevator Music' version of 'What You Waiting For' is awful, but that's where you turn the CD off.)

I don't think I've sold this album very well. I've made it sound a bit crap, really, and it isn't. It's a strong pop album. I don't think Gwen has quite found her 'sound' yet and the album is rather a mishmash of styles, but it's still an impressive debut. I would definitely recommend 'Love Angel Music Baby' to pop fans. It may not be to Hannah's taste though.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

LIVE review - Nottingham Ice Arena (24/11/04)

Finally! One relenting brother and free ticket later, I was off to Nottingham Ice Arena. And, after the other week's outing to the Cambridge Corn Exchange, this place was huge. If you haven't cottoned on yet, this week I have been to the first gig of the UK arena tour of The Darkness. Now, although they managed to clinch the first entry on this blog, right back in August, I'm not a huge fan, and it was purely by chance, and some very special guests, that I made it at all.

The entire show was tarnished by the sub-standard sound quality that you tend to get at the Ice Arena (which has since resulted in endless ringing in my ears) and the general lack of atmosphere there. However, there was the most diverse audience I had ever seen - teenagers, university students, heavily made-up eight year olds, 70s rockers and middle-aged women in sparkly catsuits...so why did the audience seem so...quiet?

Do Me Bad Things:
I was first introduced to this band by Dan, a fan of WL. After hearing just one song sample, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. What I found that night was rock's equivalent of the Polyphonic Spree. DMBT have two lead male vocalists, along with three female vocalists, two guitarists, a bassist and a drummer. While one vocalist vaguely resembles the lead singer of The Zutons, the other is a bizarre hybrid of Freddie Mercury and Jake Shears, managing to squeeze in more costume changes than Justin Hawkins. DMBT had some average tunes, along with a few that stood out, including a duet between the slightly more camped-up lead vocalist and the soulful voice of one of the women. I wasn't entirely convinced, but my brother is extremely keen to visit their website. Chances are, if you like The Darkness, you'll probably be quite interested in Do Me Bad Things.

Ash:
After Do Me Bad Things, I sneaked out to buy a t-shirt, returning just in time to see Tim Wheeler, guitar alight, along with the rest of Ash, about to launch into their set. For Ash, there was more lighting, and the giant screens displayed the band for all to see. Now, contrary to the beliefs of the Leicester Mercury journalist who apparently attended the concert, Ash were NOT remotely rubbish. They played all my favourites, including 'Shining Light' and 'Starcrossed'. I am eagerly anticipating the release of their next single, 'Renegade Cavalcade' after their stunning performance, despite the terrible sound quality. They finished off their set with two stunning uptempo tunes, designed to get the crowd moving - and they did just that! 'Orpheus' is tailor-made for live performances, and again, an Ash set wouldn't be complete without 'Burn Baby Burn' (cheerleaders not included!) which rounded off a great 50-minute set.

The Darkness:
If I could have, I probably would have gone home. I've never been a huge fan of The Darkness, although I appreciate a few of their songs, and knew of their existance several months before my obsessed sibling. Anyway, after jumping on stage wearing the first of several bizarre outfits, Justin plunged straight into their opening song with enthusiasm. The audience didn't. The Darkness made that near-fatal mistake of playing a song that nobody knew. Nevertheless, they later reeled the audience back in with a few favourites, like 'Friday Night' and 'Black Shuck', a few gimmicks (Robin Hood hat, anyone?) and trying to get the entire crowd to sing 'motherf***er', before repeatedly insulting those who were in the seats. I eventually managed to drag my brother up to standing for 'I Believe In A Thing Called Love' - he'd regret it later, otherwise.

The entire set was accompanied by plenty of fireworks, lighting, glitter and pyrotechnics, but the show's highlight really lended itself to a WL review. Wearing a catsuit resembling wafer-thin, crinkly-plastic, holographic wrapping paper, Justin rode out over the audience on a tiger, no, not a real tiger, trying to play a complex guitar solo. And something broke. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it) it wasn't the wires suspending the tiger from a track above the stage, and it was Justin's guitar. So, Justin did what any rockstar would do, moan, protest to the technical folk, and do it again, just...backwards. Oh, and if that wasn't enough, roadies in Santa outfits laid out trees and decor for an encore of last year's cliché bound Christmas effort. Oh, and boys, it really isn't a good idea to play 'Time of My Life' afterwards - it upsets the hardcore fans.

So, what did I think? It left my head pounding and my ears ringing, and no, I'm not converted, and neither are The Darkness 'growing on me'.

Friday, November 26, 2004

My apologies...

For the next two weeks I'm going to be taking a bit of a break. Aside from the usual single reviews, and articles by Jamie and Leo, there's not going to be anything else on WL until I have a little more time on my hands.

A school production is looming, along with several pieces of coursework, exam revision, and practise for music exams. It's really too much for me to keep up a weekly chart commentary, as much as I love to do so.

On a more positive note, I have a another live review that I will post very soon...

