DurAnorak (duranorak) wrote,
DurAnorak
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March 2005 Music Headlines

It's that time again, kids. I'm DurAnorak, your host for today's teacup ride through the best, and possibly also the worst, of the surrounding month's chart music. Can't bear to sift through the garbage to find those precious stones? Likely to die if you accidentally hear another Atomic Kitten track whilst searching for the Next Big Thing? Don't worry, I'm here, with the fifth in an occasional series.

This month we have a hands-down, no-question winner for Best New Song In The World, in the diminutive yet delightful shape of Kylie. Her forthcoming single 'Giving You Up' is fantastic, combining seductive, swirly melting 21st century synths with sparkling vocals and an irresistible beat in a way that reminds me of the wonderful things Jakatta did to Monsoon's 'Ever So Lonely'. It makes you want to dance. If you're me, it makes you want to dance in a strangely New Romantic way, but it's not at all dated - it's just gorgeous right here right now dance-inducing pop from a woman who's getting more electro by the month. Three cheers, it's brilliant.

Speaking of electro, we do have a runner-up for the best new thing I've heard this month, and that is Moby. There's something very odd about watching Moby play guitar - it's a little bit like watching Bill Gates play a sackbutt or something - but that's what he's doing on his new single 'Lift Me Up', which is...breathtaking. Here is Moby, in all his geeky glory, launching himself at the microphone to lead the crowd in the most stunningly anthemic chorus I have heard since about 1985. The gorgeous low-key verses are shot through with the sheer tension of holding that chorus back. In between there are brief hypnotic bursts of synthesiser breaks. It is absolutely the next logical step forward from the very lovely 'We Are All Made Of Stars'. I think you'll like it.

I'd like to take this moment to remind you all about things I've already raved about, because although I have gone over them before, it wouldn't be right to talk about the best new music without mentioning them again. The first of these things is, of course, 'Honest Mistake' by The Bravery. If you didn't listen to me and run not walk to find out about them, please, for god's sake do it now. It's an awe-inspiring collision between bits of Duran Duran and Suede and The Killers and it has given me hope that wasn't there before.
The second is 'No Sleep Tonight' by The Faders. Not only are The Faders extremely gorgeous, their first single is also very good indeed. As I've previously observed, it sounds like The Go-Gos but a lot better, and I defy you to hear it without at least wanting to jump around a bit, even if you don't actually do so. And they're gorgeous. Did I mention that they were gorgeous? Teeny-goth-punk-pirate-attitude-chic. Yeah.

The eccentric but frequently brilliant Basement Jaxx are back with a truly fabulous single called 'Oh My Gosh'. Take a conversation you might hear between a bunch of East London girls on a bus, set it over an oddly delicate and somehow teasing musical line, add a thoroughly amusing video and you have a veritable fairy cake of danceable joy. With icing sugar. Lots of icing sugar.

Also among things I've already talked a little about before, Rachel Stevens with 'Negotiate With Love' - she does have a knack of involving herself in pieces of very good electronic-based pop, and this is no exception, though it'll take a lot to top the excellence of last summer's 'Some Girls'. Nevertheless, this is good, and there's something engaging about the beginning of the second verse featuring her saying "Could you turn down the track a little bit?" over a pretty serious bassline. Stylish, full of a wonderfully decorous kind of attitude. More like that, please. Just don't watch the video.

If you're looking for videos to watch instead, you could do a lot worse - really, an awful lot worse - than watching the extraordinary video for 'Shock To The System' by Sara Jonge. Let me see if I can describe this song.
Take verses sounding like early Destiny's Child (or, indeed, Rachel Stevens). Take a chorus hilariously overblown and 80s - "Oh don't you know when you go it's a shock to the system/Oh don't you know when you go it's a shock to the heart..." Take a middle-8 featuring a guy rapping in a way that is staggeringly reminiscent of, and makes you expect at any moment, "Chaka Khan, let me rock you, let me rock you Chaka Khan". Set all this in the mouth of a Mya lookalike...and then have her mime it, on flickering faux-ancient film, as she is carried around a prison by mummies, writhes in a corset beneath a gothic arch window, and sadistically manipulates the switches and wires connected to a huge scarred bald guy trapped at her mercy.
Seriously.

