Sunday, March 30, 2014

Brit Sweep: March 30, 2014...


Well, this dreary weekend (out east, anyway) is coming to a close, and it's time to check out the songs making the top 100 of the just-released official sales chart in Britain this week...

The top-selling single of the week is the debut from the Australian boy-band 5 Seconds of Summer with "She Looks So Perfect". Over the past year the former incarnation of vocal "boy-bands" like One Direction and The Wanted have been replaced by the new tweenage by prefab'd "musical" groups, like Big Time Rush, the Vamps, and R5, and these guys fit the bill to a T, with a sanitized "harder" rock sound (I'm laughing as I type this). They have just enough "edge" to include "damn" in their lyric (a sacrilege I'm sure to the former Norwest Christian College boys), but it's all about the product, eh? Well things are looking good as their first #1 in Australia does the same here. All I can say is that if it age-crowds out Bieber, all the well then...


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Another former #1 in another country lands at #3 as French neo-house duo Faul & Wad Ad take their former chart-topper in Germany, "Changes", to these shores. They team up with Australian dance act Pnau, who had recently did a spot-on job of transforming Elton John records into dreamy dancefloor concoctions, and whose child-chorus vocals of their own "Baby" provide the backdrop to the Frenchmen's spacey lite club tones...



Dutch teenage DJ and producing prodigy Martin Garrix follows up his UK #1 hit "Animals" with "Wizard" at #7. It features the song's co-writer, Dutch DJ Jay Hardway. I really do dig that Garrix has deliberately shied from vocals in his music, bringing back an almost lost artform on the charts - the instrumental.


While Chris Brown is languishing in whatever jail he's in right now for getting kicked out of rehab, he lobs in at #15 with "Loyal" featuring Lil' Wayne and Tyga. It's the fourth single and so far highest ranked from his still-delayed X album. Why Usher and Trey Songz need to make their face shown is a mystery (homage? blackmail?), but it's the usual swag-pop that he vacillates from his good stuff with.


German dance music artist Tujamo (aka Matthias Richter) teams up with the Spanish/Japanese duo of Plastik Funk to place at #21 with "Dr. Who!" featuring rapper Sneakbo. Sad to say this is just another neo-house clubbanger track and nothing to do with the sci-fi classic TV series...


It's the season for more semi-unknown EDM tracks to make their way as Dansson (Berlin DJ Daniel Andersson) and fellow Berliner Marlon Hoffstadt with "Shake That" at #46. I admit I'm getting some EDM ennui, but their is something about the vocals on this one that keeps me listening...


There are a couple of entries on the chart from performances from the third season of The Voice UK, and the first is from Christina Marie, from Ricky Wilson (of Kaiser Chiefs)'s team, at #58 with her version of the Foo Fighers' "Everlong". Now I haven't been keeping up with this Kylie-filled season as I was from the beginning, but performances like this were what drew me to the show. #1) a non-traditional song choice (the FF single only made it to #18 in the UK), #2) a complete rework of the song so it didn't sound like karaoke, and #3) her vocals, which happy to say matched up to the task, and didn't have to fall back on the tired "you've got a great tone" which translates to "we'll Auto-Tune you into shape"...


Shakira returns at #61 with the second single from her self-titled album, "Empire". The first, the collab with Rihanna "Can't Remember To Forget You", peaked at #11 earlier this year. I think this is a great improvement from the latter song, almost like a forgotten Band song...


Frenchman William Grigahcine, who records and produces under the name DJ Snake, has worked with the likes of Lady Gaga and Kanye West, and he debuts at #66 with his own "Turn Down For What". The "trap music" record featuring crunk king Lil' Jon on rap has already been to the top-20 in America....


Alt-rock duo the Black Keys are back at #68 with the first single from their upcoming eighth studio album, "Fever". This is their lucky seventh time in the Hot 100, though they have yet to have a top-40 single in the UK - they came closest with their last, "Gold On The Ceiling", at #57. I'm a-liking this one already and it's just out...


English indie-folk singer-songwriter Passenger (the alias of Mike Rosenberg) found himself with a worldwide megahit with his "Let Her Go", and now he previews his next album at #70 with "Whispers", my "Brit Pick of the Week". I'm so happy he went minimal on this tender ballad, which isn't trying to be radio-friendly.


American R&B single J. Cole lands at #75 with "She Knows" featuring Amber Coffman. It's his second time to the chart in the UK; he peaked at #46 last year with "Power Trip". This song is by far the highlight of Cole's Born Sinner record, and damn this video is some spooky shit...


Almost a year after its release in the US, Sara Bareilles takes her hit "Brave" to the British chart at #76. It's only her second hit in this country - she went to #4 back in 2007 with her debut "Love Song". As my personal favorite song of last year, there's not much more I can gush about "Brave", but I'm thrilled over its success (it's in the top-5 in Australia right now as well)...


The second song from The Voice UK to make the chart this week is from Sally Barker from Tom Jones' team with her take on the Bee Gees' classic "To Love Somebody". It's a shock to learn that the original stopped right short of the top-40 at #41 in 1967. While a song choice like this would tend to veer into the karaoke category, it takes a more mature performer like Barker to be able to channel the emotion of the song and deliver it without pyrotechnic vocals and still bowl over the listener. I credit Tom for guiding her well...


The final entry on the chart belongs to American rapper 50 Cent with "Pilot". After trying to follow FLo Rida's rap-pop game, he's back to his "quaint" self.



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