Monday, August 28, 2006

Madonna single: Into the Groove (1985)

“Into the Groove”

Release: July 9, 1985

1. Into the Groove
2. Shoo-Bee-Doo

Producers: Madonna and Stephen Bray
Songwriters: Madonna and Stephen Bray

UK Singles Chart: #1 (4 weeks)
Billboard Dance Chart: #1 (1 week)

Desperately Seeking Susan was Madonna’s big break into the movie business. Playing a supporting part against Rosanna Arquette’s lead, Madonna steals the show as title character Susan, giving Madonna early screen success that would be followed by a string of duds. To promote the film and take advantage of Madonna’s burgeoning music career, she recorded “Into the Groove” for the movie’s soundtrack.

“Into the Groove” is a driving dance track with prominent drums, synthesizers, and Madonna’s endless enticements to get up and dance as a sexual come on. “You can dance for inspiration, come on, I’m waiting,” she coos during the song’s intro. Shep Pettibone, who would go on to produce “Vogue” and the Erotica album, remixed “Into the Groove” in 1987 for inclusion on the You Can Dance collection, which was named for one of the song’s lyrics. His production enhances the original composition without changing its core sound and adds a vital element—an effective and energetic keyboard solo during the song’s bridge. This version was edited down for The Immaculate Collection, and is the one usually heard on the radio today.

“Into the Groove” is Madonna’s best early dance track, and it has become a true Madonna classic, despite the fact that it was never officially released as a single in the US. The song was included as a B-side to the release of “Angel,” which became a top 10 hit. Even though it wasn’t in stores, “Into the Groove” was all over the radio, peaking at #6 on top 40 airplay charts. It continues to be a staple among adult top 40 stations.

Outside the US, the single was an official release and a huge hit. In the UK, it became Madonna’s first #1 hit, spending 4 weeks at the top, a run Madonna’s matched only by “Vogue.” Madonna was all over the charts in 1985. During “Into the Groove’s” third week at #1 in the UK, Madonna also held #2 with a re-release of “Holiday;” “Crazy For You” was also still in the top 20.

Sadly, like many Madonna singles of the time, “Into the Groove” lacks a proper video, but there was a clip video edited from Desperately Seeking Susan footage.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

UK Chart Analysis, 9/2/2006

1. Déjà vu – Beyonce (featuring Jay-Z)

It’s still the dog days of summer for the British singles chart. Sure, some hot fall releases are just around the corner (Justin Timberlake, Scissor Sisters, The Feeling, Lemar, and Robbie Williams all have singles coming out in the next 2 weeks). Meanwhile, the relative lack of hot new releases means Beyonce lands her second #1 UK hit with a rather lackluster track. Mildly better than winter’s “Check On It,” which hit #3, “Déjà vu” has been a real disappointment in the US, where it managed to peak at #4, but only because of a sales bubble. I expected something similar for the UK, so behold my surprise that it manages to actually unseat on of the year’s biggest hits, “Hips Don’t Lie,” from its 5-week perch at #1.

7. Chasing Cars – Snow Patrol

This is the only other news in the top 10—Snow Patrol’s amazing little single that just won’t go away. Like the little engine that could, this single has moved 25-15-13-10-12-7 over the last 6 weeks. It now ties previous single “You’re All I Have,” which peaked at #7. In the US it continues to rise too, up into the top 30 of the Billboard Hot 100 this week. Snow Patrol’s album, Eyes Open, reclaims the #1 spot on the UK albums chart this week.

13. Sexyback – Justin Timberlake

JT returns to the UK top 40 this week. Out next week, it’s a sure thing for #1.

20. Crystal Ball – Keane

This is very disappointing. Keane is a top British band, “Crystal Ball” is a great track, and they’ve even been in the tabloids recently because of singer Tom Chaplin’s rehab admission. Sadly, it becomes their smallest-charting hit to date, 2 spots lower than the 4th single from their last album, “This Is the Last Time.”

24. Never Be Lonely – The Feeling

If Keane’s having an off year, then new band The Feeling is really on a roll. “Never Be Lonely” is #2 on the airplay chart this week and should surely give the band their 3rd top 10 hit next week.

