Archives for July 2007

How To Destroy...Timbaland

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Fraser McAlpine | 17:11 UK time, Tuesday, 31 July 2007

How To Destroy Timbaland

NOTE: Screaming into a microphone which is plugged into someone's headphones is a very unpleasant thing to do. You could rupture their eardrums, and there's really no proof that it would make their nose fall off, no matter what this picture may suggest. SO, you are advised to ONLY use this method of Timbaland destruction if you are in the kind of situation where it's either him or you, and rupturing his eardrums won't just really annoy him.

SECOND NOTE: Course, if you really wanted to destroy Timbaland, all you need to do is nick his celebrity address book. Instant career death!

How To Destroy Other Pop Stars....

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Elliott Minor - 'Jessica'

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Fraser McAlpine | 09:10 UK time, Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Elliot MinorOne of the great lies/misunderstandings of the original 1970s punk rock explosion was that musical proficiency - the ability to play your instruments and sing - is a bad thing. I say 'misunderstanding', because lots of the key punk bands were actually pretty tasty players (trust me, that's how musicians actually talk), but were considered to be dunces by the rock press because they didn't play deliberately obtuse jazz skronk in tricky time-signatures. The original idea behind the punk movement was that anyone could be in a band, if they had a forward-thinking attitude, a good look, and (this is the the really important bit) some really good IDEAS.

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Email Interview: Tokio Hotel

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Fraser McAlpine | 17:52 UK time, Monday, 30 July 2007

Tokio Hotel

If you know who these vampiric androgynes (and Gustav) are, anything I have to say about them now will be accompanied by the sound of much tutting and stroppy voices going "GOD! EVERYONE knows that!". For everyone else, this is Tokio Hotel. They are German, they are ROCK, and they are doing very nicely indeed thank you very much. Their massively successful album 'Scream' has seen them conquer Europe in a manner which I absolutely refuse to compare in any way to any World Wars of the past 100 years or so. And they're just a bunch of nippers!

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Robyn - 'With Every Heartbeat'

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Fraser McAlpine | 09:58 UK time, Monday, 30 July 2007

RobynHere's a shocking piece of news for you: I love pop music. I know, right? I'll give you a few seconds to recover from the bludgeoning that totally unexpected piece of information delivered to your brain, perhaps while you pull yourself over to a chair and grab some smelling salts, and then I can tell you why. Ready? It's easy: because there are no rules. Anything goes.

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Chart Report - 29/07/07

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Fraser McAlpine | 20:02 UK time, Sunday, 29 July 2007

THE TOP 5...

Click on song titles for ChartBlog review and media.
  1 TIMBALAND ft. DOE & KERI WILSON 'THE WAY I ARE' Official Site
  2 KATE NASH 'FOUNDATIONS' Official Site
  3 RIHANNA ft. JAY-Z 'UMBRELLA' Official Site
  4 FERGIE 'BIG GIRLS DON'T CRY' Official Site
  5 ENRIQUE IGLESIAS 'DO YOU KNOW' Official Site
The entire Top 40 is right here...

Sum 41 - 'Underclass Hero'

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Fraser McAlpine | 09:06 UK time, Sunday, 29 July 2007

Sum 41"I pledge allegiance to the underclass as your hero at large..."

HERO, is it? Blimey! Clearly Deryk Whibley is not someone who suffers from a lack of self-confidence. Which is probably a very good thing in some circumstances. I mean you don't want to find yourself married to someone like Avril Lavigne without being fairly sure of who you are and what you want out of life. Actually, chances are that's exactly HOW you get to be married to Avril Lavigne, so long as the answers to the questions a) Do you know who you are? and b) What do you want out of life? are a) Deryk Whibley out of Sum 41 and b) Avril Lavigne.

