OK, I appear to be accumulating material for blogs faster than I have time to write them, so there may well be a glut of blogs appearing from me..
What do I want to talk about today? Music. Now, before I carry on, I should explain that I am probably not the best person to speak to regarding popular music, as I've never been a big fan, and I've got worse as I've got older, barely ever buying or listening to new music, preferring instead to listen to old bands I know and love (or new albums from the same bands). However, I saw this and it quite frankly depressed me.
The Brit awards shortlist. Which reveals to us that Lady Gaga, Pixie Lott, Florence and the Machine, Lily Allen and JLS have all been nominated for three awards.
Is this hell?
Seriously. Did the world go to hell and we didn't notice? It's not that I don't like these artists (although I don't), it's that they are all so generic, so dull, and so vapid. I know the Brit awards is all about Pop music, but seriously, if you look at the top 40 from this week alone, there's a significant number of more interesting artists than the aforementioned five. (And, on a side-note, you can see how well the TV series Glee has been received, due to the number of songs by it's cast that have made their way into the top 100. No I haven't watched it yet, but people tell me it's good).
Also, there's a rumour that after the shock of Iron Maiden winning Best Live Act last year, they've decided not to do that category anymore, so that there aren't any surprises. But this isn't the worst piece of Brit award news. The list of nominees for Best Single is the worst piece of news. Seriously, it's dire. Completely awful. And to prove this, in an unbiased way, I shall actually listen to each song right now on Spotify, and offer you my opinion on each...
Alesha Dixon - Breathe - Opens like it's a 90's dance tune (maybe by Sash), but when you expect the beat to kick in and drag it up to a good speed... the rest of the instruments (and by instruments, I mean samples) arrive and you realise that it's staying at this tedious pace for the whole song...and there's nothing that even pretends to be a hook or memorable chorus...
Time until I had to stop it - 1:48... but I'm guessing nothing else exciting happened through the rest of the song...
Rating - 2/10 - Very little to recommend it
Alexandra Burke Ft Flo Rida - Bad Boys - Well it has at least got some production on it... and it moves at a decent pace. I did find myself nodding along subconsciously, and the chorus sticks in the memory a little. It's no masterpiece, but I can see why "the youth of today" like it. Never thought I'd say something this positive about an X-Factor winner, but there you go...
Time until I had to stop it -2:26 - I actually wanted to check if it would do anything different in the middle, sadly it did, it had a generic rap interlude in the middle...
Rating - 5/10 - It was the pure definition of average/OK, but given the competition that surrounds it, it stands out so far...
Cheryl Cole - Fight For This Love - Feels like it's almost the same as the Alesha Dixon song, except a tiny bit faster and in a different key... And that's it. Seriously, can no-one write a memorable chorus anymore?
Time until I had to stop it -1:49
Rating - 2/10 - Seriously, who'd buy this.
Joe McElderry - The Climb - Slow, dull piano and strings to start. Annoying voice. Generic chord structure. I couldn't tell you what I think of the lyrics, because no matter how hard I try to listen to them, the song is so dull that my mind wanders off and my brain stops processing words...
Time until I had to stop it -1:02 - I couldn't bear anymore. I'm guessing that the arrangement has some guitar and drums that kick in at the start of the second verse, there's an uplifting middle eight and then it goes up a key for the final chorus. Am I close?
Rating - 1/10 - Shit. Pure shit.
JLS - Beat Again - Again, not my kind of music, but like the Alexandra Burke track, at least it has some form of production so it feels like effort has been put in. No memorable chorus though. Although it does sound like a LARGE majority of chart music I've been forced to listen to in the last five years (to the point where I could fit the lyrics of one onto the music of this. Not accusing anyone of plagiarism, I'm just saying..)
Time until I had to stop it -1:58
Rating - 4/10 - Generic. Bland. Background noise, but I wouldn't bother to turn it off if I was in mid-conversation and had to get out of a comfy chair to do so.