Madonna Single: Angel (1985)


Release: April 10, 1985

1. Angel
2. Into the Groove

Producer: Nile Rodgers
Songwriters: Madonna and Stephen Bray

Billboard Hot 100: #5
UK Singles Chart: #5

By April 1985 Madonna was already on to her third single of the year, “Angel,” third single from still popular Like a Virgin album (it stayed in the top 10 until July). “Angel’s” story is an interesting one, basically for being overshadowed by its B-side. After the success of soundtrack cut “Crazy for You,” the record company was surely eager to get back to promoting material from Like a Virgin. In contrast to the high pop of first two singles “Like a Virgin” and “Material Girl,” “Angel” is a more straight-forward dance cut and pretty basic at that: driving synth bass with keyboard synthesizers over it. Madonna sings in her much-welcome lower voice.

“Angel” would go on to hit #5 in the US, but this may have had more to do with its B-side, “Into the Groove,” which was not released as its own single in the US (see next entry for more on that). As time has passed “Into the Groove” has emerged as one of Madonna’s early classics, while “Angel” has been largely forgotten.

Another oddity with “Angel” is the lack of a video. In fact, Madonna made relatively few videos during this period. Only “Like a Virgin” and “Material Girl” have proper videos; “Crazy for You” and “Into the Groove” have clip videos with scenes from their films. Given the tremendous reception of the “Material Girl” video, it is surprising that the only thing produced for “Angel” was a compilation of clips from her previous videos, which may have been made by MTV to just have something for the song.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Billboard Hot 100 Chart Analysis, 9/2/2006

1. London Bridge - Fergie

This is an abomination. Probably the worst song to top the Hot 100 since I learned the Hot 100 existed. It's really quite dreadful, completely lacking in melody or anything at all interesting. She ruined the Black Eyed Peas. Now if only she'd go away. Third week at #1, sadly.

5. Buttons - The Pussycat Dolls (featuring Snoop Dogg)

This got as high at #4 recently, and it's still bulleted, so it could rebound and go higher. It knocked Nelly Furtado's "Promiscuous" from #1 on the Mediabase top 40 chart this week, giving them their 2nd radio #1 after "Stickwitu." Certainly an improvement over "Beep," their only single so far to miss the top 10.

7. Get Up - Ciara (featuring Chamillionaire)

Ciara returns to the top 10 to score her 4th top 10 (7th if you count her guest appearances). Ciara hit #1 with her debut, "Goodies," and sent both of its follow-ups to #2, "1, 2 Step" and "Oh." Her only misstep, the #95 placing of her first album's fourth single, "And I." Doing guest work here is rapper Chamillionaire, still "ridin'" high on the success of his recent #1 hit. It's the sales gainer too.

8. Ain't No Other Man - Christina Aguilera

Christina earns her bullet back this week, but probably only because the album came out (and hit #1).

9. Sexy Love - Ne-Yo

Ne-Yo's back in the top 10 after the lame #15 peak of "When You're Mad," which was a dumb choice for single anyway. This is a better song, although it's still no "So Sick."

11. Far Away

Nickelback makes a big 12-spot leap to #11 with "Far Away," third single from their third album. I'm guessing it will become their 4th top 10 hit next week. Surprisingly, their last single, "Savin' Me," only made #19, despite the fact that it's not as bad as their usual stuff.

25. Call Me When You're Sober - Evanescence

Evanscence is back with a bang, debuting at #25 with their 3rd top 40 hit, "Call Me When You're Sober." The band's first 2 hits both made the top 10; "Bring Me to Life" hit #5 in 2003, and "My Immortal" hit #7 in 2004.

26. Chasing Cars - Snow Patrol

Snow Patrol's first US hit continues to climb, up 5 this week to #26. The single recently peaked at #10 in the UK, where it was the second top 10 hit from their 4th album, Eyes Open.

29. When You Were Young - The Killers

The Killers stall at #29 this week with their second top 40 hit, "When You Were Young," first release from their upcoming second album, Sam's Town. This track hasn't impacted at top 40 or adult top 40 radio yet, where "Mr. Brightside," their first top 40 hit, was quite strong.

