Archives for November 2007

Smacker-Bees!

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Fraser McAlpine | 17:19 UK time, Friday, 30 November 2007

Sorry, this was going to be a whole back-of-the-sofa feature with loads of other stuff in (next week, honest!), but this video is so brilliant and charming and risque and fun, that it just SCREAMS 'Happy Friday, People!'.

The name of the band is the Maccabees, and the song is called 'Toothpaste Kisses'. It's out in the new year. Have a great weekend, one and all!

Fraser

Plain White Ts - 'Hate (I Really Don't Like You)'

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Fraser McAlpine | 09:42 UK time, Friday, 30 November 2007

Plain White TsLook, we all know what we're going to do while listening to this song, right? We're not going to be cocking a friendly ear, thinking about the music, stroking our respective chins and going "hmmm, yes, I can see what you've done there", not with this band. What we're all going to be doing is cocking a hopeful ear, crossing our fingers, then uncrossing them, sighing and going "oh...this isn't as good as 'Hey There Delilah' at ALL, is it?".

So, let's not do it.

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The Twang: Ghostpushters!

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Fraser McAlpine | 17:50 UK time, Thursday, 29 November 2007

The Twang

The BBC is, as you'll no doubt be aware, undergoing a period of intense honesty. This follows a period in which people have been discovered broadcasting things which have been less than 100% true and real (Dr Who, for example...unless I'm missing the point), and so it is felt that the corporation's reputation has been tarnished. Steps have now been taken to rectify this, and you will certainly struggle to find ANY examples of deliberately misleading content on THIS blog, yesireebob!

(Er...but if you could avoid looking too closely at the Blog Party section, that would be grand. Cos it could be argued that that's very misleading indeed, despite what I'd have said were very clear disclaimers all over each posting)

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Arctic Monkeys - 'Teddy Picker'

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Fraser McAlpine | 11:10 UK time, Thursday, 29 November 2007

Arctic MonkeysIn these fretful times, with endless dire warnings of imminent eco disaster, urgent pleas for everyone to please think globally, and act locally, and general resource-maximising worry-panic, it is heartening to see the good work being done by this colony of Arctic Monkeys. Perhaps mindful of the disastrous inpact the melting of the polar ice-caps may have on their frosty ape brethren, they have taken matters into their own hands, and begun a comprehensive recycling scheme.

Windows Media: Realmedia:
High / Low High / Low

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How To Destroy...Newton Faulkner

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Fraser McAlpine | 16:07 UK time, Wednesday, 28 November 2007

How To Destroy Newton Faulkner

Note: This should not be taken as a suggestion by ChartBlog that it's a good idea to go to someone with dreadlocks and yank on them. Especially not if you're going to put your hand up to their neck to catch the massive Pez candy as well. You could really hurt someone, someone who isn't Newton Faulkner, and someone who possibly can't play entire arrangements of songs just by hitting his guitar in a funny way. And you shouldn't really try and do this to the real Newton Faulkner unless your own life is in peril...or you just really want to eat a great big sweet.

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The Enemy - 'We'll Live And Die In These Towns'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:28 UK time, Wednesday, 28 November 2007

The EnemyWhat is it about this band which induces total white-page-fever in me? It's as if they possess the ability to freeze snarky opinions within the brain of the onlistener, forever trapped in an endless loop that goes "Cuh! Sounds a bit like the Jam AGAIN....Cuh! Sounds a bit like the Jam AGAIN..." over and over, with no possibilty that it will ever transform into well-reasoned argument. I listen to their music, I think things about it, I fire up the ChartBlog EnBlogUlator, poise the fingers over the keyboard, set my eyes to 'glassy, as though dreamily inspired', and...AND....

Poop.

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The Young Knives: "Stop Making Up That Silly Voice"

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Fraser McAlpine | 17:30 UK time, Tuesday, 27 November 2007

The Young Knives - House Of Lords arrowed

There is a long and noble tradition, within popular music, of performers changing their names to appear more alluring. Adam Ant, Elton John, Dizzee Rascal, Marilyn Manson, Princess Superstar, Bono...none of these people were christened with the names which appear on their records, it's fair to say. But, in a world where your choice of nom du rock operates on the simple principle that madder is better (I'm looking at you, Lethal Bizzle), surely the best way to stand out is to name yourself after one of the stuffiest, most orthodox cornerstones of our society. Which is presumably why Thomas Dartnall, bass-player in the very brilliant Young Knives, elected to name himself The House Of Lords.

