Sunday, September 18, 2005

NME Chart Show

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.


Come Back Brighter said...

You should do this more often, I enjoy hearing your views on the modern musics -- even if I think you really made up #1.

But your life is busy enough without asking you to start writing music reviews on a regular basis.

(you should though)

Teresa Bowman said...

I think my tastes must be becoming more and more conservative and MOR as I grow old, because I actually like all these things that people constantly tell me are boring pedestrian crap (Bloc Party, Hard-Fi, etc etc).

Still, it could be worse. (It could ... couldn't it? Yes, of course it could.)

With you on Franz Ferdinand and Editors though. They are hecks of songs.

Oh and I have seen Sigur Ros. Actually "seen" is probably not the most appropriate word, since they caused me to sink into a deep coma of boredom from which I did not recover until they left the stage. "Was subjected to" is probably more accurate.

John A said...

Bee, maybe living in Blair's Britain for 8 years has lowered your musical expectations.

Sigur Ros are good, I think (personally), but surely that's an esoteric sound with narrow appeal. Iceland's music scene is strange though. Their version of Pop Idol (I believe) is judged by musicologists and academics and 95% of the country vote every week! It's meant to be brilliant but you'd have to go out of your way to find out.

Jay, I used to be a music writer, I got sick of writing reviews, because there's so little to say. That's why I have boiled music writing down to this brutal style.

John A said...

Are Arctic Monkeys being funny? That is really disappointing, I retract my comments, they are not idiot savants at all but just some chavs rocking out.

nerd2thend said...

Is it sad that nearly all of these bands are unheard to me? From what I’m hearing (thank you Google), they're infinitely better than the pop that dominates mtv2 and the similar in the US. I consider it a mixed blessing when the local college radio is playing old Spoon and Bell & Sebastian.

James said...

Oh come now, Mister Allison, Bloc Party have some very nice melodies. I'm not so keen on that new one, though.