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Hannah's Single of the Week (22/11/04)

Special Mention:
Keane - 'This Is The Last Time'
After hearing this stunner performed live, along with the rest of Keane's set, I was suitably impressed. I also received an informative little flyer telling me that the single (probably on the dvd format) includes some live performances. So, you should really purchase the single for those alone. 'This is the Last Time' has been released by Keane already, on Fierce Panda Records, but this Sunday will be the first time they actually chart with it. As for the song itself, it's good, but not brilliant, and the video isn't anything particularly inventive, but after singing along to it with over a thousand people, I can't deny it packs a lot of power. 3.7/5

Single of the Week:
Delays - 'Lost In A Melody'/'Wanderlust'

Upon hearing the beginning of the latest single from the Delays, you could assume it's yet another piece of faceless dance music, and not really from a team of indie dreamers from the same place as produced Craig David. 'Lost in a Melody' literally IS 'teaching the indie kids to dance again'. The video's a bit cheap, but fair enough - this song was only made to dance to. The trademark Delays-style falsetto is there, along with some lighter, floatier moments, just to remind you which fabulous band is providing this sound. Even our friend Jessica at Dirrrty Pop has given it a whopping 98% approval rating. 'Wanderlust', on the other hand, drifts back to the smoother, dreamier sound of what you find on 'Faded Seaside Glamour'. Driven by steel drums, echoing vocals and jangling guitars, you just need to close your eyes and let the music consume you. God, I'm really beginning to regret not seeing them when they came to town... 4.5/5

Avoid at ALL costs:
Shania Twain Ft Mark McGrath - 'Party For Two'
Shania's been busy, promoting her greatest hits album, performing classics such as 'Man, I Feel Like a Woman' and 'That Don't Impress Me', but not this terrible duet. Have a listen and you'll see why. It's painful. 0.5/5

Brian McFadden - 'Irish Son'
Well, it certainly sounds better than his previous effort. The fact is, Briyan tends to get a little too personal. He's offended people, his video's been edited, but no, this doesn't make him controversial. It simply makes him look stupid. The lyrics are also a load of tosh, much like last time. See, Bri - working with Guy Chambers is only a good idea if you have remotely clever lyrics in the first place! 1/5

Record of the Year

Every year, ITV hosts a rather pointless knockout competition which results in some ridiculous single being praised as the best of the year. To prove my point, weren't Westlife the victors in 2003? Anyway, here is 2004's shortlist of ten:

Anastacia: Left Outside Alone
This song had amazing chart staying power, and relaunched Anastacia's career. It was an adventurous song, and not quite to my tastes, but still a great piece of pop. 3/5

Brian McFadden: Real To Me
It got to number one. It was incredibly bad. It's bound to win, isn't it? 1.5/5

Busted: Thunderbirds
Umm. This one might win, actually. 2/5

Girls Aloud: Love Machine
Now, this is more like it. Despite the fact that Girls Aloud aren't exactly 'my music' I can appreciate what a great pop single 'Love Machine' is. 4/5

Katie Melua: Closest Thing To Crazy
My mum likes this, and I can safely say it's the best thing Katie Melua's done, but then again, that isn't saying a lot. 2/5

Maroon 5: This Love
Now, whatever you say about Maroon 5, and this song, 'This Love' is incredibly popular, bringing Maroon 5's combination of rock and r&b into the mainstream... 4/5

McFly: Five Colours In Her Hair
I'm actually surprised that McFly's debut is a contender, as opposed to their slightly better followup, 'Obviously'. 1.5/5

Natasha Bedingfield: These Words
This double-chart topper is another strong contender, but to be honest, it's just begun to get a little on my nerves. 2.5/5

Scissor Sisters: Laura
My single of the year. Period. 5/5

Will Young: Leave Right Now
Erm...wasn't this from 2003? Oh well, I quite like this one too. 4/5

Monday, November 22, 2004

UK Top 75 (21/11/04)

I apologise now for the lack of UK Download Top 20 chart coverage. Instead go here to few the latest movers and shakers in this chart.

The first new entries this week are from Dragonheart (74), Research (73) and Hell is for Heroes (72). Wedding Present are new at 62 while Soho Dolls make 57. Narrowly missing out on that elusive top 40 placing are Marques Houston (51), Felix Da Housecat (49) and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds.

Barely scraping into the top 40 are U.N.K.L.E featuring Ian Brown with 'Reign', at 40. The Thrills who have released a ballad so mediocre you wonder whether the Q review of 'Let's Bottle Bohemia' was actually correct, are at 39 with 'Not For All The Love In The World'. Delerium featuring Sarah McLachlan are new at 38 with 'Silence 2004'.

The next new entry is from Fabolous, who is at 28 with 'Breathe'. Anastacia has a disappointing chart placing at 25 with 'Welcome to My Truth'. Avril Lavigne and The 411 only do slightly better, charting at 24 and 23 repectively, with 'Nobody's Home' and 'Teardrops'.

Proving that children's television is still a useful marketing tool, I Dream featuring Frankie and Calvin - 'Dreaming', just makes the top 20 at 19. Paul Weller is new at 18 with 'Thinking Of You' and The White Stripes have yet another top 20 hit with their cover of 'Jolene'. They're at 16 this week.

Embrace narrowly miss out on the top 10 with their followup to 'Gravity'. Their latest effort, 'Ashes' is at 11. Undeservedly making the top 10, however, is Jojo, who is new at 8 with 'Baby It's You'.

Beginning the inevitable chain of new entries leading to the chart's summit are McFly, with the surprisingly okay song, 'Room on the 3rd Floor', at 5 - their smallest hit to date. Believe us, it's nothing like their painful performance as seen on Children in Need. My single of the week, by Gwen Stefani, unfortunately misses out on the number one spot. 'What You Waitin For' is at 4.

Some cliche-packed soul from Lemar is at 3. The song's called 'If There's Any Justice'. However, it isn't quite as bad as his Darkness cover - it's certainly less painful to listen to! Destiny's Child are showing superglue-like sticking power, spending another week at number 2.

So, who's number one this week? Really, the answer was set in stone. It's a ballad. And a cover version. From some popstars. In aid of Children in Need.