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Jack Penate - 'Have I Been A Fool'

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Fraser McAlpine | 09:25 UK time, Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Jack PenateAt this time of year, we all start to look back at what the defining musical hallmarks of 2007 might've been. My money's on it being the year that pronounciation really started playing a key role in hit records. The most obvious example might be Rihanna adding an extra syllable to the word "umbrella", turning it into an "um-bar-ella", but perhaps the silent hero (literally) of the year may turn out to be the glottal stop. (Positive Anymore certainly seems to think so, even if they rather beat us to this particular revelation.)

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Classified Ads - 26/11/07

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Fraser McAlpine | 19:55 UK time, Monday, 26 November 2007




-------------------
FOR SALE
-------------------
Magic shoes.
Will do all your dancing
for you. Can also run.

Contact J. Penate,
if you can stop me.

-------------------
BRACE YOURSELVES!
-------------------
Leona is back!
Shayne is back!
You know what time it is, right?

Lots of love
Chico xxoxoxxoxxxooxx


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Foo Fighters - 'Long Road To Ruin'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:48 UK time, Monday, 26 November 2007

Foo FightersAnother day, another troublesome band, for people who consider themselves connoisseurs of modern rockular song. Not troublesome because there is anything particularly wrong with the band themselves, or their quality control (it's not Pete Doherty all over again or anything). No, troublesome because saying you like the Foofs is akin, in some people's minds, to saying you don't really have any taste of your own, you just go with whatever the most popular rock-type-band is around at any given moment. It's an argument which was (possibly inadvertently) best summed up in this blog posting from Music Glob.

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Chart Report - 25/11/07

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Fraser McAlpine | 19:43 UK time, Sunday, 25 November 2007

1 - Leona Lewis - 'Bleeding Love'

Leona LewisChartSnipe: Oh my GOD! Don't you people think I have better ways to spend my Sunday evenings than having to think of a new and snarky thing to say about THE SAME RECORD week in and week out? There's only so many puns you can spin off of this song's title, rich as it may seem to start with, and it's not like Leona herself is a tabloid gossip magnet whose Winehouse-like lifestyle provokes oodles of quality satirical jokes, is it? At least Mark Ronson's endless stay at No.5 can be commemorated in the same ChartSnipe week in, week out. But this is the No.1 spot, it deserves fresh ideas every week, and frankly, I don't think there ARE any. So, here's the deal, if you lot can't be bothered to shift Leona from the top spot next week, I can't be bothered to bring my funny out to play. the choice is yours. (FM)

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Babyshambles - 'You Talk'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:19 UK time, Sunday, 25 November 2007

BabyshamblesThe trouble with Babyshambles, and Pete Doherty in particular, is that the insane press coverage he's received over the last few years has set a bar of expectation for his music at two very different levels (that'll be two bars then). On the one hand, people are making claims of genius on his behalf, and he did go on Jonathan Ross and express a wish that people would note how good he is at writing lyrics. On the other, the fact that he's upright, not in prison, and making music which sounds OK, is seen as being something worthy of celebration.

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Simian Mobile Disco - 'Hustler'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:32 UK time, Saturday, 24 November 2007

Simian Mobile DiscoClose your ears, children, I have awful tales to tell. In these past few months, rumors around the filthy electro scene have begun to fly and with every Ed Banger release, they grow stronger until the phrase 'no smoke without fire' has become an almost daily utterance. Yes, that's right, the truth is shocking (although I must emphasise this may still only be some kind of fetishised conspiracy theory) and Simian Mobile Disco know it. And the truth is this: people have sex.

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Blog Party: Professor 50 Cent's Guide To Political Correctness

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Fraser McAlpine | 17:24 UK time, Friday, 23 November 2007

Professor 50 Cent's guide to Political Correctness

(Taken from a recording of an lecture given by Professor Cent, no really!)

Good Afternoon. I said good afterno...good af...settle down, please, I don't want to have to bust a cap in your collective ass! Please keep your interruptions to a minimum and I will try and make this as brief and informative as possible. I'm well aware many of you wish to get back to your MyPods and your FaceBo, so if you concentrate and take note of everything I have to tell you, we should be able to get through in time for first break, with a quick seminar afterwards. OK?

So, to the matter in hand...Political Correctness has become one of the most hotly-debated topics of modern times. Not because there's anything really important or useful to say about it (otherwise it would all have been sorted out years ago), but because it is a concept which is so lost in vague definitions that people in the media have a perfect opportunity to make endless attempts at defining what it is, and why, and then argue about their own findings, forever and ever, until we're all dead.