31. Sexyback - Justin Timberlake

JT's up just 4 spots this week with "Sexyback," but watch out next week. This went on sale at iTunes this week--expect it to knock Fergie from #1 next week.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Album Review: Keane - Under the Iron Sea (4.5 / 5)

Every band has its resident genius. Chris Martin clearly fills that position in Coldplay. In Keane it’s Tim Rice-Oxley, the band’s songwriter and principal musician (he does everything except sing—that’s Tom Chapman’s gig—and drum—that duty goes to Richard Hughes). Yet unlike Martin, Rice-Oxley is content to exist in frontman Chapman’s shadow like an anonymous puppetmaster. Maybe that’s a stretch, but Under the Iron Sea is a testament to Rice-Oxley’s melodic genius and represents a solid attempt by the band to stretch it’s creativity beyond just making beautiful songs. That it doesn’t quite succeed makes it all the more endearing for having tried.

Hopes and Fears, Keane’s 2004 album, was a remarkable debut achievement. Every song was a winner, particularly the first 5 tracks, and the act was notable for substituting piano completely for guitar as the backbone of their uplifting rock melodies. For Under the Iron Sea, the band decided to go with a concept of sorts—darker, moodier works. There’s still a lot of the same kind of music on this disc as their first album, but many of the tracks resonate with darker, richer attempts, drawing from U2, classical music, and the war for inspiration.

“Atlantic” opens slowly with a minute of slowly building instrumentation before the Tom Chapman’s boyishly sweet vocals kick in. It’s a far cry from the top 40 pop of “Somewhere Only We Know,” the opener from their last album. “Atlantic” is dark and moody, swirling with long synth chords and . And then it takes a beautiful turn toward brighter pastures—one of my favorite moments on the album is right here as Tom sings “I need a place that’s hidden in the deep…” as Tim’s chord structures change underneath. It’s quite moving and beautiful.

Keane then turns up the volume nobs—way up—for second track “Is It Any Wonder?” the loudest, rockiest song they’ve recorded yet. Is that electric guitar we hear? No! Keane does NOT do electric guitar. It’s actually electric piano that Tim modified with effects pedals to sound almost like guitar. While Keane’s first album drew many obvious comparisons to Coldplay, and the second disc does too, this track is pure U2 legacy. A smashing choice for the album’s lead single.

Next up is “Nothing in My Way,” which covers more traditional Keane territory we are used to hearing, Tim’s beautifully structured piano- and synth-driven melody under Tom’s emotional vocal. If the piano chords sound vaguely familiar, it’s no accident. Rice-Oxley has said this song was inspired by Eminem’s “Lose Yourself,” and the influence is there, albeit subtly. It’s a great song too, one of my favorites on the album. Followed by “Leaving So Soon,” another strong track.

Track 5 though is the real clincher. Every time I listen to it I get chills, and it grabs me from its first initial synth notes. “A Bad Dream” tells the story of a disillusioned airplane fighter pilot who feels alone and tired—“guess I’m not the fighting kind” he says. The song opens with some low rumbling synth cords—reminiscent of the sound of far away WWII-era fighter planes. It’s a remarkable song on so many levels. It’s achingly beautiful—the most beautiful song Keane has recorded. It’s also a subtle, yet extremely effective way to comment on the Iraq war. Rather than throwing out anger and diatribes against governments and politicians—the old standby method that has renewed the interest of some rock musicians of late—Keane express their POV by telling a simple story of one man in the war who doesn’t want to be there. It’s sad and beautiful and moving. I hope it gets released as a single, as I would LOVE to see the video.

“Hamburg Song,” so titled because it was written in Hamburg and they could think of no other moniker, is a simple ballad that is saved from tedium by its beautiful bridge of rich chords that sounds like it could have come from a Chopin composition. “Put it Behind You” cribs from Hopes and Fears’ “Bend and Break,” and while enjoyable, isn’t as good as its antecedent.