It's Girls Aloud with 'I'll Stand By You'. Congratulations girls - I'm sure you're extremely happy to break that endless run of not-quite chart toppers and achieve your second number one.

School of Rock

Xfm are currently hosting a vote for their School of Rock competition. A huge number of bands have covered a range of indie and rock classics and it's your duty to vote. So, what's special? Every band member is under 18. There are even some 7 year olds involved! What is so amazing is (even though you have to sift through some rubbish) that some of the bands are pretty darn good. We at WL recommend:

Red Lemons - 'Hate To Say I Told You So'
Highly Strung - 'Creep'
Band 101 - 'Under The Bridge'
NV - 'Time Is Running Out'

And that's without having time to listen to them all. There is a truly huge list of bands, so we'd advise using the Ctrl and F shortcut to scan for each band - happy listening!

To all you lovely people...

Hello! If you've reached Whatever's Left by a search engine, you are probably here for one of a few things.

'Jamie Callum'
We're sorry, but we don't know anybody by that name. Honestly. We do know a Callum Sinclair AND a Jamie Cullum, if that helps. Oh, and we don't particularly like the latter, but the former is rather bonza.

'Ashley Simpson'
We delibrately spelt this wrong (along with the correct spelling) so all those people who can't spell are more likely to reach us. We don't particularly like Ashlee, either, so if you're a fan, it's probably best you turn around and go back the way you came. Thank you.

'Stereogram'
We spelt this wrong ONCE, and only because a reliable source did so! We felt betrayed, so we're now spelling it correctly. Please, please, please try searching for 'Steriogram' - you won't be disappointed!


Saturday, November 20, 2004

Single of the Week According to Leo

I only have a few minutes, so excuse the brief post. I did write about some other singles, but, rather like the singles themselves, what I said was very dull. So let's skip right to:

Single of the Week
Gwen Stefani - 'What You Waiting For?'

10 Reasons You Must Buy It:

1. Tick-tock, tick-tock!
2. Hannah and I have both selected it was our Single of the Week. Yes, we agreed on something. This sort of thing doesn't happen every day, you know.
3. Take a chance, you stupid ho!
4. The 'Alice in Wonderland' video.
5. You're still a super-hot female!
6. TOTP: "But the backing is pure electro-disco, which only makes Gwen's Kate Bush-isms sound even more wild, and therefore great."
6b. Apparently Gwen looked a bit Kate Bushy on TOTP.
7. Gwen is ace.
8. And mad. And from out of No Doubt.
9. There is an instrumental version on the CD, so you can sing along and pretend to be Gwen Stefani! You'll have a wonderful 3 minutes 43 seconds before you crash back down to earth and remember you are a nobody.
10. If no-one buys it, and it bombs at number 234, they won't release 'Love Angel Music Baby', Gwen's new album, which will probably be the best pop album of 2004 (until Girls Aloud release theirs).

So off you go to buy it. Tick-tock.

This week's other Leo-approved releases:
McFly - 'Room On The 3rd Floor'
Girls Aloud - 'I'll Stand By You' (I'm just being loyal to the Aloud, really)

Friday, November 19, 2004

What could possibly be better than Harry Potter and Franz Ferdinand?

If this is true, I think I might be even more happy...

A little lesson in Geography...

Hey kids! Can you notice the most meaningful word out of the following?
MTV. Europe. Music. Awards.
Yes, that's right. Europe. It's what makes the awards so special, isn't it? Isn't it? Well, no, not really. I fail to see the meaning in the word 'Europe' when the vast majority of the awards this year were won by Americans. It makes you wonder whether the only band in Europe is Muse...

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Hannah's Single of the Week (15/11/04)

Special Mentions:

Embrace - 'Ashes'
Embrace - 'Ashes'One Coldplay reject later and Embrace are back in the charts. 'Ashes' is their follow-up single and it's okay, but not amazing. I want to really like it. It has potential to be a storming success in the world of WL. Alas, it seems overdone, especially in the verses, making the chorus seem like an anti-climax. Ignoring all that, it's not too bad. 2.9/5

Franz Ferdinand - 'This Fffire'
It certainly isn't as sublime as 'Michael' and it isn't quite as catchy as 'Matinee', but this download exclusive has a classy, eyeliner-loaded, art-rock video in the band's now signature colours of black and orange. This accompaniment is what really makes it work. Through the influence of Bridgey (as seen on Popworld) the Franz have now become firmly embedded in my musical brain, and they are not shifting. 3.4/5

McFly - 'Room on the 3rd Floor'
God, I'm going to regret liking this!The video is possibly the best thing they've done, and the song isn't too bad either. McFly seem to defy all our expectations, even if the pop-lovers amongst the critics think they're going a little too 'Oasis'. If you want my full opinion, check the post from last week. Otherwise just take a look at this rating, because McFly probably aren't going to see one like it for a while! 3.3/5

Single of the Week:
Gwen Stefani - 'What You Waiting For'

Gwen Stefani, if you've seen her on her promo visits across the UK, appears to be all legs and slightly insane in the brain. With her short skirts, huge shoes, and insane fashion sense, she looks like some sort of new age Spice Girl. This is her first proper solo single, taken from her forthcoming album 'Love Angel Music Baby' and is a piece of 80s style synth heaven. The tune is catchy, the lyrics are incoherent mumbo-jumbo and the video is a Japanese take on Alice in Wonderland. Starting off like your average piano ballad, it surges into ticking clocks and the now immortalised line - 'take a chance you stupid ho'. 4.1/5

Avoid at ALL Costs:

Jojo - 'Baby It's You'
You only have to listen to it to realise how rubbish it is. Thirteen year old girls should be in school... 1/5

Lemar - 'If There's Any Justice'
Lemar has a lovely voice - there's no denying that. However, singing something as cliche-packed as this is unforgivable...1.2/5

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Keane - Live at Cambridge

I think it would be perfectly fair to compare Keane to Robbie Williams. Some love them, some hate them with a passion, and a large percentage of the population claim to loathe everything they produce, but then secretly play their cds when nobody's listening. Oh, and they both put on a hell of a live show.