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Sean Kingston - 'Me Love'

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Fraser McAlpine | 09:25 UK time, Friday, 23 November 2007

Sean KingstonThe mind is a curious organ. Every time I hear this song, whether on the radio, on the TV, or online, a strange phenomenon occurs. I know it's Sean Kingston - that machine-tooled glassy rasp could not come from any other robo-larynx - but my mind's eye keeps throwing up (and I mean throwing up) images of a pre-Katie Price Peter Andre, standing in a jungle pool and squeaking on about this girl he really wants to get close to.

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Estelle Interview: "I'm Not In It, I'm Not Doing It"

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Fraser McAlpine | 17:51 UK time, Thursday, 22 November 2007

Estelle

You all remember Estelle, right? She had a great 2004 hit single about being born in 1980 ("the year that God made me"), then a couple of follow-ups which were equally startling in their goodness, then fell off the pop radar for three long, lonely years. Oh sure, there were rumours of her working with John Legend and getting signed up by US rap moguls and stuff, but they said the same things about Lady Sovereign, and look what happened there...

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The Twang - 'Push The Ghosts'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:28 UK time, Thursday, 22 November 2007

The TwangAbsolutely no points to anyone whose first reaction to this song is "blimey, that bassline sounds a bit like 'Push It' by Salt-n-Pepa" because the resemblance is not so much uncanny as it is outright blatant. Proper iron-skillet-falling-on-your-head-from-thirty-feet blatant. And that's brilliant, because as source material goes, you're unlikely to find much that's more versatile, evocative or fondly remembered (Destiny's Child sampled it a few years back for a quick riff in the middle of 'Nasty Girl' and it worked brilliantly).

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This Is Why They're Hot?

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Fraser McAlpine | 17:29 UK time, Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Britney SpearsYou know those *EXCLUSIVE* *PICTURE SPECIAL* features that celeb magazines love to run about stars and how they are actually just human beings with real imperfections, just like you and me - like this one..?

Well, the thing which makes them compelling viewing (let's not pretend reading plays a large role) is the moment when the imperfection, whatever it is, shatters the mask of beauty, and suddenly this massively charismatic and sexy star you're used to seeing on the page, appears to be some kind of gorgon, just because they've got bony hands or something. It really works too, one tiny change in the way you perceive someone , and BOOM! the whole edifice of sexiness comes crashing down.

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Shayne Ward - 'Breathless'

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Fraser McAlpine | 09:34 UK time, Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Shayne WardBEFORE LISTENING: I am fully aware that venturing an opinion which deviates in any way from the idea that Shayne Ward is very very good at music indeed is akin to smearing your head with Kit-E-Kat and then sticking it in a lion's mouth. Plus it doesn't serve any useful purpose. Shayne fans aren't going to be won over by snarky critics, and snarky critics tend to form opinions in clumps anyway, so even if I hate the song and, say, Chartrigger agrees with me, all it does is add fuel to the idea that we're just a great big jealous club of ugly geeks who wish we had a fraction of Shayne's raw sexual magnetism.

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Secret Shots - Sugababe Video Weirdness

Fraser McAlpine | 17:54 UK time, Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Sugababes gallery

This, my friends, is a series of advance pictures taken from the video shoot for the next Sugababes single 'Change', which won't be in the shops until December 17th (which is partly why they are covered in watermarked text. It's a security thing. Well, more of an INsecurity thing, but you get the idea).

In some of the pics, the girls look amazingly beautiful, and in others...well, why don't you take a look for yourselves and see what you think, mm?

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Girls Aloud - 'Call The Shots'

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Fraser McAlpine | 09:50 UK time, Tuesday, 20 November 2007

girls_aloud_100.jpgIt’s their seventeenth ever single (just one more and Girls Aloud songs can legally drink, vote and take part in military operations. Whoop!). It gives Cheryl Cole goose bumps. It makes me feel very foolish for publicly dumping them on this very blog (luckily I don’t think they noticed). When it first leaked onto YouTube, I listened to it all afternoon on repeat and sent it to people who usually hate Girls Aloud thinking that it would convert them (it didn’t).

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Girls Aloud Is Dead!*

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Fraser McAlpine | 17:45 UK time, Monday, 19 November 2007

Girls Aloud - Tangled UpThis is the main photo on the CD-insert-booklet for the new Girls Aloud album, and it's rather good, isn't it?

Nicely cut up into segments like a cake, or a clock. It seems a little unfair that Nicola should have less room than the other four, but then her picture is nicer than Nadine's so it sort of balances out...at first glance.