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Akon - Mama Africa

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Fraser McAlpine | 09:37 UK time, Saturday, 28 July 2007

AkonTricky customer, Mr A. Kon. On the one hand, he IS the bloke who sang that nasty song about wanting to do it with strippers, and who seems not to know there's an enormous line between audience participation and just being a sleazy gimp. And that voice annoys as many people as it enthralls. On the other hand, when he drops the thug mask, he's capable of producing something as pretty and heartfelt (or at least it SOUNDS heartfelt) as 'Don't Matter', so he can't be all bad.

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Fergie's Lyriscope

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Fraser McAlpine | 17:50 UK time, Friday, 27 July 2007

FergiePop songs...terribly important things, aren't they? Especially in the words department. A good pop lyric is the kind of thing you can set your watch by, such is its ineffable rightness. A bad pop lyric is also a thing to be cherished, as this crazy old world contains much which is frustrating or sad, and there's often a lack of things to have a really good giggle about like you can to 'Long Hot Summer' by Girls Aloud.

So, in order to test the truth and brilliance of certain song lyrics, ChartBlog boffins have developed a device called a Lyriscope - part lyric, part horoscope (part badger).

This takes key phrases from songs, and measures how much it is possible to reacreate them using actual real life stuff. Naturally this kind of hazardous endeavour is best left to the professionals, so don't try anything in this feature yourselves, OK?

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Beyonce - 'Green Light'

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Fraser McAlpine | 09:56 UK time, Friday, 27 July 2007

BeyonceAs of right now, I've officially never been more pleased with pop music and the way in which it does what it does. I don't know if it's to do with the enormity of the Beyonce BRAND MACHINE or the fact that creativity seems to be having a field day with the best efforts of even the biggest pop stars. Either way, the fact is that hit records are now happening because of their superior remixes, rather than the version officially sanctioned by the artist who made the song in the first place. How amazing is that?

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Kate Nash - Busy Rascal...

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Fraser McAlpine | 17:34 UK time, Thursday, 26 July 2007

Kate Nash

When a pop star has their first massive hit single, things go a bit nuts. They may THINK they were doing a lot of interviews and telly shows and special appearances and stuff before, but this is nothing compared to the tsunami-sized wave of demands which wash over your newly-successful pop people from the second they wake until the second they get to sleep (almost exactly 24 hours later, ready to start again as soon as their weary heads hit the pillow).

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The Coral - 'Who's Gonna Find Me'

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Fraser McAlpine | 09:48 UK time, Thursday, 26 July 2007

CoralI really like the Coral. I like that they're one of those Liverpudlian bands whose entire creative life is spent attempting to re-learn the lessons of the 1960s, and then bring everything they've learned into modern times. They, and other bands like them, are like a musical version of those historical re-enactment societies who dress up as cavaliers and roundheads, then meet up in some farmer's goat pasture to have another crack at the battle of Naseby. And for this they deserve some respect.

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SongSpoiler - Amy MacDonald

Fraser McAlpine | 16:24 UK time, Wednesday, 25 July 2007

It's quite a sweet song this, innit? Nice boomy voice, good tumbledown melody. You would have to be quite the evil swine to wreck people's enjoyment of a song like this by reminding them of other songs which will tug at their brains while listening, and distract them entirely until they can't remember their own name.

What kind of selfish, nasty show-off would do a thing like that?

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Nelly Furtado - 'In God's Hands'

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Fraser McAlpine | 09:36 UK time, Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Nelly FurtadoIt's almost shocking to think of this song appearing on the same album as songs like 'Maneater' and 'Promiscuous'. This is partly because those songs were released blimming AGES ago, and we should be expecting a new Nelly album soon (surely?) and partly because whatever cold muse inspired those songs - modern classics both - clearly spent some time in the warmth and love of the people who love it the best, before getting back to the hard graft of making creative people think clever things about stuff.