By this point in the album, the concept seems to break down. Sure, some of the tracks were darker, but songs like “Put it Behind You” and “Crystal Ball” are more like business as usual for Keane. The second half of the album also brings its one true disappointment, the title track “Iron Sea.” This is an 2½ minute instrumental track of high-feedback synths. People either really like or dislike this composition, and I’m afraid I fall into the latter camp. It just doesn’t do anything for me and it feels really disconnected from the rest of the album. There’s no transition being made, as the dark piece sits between two of the album’s poppiest numbers. Strangely, on the American version of the album, “Iron Sea” isn’t given its own track placing, but sits right after “Put It Behind You” as the last 2:48 of track 7. Bizarre. Things pick up again with “Crystal Ball,” this album’s “Everybody’s Changing,” a great upbeat traditionally Keane song.

The last three tracks of the album are okay, but don’t really hold my interest. “Try Again” plods along rather quietly before an injection of strong piano and synth chords after the second verse, making it sound almost like the band’s first single. “Broken Toy” sounds vaguely retro/jazzy and is very piano-focused, but a little too long. “The Frog Prince” finishes the collection in true Keane style, and even surprises with a somewhat unstructured middle section.

Under the Iron Sea is a worthy follow-up to Hopes and Fears; overall, it’s not as consistent as their first album, but its high points are truly remarkable, particularly “A Bad Dream,” “Atlantic” and “Is It Any Wonder?” The band has talked openly about how it almost fell apart between these albums; hopefully they can keep it together to deliver album #3 by 2008.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Madonna Single: Crazy For You (1985)

“Crazy For You”

Release: March 2, 1985

1. Crazy For You
2. I’ll Fall In Love Again (Sammy Hagar)

Producer: John “Jellybean” Benitez
Songwriters: John Bettis and Jon Lind

Billboard Hot 100: #1 (1 week)
UK Singles Chart: #2 (3 weeks)

Over the years, Madonna has used soundtracks as an opportunity to release singles between albums, and some of her biggest hits have been non-album singles from soundtracks. “Crazy For You” from the film Vision Quest was her first soundtrack single, yet it came at the height of her Like a Virgin popularity. Rather than distract fans, it only added to the Madonna frenzy of 1985, hitting #1 in the US just a few weeks after “Material Girl” had peaked at #2. Frequently Madonna has appeared in the films whose soundtracks have showcased her hits; in Vision Quest, she appears performing both “Crazy For You” and “Gambler” as a nightclub performer.

“Crazy For You” was also Madonna’s first major ballad, and showcased the singer using her lower vocal register, which she had experimented with during the recording of Like a Virgin. Just as he had saved Madonna by remixing many of its tracks, Madonna’s ex-boyfriend swooped in to remix the early cut of “Crazy For You,” ultimately earning production credit. While she was already established as a major pop star, “Crazy For You” broadened her appeal to adult contemporary audiences too. It was an effective contrast to the R&B/dance-oriented pop of “Like a Virgin” and “Material Girl.” The single hit #2 in Britain during the summer of 1985, overlapping in the top 10 with “Into the Groove.” “Crazy For You” was re-released in 1991 as the second British single from The Immaculate Collection, where it again peaked at #2.

The “Crazy For You” video, directed by Vision Quest director Harold Becker, is entirely clips from the film, including cuts of Madonna singing the song in the nightclub. “Crazy For You” remains one of Madonna’s most enduring early hits and can frequently be heard today on adult top 40 and adult contemporary radio stations.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Madonna turns 48

Madonna turns 48 today. Let's celebrate with another entry in the Madonna Project.

Madonna Single: Material Girl (1985)

“Material Girl”

Release: January 30, 1985

1. Material Girl
2. Pretender

Producer: Nile Rodgers
Songwriters: Peter Brown and Robert Rans

Billboard Hot 100: #2 (2 weeks)
Billboard Dance/Club Play: #1 (1 week)
UK Singles Chart: #3

Madonna’s second Like a Virgin single was instrumental in defining her media image for years to come, even if the message was misunderstood. “Material Girl” is an upbeat piece of dance/pop that endures as one of her early classics. It’s a great pop song, driven along by an insistent synthetic bass line and other synthesizer effects. Madonna even seems to get “spanked” at one point during the song as she giggles with glee. The lyrics are, of course, a tongue-in-cheek send up of ‘80s materialism as the driving force of romance, yet the “Material Girl” moniker was too easy to resist, and the media branded Madonna herself as the Material Girl, a nickname that has stuck to this day.