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Editors - 'The Racing Rats'

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Fraser McAlpine | 09:44 UK time, Monday, 19 November 2007

EditorsYou have to admit, as far as lyrics for choruses go, "if a plane were to fall from the sky, how big a hole would it leave in the surface of the Earth?" is unusual. That's more of a multiple-choice GCSE physics question than a lyric, and yet it's curiously fitting that doomy old Editors should set such a question. I mean they're hardly going to write a song which asks something cheery like "if he was egged on by his mates, how many Wheat Crunchies could Jamie Oliver fit into his mouth without gagging?", are they?

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Chart Report - 18/11/07

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Fraser McAlpine | 19:52 UK time, Sunday, 18 November 2007

1 - Leona Lewis - 'Bleeding Love'

Leona LewisChartSnipe: Unfortunately, being a hugely famous popstar doesn't always mean you get the attention you crave. Okay, so Leona may be the best thing to have ever emerged from The X Factor, she might be set to conquer America, her first single might have set a record for downloads, her album looks set to do big business, but amid all this - has no one noticed? The poor girl's been singing about a severe haemorrhaging problem every time someone points a microphone in her direction for weeks now, and not one person thought to wrap her up in a blanket and whisk her off to the nearest A&E. You're all so heartless. (SP)

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Paramore - 'Crush Crush Crush'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:05 UK time, Sunday, 18 November 2007

ParamoreIt's important, in a field of music as formulaic as popular song, to have a go at mucking about with song structure from time to time. This will not only raise you to the level of 'visionary' or 'genius' among your peers, but will also make the act of writing songs a lot less boring once you've worked out how the first verse and the chorus goes.

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Remi Nicole - 'Rock 'N' Roll'

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Fraser McAlpine | 09:25 UK time, Saturday, 17 November 2007

Remi NicoleI have to confess, I was SO looking forward to reviewing this song. Not least because the chorus has been going around and around in my head for the last week, so I was already fairly sure what I wanted to say about it. And also, it's an excuse to listen to the thing a number of times in a row (not that I really need one), and that's got to be good.

Yep, Remi haterz, there's probably not going to be much point you reading to the end of this one, unless you enjoy scoffing at people whose opinions don't tally with yours. And what kind of smugly gimp would want to do that?

What, ALL of you? Right you are...

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Introducing...The Goomage Quiz!

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Fraser McAlpine | 18:45 UK time, Friday, 16 November 2007

Goomage Quiz  - Example

We all love a good quiz, don't we? Especially one which is idiotically simple at first, but then suddenly becomes fiendishly hard with no real warning. That moment when your cocky sneer turns to a terrified whine is what keeps autistic quiz-setters like me warm at nights. And with this quiz here, I'm looking forward to a lovely toasty night's sleep indeed...

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Wyclef Jean ft. Akon - 'Sweetest Girl (Dollar Bill)'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:35 UK time, Friday, 16 November 2007

Wyclef JeanIt's call the tipping point, and what it describes (in a really simplified form) is the moment where things suddenly collapse just because of one very minor change in circumstances. Like the moment in Buckaroo! where adding a bucket makes the donkey buck and throw everything off its back. There's nothing massively significant about the bucket itself, but in the context of the game, it's the one extra item which makes all the difference between winning and losing.

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Nikki Sixx Interview - "I Would Wash For Kate Moss"

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Fraser McAlpine | 17:17 UK time, Thursday, 15 November 2007

Mötley Crüe - Nikki Sixx arrowed

If you're not a metal fan, or over a certain age, you might not know who this leathery ensemble are. Well, it's Mötley Crüe (or MÖTLEY CRÜE, DÜDE! to give them their full title), and the reason this bunch of dirty old rockers are gracing your nice clean ChärtBlög is to do with music and drugs, and the way they sit together in people's minds.

No, really!

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Maroon 5 - 'Won't Go Home Without You'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:08 UK time, Thursday, 15 November 2007

Maroon 5OPEN LETTER TO HIM OUT OF THE MACAROON 5
Hey Adam, how's tricks? You been keeping well there? Been on tour? Been taking your unique brand of popstrokerock out to the people who made you what you are today? Been seeing the whites of their eyes? Making some connections? Rockin' some halls, yeah? Been living the life of the succesful popstrokerock star? Chicas for breakfast? Jack Daniels for dinner? Yeah?

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Dizzee Rascal - 'Flex'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:55 UK time, Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Dizzee RascalIt's got to be the hardest thing in the world, writing a sexy song. Not least because everyone has very different standards of what sexy is (which is good news for those of us who aren't Justin Timberlake / Girls Aloud / someone you actually fancy), but also because some people really like to hear what's going on in person's mind when they're thinking saucy thoughts, and other people find that creepy (seriously, Craig David? KEEP IT TO YOURSELF!).