60 second video stream (Windows Media only)

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How To Destroy...My Chemical Romance

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Fraser McAlpine | 16:32 UK time, Tuesday, 24 July 2007

How To Destroy My Chemical Romance

NOTE: This is such fun! Every time a new one of these goes up, someone says "OH MY GOD, HOW COULD YOU DESTROY [MY FAVOURITE POP STAR]" and gets a cob on. So, once again, can I reassure everyone that ChartBlog does not wish to destroy anyone ever. Think of these instructional cartoons as being like the airbags in your car. Only necessary in an emergency situation (and full of hot air).

SECOND NOTE: Always have an adult helper on hand when you're melting pop stars. And please don't really melt your MCR dolls. Think of the poisonous emissions!

How To Destroy Other Pop Stars....

David Guetta ft Chris Willis - 'Love Is Gone'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:27 UK time, Tuesday, 24 July 2007

David GuettaRemember a week or so ago I was talking about songs which capture what it feels like to dance and cry at the same time? It was in reference to Groove Armada's 'Song 4 Mutya', and the point was that the juxtaposition between 'Yay!' and 'Waah!' is what gives certain songs their special healing power. This is another clipping from that same medicinal bush. Or at least, SOME of it is...

Windows Media: Realmedia:
High / Low High / Low

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The Day I Nearly Got Beaten Up...By Pet Shop Boys Fans

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Fraser McAlpine | 16:50 UK time, Monday, 23 July 2007

Tough Neil Tennent

Exciting headline, eh? Really sets the scene, I think. Fills the mind with images of a rampaging gang of softy-fops, who suddenly descend on some poor soul, whose only crime is reading The Da Vinci Code on a park bench, and then brutally maim him, using their sharpened tongues and barbed wit (apart from the one in a baseball cap, who is strangely quiet and a bit surly).

Picture the scene:
PSB 1: "That's it Nigel, now tell him his grammar is fundamentally flawed..."
Victim:: "STOP, DON'T PUNISH ME!"
'Nigel': "Oh yes? You would be pleased if I stopped, would you? Well I SHAN'T. You, sir, ARE A NINCOMPOOP!"

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Amerie - 'Gotta Work'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:09 UK time, Monday, 23 July 2007

AmeriePicture the scene. You go on a first date. It’s the greatest date of your life. The conversation is sparkling, you’ve got goose bumps the whole way through, it ends with a tantalising lip tangle and you CANNOT WAIT to see them again. But then, the second date doesn’t even warrant a mention. Then, they don’t call for ages and when you finally set up the third date, you find that the conversation’s QUITE good and they still look PRETTY nice and all that, but there’s something missing.

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Chart Report 22/07/07

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Fraser McAlpine | 16:29 UK time, Sunday, 22 July 2007

THE TOP 5...

Click on song titles for ChartBlog review and media.
  1 RIHANNA ft. JAY-Z 'UMBRELLA' Official Site
  2 KATE NASH 'FOUNDATIONS' Official Site
  3 TIMBALAND ft. DOE & KERI WILSON 'THE WAY I ARE' Official Site
  4 FERGIE 'BIG GIRLS DON'T CRY' Official Site
  5 ENRIQUE IGLESIAS 'DO YOU KNOW' Official Site
The entire Top 40 is right here...

Yves La Rock - 'Rise Up'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:20 UK time, Sunday, 22 July 2007

yves_larock_100.jpgI remember reading somewhere many years ago that the secret of a good pop song is that you should feel like you've already heard it before somewhere. Not in the blatant rip-off sense, but more that in the back of your head there's this comforting sensation that tells you this is a familiar experience rather than an alien one, and that you have nothing to fear. The trick, of course, is to pull that off while still throwing sufficient original tricks into the mix to get people excited by your latest opus. I'm not 100% convinced that 'Rise Up' is successful on that score.

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Dizzee Rascal - 'Old Skool'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:49 UK time, Saturday, 21 July 2007

Dizzee RascalIf you were born later than, say 1987, you may not recognise the "Whoo! Yeh!" sample at the heart of this tune. But once upon a time, around 1989-91, it was a legal requirement that every single song in the Top 40 which did not feature loud electric guitars (which at the time, meant every single song in the Top 40) heavily featured this exact loop. It was like all other forms of music had just ceased to exist, for a whole year. And it was BRILLIANT, until it got VERY BORING.