La Roux - In For The Kill -First thought - are we back in the 80s? Then, after a moment, I realise I have actually heard this before, which means that somewhen, somewhere on a radio, this has made an impression on my brain, which none of the previous songs have. Again, a memorable chorus, and for a change, a memorable voice, rather than one of the bland identikit ones we've had so far.
Time until I had to stop it -I listened to it all... and this was rewarded by the fact it has a middle 8 that does something mildly different!
Rating - 6/10 - I still wouldn't listen to it out of choice, but for pop music it's not bad.
Lily Allen - The Fear - I shall do my best to be fair, but I absolutely hate Lily Allen's voice. Production's nice, bit of a retro vibe with the synths, but the song itself feels like filler... the kind of track where if you were listening to an album you'd skip this particular one if you can be bothered but if not, you'd just sit there and entertain your brain for three minutes rather than listen to it. No chorus of any kind that I can hear, and I would say the bass guitarist must get bored, but they've just looped him. Oh and there's some generic swearing (although not on the version on Spotify I'm listening to, but it's easy to work out what she's saying).
Time until I had to stop it -2:02
Rating - 5/10 - Mildly better than Alexandra Burke or JLS, this is still generic background pap.
Pixie Lott - Mama Do - Does she want to be Christina Aguilera? I mean she does the voice wobbling thing, she's a blond girl, and she's trying to sound like she has a big voice, but only sounding big when backed up with a chorus of backing singers? (Or herself, multi-tracked to oblivion). Again, 80's synths all over the place, and generic song. Although the chorus does irritatingly stay in your mind.
Time until I had to stop it -1:41
Rating - 4/10 - Yet more background pap. I can't imagine why anyone would choose to release this song as a single...
Taio Cruz - Break Your Heart - Again, this starts off sounding like a 90's dance tune, complete with synthed finger clicks/hand claps... but it follows through, and the whole thing sounds like that. And it's once again, completely generic. It's OK though, probably one of the better I've had to listen to. And again, it has a singable/hummable chorus.
Time until I had to stop it -2:53 - I would have stopped earlier, but I wanted to see if it did the traditional 90's dance tune thing of dropping out all the bass and drums for the second to last chorus before dropping them back in for the finale... which it does.
Rating - 6/10 - If you'd tied me down in a chair and made me listen to all of these songs in a row, this'd be the one I remember as being "not awful."
Tinchy Stryder Ft N-Dubz - Number 1 - I was worried my opinion of this would be coloured because it's the last one I had to listen to, therefore I'd be sort of looking forward to it. Don't worry, it wasn't. This one lasted the least amount of time, and I can't comment on most of it. Why? Any song that feels the urge to state the names of the artists in the song itself deserves to get thrown in the bin and set fire to, and then pissed on by tramps to put it out, and then thrown in a landfill where it gets eaten by rats. Consequentially, I didn't get far into it.
Time until I had to stop it -0:16, for reasons detailed above.
Rating - 0/10 - If I'd listened to the actual song, it may not have been the worst on this list (because I'm sure it can't be worse than The fucking Climb), but since I only heard the intro and cut it off in anger, that is how it shall remain.
This is the best of British Pop? Oh dear god... seriously?? Ignoring the fact that four of those "artists" (A term I use in it's very loosest sense) are direct results of X-Factor (And yes I'm counting Cheryl Cole amongst those, because without X-Factor she wouldn't have a solo career, she'd simply be known as "That one from Girls Aloud who married the footballer") it's still appalling. They're all either ballads or R&B of some kind, and just... no. They're rubbish.
So in conclusion, which would I pick for Best Single?
Killing in the Name by Rage Against the Machine... :) Or is it too late to start a petition?
P.S. On a sad side-note, it was announced today that Boyzone are releasing a new single with Stephen Gately's vocals on it (Obviously recorded before he died, they didn't get a medium to contact him from beyond the grave....) While I think it's sad that he died, this really does seem like such an insensetive cash-in. I mean really, Boyzone didn't reform for artistic reasons, they re-formed for money and someone (be it the band themselves, or someone within their management/record company structure) has decided that they'll make a fortune by releasing something now. And the sad thing is? They're probably right...