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How To Destroy...Westlife

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Fraser McAlpine | 17:48 UK time, Tuesday, 13 November 2007

How To Destroy Westlife

Note: This might not work any more. As far as I'm aware, this ancient destruction technique was designed to work on the original five members of the band, as a kind of failsafe which their pretend manager Ronan Keating put in on the offchance that Westlife should ever de-rail the sales juggernaut that was Boyzone. Once Boyzone had split, Ronan clearly felt no need to use it (even though Westlife were riding a sales juggernaut of their own at that point). Then Bryan/Brian left, and there hasn't been anyone who can check if the destruction mechanism is still working or not.

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How To Deafen A Cameraman...

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Fraser McAlpine | 13:26 UK time, Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Look at this, it's Travis Barker at work on a remix of 'Crank That (Soulja Boy)' by Soulja Boy.

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Estelle - 'Wait A Minute (Just A Touch)'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:50 UK time, Tuesday, 13 November 2007

estelle_100.jpgDon't get me wrong, the past was great. I enjoyed it, and I'm sure you did as well. But you know what's better than the past? The present. I know this for a fact, because if the present weren't brilliant we wouldn't all be here now; we'd have gone off to find some other point in time that was better. So the past was great, but it could've been better, and Estelle's take on how to do that: take a jitterbug rhythm and a horn section which could basically have come right out of the twenties, then overlay it with stuttering effect and thoroughly contemporary rap, and you've got the perfect mix of past and present. Smart cookie!

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Hard-Fi Interview - "A F***ing Noisy Shirt"

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Fraser McAlpine | 21:47 UK time, Monday, 12 November 2007

Hard-Fi - Steve arrowed

It's all very well for Hard-Fi to make their grand pronouncements about not being able to live without me. But do they REALLY mean it? Frankly I am doubtful. But I also know that nothing kills a beautiful relationship quicker than acting like you don't believe it when you're being told how important you are. So, having been given the chance to chat freely with Steve Kemp, the band's very rational drummer, I decided I would use my cunning and charm to try and find out about the kind of things he really CAN'T live without. And then cross my fingers that ChartBlog's name might come up...

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Gallows ft. Lethal Bizzle - 'Staring At The Rude Bois'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:05 UK time, Monday, 12 November 2007

GallowsThis time last year, a certain Beth Ditto was voted top of a certain magazine’s annual cool list, but didn’t get the cover photo that has been bequeathed to each year’s coolster since time immemorial (see here for more details). Conversely, this year’s victor, Frank Carter of Gallows, has a lovely big old front page all to himself. So, one year the winner DOES get a cover, while another year, the artist DOESN’T. Why on earth could this be? Both cool, both deserving of the top spot, both rising stars, both striking looking specimens, making different types of music, but no less passionate about it, and yet one is thought to sell magazines while the other is thought not to. What then is the dividing factor? Could it be that only one was born under the shadow of Capricorn? Because I for one can’t figure it out…

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Chart Show vs ChartBlog - Part 5 - The Grand Finale

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Fraser McAlpine | 19:00 UK time, Sunday, 11 November 2007

Fearne and ReggieSo, our time with the Chart Show has come to an end. Leona Lewis is at No.1, Take That are at No.2, Timbaland/One Republic are at No.3, Mark Ronson is at No.4 and Westlife are No.5. Fearne and Reggie are happily off into the night, relieved that no-one will be writing down their every minor discretion and ribald joke any more, and I'm going to walk about with a massively swelled head after hearing ChartBlog content read out on air. It's just a great big backslap-athon, and frankly, who's complaining?

What's that? YOU are? Shh! Don't be rude..

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Chart Show vs ChartBlog - Part 4

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Fraser McAlpine | 17:58 UK time, Sunday, 11 November 2007

The Magic Happens to FearneIn science, the term Observer Effect refers to changes that the act of observing will make on whatever it is that is being observed. And I think we have now found the perfect example of this phenomenon in action. Having read out a couple of these blog entries on air, Fearne and Reggie are now starting to become a little more guarded about what they say. Not in an unfriendly way, I hasten to add, but this has added a slight air of tension to proceedings. I'm hoping to make one of them cry before the show finishes...

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Chart Show vs ChartBlog - Part 3

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Fraser McAlpine | 16:59 UK time, Sunday, 11 November 2007

radio1_2_reg.jpgSo, the show is in full flow now, and it's all going rather well. There's very little difference between Fearne and Reggie on air and Fearne and Reggie OFF air, except for a couple of swearwords (quite shocking to hear, oddly), the occasional mildly snarky comment and Reg's talent for taking a subject to the very edge of human decency, then verbally dancing about there for a while, in a naughty schoolboy stylee. Hell, even a brief chat about Ghanaian food ended up with Reg yelling "'You shouldn't chew'...I sound like a porn star now!"