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Korn vs. Chromeo

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:06 UK time, Friday, 20 July 2007

L-R: Chromeo, Korn

OK, OK, it's clearly not going to be a very long battle if anyone were to actually arrange a proper fight between the former Dark Lords of Nu-Metal (that's Korn, disco kids) and the Disco-Pop Band Who've Got A Song I Quite Like (that's Chromeo, Nu-Metallers). And in any case, in these times of war and religious intolerance, the very last thing you want to do is encourage further violence, unless it's on someone really, really annoying, obv.

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Postcard From Eden 4 - Lily Allen

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Fraser McAlpine | 15:28 UK time, Thursday, 19 July 2007

Lily Allen

As Jamie Cullum once pointed out - when he was covering an old jazz song in an old jazz style - what a difference a day makes. After the confusion and pain and bewilderment of Amy Winehouse's startling perfomance the night before (full report here...), last night's barnstorming charm-fest by Lily Allen at the Eden Project could not have been more different.

And, as is often the way with things which are very very different, the way you can tell that they are very very different is by examining the ways in which they are the same.

No, really!

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Manic Street Preachers - 'Autumnsong'

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Fraser McAlpine | 11:59 UK time, Thursday, 19 July 2007

Manic Street PreachersGah! We've barely had SPRING yet! It's been howling it down with rain, and the days certainly haven't really felt all that much longer or warmer than they were a few months ago. For most of us right now, summer is just some abstract concept about the ground being dry underfoot and the sky being blue, which exists firmly in the past, despite the fact that we're all supposed to be smack-dab in the middle of it RIGHT NOW. And here's the Manics sending us an AUTUMN song? Talk about insensitive...

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They Tried To Make Me Go To Cornwall...

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Fraser McAlpine | 16:36 UK time, Wednesday, 18 July 2007

The Eden Project

I write this in a state of some considerable shock, having spent a restless night attempting to work out what exactly I have been witness to, and how it impacts on my deepest-held beliefs and sense of fair play with regard to music and how it is written and performed.

This is the third in the series of Special Reports from the Eden Project in Cornwall, where various chart stars (and Rufus Wainwright) have come to perform a series of concerts. Last night was Amy Winehouse's turn, and my GOD that girl can pack a lot of action into a short set.

Sadly, not all of it is the kind of action people enjoy paying good money to see...

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Dragonette - 'Take It Like A Man'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:42 UK time, Wednesday, 18 July 2007

DragonetteOne of the interesting things I learnt about Dragonette when doing some research for this review (indeed, contrary to popular belief, we don't just vomit a couple of hundred words onto the screen without any kind of second thought - at least, not all of us, and not all of the time) is that lead singer Martina's father is the Minister of Finance in the Canadian government.

This led me to wonder what it would be like if one of Alistair Darling's progeny (assuming he has any - I don't know, and it's not really any of my business either way) started a pop group. And then I decided that we need more people in the world of pop to be descended from politicians, because then Jeremy Paxman and Martha Kearney could take over as the hosts of Popworld, and wouldn't that be awesome? No? Okay then, I'll just get on with it, shall I?

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How To Destroy...The Gossip

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Fraser McAlpine | 16:06 UK time, Tuesday, 17 July 2007

How To Destroy the Gossip

NOTE: Sometimes, as the saying goes, you need to set a thief to catch a thief, or in this case, set a pop star to destroy another pop star. Now, assuming you can find Mika, and you NEED to have Beth Ditto destroyed, this would be a good way for him to do it. But be warned. He might just do it anyway. The man has needs!