The Cambridge Corn Exchange is possibly the hardest to reach venue in the UK - it's blindingly obvious they don't want cars in the city, but what the venue lacks in accesibility, it makes up for in sound and awesome, intimate gigs. Unfortunately, at the rate they're going, it's unlikely we're going to see Keane here again anytime in the near future.

Pre-Keane support came from Brendan Benson, a singer/guitarist from Detroit, who was backed by his band (cue audience snigger) The Stiff Tissues. Surprisingly, he wasn't that bad, and seems to have gained appreciation from several UK music magazines, along with Jack White. If you're interested, Stereogum have one of his mp3s up. Still, regardless of how amazing a support act is, what you're really waiting for is the main feature.

Tom ChaplinA quick stage change, and the classic Keane setup emerges from the wings. At the left, there's a mysterious keyboard, and a microphone. In the centre, there's a drum kit, complete with band logo, and on their right there's the elaborate arrangement of piano, stool, keyboard and laptop. Finally, the lights go down, and, under cover of darkness, the band are guided onstage, before storming straight into one of my favourites - 'Can't Stop Now'.

One of the best things about a band who've only had one album, is that you're not going to be disappointed because they miss your favourite song. Keane rewarded their fans with practically all of their debut, along with 'Snowed Under' the stunning B-side that is the source of the album's title, 'Hopes and Fears'. Tom's bizarre dancing is gripping to watch, but what is mystifying is how Tim Rice-Oxley's wild limbs seem to be virtually detached from his body, yet he still avoids hitting a bum note.

Everyone was also treated to two brand new tracks, the most notable being the beautiful 'Hamburg Song', which was accompanied by black and white projections of the band on the back screen. For this Tom also played keyboards, proving he isn't just someone with shattering vocal talent, but more of an all-rounder.

The best moments of the whole show were the whole audience singalongs to 'Somewhere Only We Know' and 'This Is The Last Time'. There's hardly anything more thrilling than singing two of the most amazing singles of 2004 along with a couple of thousand people, and an icon-in-the-making.

The encore was a little unpredictable, but marvellous - 'Allemande' had the entire crowd in silent appreciation, while 'Bedshaped' raised everyone out of their seats once more to sing. I don't think I, nor anybody else in the Corn Exchange, wanted the night to end.

Bloody fantastic. 5/5

***I am currently resisting the temptation to go extremely fangirly and talk about Tom's hair, so I'd probably better not write anything more, other than that a great time was had by all (Jonny, Michael, Myself, and my Dad, who drove us all the way to Cambridge) and I bought a very nice t-shirt. That's about it!***

Whatever's Left of...Band Aid 20

I have a few things to say about Band Aid 20. Despite what seemed to be a pretty good lineup (if you ignore the likes of Busted) the song has turned out to be more of a cut-and-paste vocal, that doesn't, in any way compare to the original. Sure, it's a charity record, but I have a feeling plenty of the 'credible' artists involved are going to wish they could forget this.

It's thin. It's boring. The vocals are nothing amazing. It's a rush job without any amount of enthusiasm. (No doubt I'll buy it.) And they even scrapped the artwork from Damien Hirst in favour of some killer polar bears and drugged-up reindeer preying on a child.

Mind you, Damon Albarn deserves a round of applause for making the tea.

On a slightly more positive note we would like to disagree with Popjustice over their comment about our name-providers Snow Patrol:

'A stellar indie lineup that has ended up including, er... Turin Brakes and Snow Patrol. So if z-list indie nonentities were somehow allowed onto the record, where were the pop z-listers?'

Ahem. Snow Patrol have had one of the biggest selling albums this year. Z-listers? I think not. PJ should know better than to think it's all about the singles sales...

Oh, and on the subject of singles sales - what does everybody think about the future merger between the popular download chart and the singles chart?

Monday, November 15, 2004

UK Top 75 - (14/11/04)

Welcome to our weekly top 75 UK chart rundown, covering all the new entries and any other interesting goings on in the chart. This week, we've also added a handy link to the top 75 at Launch for you to check out the other movers and shakers.

Ed Rush & Optical are brand new at 69, House of Pain are at 65 and Echelon chart at 57. Just lurking outside the top 40 are LCD Soundsystem (52), Dears (49) and Prince, who is at 43 with 'Cinnamon Girl'.

In the lower regions of the top 40 this week are several new entries, coming from the likes of the Finn Brothers (31), Mase (29), and Twista ft. R Kelly at 28. It may interest you to know that R Kelly features no less than three times on this week's chart. Why is it we can't seem to get rid of him?

Another person we'd like to get rid of is Jamie Cullum. He's new at 20 this week with 'Everlasting Love'. Steriogram chart at 19 this week, rather lower than we would have hoped, with their single 'Walkie Talkie Man'. Nas is new at 18 with his blues/rap crossover, 'Bridging the Gap'. Cheesey dance music is back in the chart once again, this time in the form of Eye Opener, with 'Hungry Eyes', new at 16.

