So, the good, then. Do you know what's perfect? No, nor do I, but I can tell you that as chart hits go right now, 'Hollywood' by Marina and the Diamonds is pretty damn close. Yes, it's subject matter that's been covered many times before - the falseness of the American dream, and the foolishness of believing the Hollywood myth - but the combination of Marina's fantastic low, hard voice with the glitzy curtain-up of the chorus sounds so new to me that I couldn't ask for anything more. I would like to think that she is going places, and also when you compare this with Madonna's dreadful song of the same name the difference is frankly embarrassing. Welcome, Marina; long may you reign.
Also in the realm of wonder this week : 'Starry Eyed' by Ellie Goulding. Sometimes I'll hear a song or, in this case, see a video which makes me feel like nothing bad could ever happen while it's playing. This is one of those. It's the honesty in her face, and the almost-movements she makes along with the music even while she's not dancing, and the breathlessness of the ohs in the chorus that she casts into the air like tiny, nervous fireworks. There is something really, truly beautiful about this song and its video, and I urge you to watch it if your day could do with a little magic.
That isn't in the charts yet, but - I'm taking my information from Radio 1 here, because it's easy - it is deeply pleasing to me to see that the insanely lovely 'Fireflies' by Owl City is still number one. If you missed me talking about it the other week, please go and watch its video, which is bliss, and learn for yourself the beauty of what seriously sounds like the musical equivalent of a flawless miniature done for a dolls' house.
Before it drops out of the chart completely (it's fallen to number 40, so I'd imagine it will be making way for her abysmal follow-up single next week) I'd like to talk about the sheer weirdness of the last Cheryl Cole effort. It's called '3 Words' (no prizes) and here is its sharply arty and excellent video. I'd like to submit for your consideration the idea that someone should remake it with completely different lyrics - anything, as long as they're better - because I seriously think that musically, it's pretty amazing, a strange seductive dusklit pulse with undertones of genuine menace. Unfortunately, then Cheryl pours her feelings out all over it, like covering the finest dark chocolate dessert in an avalanche of Love Hearts, and it all goes horribly wrong. I would love to see someone save it.
Other things in the charts right now that don't suck : 'Don't Stop Believing' as done by the cast of Glee (adorable); 'Riverside (Let's Go)' by Sidney Samson feat. Wizard Sleeve (inspired, if you like that sort of thing); 'You've Got The Love' by Florence and the Machine (breathtaking, but I want to make a whole post about them at some point. listen to it, though); 'Telephone' by Lady Gaga feat. Beyonce (genuinely great, but it can wait a week).
That was easy.
Now I suppose I've got to tackle the horror.
I wasn't going to start with this, but there it is, sitting somewhat appropriately at number two, so here goes : Jedward have a single, and it is '(Under Pressure) Ice Ice Baby', and Vanilla Ice is actually on it, and it is COCKING INEXCUSABLE. I don't hate this pair of idiots as much as some people seem to - it's only fucking X Factor - but now they are in my charts and I would like them to at least have made a bit of effort. Honestly, I love stupid cover versions; I have a soft spot for bad rapping; I quite like both songs this is forcing together like a sadistic genetic experiment. But this is pathetic. You can't hear them singing - at all - for the insane overproduction and background sound effects that are either meant to be a crowd cheering or the sound of matter slowly being sucked into a black hole (hard to tell). When they bring the rap it is disarmingly terrible - awful, awful, awful - but you still get the feeling they're not really even trying. ...if this is them really trying, I think I'm going to go and cry in a corner for a while. Everyone involved should be ashamed.
Meanwhile, Timbaland has two tracks in the charts at the moment - one with Soshy & Nelly Furtado and one with no-one's favourite retro kitschy minxtress or whatever she would like to be called, Katy Perry. I might justifiably have included 'Morning After Dark', which is the former, in the list of things that don't suck; certainly the latter, 'If We Ever Meet Again', belongs here in the sin bin and emphatically not at number three. But it's quite hard to judge either of them, because of the problem of Timbaland's face. Someone once pointed out how ridiculous his expressions are in every single video - without fail - and now I can't unsee it or focus on anything else while his videos are playing. Which, in the case of 'If We Ever Meet Again', is just as well, because if I could focus on it I'd probably notice what a rubbish cheap nasty cocktail of a song it is, and, worse, the sheer contempt with which Katy Perry seems to be treating it. I kind of hate her. So thank goodness for Timbaland's face.
...there's nothing for it. I've got to deal with it. I've just got to take a deep breath and dive right in.
Okay. Regular viewers of British comedy television may be peripherally aware of a band called N-Dubz, as one of them, Dappy, has appeared on Never Mind The Buzzcocks a couple of times, to general hilarity. Regardless of whether all the assault-threats-rape-at-fucking-Butlins-whatever rumours on their Wikipedia page are true or not, there are two simple facts about N-Dubz : one, they are serious, and two, they are fantastically bad.
Okay? Okay. Regular viewers of the inside of my head, on the other hand, know how I feel about Mr. Hudson. I am terrified of him. I don't like things that don't make any sense, and believe me, Mr. Hudson doesn't make any sense. He is a tall, pale and ghostly android with a pained expression, who for some totally unfathomable reason has worked with all kinds of R&B and rap superstars like Kanye West (who seems to be his best friend) and Jay-Z. His first album featured a My Fair Lady song and was described - by him - as being "like an Escher drawing". And yet, what is he doing?
He's duetting with freaking N-Dubz, is what he is doing. Here, in all its glory, is the video for the towering monument of bizarre fail that is 'Playing With Fire', a combination so mad and terrible that it sails all the way through the seas of crap and out into the surreally tranquil waters of compulsive listening. Marvel! at the cinematic graphics of the opening seconds. Thrill! to the sight and sound of Mr. Hudson giving it some like a creepy uninvited uncle at wedding karaoke ("Now I'm on some Alfie behaviour, I'll call you back later - too many fish in the sea for me!") before launching curiously Sting-like notes like missiles into the stratosphere. Gasp! at Fazer's hangdog admission, "I can't help myself - I love girls!" and other such amazing lyrics. Wonder! why Dappy is dancing around a bath with his girlfriend in it in the first place.
It. is. epic. And I put it to you, guys : N-Dubz are serious; Mr. Hudson is not. If I'm right, then every single song he releases in collaboration with someone is almost certainly an hilarious private joke to him, and however bad the artists he works with are, I think that's disgusting. If I'm wrong, and he is serious, then he genuinely is the fucking Borg, and we should all be very, very afraid.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to lock myself in my room and start work on my anti-Hudson defences. You can't be too careful. See you next week. xxx