Dame Shirley Bassey - 'Get The Party Started'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:26 UK time, Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Dame Shirley BasseyPAIN! OH UNIMAGINABLE PAIN! Someone in Dame Shirley's camp (and let's not underestimate the power of THAT word in this instance) has really got it in for my poor ears. I've no idea what they can have done to cause such offense, but it must have been something TERRIBLE. Actually, thinking about it, one of them is a bit pointy at the top, in a Spock sort of way...maybe it was that. I mean I know these singing stars can be a bit demanding, so it's possible that I've walked past La Bassey without realising she was there, and she saw my Spock-ear and decided to try and blast it from existence for daring to be a slightly odd shape in her presence.

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MORE Back-Of-The-Sofa Tunes...

Fraser McAlpine | 16:21 UK time, Monday, 16 July 2007

sofa.jpg

Do you remember a while ago I pulled together a collection of songs which were perhaps a little too...something...for a full ChartBlog review, but which were definitely lovely in their own way nevertheless?

(it was here, if you've forgotten)

Well, since then, a backlog of similarly wayward and unique musical moments has built up. All worthy of attention, but possibly the kind of songs which may disappear easily if we're not all very careful. Ready for round two? Here goes...

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Groove Armada ft. Mutya Buena - 'Song 4 Mutya'

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Fraser McAlpine | 09:56 UK time, Monday, 16 July 2007

Mutya BuenaThe best happy songs are always the ones which come with a great big dollop of sadness at their core. The ones which capture that exact moment of a rotten party - like the one you shouldn't really have gone to cos you've just been dumped, or the one where your crush is copping off with your best friend - where you decide to stop crying in the corner, and dance your pain away.

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Chart Report - 15/07/07

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Fraser McAlpine | 20:37 UK time, Sunday, 15 July 2007

THE TOP 5...

Click on song titles for ChartBlog review and media.
  1 RIHANNA ft. JAY-Z 'UMBRELLA' Official Site
  2 FERGIE 'BIG GIRLS DON'T CRY' Official Site
  3 KATE NASH 'FOUNDATIONS' Official Site
  4 TIMBALAND ft. DOE & KERI WILSON 'THE WAY I ARE' Official Site
  5 ARCTIC MONKEYS 'FLOURESCENT ADOLESCENT' Official Site
The entire Top 40 is right here...

Mika - 'Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:20 UK time, Sunday, 15 July 2007

MikaI'm not sure I can remember the last time a song offended me on this many levels. Before writing this review, I had to Google the lyrics just to make sure that I wasn't mishearing them, that they definitely were as offensive as I thought. Turns out, not only had I not misheard them, but I'd actually missed a few of the worse examples so I ended up even more offended than I anticipated.

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Timbaland ft. Keri Hilson & D.O.E. - 'The Way I Are'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:57 UK time, Saturday, 14 July 2007

TimbalandEver wondered what it would sound like if synthesizers could poo? Well, take a listen to this and wonder no more. The low-end rumble on Timbaland's latest has such a squitty, bowelly undercurrent to it, innocent listeners would be forgiven for expecting to hear a sharp exhalation once the song is over, followed by a big splash and an unidentified (robot) voice sighing "OHHHhhh! That's better..."

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Classified Ads - 13/07/07

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Fraser McAlpine | 16:28 UK time, Friday, 13 July 2007




-------------------
WANTED: PURPOSE
-------------------
We made poverty history.
We remembered Diana,
& we saved the ecology.
What else can our music
do now?
Contact Geldof/Gore @
Rockers Against Things

-------------------
TEAM LILY
-------------------
Meeting: This Sunday
Location: Scout Hut
Agenda: Rumble with
Teams Tweedy, Kooks, Tabloid, Winehouse...

Subs to Kate Nash
BYO lollies.


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GoodBooks - 'Passchendaele'

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Fraser McAlpine | 11:27 UK time, Friday, 13 July 2007

GoodBooksPasschendaele, a major World War One battle, is known for its extreme goriness and is held up as one of the most singularly identifiable examples of how horrifying the conflict was. There were actually three battles of Passchendaele but I suspect trying to identify between one rancid, tragic waste of human life and another three months later is unnecessary outside the pages of military history textbooks. I have to admit, this is not the sort of thing which, upon hearing about, I'd think 'blow me, better write a jaunty pop song about that'.