As if the title alone weren’t enough to define Madonna’s image, then the video sealed the deal. Directed by Mary Lambert, who helmed Madonna’s last video, “Like a Virgin,” “Material Girl” finds Madonna re-creating Marilyn Monroe’s performance of “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” from Gentlemen Prefer Blonds. Again, this move works on multiple levels, both as a thematic reference to materialism/romance and Madonna’s successful incorporation of Marilyn Monroe as an iconic image for her own use, which she would resurrect again and again. Dan Aykroyd appears in the video too.

Although it wasn’t as big a hit as “Like a Virgin,” “Material Girl” was still very successful, hitting #2 in the US and #3 in the UK. It’s certainly proven to be one her most enduring early singles. It’s even being used for an upcoming film, produced by Madonna’s production company, Maverick.

Finally, an important note of trivia. During filming of the “Material Girl” video, Mary Lambert brought her friend Sean Penn to the set one day to meet Madonna, sparking Madonna’s first high-profile media romance, leading to her first marriage.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Personal Chart, 8/19/2006

TW LW Wks Title - Artist
1 .... 3 .... 3 .... I Don't Feel Like Dancin' - Scissor Sisters (1 week @ #1)
2 .... 1 ... 10 ... Ain't No Other Man - Christina Aguilera (2 wks @ #1)
3 .... 9 .... 5 .... Crystal Ball - Keane
4 .... 6 .... 5 .... You Give Me Something - James Morrison
5 .... 5 ... 11 ... Chasing Cars - Snow Patrol
6 .... 7 ... 14 ... Promiscuous - Nelly Furtado Featuring Timbaland (4 wks @ #1)
7 .... 4 .... 8 .... Smile - Lily Allen (1 wk @ #1)
8 .... 2 ... 18 ... Get Together - Madonna
9 ... 10 ... 5 .... Sexyback - Justin Timberlake
10 .. 11 .. 6 .... Buttons - The Pussycat Dolls

Monday, August 14, 2006

UK Singles Chart Analysis, 8/19/2006

1. I Don't Feel Like Dancin' - Scissor Sisters

This is more a prediction than truth. The Scissor Sisters' new single, "I Don't Feel Like Dancin'" isn't out until early next month, yet the track is already #1 at on the UK radio airplay chart, knocking Lily Allen's "Smile" from the perch where she's spent the last 6 weeks. Here's the real #1:

1. Hips Don't Like - Shakira Featuring Wyclef Jean

Another slow week lets Shakira retain #1 for a 4th week, making "Hips Don't Lie" the second longest running #1 single this year so far. She's not the only one that benefits...

2. Everytime We Touch - Cascada

...Cascada benefits too, moving up 2 spots to #2 with their Hi-NRG house hit "Everytime We Touch." A shame, when there's some great dance tracks just outside the top 10.

5. You Give Me Something - James Morrison

And James Morrison. "You Give Me Something" has been charting for 5 weeks now, and moves back up a spot to #5, it's peak position and third week in the spot.

10. Chasing Cars - Snow Patrol

And Snow Patrol, who's "Chasing Cars" has climbed 25-15-13-10 to become their third top 10 hit after "Run" (#5 in 2004) and "You're All I Have," (#7 earlier this year). It completely deserves it too. Great song.

12. Borderline - Micheal Gray

Michael Gray doesn't make out so well though. He has the highest debut of the week, but only at #12. November 2004 he hit #7 with "The Weekend." "Borderline" charts similar dance territory, and obviously cribs from Armand Van Helden's #1 dance hit from 1999, "You Don't Know Me." It's a fun dance tune, and I thought for sure it would go top 10.

17. Horny As a Dandy - Mousse T vs. the Dandy Warhols

I thought this would be a top 10 shoo-in, another great dance track. This is a mash-up by Mousse T of his own hit "Horny," a #2 hit in the summer of 1998 and "Bohemian Like You," a #5 hit in 2001 by Portland, Oregon based The Dandy Warhols. It's fun mash-up, incorporating elements equally from both songs, but it charts at a lowly #17 for such a fun summer single. Meanwhile Cascada is up there at #2. What gives Britain?!