The 'novelty' single from Dizzee Rascal, 'Dream', charts at a respectable 14 this week, while V have their third top 20 hit in the form of comedy-boyband-ballad, 'You Stood Up'.

The top 10 is hardly buzzing this week with only 3 new entries of varying quality. 'Out of the Blue' by Delta Goodrem isn't too bad at all, but to be honest it's just a bit of a rehash of all she's done already. It enters this week's chart at 9. Speaking of rehashes, Blue are new at 4. The less said, the better.

Not a huge surprise then - U2 are number one, being the first single to be number one on the download chart, before topping the singles chart too!

Look out for our weekly singles features, later in the week. We are also planning a review of Keane, live at Cambridge Corn Exchange and our verdict on Band Aid 20!

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Something for our stateside pals!

Yahoo! Launch currently is hosting a vote for some best British new acts. They have lovingly acknowledged some previous success stories - WL favourites Franz Ferdinand, Muse, Snow Patrol and Keane - and are now on the hunt for the next big UK product to smash the states. So, as current voting stands, who have we got*?

1st: The Music - 'Freedom Fighters'
We like The Music. It seems they're perfect to appeal to the USA. I just still can't get over the fact the lead singer (in some odd way) reminds me of Jamie.

2nd: Dogs Die In Hot Cars - 'I Love You 'Cause I Have To'
Having recommended the album to him, Leo has bought 'Please Describe Yourself' and has given it his official seal of approval, saying it is the 'antidote' to anything depressing, boring or a bit embarrassing. This song isn't the best the Dogs can do, but it's still a ska-influenced piece of arty pop.

3rd: Razorlight - 'Golden Touch'
Now, we like Razorlight, and we LOVE 'Golden Touch'. This song is amazingly catchy and it's practically impossible to resist singing along. In fact, once you've seen and heard Razorlight in action, you'll find it impossible to resist them at all!

4th: The Libertines - 'Can't Stand Me Now'
I suppose the American press hasn't had such exposure to the wild antics of ex-Libertine Pete Doherty. Without this excess bad press, would the Libertines be so popular? The fact remains that if you like slightly disjointed indie rock, you'll really dig their sound.

5th: Hope of the States - 'Enemies/Friends'
We haven't been exposed to this band, but their name suggests that they have something to do with America. It's a shame America doesn't appear to want anything to do with them, voting them into 5th place.


You can view all the videos from the voting page - please check them out!

Friday, November 12, 2004

What's the point of Blue? - Yes, it's yet another Non-Single of the Week from Jamie

It isn't even funny anymore. It seems that noone wants to release any good songs. When you are required by a certain lovely redheaded girl to write a 'Single of the Week', the job gets ever so slightly complicated, given some of the dire music churned out by those record companies. Therefore, to make life easier for myself, I have decided to make the 'Non-Single of the Week' my personal contribution to this wonderful music experience.

Anyhoo, where was I?

Ah yes.

Blue - 'Curtain Falls'

Right, well, first things first. Blue. Are they not dead yet??Blue, the world's most rubbish boy-band (or should I say 'Vocal Harmony Group'?) have never been able to capture my heart with their fusion of rubbish singing over an equally rubbish tune. The band, consisting of four funny looking men - Lee Ryan, Duncan James, Antony Costa and Simon Webbe - have had many a pubescent girl's heart a-flutter (not to mention all the pre-pubescent ones) for what seems like an annoyingly long time, ever since their debut single 'All Rise', whose 'clever' lyrics made it all sound like a court case. Oh how drole. Anyway, there's a chance that all our prayers may have been answered - many sources claim that this is Blue's swansong. It's a rubbish one, but if it's true I might even smile.

Upon listening to this offering, you may become a little bit confused as it is rather sample-icious. Now I don't have anything specific against samples, but please guys, try and use something a little bit more obscure (having said that, I got a little worried about the fact that noone seemed to notice the Enya sample in Mario Winans 'I Don't Wanna Know'...), rather than going with one made hyper-famous by Coolio's 'Gangsta's Paradise', and which was stolen by him from Stevie Wonder's 'Pastime Paradise'!

As if this confusion wasn't enough, the 'vocal harmony' would appear to just be a slightly rejigged and regurgitated 'One Love', a previous Blue single. And one on which the 'vocal harmony' in question would appear to be to shout over the top of each other in a tuneless fashion, whilst Lee, the wierdest looking one of the lot screeches a high note. Badly, I might add.

And then we get Simon's rap. Or, more aptly, Simon saying some of the words from the rest of the song a bit like a Pontins' Redcoat would do when attempting to rap.

Blue, and this song, really are painful to listen to. Whether it's the fact that they just seem to be shouting, or Lee's ear-splitting-ness, I shall not be even remotely sorry to see the back of them. So let's hope they are going, eh??

0.0000253/5

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Room on the 3rd Floor

Perhaps I was wrong about McFly.

Sure, they might be on the same label as Busted, be made in the same way as Busted, and even look like Busted, but they are not Busted. They can certainly sing better live anyway. Then again, that's not saying much, is it?

From their album so far they've released:

'5 Colours in her Hair' - which was a bit rubbish, especially with those dodgy harmonies
'Obviously' - which was actually a quite good piece of pop, although I still refuse to fully acknowledge this, because the video was a bore
'That Girl' - which even Leo thought wasn't up to scratch

Now they go and release a fourth single...and, rather ashamedly, I've found it playing in my head all day. It's called 'Room on the 3rd Floor' and I don't think it's that bad. I have a brilliant reason though, honestly! This morning I saw the video, which is something both inventive, and so cool that I wish one of MY bands had done it. No doubt it'll probably turn out to be a total rip-off, but anyway. However, here is the BIG news, and what actually makes the track remotely credible (in a roundabout WL sort of way):

McFly are actually the next generation of musical ambassadors from Pelamar!