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Top 5 - Five Degrees Of Cover-ation

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Fraser McAlpine | 16:14 UK time, Thursday, 12 July 2007

Kevin BaconYou've all played that game 'Six Degrees Of Separation', right? Where you work out who has snogged who, and who they've gone on to snog, and then who THEY'VE snogged, and between you and everyone you know, you see how far you can go before you hit a dead end. And then there's the Hollywood version, where you pick any film star, and think about another film star who has worked with that film star, then another film star who worked with THAT film star...and try and work your way to Kevin Bacon...for reasons which are not entirely clear. That's just what people do.

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Lethal Bizzle - 'Babylon's Burning The Ghetto'

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Fraser McAlpine | 11:32 UK time, Thursday, 12 July 2007

Lethal BizzleLook, everyone, I'm white and middle class and listen to rap music! Lethal Bizzle is black and probably not middle class and listens to indie! Smell that smell? That's musical cross-pollination, that is, and it means that there's honey on the way. Someone do something before ALL social groupings just BREAK DOWN and it's not crazy to do ANYTHING any more.

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Postcard From Eden 2 - Rufus Wainwright

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Fraser McAlpine | 17:56 UK time, Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Rufus WainwrightTHE STORY SO FAR: OK, so the Eden Project, deep in the heart of Cornwall's sunny ...er...Cornwall, is hosting a big series of concerts called the Eden Sessions. The first one was local-boy-made-good James Morrison, who revealed that he is to between-song chatter what Girls Aloud are to Overeaters Anonymous. Now it's the turn of Rufus Wainwright, a man who, given his outrageous talents, tabloid-friendly private life and foppish good looks, should really be a bit more famous than he actually is.

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Joss Stone ft. Common - 'Tell Me What We're Gonna Do Now'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:33 UK time, Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Joss StoneWell Joss, first of all we're going to make an appointment with Trevor Sorbie, sit you down in his chair and see if we can't do something about that thing on your head, because the joke has gone on long enough now - it's not funny any more, it's just terrifying. And then perhaps after that we can head into town and perhaps pick out a couple of new outfits - not an entire wardrobe, but just so you've got one or two items that show less than fifty colours at once.

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How To Destroy...Klaxons

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Fraser McAlpine | 16:15 UK time, Tuesday, 10 July 2007

How To Destroy Klaxons

NOTE: It's only fitting that the sole weak spot in the new rave messiahs' collective armour would be one of the radioactive fragments of their home planet, Klaxon. Oh sure, the rays of Earth's yellow sun may give them impressive super-powers when it comes to music, but what if they used those powers for EVIL? What then? Well, now you know. You just go down to your local Klaxonite supplier and get a big rock on a stick to wave at them. Easy!

Biffy Clyro - 'Folding Stars'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:49 UK time, Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Biffy ClyroWhoah! Wait just a second! Do I detect some kind of inspiration tribute being paid here? Here's a great big rock ballad, with shades of Coldplay's 'Yellow' (only using a much twistier, folkier melody) and is clearly being released as a single so that the band can consolidate some of their recent breakthrough success and reap those ever-tasty just-desserts. And they've elected to film a stark, slightly spooky black-and-white video for their big rock ballad, all super-contrasty, wobbly camerawork and poor focus.

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The Etiquette Of Remixes

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Fraser McAlpine | 17:04 UK time, Monday, 9 July 2007

Hilary Duff - Remixed

The art of remixing is a curious thing indeed. As a remixer, you get given a song, and the chance to take off all the bits which get on your nerves and replace them with bits that you really like. The bits that get on your nerves can include ANYTHING on the original song, from the tambourine to the lead vocal to all of the music, including the tempo. And if the result sounds absolutely nothing like the song did when you started, well, that's part of the creative process, innit? Remixers are VISIONARIES...no...ALCHEMISTS, capable of fusing together the base metals within the latest Beyonce tune, and turn them into pure pop gold.