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Chart Show vs ChartBlog - Part 2

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Fraser McAlpine | 15:48 UK time, Sunday, 11 November 2007

The Desk

OK, so now we've all moved downstairs, out of the production office and into the studio. This is where things stop being oddly normal and start being properly excting. For starters the Radio 1 studios are massively space-age, and lit like a chill-out room (in a padded cell). Then there's the mixing desk and all the screens, which has so many flashing buttons and touchscreens and stuff, it would make the Starship Enterprise look like a Fiat Punto by comparison. This is DEFINITELY the kind of stuff I'm going to get when I move out of mum and dad's...

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Chart Show vs ChartBlog - Part 1

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Fraser McAlpine | 13:50 UK time, Sunday, 11 November 2007

A Radio 1 Desk

See this? A seemingly random collection of CDs, post-it notes, bottled water and scraps of paper. It could be the pile of stuff on the homework desk you share with your siblings (and OMG THAT'S WHERE MY REMI NICOLE CD IS!), or on the desk in the office you did your work experience in - all it needs is the endless cup of tea you had to repeatedly brew - or the desk in your trendy uncle's 'den' area, but it is none of those things. In fact, it's a pile of stuff on a desk in the offices of Radio 1. More specifically it's the desk in the offices of Radio 1 from which today's ChartBloggery will commence. I am LIVE, AT THE RADIO 1 CHART SHOW. WHOO!

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KT Tunstall - 'Saving My Face'

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Fraser McAlpine | 12:52 UK time, Sunday, 11 November 2007

KT TunstallIn a discussion with Fraser the other day, I mentioned that when I'm reviewing a song I try not to take the video into account unless it's absolutely necessary, because it's the song we're meant to be evaluating, and not the shiny pieces of promotional media that accompany it. Presumably the same applies to album covers, which is a shame, because I'd love to go on and on about how amazing the cover to 'Drastic Fantastic' is (even if the title itself is a bit dodgy), striking the perfect balance between "I am a serious musician" and "whee! I like shiny things!" But that is a discussion for another time, and another place.

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The Spice Girls - 'Headlines (Friendship Never Ends)'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:25 UK time, Saturday, 10 November 2007

Spice GirlsOh very clever girls. If your first comeback single is for Children In Need, it means it's totally impossible for anyone to make any kind of assessment of the musical worth without coming across like Scrooge had a baby and he called it BeelzeBlog. Well it won't work, I tell you. You can't buy my journalistic integrity with obvious do-goodery like this, OH NO! My journalistic integrity can be bought with many things - kindness, money, sweets, someone asking politely - but not like this. I have standards to maintain, after all.

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Happy Birthday ChartBlog!

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Fraser McAlpine | 16:16 UK time, Friday, 9 November 2007

ChartenburgOn November 9th 2006, a new online music service was launched, from the team who had been making the Top of the Pops website, and in conjuction with the good people of Radio 1. It was called 'Radio 1 TOTP Chart Blog', and it was very, very pink, and very very yellow (not unlike this cake here).

One year on, ChartBlog is doing very well indeed. We've lost the battenburg branding, we've lost the extended name (just 'ChartBlog' please), we've had a war with McFly's Street Team, forged a Street Team of our own, and made fun of all of the musicians in the world...because it's fun!

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The Pigeon Detectives - 'I Found Out'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:31 UK time, Friday, 9 November 2007

Pigeon DetectivesDifficult to know what to do with this really. In a lot of ways this is the pinnacle of 2007 indie music. It's a sparky, shouty, vaguely-scuzzy, vaguely-polished new wave retread with an anthemic chorus, street romance lyrics and handclaps. It's like the Killers and the View pulling apart a song by the Shangri-Las and recasting it as a 'Teenage Kicks' for modern times.

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OneRepublic: "Had Some Tea, Did A Bunch Of British Things..."

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Fraser McAlpine | 17:17 UK time, Thursday, 8 November 2007

OneRepublic - Ryan arrowed

So, we've all heard 'Apologize' by now, right? That's the most-un-Timbaland-y track on Timbaland's album (and his current Top 5 hit). And the reason it doesn't sound like a Timbaland track is that it's really NOT a Timbaland track. It was written by his close personal workbuddy Ryan Tedder, for HIS band OneRepublic. Now - for Tedder newbies - Ryan is something of a songwriting prodigy, coming up with quality tunes for artists as diverse as Chris Cornell, Jennifer Lopez, Shayne Ward, Lemar and Leona Lewis. Hell, he wrote 'Bleeding Love', which means that Ryan has TWO songs in the Top 5 at the same time!