Above: Boris, Morris and Doris
View the video here!

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

UK Download Top 20 (10/11/04)

New Entries:
Nelly is new at 20 with 'Tilt Ya Head Back' while Rooster enter at 19 with 'Come Get Some'. The latest offering from the Kings of Leon, 'The Bucket' makes its chart debut at 17 and Britney is also new at 16 with her number three hit, 'My Prerogative'. Usher is new at 10 with 'My Boo'. Westlife fail to equal their previous position with their second download exclusive, 'Ain't That A Kick In The Head'. Well, quite. It's possibly their worst release to date. This week's highest new entry almost mirrors the single chart, with Eminem at 2, with 'Just Lose It'.

Re-Entries:
There are no re-entries this week.

Longest Runners (11 weeks):
'American Idiot' by Green Day and 'She Will Be Loved' by Maroon 5 are STILL sticking in there!

This week's number one:
The mighty U2 hold on firmly to the top spot for yet another week with 'Vertigo'. Congratulations!

The Official UK Download Chart is based on the most popular, legally downloaded tracks in the UK. It's compiled from the sale of permanently owned single track downloads and doesn't include streamed downloads, subscriptions or free downloads. The Download Chart is broadcast every Wednesday at 6pm on Radio 1 with Scott Mills and in the Official Chart Show with Wes on Sundays.

Hey Ya!

The lovely folks at Popjustice have put out a new campaign:


Boycott 'Hey Ya'
It's rather amusing interesting, even if we're not going to take it seriously...yet. So, has 'Hey Ya' become a classic, or should it be left alone, forever? Comment!

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Pray, pray, pray!

Keane have cancelled gigs tonight and tomorrow due to Tom Chaplin's throat infection. He's been told to stay in bed. Now, normally this wouldn't merit a WL post, but...
I'm supposed to be seeing them this weekend!
We've been waiting, eagerly, for five months to go to this gig. Now, if the world was a fair place, we would all wish the sickness away from Tom and onto, say...a certain 'vocal harmony' group?
Please pray for him to get better, because aside from my selfish needs, he really is a lovely chap.

Hannah's Single of the Week (08/11/04)

So, after a brief interval from my usual single-based ramblings, I am back, and armed with a concise list of titles worthy of my bizarre and largely inaccurate ratings...or possibly not.

Runners Up:
Steriogram - 'Walkie Talkie Man'
Steriogram - 'Walkie Talkie Man'Normally we at WL wouldn't be inclined to think of artists compared to such bands as Busted and Blink 182, but when a band have an amazing video, directed by an even more amazing director, we just have to stop, stare, listen hard and generally divert our attention to them. Michel Gondry is responsible for the woollen bonanza that is the Steriogram video. You may know Gondry as the director of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (starring Jim Carrey) and yes, he was also behind the videos 'Fell In Love With a Girl' by The White Stripes and 'Come Into My World' by Kylie Minogue. However, it wouldn't make sense for us to simply praise a brilliant director. Steriogram (no, not Stereogram) have produced a hyper-speed singalong, with lyrics reaching the pace and ridiculousness of songs by Dogs Die in Hot Cars. It's catchy, but not annoying, and the boys tend to give a performance as supercharged as the song. 3.8/5
Watch the Steriogram Video

Single of the Week:
U2 - 'Vertigo'
U2 - 'Vertigo'I might lose a few friends by admitting that yes, I have completely fallen in love with the latest offering from U2. The video is nothing short of breathtaking, and aside from some dodgy Spanish and a few cliches, there's really nothing I can fault. I've been brought up to regard Bono and co. as boring and not worth bothering with. This is the first song I've liked by U2, and it's only because I didn't know who was singing it at the time. Unless the fact that my good friend Michael humming it in lessons has caused some kind of subliminal influence on my mind? Perhaps not. 'Vertigo' has been kicking around, and generally dominating, the download charts for about a month now, so will the single be as successful? We're not sure, but it will definitely be interesting to see what happens, especially when U2 are 'doing a Manics' and you can buy all three single formats for £6. 4/5
U2 Official Website

Avoid at ALL Costs:
Jamie Cullum - 'Everlasting Love'
He's made a mess out of a classic Radiohead song, but does he stop there? It doesn't seem so. This cover is taken, like many others tackling the charts at the moment, from the Bridget Jones soundtrack. It's lazy, and lives up to the usual expectation of a cover version, or indeed most things by Jamie Cullum - it's a bit crap. 1.2/5

Blue - 'Curtain Falls'
Coolio pinched a bit of music from Stevie Wonder. Fair enough, but is it right that a certain 'vocal harmony group' pinch the very same bit of music, and sing a suspiciously familiar tune over the top? Taking this into consideration 'Curtain Falls' should have really been called 'One (Gangsta's Paradise) Love'. Oh, and while we're on the subject...Robbie Williams - Lee from Blue is NOT remotely fit! 0.8/5

Sunday, November 07, 2004

UK Top 75 (07/11/04)

Since Blogger appears to hate me today, and keeps deleting my posts, here is this week's chart rundown in more concise form...