23. Me & U - Cassie

Cassie makes a strong debut on downloads at #23. #1 next week? Maybe, but she'll have to contend with an British alt/rock powerhouse (see below).

27. Happiness - Orson

It's diminishing returns now for Orson. They hit #1 with first single, "No Tomorrow," #11 with second single "Bright Idea," and now down at #27 for "Happiness." All are great tracks though. I definitely recommend the album, which I believe is #4 this week on the UK albums chart. So they're not hurting, even if the single is at #27.

28. Love Don't Let Me Go (Walking Away) - David Guetta vs. The Egg

Another downloads-only-charting single walks in (or away rather) at #28. Should be top 10 next week. Dance music could use some redemption after this week.

AND that brings us to next week. The last couple of weeks have been kind of slow, but next week should change that. Vying for the top 10 are a bevy of big-name releases:

"Leave Before the Lights Come On" - Arctic Monkeys. Arctic Monkeys have already had two #1 hits, and this new song isn't on the album. It's probably their best release yet too, so expect it to sell buckets.

"Me & U" - Cassie (see above)
"Love Don't Let Me Go" - David Guetta vs. the Egg (see above)
"Lipstick" - Alesha
"Iris" - Ronan Keating (Yes it's a bland remake of the Goo Dolls 1998 classic, but he ALWAYS goes top 10).
"Ridin'" - Chamillionaire

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Madonna Album: Like a Virgin (1984)

Like a Virgin

Release: November 13, 1984

1. Material Girl
2. Angel
3. Like a Virgin
4. Over and Over
5. Love Don’t Live Here Anymore
6. Dress You Up
7. Shoo-Bee-Doo
8. Pretender
9. Stay

Producer: Nile Rodgers
Writers: Madonna and Steve Bray (“Angel,” “Over and Over,” “Pretender,” and “Stay”), Madonna (“Shoo Bee Doo”), Peter Brown and Robert Rans (“Material Girl”), Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly (“Like a Virgin”), and Miles Greggory (“Love Don’t Live Here Anymore”)

Billboard 200: #1 (3 weeks) UK Albums Chart: #1 (2 weeks)

Like a Virgin is clearly the album that made Madonna a megastar. She had made a name for herself with Madonna, her debut club-oriented disc that saw the singer transition from the club world to the pop world, but that album’s reach and popularity pales in comparison to the phenomenal impact of her second album. Like a Virgin quickly climbed the Billboard albums chart, hitting #1 by February 1985. The album is RIAA-certified diamond for 10 million units shipped, making Like a Virgin Madonna’s second best-selling album next to The Immaculate Collection. With a wink, Madonna dedicated the album to “the virgins of the world.”

Nile Rodgers, who had worked with Chic and David Bowie, produced every track on the album, giving the disc a unified dance/pop sound. The album’s production is a crisp mix of electronic and acoustic instruments. Bass synthesizers are featured prominently throughout and used as a staccato effect in songs like “Angel,” “Like a Virgin,” and “Over and Over.” The tracks also feature a mix of live drums and drum programming. Madonna’s vocals are also varied on the disc. On Madonna, she sang pretty much exclusively in her higher nasal register. On Like a Virgin, she began to experiment with singing in a lower, fuller register, which she would later hone to be her primary vocal style. Such contrast is evident in tracks like “Angel” where she begins the first verse in the higher range and shifts to the lower range for the second verse and chorus.

Steve Bray makes an official return as a Madonna collaborator for this album, co-writing with Madonna four of the album’s more dance-oriented cuts. The two had worked together on her original four-track demo, but Bray had been passed over for producing any of those cuts for her first album in favor of more experienced producers. Photographer Steven Meisel shot the provocative cover photo of Madonna wearing a bridal dress, similar to the one she had worn for the “Like a Virgin” performance on MTV 2 months prior to the album’s release.