What better time could there be for a ChartBlog chat with the man himself?

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Rihanna ft. Ne-Yo - 'Hate That I Love You'

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Fraser McAlpine | 09:31 UK time, Thursday, 8 November 2007

RihannaThe accepted wisdom on Rihanna is that she's good for the big ticket pop productions like 'Umbrella', but her voice is a little thin and reedy to really cut it across a wide range of musical styles. Also, people seem to be agreed that she doesn't project much of a personality, so that she stands or falls on the strength of the song she has been given to sing (unlike someone like Madonna, who can really SELL a song, even when it's a bit rubbish).

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ChartBlog Blogs The Actual Chart

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Fraser McAlpine | 18:53 UK time, Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Fearne & ReggieROAD TRIP! ROAD TRIP!!
It's been a dog's age since ChartBlog did any of the amazing backstage blog-mongery - at a fabulous musical event - that should really have made our name by now.

Oh sure, we did Radio 1's Chart Show Live, we did the Brit Awards, we did the Eden Sessions, but now, in the wake of the presenter changeover on the Radio 1 Chart Show, we're going to DO Fearne Cotton and Reggie Yates...live on Radio 1!

What? Perfectly innocent comment, that..

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Hard-Fi - 'Can't Get Along (Without You)'

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Fraser McAlpine | 09:24 UK time, Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Hard-FiIt doesn't matter how much you love your stripped back, minimalist music, some songs just DEMAND a full brass section, a full string section, chime-bars, glockenspiels...the complete Phil Spector, basically. And despite what some people may say it's not always a sign of a lack of ideas in the studio (and an open instrument cupboard). Sometimes MORE is more...

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The Cribs: ‎"I'm really sorry, I've got to go..."

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Fraser McAlpine | 17:21 UK time, Tuesday, 6 November 2007

The Cribs and Emily ChartBlog

See this picture of the Cribs here? Notice anything strange about it? That's right, their singer Ryan is missing, and ChartBlog's own Emily Wood is sitting where he should be. Now, this isn't because ChartBlog's own Emily Wood is a shameless glory-hog who can't abide a photo being taken without barging her way in (heaven forbid!), no, it's because the photograph was taken just after Emily met and interviewed the band, and during the interview, Ryan had to run off to be sick...and he never came back.

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Kylie Minogue - '2 Hearts'

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Fraser McAlpine | 09:52 UK time, Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Kylie MinogueIt may not seem as though I have that much in common with Ian Brown on first impression, but neither of us is averse to making the odd controversial comment about Kylie Minogue. For example: I've always listed Dannii as my Minogue of preference, even though it's treason to say such things in public. And here's another: I don't think Kylie's as much fun as she used to be. THERE, I SAID IT. Call it pop treachery of the highest order if you like, but it's how I feel at the moment. It's not to say that I don't like what she's doing (although we'll get to my specific issues in a minute), I just can't help wishing she didn't have to be all I'm Such A Serious Popstar all the time.

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Sofa Rescue Squad! (BOTS - IV*)

Fraser McAlpine | 14:27 UK time, Monday, 5 November 2007

Sofa

It's been a little while since we had a dredge-up down the back of the ChartBlog sofa, looking for all the songs which may have slipped down there while everyone was jumping on the cushions to Britney or Lethal Bizzle. Normally there's an element of waiting around to see if some other music-talking-about resource, or the general public, is going to hoick the song out for us, but this time around there are flipping LOADS of note-worthy all coming out in a week or two, so it seems best to try and prevent them from ever falling down there in the first place, or something...

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Bloc Party - 'Flux'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:51 UK time, Monday, 5 November 2007

Bloc PartySometimes it's a bad idea to know too much about a song before you first hear it. We've all had that slightly deflated feeling when everyone in the world keeps banging on about some classic album or classic track like it's the single loudest / quietest / most heartfelt / scariest / most brutal / most gentle piece of music in the history of recorded soud...and then you finally get hold of a copy and it's just...alright. Worse still is the realisation that you can never tell people, becuase they'll just shake their heads sadly and pity you for not being in on the greatness. It's infuriating.

