Having grown up with the ITV Chart Show as my only real source of pop videos (that being: one hour a week, slavishly watched no matter how bad it was the previous week), nothing puts me in a cosier frame of mind than a top ten of music videos. Fortune must favour the easily pleased, as every night I can watch the NME Chart Show (MTV 2, 7pm).
Since I haven't read the NME for several years, I am unschooled in what their tastemakers suggest viewers vote for on the MTV2 website. So the chart is generally a nice surprise when I catch it. Indie music invariably marches to one or two different drums at any time, with a few incongruities thrown in to confuse and bemuse (usually foreigners of import). It was like that in 1991, when every song on the indie chart was entitled the "Hypnoflowerlovewheel (Forever) EP", and today of course there is a general leaning toward young men with wiry arms in polo shirts playing their guitars quickly.
The music video is arguably a distraction from a song. In some cases, it improves your view of the music - I doubt anyone would have clasped their hands in rapt joy at the White Stripes' phoned-in "My Doorbell" if the video wasn't a charming period tour de force. On the other hand, the sight of Hard-Fi's eminently slappable singer renders me utterly furious.
What is on the chart this week? I know, i know!
10. Clor – 'Good Stuff'
I was washing up when this was on.
9. Hard-Fi – 'Living For The Weekend'
This is music aimed at the youth market, or as some people call it, "London". Male model fronts faceless shape-formers.
8. Mystery Jets – 'You Can't Fool Me Dennis'
This is brilliant! They are trying to pretend that the old chap in the video isn't in the band, but I saw them live, and he was.
7. The Subways – 'With You'
That chap from the Vines has asperger's syndrome and is too plum crazy to tour. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Subways. Awful.
6. Sigur Ros – 'Glosoli'
This looks like a ringer to me! I can't imagine that the kids are sitting at home, thinking, what I need to vote for is some Icelandic post rock sung in a made up language. These chaps are signed to Parlophone now, who anticipate big returns. Some say "cocaine" is a problem in the music industry!
5. We Are Scientists – 'The Great Escape'
Or rather "We Wish We Were The Killers". I wish the Killers weren't the Killers.
4. Franz Ferdinand – 'Do You Want To'
The best British indie single for years! I can't buy the album because there's no way it can touch this.
3. Editors – 'Bullets'
The best British indie single for years! I can't buy the album because there's no way it can touch this pt 2.
2. Bloc Party – 'Two More Years'
Someone, soon, has to come out and say it: the most boring, pedestrian band plying their trade at the top level today. No melodies, no excitement, flat singing. They look great though!
1. Arctic Monkeys – 'I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor'
WHAT IS THIS? WHAT IS THIS THING? Video recorded on an audio tape; four lost schoolboys, frightened for their lives. I can't tell whether this is genius on the level of Pavement's early singles or a guileless stumble into a state of musical grace. Something is happening here.