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Mark Ronson ft Lily Allen - 'Oh My God'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:17 UK time, Monday, 9 July 2007

Lily AllenMs Lily Floral Allen has spent the greater part of the last few months becoming notable less for the music which she makes and more for how she chooses to spend her time under the celebrity spotlight (stuff like this, for example). Less attention is paid to what she sings than who she chooses to slag off, and whether Kate Nash is stealing her pop crown or not. So it's a welcome relief to have some (relatively) new Lily music to ponder over, if only as a reminder of what made her such a brilliant pop star in the first place.

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Chart Report - 08/07/07

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Fraser McAlpine | 20:15 UK time, Sunday, 8 July 2007

THE TOP 5...

Click on song titles for ChartBlog review and media.
  1 RIHANNA ft. JAY-Z 'UMBRELLA' Official Site
  2 KATE NASH 'FOUNDATIONS' Official Site
  3 AVRIL LAVIGNE 'WHEN YOU'RE GONE' Official Site
  4 ENRIQUE IGLESIAS 'DO YOU KNOW' Official Site
  5 HOOSIERS 'WORRIED ABOUT RAY' Official Site
The entire Top 40 is right here...

Thought On The Live Earth Concerts...

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Fraser McAlpine | 18:25 UK time, Saturday, 7 July 2007

In an attempt to offset a tiny fraction of the massive carbon footprint left by today's Live Earth concerts, I have elected not to switch the television on.

Just doing my bit. Madonna can thank me later...

TTFN.

Fraser, ChartBlog.

Blog Party - Mika's Novel...

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Fraser McAlpine | 17:09 UK time, Friday, 6 July 2007

The Adventures of Captain Mika by Mika* (aged 34 21)

mika_superhero.jpgDeep in the heart of the mirror forest, there lies a tiny little house. It's a funny-looking house, but it is not funny. Not at all. From the outside, the house looks as if someone had painted the walls using a rainbow on a brush, and the windows are as bright and shiny as a new pin.

The reason the house is so very, very colourful and the windows are so very, very shiny, is that this is the where Captain Mika lives.

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Justin Timberlake - 'Lovestoned'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:14 UK time, Friday, 6 July 2007

Justin TimberlakeThere comes a time in every pop blog's life when the dirt-digging must cease. There's a definite moment when keeping one cynical eye on the seedy underbelly of celebrity culture and the other on the lofty heights to which music soars can cause permanent optical damage. It's called The Michael Jackson Snark Dilemma, and when it arises, a wise person chooses one thing at a time to look at.

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Mad Skills Required...

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Fraser McAlpine | 17:37 UK time, Thursday, 5 July 2007

We all like a show-off, don't we? Even the most ridiculously punchable 'LOOK AT ME!' merchant gives the cynics among us the chance to tut theatrically and roll our eyes. And sometimes they'll be begging for attention because they really do have something to show off about.

But, if you have a talent and you want to share it with the world, the question is how best to achieve this without annoying all of your friends until they want to nail you to the sky and leave you there until you've wet yourself.

Well, thankfully, there's hope for everyone, in the form of TWO new BBC competitions.

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Bloc Party - 'Hunting For Witches'

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Fraser McAlpine | 11:08 UK time, Thursday, 5 July 2007

Bloc Party For all of their intellectual rigour and punk-funk party backbone, there remains something very austere, unfriendly and alien about Bloc Party's music. It's partly Kele's wounded squeak, partly his almost-profound, try-too-hard lyrics, and partly the deliberate ghostly aura the band carry around with them, like their own personal raincloud.

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Only The Pony...

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Fraser McAlpine | 17:13 UK time, Wednesday, 4 July 2007

New Young Pony Club

The root of a good relationship is talking, right? I mean it's easy to assume that someone hates you or that you hate them, when both sides are walking about carrying false impressions about the other in their heads. So when I read that New Young Pony Club were fed up about the lack of radio play for their new single 'Ice Cream', and that they were under the impression that this was in some way related to the success of not-massively-similar new rave ladyband CSS, well I just had to get their singer Tahita on the phone to try and build a few bridges.