Like a Virgin is a solid collection of pop cuts that showcased Madonna as a growing pop music force. Two tracks—“Like a Virgin” and “Material Girl”—would go on to become ‘80s pop classics that, for better or worse, would come to define Madonna’s public image for remainder of the decade. “Material Girl” in particular would become a label the media would use to describe the singer to this day. “Angel” and “Dress You Up” also became top 10 hits. Even non-single cuts like “Over and Over” and “Stay” are still fresh. The album’s only downside are its ballads, “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore” and “Shoo-Bee-Doo,” which sound stale. Madonna had stuck to only fast cuts on her first LP, so the inclusion of slower songs on Like a Virgin was surely an attempt to broaden her reach. Still, next to so many brilliantly executed dance pop cuts, they lack the impact that later Madonna ballads would achieve. I’d rate Like a Virgin a 4.5 out of 5.

Friday, August 11, 2006

UK Single Chart Analysis, 8/12/2006

1. Hips Don't Lie - Shakira Featuring Wyclef Jean

Shakira spends a 3rd week atop the UK chart this week, tying Nelly Furtado's "Maneater" for second-longest running #1 hit of the year. Both are a long way from frontrunner Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy," which spent an amazing 9 weeks at #1. Here's an interesting fact: Despite being the #1 single in the country for a third week, BBC Radio 1, the nation's most popular (and public) top 40 station refuses to add the track to their playlist. Too cool? Maybe. But not so cool that Paris Hilton isn't getting some spins on air. Seems like someone at the BBC has it in for Colombia's hottest export since Cocaine.

2. Unfaithful - Rihanna

The chart's a bit slow this week, so Rihanna rebounds to her peak position from a fortnight ago. Still unlikely to become her first chart-topper though.

4. Everytime We Touch - Cascada

Whoa! Here's an oddity. A by-the-numbers house dance track becomes a UK top 5 hit. Nevermind the fact that plenty of cool house tracks have charted pretty poorly this year in a country that's embraced dance music for years. Even odder is the fact that not only has the UK embraced this song, but that it was a huge HUGE hit in the US--the country that completely turned it's back on house. Well almost. House music is a regular on the UK top 40, but appears maybe 3 or 4 times a year in the US. Lately it's been the sort of hi-NRG stuff that DJ Sammy made big with "Heaven," (Although he clearly wasn't the first, just the most successful). This was a top 10 US hit in December 2005 and now it does top 5 in the UK. It's okay stuff, but there's much more interesting work being done in house and dance music these days.

5. Stars Are Blind - Paris Hilton

I used to make fun of this, until I listened to it for awhile and realized it's actually not bad. Of course Paris Hilton is rediculous, and famous only because 1) her father is an American institution and 2) she'll give it up on camera, but still "Stars Are Blind" is a fun dose of reggae-influenced summer pop. Enjoy it with an iced team or a margarita.

13. Chasing Cars - Snow Patrol

Snow Patrol inches up a couple of notches to #13 with their latest, the cool ballad "Chasing Cars," which has actually managed to crack the US top 40 airplay chart. Crazy! Snow Patrol's albums, Eyes Open, is really quite good and I highly recommend it.

20. All This Love - Similou

This is an okay song, but I don't see much here to distinguish from stuff like The Postal Service or Hot Chip. It's all in the same vein me thinks.

30. Glorious - Captain

This is a really cool song. It's in the retro/rock territory dominated by the Killers. Good stuff.

Personal Chart, 8/12/2006

TW LW Wks Title - Artist
1 .... 1 .... 9 .... Ain't No Other Man - Christina Aguilera (2 wks @ #1)
2 .... 2 ... 17 ... Get Together - Madonna
3 ... 14 ... 2 .... I Don't Feel Like Dancin' - Scissor Sisters
4 .... 3 .... 7 .... Smile - Lily Allen (1 wk @ #1)
5 .... 6 ... 10 .. Chasing Cars - Snow Patrol
6 .... 7 .... 4 .... You Give Me Something - James Morrison
7 .... 5 ... 13 ... Promiscuous - Nelly Furtado Featuring Timbaland (4 wks @ #1)
8 .... 4 ... 14 ... Unfaithful - Rihanna
9 ... 19 ... 4 .... Crystal Ball - Keane
10 .. 11 .. 4 .... Sexyback - Justin Timberlake