All Eyes - 65
Ed Harcourt - 61
Thee Unstrung - 59
Death From Above 1979 - 57
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - 54
Open - 53
Rasmus - 50

Chingy is first into the top 40 with 'Balla Baby' at 34, while George Michael has another top 40 hit at 32 with his new single 'Round Here'. The Strokes, milking their album for all its worth (not very much, actually) are at 27 this week with 'The End Has No End'.

Now, here's something of note - new at 25 is Tyler James. Having been plugged by both Popjustice and our friend Jessica at Dirrrty Pop for some time, 'Why Do I Do' is something fresh and interesting for the charts. It's just a shame Tyler couldn't make it any higher. Candee Jay is new at 23 with 'Back For Me'.

Having not been aware of this song before yesterday evening, we are happy to say that this song, charting at 22, definitely would have been my single of the week. 'I Predict a Riot' by Kaiser Chiefs just blew me away. With a catchy melody, clapping, guitars and lyrical simplicity, it really made me smile. It's just a shame that what charts one place above (21) is a terrible pop/dance rendition of kiddie song 'Wind The Bobbin' Up' by Jo Jingles. When you think about it, it's almost the opposite of chart-favourites Blur being used for a CBeebies advert. And we didn't make that up.

Elton John has another top 20 hit (just!) with 'All That I'm Allowed (I'm Thankful)', scraping in at 20. Some other chart 'veterans' are back and they are Wet Wet Wet, who are at 14 with the very similarly titled 'All I Want'. We haven't heard it yet, but we've heard it pretty, well...wet.

Jamelia is first into this week's top 10 with her double A side of 'DJ'/'Stop' at 9, while my faux-SOTW is at 7 - 'The Weekend' by Michael Gray.

EminemUsher is first in a chain of new entries, all from artists across the pond. He's at 5 with his double A side 'Confessions Part II'/'My Boo'. A collaboration between two decidedly 'fishy' women, Christina and Missy Elliot, is new at 4. Yep, it's that mediocre cover of 'Carwash' from the box office hit Shark Tale.

Britney is at 3 with 'My Prerogative', and the hyped-up Destiny's Child comeback single, 'Lose My Breath' is new at 2. So who's clinched the top spot?

It could only be Eminem, Marshall Mathers, The Real Slim Shady, or whatever else you'd like to call him. 'Just Lose It' is this week's bestselling single. Now, who could topple Eminem...?

Saturday, November 06, 2004

We can't wait for the weekend!

Especially when we want to show you this cover of 'Toxic' by Britney Spears
And a link to BEST online radio station out there
Especially when we're getting excited about Green Day videos
And the Rufus Wainwright sampler is actually quite good.
Especially when we discover QI has a website
And Crystal is as much of a comedy genius as ever
AND ESPECIALLY when we need an excuse to get away from our revision.
And no, we can't be bothered with decent sentence structure either. That's being reserved for the dreaded Shakespeare essay.
Edit:
We're currently reworking the site layout, and it's not complete yet, but if you have any complaints/suggestions please email us at the usual address

Friday, November 05, 2004

Breaking the silence...

Before we begin, we advise going here and checking out the latest offerings from Travis and Manic Street Preachers, because they really aren't as bad as Q magazine seems to make out.
Moving On...
You may have noticed we've all gone a bit quiet this week. This is because:
1) Hannah has had several gigantic coursework projects
2) Jamie is also a busy boy. Doing what, we're not sure, but since he does nothing in his free periods, he does it all at home. This is what happens in Jamie's free periods. He turns into a tangerine, or is it a satsuma?

3) Leo will be back on a more regular basis, he promises me this. He's also had his hair cut, which we believe could be a delicate operation. It's so sacred it shouldn't have been touched in the first place!
4) The tiger is a lazy git. We might rouse him at some point next week with the offer of several raw lamb chops.
5) We have ALL become fed up with what the record industry has churned out this week. Stupid american invasion...
None of us being massive Beyonce* fans, we don't really care about the return of Destiny's Child or even Eminem, nor does Britney enlighten us. Well, Leo might be interested, but he's a little out of touch at the moment, so we'd recommend just patting him on the head and giving him a little smile.
Therefore I recommend buying the following, or at least watching the video:

Hannah's Single of the Week:
Michael Gray - 'The Weekend'

Also, do not even CONSIDER downloading the new Westlife track. Robbie's cover of 'Ain't That a Kick In The Head' was far better, and that's saying something.
6) We will be back in full force next week, we assure you. 'Vertigo' is calling me...
*****
*I am still giggling over my friend's amazingly accurate observation that 'old people' can't pronounce 'Beyonce'. "Who's that? Bouncy?"

Thursday, November 04, 2004

UK Download Top 20 (03/11/04)

New Entries:
The rather raunchy track from Khia that's drifting around the singles top 10 at the moment is new this week at 18. The terrible 'Nothing Hurts Like Love' by Daniel Bedingfield is at 14, several places below his mighty little sister, Natasha. This week's highest new entry is from No Doubt frontwoman, Gwen Stefani with 'What You Waiting For?'.

Oh dearest Ashlee, you try TOO hard...Re-Entries:
They say any publicity is good publicity. Ashlee Simpson makes an unwelcome return to the download chart at 19 with her single 'Pieces of Me'. However, this is an excellent excuse for an animation of the 'Ashlee dance'.

Longest Runners (10 weeks):
Green Day and Maroon 5 STILL hold the record for longest time on chart, and neither are showing signs of shifting.

This week's number one:
After a brave effort from Deep Dish, who rise up three places to 2, this week, U2 regain the top spot from Mouldy Lookin Stain who drop down to 3. So much for that, then...