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Razorlight - 'Hold On'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:20 UK time, Wednesday, 4 July 2007

RazorlightIt's easy to find fault with Razorlight. They've a lead singer who doesn't seem grateful for the positive attention he's been getting since his band first took off. He also seems to want to en-big-ify his songs so that they reach the widest possible audience, possibly at the expense of the little quirks and squeaks that made his older songs reach the people they got to in the first place. Plus that voice is a little thin, and those lyrics are a little weak. So what exactly is driving that naked ambition and making the skinny fella act so smugly (seeing as Razorlight fall short of being an actual cure for terminal illness and stuff)?

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Postcard From Eden - James Morrison

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Fraser McAlpine | 17:23 UK time, Tuesday, 3 July 2007

The Eden Project

See those white blobby things there? That's not genetically-engineered frogspawn, y'know. And it's not a legion of daleks having a camping holiday in the Cotswolds either. No, that right there is the Eden Project. It's a kind of theme park for plants, set in the heart of Cornish clay country, and is a genuinely brilliant place to stage a concert.

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Travis - 'Selfish Jean'

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Fraser McAlpine | 08:39 UK time, Tuesday, 3 July 2007

TravisAww....lovely Travis. Comfy like an old sweater, warm and cosy like your thickest and softest socks, and as floppy as a bogey windmill. There are many things that lovely Travis don't do. They don't swear (except in their serious songs about issues), they don't fall over drunk on the floor after duffing up a nun up for looking at them funny, and they don't do fast songs which make you want to jig about. That's for Jack Penate, right?

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Thoughts On The Diana Concert...

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Fraser McAlpine | 16:33 UK time, Monday, 2 July 2007

Nelly FurtadoI am fully aware that writing any kind of feature which seems to be critical of a concert arranged to honour The Nation's Favourite Princess Of All Our Hearts is not unlike going up to a tiger, up-ending a pot of hornets on his nose, and then attempting to swat them off using a cobra. People get very upset at anything which might be seen as a slight to Diana's memory, and often work themselves up into a frenzy on behalf of the people the late Princess tried to help, irrespective of whether those people are offended or not...

(PICTURE NOTE: That's Nelly Furtado pulling faces at Prince William, our future king.)

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Fergie - 'Big Girls Don't Cry'

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Fraser McAlpine | 09:55 UK time, Monday, 2 July 2007

FergieUpon listening to the Fergie album recently, an interesting proposition struck me, for a noughties update of the Pepsi Challenge. Now, for those of you young enough not to know what I'm talking about, the Pepsi Challenge was a blind test of cola drinks to see if people could tell the difference between Pepsi and Coke without the help of labels. It was huge in the '80s, I swear.

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Chart Report - 01/07/07

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Fraser McAlpine | 20:17 UK time, Sunday, 1 July 2007

THE TOP 5...

Click on song titles for ChartBlog review and media.
  1 RIHANNA ft. JAY-Z 'UMBRELLA' Official Site
  2 KATE NASH 'FOUNDATIONS' Official Site
  3 ENRIQUE IGLESIAS 'DO YOU KNOW' Official Site
  4 THE ENEMY 'HAD ENOUGH' Official Site
  5 LEE MEAD 'ANY DREAM WILL DO' Official Site
The entire Top 40 is right here...

Supermal ft. Luciana - 'Bigger Than Big'

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Fraser McAlpine | 08:45 UK time, Sunday, 1 July 2007

Super MalReviewers, eh? Sometimes they seem to just love hating on music. Like vultures, music critics wait for some poor, starry eyed dreamer to release a single, doing what they do and hoping someone listens - and preferably buys so they can afford some new socks - only to swoop on said dreamer and rend them limb from limb with their pointy word-beaks.

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