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Chart Report - 04/11/07

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Fraser McAlpine | 19:33 UK time, Sunday, 4 November 2007

1 - Leona Lewis - 'Bleeding Love'

Leona LewisChartSnipe: What I love best about the title to this song is that it makes me think of a cockney philosopher, a kind of Phil Mitchell-Buddha hybrid, who has just been asked to explain the arcane mysteries of the human heart. "Wossat?", he'd say, "You wanna know about bleedin' lav, do ya? Wew, let me tew ya, it's bleedin' weird, is lav. Iss like when you 'it a pigeon wiv yer Jag, only you stop to wipe it orf and there ain't no mess. That's bleedin' lav, that is..." The actual song itself can only be a mild let-down by comparison. (FM)

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Linkin Park - 'Shadow Of The Day'

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Fraser McAlpine | 11:01 UK time, Sunday, 4 November 2007

Linkin ParkDouble standards are funny, aren't they? When Tom DeLonge came out with Angels and Airwaves, a slightly epic-y, U2-apeing, politicised band, everyone said it was wibbly emo mush and told him to shove it. Well, I didn't, I bought the album because it had Noodles from The Offspring on it and it's a damn fine record. Meanwhile, Linkin Park reinvent themselves as saviours of the universe, announce their previous work is an unmentionable and everyone decides that this is the work of truly great men...

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Fergie - 'Clumsy'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:06 UK time, Saturday, 3 November 2007

FergieAha! AHAHAHAHA! I KNEW IT! Cast your minds back to when I reviewed Glamorous earlier this year - did I or did I not instruct Fergie to release 'Clumsy'? I think you'll find I did, and look where we are now. Fergie totally took my advice. Fergie totally wants me as her trusted personal advisor, and we're just going to hang out together all the time talking about her lovely lady lumps and that time her London Bridge totally wanted to go down like London London London, and we'll drink awesome shooters and listen to awesome music and just sit around and soak up each other's awesomeness, and my flatmates will be all "look at this phone bill! Who are you texting 50 times a day?" and I'll be all "idk, my bff Fergie?" and it will be AMAZING.

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How To Destroy...Plain White Ts

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Fraser McAlpine | 18:40 UK time, Friday, 2 November 2007

How To Destroy Plain White Ts

NOTE: It's important to realise that climbing inside a washing machine is a very dangerous thing to do. However, if you're able to read this warning, chances are you're too big to fit in a washing machine in the first place. Important to say it though.

Now, to explain what's going on here a little better. We all know that nothing destroys plain white clothing more effectively than red pants. Red pants are like kryptonite to plain white things. They come out mottled pink, and as poor a band name as Plain White Ts is (you try walking into a record shop and asking for "Plain White Ts's new album" and you'll see what I mean), it's a hell of a lot better than Mottled Pink Ts. That just sound a bit gothy AND a bit Hello Kitty twee at the same time. It's too confusing, and it would definitely kill the band (even if washing machine doesn't).

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Dude 'N' Nem - 'Watch My Feet'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:04 UK time, Friday, 2 November 2007

Dude N NemWe've all seen the news reports about childhood obesity, right? If the worst fears of nutritionalists are realised, we're ALL going to be rolling down the street like sumo wrestlers in elasticated-waist trousers within the next nine minutes (it's something like that, a bird flew into the window while I was watching it, so I might have missed a few crucial details).

Anyway, for the good people of the US of A (hip hop fans in particular), help may well be at hand in the form of (as they used to say in the olden days) the new dance craze which is sweeping the nation, daddio.

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Top 5 - Here Be Monsters!

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Fraser McAlpine | 17:11 UK time, Thursday, 1 November 2007

top5_banner.jpg

We are none of us perfect - no, Mr Cent, not even YOU - but when you cast your eyes over some of the people whose job it is to entertain us with their musical talents, and you have a good hard think about what makes for a charismatic face, well, it's fair to say that some people are more imperfect than others. Not in an unsexy way, in case anyone thinks this just picking on the weird-looking kids. It's more that these are people who are broadly considered to be charismatic pop star types, even though they have a few facial oddities here and there.

Or, to put it another way...if THIS lot can make it, looking like THAT, there's hope for all of us...

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Kanye West ft. T-Pain - 'Good Life'

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Fraser McAlpine | 09:53 UK time, Thursday, 1 November 2007

Kanye WestIt's always nice to hear rich rap types bang on about the lovely things they've got, particularly if they then go on to explain that they would've been throwing money about like rice at a wedding even if they didn't have a lot of money to actually throw, because that's just the kind of person they are. It gives you a lovely warm feeling inside. A bit like the feeling you'd get if you were listening to an Olympic athlete telling someone who is overweight how many laps they can do. Real heartwarming, triumphant stuff, y'know?

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