The Official UK Download Chart is based on the most popular, legally downloaded tracks in the UK. It's compiled from the sale of permanently owned single track downloads and doesn't include streamed downloads, subscriptions or free downloads. The Download Chart is broadcast every Wednesday at 6pm on Radio 1 with Scott Mills and in the Official Chart Show with Wes on Sundays.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

UK Top 75 (31/10/04)

And now for the eagerly anticipated lower regions of the top 75.

Flash Brothers just manage a chart position at 75, while Chikinki are new at 74. Iceberg Slimm ft. Coree charts at 73, followed by Supatonic (69), Earlies (67) and Eastern Lane (65).

Jill Scott is new at 59, while one of our reader's favourites, Do Me Bad Things enter the chart at 57 with 'Time for Deliverance'.

The Alex Cuba Band ft. Ron Sexsmith make 52 this week, while Mick Jagger and Dave Stewart narrowly miss out on a top 40 entry. They're at 45.

For coverage of the top 40, please look below. Thank you.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Uk Top 40 (31/10/04)

It's the end of October, and therefore the time the music industry unleashes their promotional campaigns for the Christmas releases. As of yet, we can enjoy the non-festive chartings of Hallowe'en. Thank goodness we don't celebrate that holiday so musically! I would like to apologise for the lack of lower chart coverage, although this is due to our resource being a little late to update. An extension of this coverage will be published a little later in the week.

At the tail end of the top 40 is my single of the week, 'How To Be Dead' by Snow Patrol. It's a disappointing position (39), but it is the fourth track (and the fifth release) from their stunning album. We just can't wait for the new material. Creeping in at 36 is Others while Bloc Party are new at 26 with their rather bonza single, 'Helicopter', supposedly their highest entry to date. Tina Turner returns to the charts at 25 with 'Open Arms'. Quite literally. Although the chart doesn't seem to want her. Not a new entry, but the Manic Street Preachers have plummeted a shocking 20 places this week to 22.

Kings of Leon, not Kings of Leo, although that would be pretty cool...A welcome top 20 entry comes from Graham Coxon with 'Freakin Out/All Over Me' which is brand new at 19. Kings of Leon also manage their highest entry to date with 'The Bucket' which isn't abd at all. The GLC stretch their unique brand of humour, and acceptability with their latest offering, 'cleverly' entitled 'Your Mother's Got a Penis' which enters the chart at 14. I was just giggling at the fact that they can actually get away with it, because the song isn't particularly funny.

Another piece of happiness to the team of WL is that the skunks who fell in the hair dye haven't made this week's top 10. Instead, The Noise Next Door place at a terrible pop position of 12. We're just waiting for the record company to give them the boot. Impatiently. Danzel, a European popstar of the Idol variety is new at 11 with 'Pump It Up'. The less said about this record, the better.

The happiest news of the week is easily the Libertines being in top 10 once again with the witty, disjointed, and all-round excellent 'Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads?' charting at 9. I believe the astranged one plans to release a single very soon...

The Popjustice-plugged Dannii Minogue single isn't that bad really, for a piece of pure mimed-pop with a dance routine. She throws flowers in the video, so apparently that makes things perfectly bonza. 'You Won't Forget About Me' is brand new at 7. Jay Sean is new at 4 with the single 'Stolen'.

Bedingfield has had to settle with a number 3 with his single 'Nothing Hurts Like Love'. We're just stunned that Q manages to give him 3 stars.

Ja Rule - topping the charts>It's amazing how entries you've barely heard, and really don't care about, creep up on you, and then somehow make number one. So, finally, Eric Prydz has been toppled in favour of Ja Rule ft. R Kelly and Ashanti and their song 'Wonderful'. And we have nothing to say apart from the fact that we think it's just in preparation for this week's American invasion. And we thought it was just the elections...

Shark Tale

If you've noticed a lack of film reviews on WL, it's partly down to the fact that I never have the motivation to go to the cinema. Being on half term holiday, however, persuaded me to go along, with a few friends and see the latest animated blockbuster, 'Shark Tale'. I was discouraged by the critics and their reviews, but that wasn't going to let me be put off.

Will Smith voices the 'hero' OscarBeing a fan of Shrek, I was eager to see what else Dreamworks could cook up for their viewing public and I expected something, again, to be aimed at the kids, but to include enough material to keep slightly older people (though I'm saying nothing of my mental age!) glued to the screen. I wasn't disappointed.

Will Smith is a likeable hero as Oscar, who is practically Will in fish-form. It's admirable the way this has been done with all the characters, especially with Angelina Jolie's underwater equivalent, Lola. On the other hand, the animation isn't quite up to the standard of that of Shrek, which was a disappointment.

With some of the characters, the film is predictable, but there are some enjoyable ones, especially with the fish that aren't constantly in shot. I really enjoyed Jack Black as Lenny, the vegetarian shark who likes to dress as a dolphin and the Rastafarian jellyfish, while the shrimps (or were they prawns?) provided my friends and I with the most laugh-out-loud moments in the film. Then again, they weren't as plentiful as I expected.

Shark Tale is a slow starter, taking time to establish itself, but after that it's a lot more fast paced, and what was the ending was almost unexpected, partly due to the introduction taking so long. To sum up the plot quickly, young fish lies to become a hero, but is a fake, falls for beautiful fish then discovers love is a lot closer to home, ends up saving the day by being honest. As soon as the 'hidden' messages emerge, it does become a little cheesy, but that's kiddie flicks for you.

We would rate Shark Tale a respectable 3.5/5 if it wasn't for the finale, aka Christina and Missy's cover of 'Car Wash'. Oh dear.

3/5