I've got a confession to make, incidentally. Yet again, I like a song by Dido. This one's called 'Don't Leave Home' and I think it's taken over the role that Daniel Bedingfield's new single had last month - the one where the lyrics move me to tears over the top of beautifully subtle music. Really, the quiet electronics that make up this song are just lovely, and I came in halfway through and heard her sing, "Oh how quiet, quiet the world can be/When it's just you and little me/Everything is clear and everything is new - so you won't be leaving...will you?" and I was hooked. Don't mind me.

Oh, I suppose I should talk about Gwen Stefani and her new single 'Rich Girl' as well, shouldn't I? I was wondering which of her mostly uncommercial album tracks would follow 'What You Waiting For', and I guess I'm not too surprised that she chose this one - if you've not heard it, it starts off with her slightly mauling 'If I Was A Rich Man', and continues over a steadily bouncing beat with her singing about how much she loves Gavin Rossdale (again) and Eve doing an entirely listenable rap from time to time. It's...all right, I suppose. I don't know. Watch the video, it's got pirates.

Speaking of new songs by old artists and my not being entirely convinced by them, Garbage have a new song coming out, called 'Why Do You Love Me?'. My first thought on hearing it was "Oh, dear god, it sounds like Placebo written by Belinda Carlisle." I've not yet changed that opinion. I say it sounds like Placebo because I think they're a band who are inventing wrongs that they can sound bitter and hurt about, and it sounds very much like Garbage are doing the same here. Ah well, new album out eventually, we can hope there's better songs than this on it.

And now, boys and girls, it's time for the pain. Strap yourselves in, why don't you? Pretend you're in that Sara Jonge video, perhaps.
Because the pain this month comes from cover versions, though I'll also give a dishonorable mention to that most aggravating of rappers, 50 Cent, for his abominable efforts in the form of 'Candy Shop'. Ugh.
First up, it's the consistently irritating Kristian Leontiou, who has - surely illegally - covered 'Fast Car' by Tracy Chapman. It's not a bad cover. It's not a good cover. It's just...a bloke, singing a song that was so powerful when sung by a woman. Also, he's changed the words. It now goes "Speeds so fast it felt like I was young."
Sigh.

Second - is it just me, or is it hugely amusing when would-be-cool R&B artists and groups cover songs that weren't, aren't and are never going to be 'cool' in any way? We've seen 'Cold As Ice' by Foreigner, 'The Way It Is' by Bruce Hornsby & The Range (I still can't believe that), and now it's terminally bland collective VS with a reworking of 'If You Leave Me Now' by Chicago. I couldn't stop laughing watching it - they all look so earnest. Sweet.

But the true horror, and I've complained about it several times already but I'm going to do it again and You Can't Stop Me, is the execrable Thing that is G4's cover of 'Bohemian Rhapsody'.
They wear suits, they look seriously at the camera while they sing it, they steadfastly ignore the random showgirls sent in over the guitar solo - I'm sorry, did I say 'guitar solo', I meant synthesised orchestra solo oh god I hate it all so much Ahem. They miss random bits of it out for seemingly no reason.
And on their album, which has just come out, there are covers of 'The Circle Of Life' from the Lion King soundtrack, and 'Creep' by Radiohead.
Anyone up for a flaming-torched mob to their studio the next time they're rumoured to be recording?

Things that didn't make it in : 'Heavy On My Heart' by Anastacia, this month's 'Nice video, shame about the song' award winner; 'Portions For Foxes' by Rilo Kiley - rather good intellectual girlrock, just not quite good enough; 'In My Heart' by Ethan, recently-released dance music for those who miss things like 'Right In The Night' by Jam & Spoon; 'Spitfire' by The Prodigy, not bad but not as good as I'd have wanted.

So there we have it. Any questions?

I'd also like to tell you all that I bought the Kaiser Chiefs' album yesterday. The boxed version. I shouldn't have - I can't afford it - but it is literally the most gorgeous new music-related thing I have seen since, well, ever. I had to have it, and the collector in me is still weeping tears of joy. It comes with paper money!

E.
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  • (no subject)

    So I was just thinking, ugh, I'm too crazy to post another song, why would I even bother anyway, when I was suddenly reminded of a track I had on Now…

  • (no subject)

    You know when everyone is going crazy about a book, or a film, or a band, and you just get sick to death of even seeing it mentioned, even by people…

  • (no subject)

    Well, clearly I'm not going to manage to post a song every day, because for the last...what is it, like, six? I have kept trying and then deciding…