Archives for March 2010

Delirious? - 'History Maker'

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Fraser McAlpine | 12:10 UK time, Wednesday, 31 March 2010


It's always nice to give presents, isn't it? Everyone loves getting a gift, but the look of joy on a dear friend's face when you surprise them with a package they weren't expecting, and it turns out to be the perfect thing, well that's unbeatable.

So you can't blame the fans of Delirious? - who split up last year - for wanting to give their boys a lovely send-off, in the shape of a No.1 hit single. Not just ANY No.1 single either. No this is the much-coveted (no commandment pun intended) Easter No.1, which as any fool knows, is second only to the Christmas No.1 in the hearts and minds of the chart-watching public...kinda.

Actually, it's less to do with Easter being big with chartwatchers, and more to do with the band's faith, as expressed through their music. The thought being that a devotional song might be closer to the commemoration of Jesus Christ's final days better than, say, 'Telephone' by Lady GaGa.

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We Are Scientists - 'Rules Don't Stop'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:47 UK time, Tuesday, 30 March 2010

We Are Scientists

I saw an interview with the very great Vince Clarke recently, and he defined a good pop song as being one which contains a certain amount of tension in the verses, which then has to be released in an exciting chorus: a chorus which feels like a wave of relief and joy.

In this way, songs are like mini-plays, or short films, where characters start off in a position of calm, something upsetting happens, they react, they overcome adversity, do a little dance, and sit down again.

This song claims to be about having a total disregard for the accepted way of doing things. However the verses are kind of tense and the chorus feels like a release from that tension. Clearly Vince's rule is one that everyone has to obey, no matter how rebellious, or risk an extensive course of retraining at pop boot camp, located somewhere in the vicinity of Usetabefamous, Idaho.

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Talking To A Boy About Scouting For Girls

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Fraser McAlpine | 09:45 UK time, Monday, 29 March 2010

Scouting for Girls

In the press-release for the new Scouting For Girls single 'This Ain't A Love Song', there is the following claim:

"The initial recordings of their forthcoming second album 'Everybody Wants To Be On TV' were ruthlessly scrapped after the Brit Awards in 2008, when the band decided it needed re-writing and re-shaping."

Which begs the question: what happened at the Brit Awards in 2008 which caused such a shocking revelation?

Did they suddenly feel the need to push their music in a more Kate Nashy direction? Was Alex Turner stand-offish about their middle-eights? Were they asked to duet with Mika and just couldn't face it? What happened?

Luckily, the chance came up shortly afterwards to have a chat with Roy Stride, the band's singing pianist. And you'll all be relieved to know we got to the bottom of the situation pretty darn sharpish.

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A day in the life of a Chart Superfan

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Reggie Yates Reggie Yates | 19:32 UK time, Sunday, 28 March 2010


Today was AMAZING!!!!! Everyone is so nice and absolutely fabulous.

Lady Gaga was number 1 again!!!! (Woop woop Happy Birthday, Gaga!!).

All my friends made it so special as did the wonderful producer Adele.

The special guests were fantastic, Daisy Dares You was beautiful, Chipmunk (he looked bigger than I thought in real life) and Esmee Denters - she is beautiful and such a babe.

I spoke to Jade from the Sugababes. She is such a beautiful person and we had a lovely chat about her dancing. I still can't believe everyone was here in my house in Warwick.

Thank you to my supportive friends and family. Reggie was such a babe as well and I can't wait to listen next week. Thank you so much to all the Radio 1 team for making all this possible. This will be a day I'll never forget. Thank you again!!!!


Sabrina Washington - 'OMG (Oh My Gosh)'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:50 UK time, Sunday, 28 March 2010

Sabrina Washington

Guest Reviewer: Kay Smith

According to theUrban Dictionary site, the acronym OMG is "possibly the most irritating piece of chatroom vernacular in existence", and is most commonly used by "teenage girls who find it depressingly hard to type out an entire word". It also "reinforces assumptions that humans seem to be getting dumber from generation to generation".

Oh dear.

Perhaps I should save myself now and pretend that I can't stand the song and that it's clearly a crass attempt to jump on the buzzword bandwagon - hi Usher! - in order to sell records. I should say that it attempts to engage a fickle reality TV-style 'of-the-moment' audience, and is an example of how a throwaway culture is reflected by throwaway music.

I am actually saying that, because I believe it to be true. But I also think that the song deserves some credit, because it's really not that bad.

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Kids In Glass Houses - 'Matters At All'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:15 UK time, Saturday, 27 March 2010

Kids In Glass Houses

Ah how useful. Only one day after my not-very-gentlemanly moan about the Alex Gardner single and its lack of oomph, here comes a song which has at least attempted to deal with some of the problems that come with trying to create something appealing.

On the face of it, it is like quite a lot of other songs in the field of music from which it comes. It's got that grumpy-rock-band-writes-anthemic-pop-song thing going on, and there is a chance that if the band aren't careful, it'll get added to that playlist of songs I mentioned yesterday. I'm thinking of calling it 'Music You Don't Have To Listen To'.

Luckily they're too canny to let my attention wander off so easily. There are things going on which demand further investigation, so put down your Scrabble board and let's get thinking...

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Alex Gardner - 'I'm Not Mad'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:08 UK time, Friday, 26 March 2010

Alex Gardner

Ah perfect! I've been looking for some music to put on while I'm busy doing something else,and this will do nicely. I'm very busy man, you see, got a lot of stuff on, very full diary, lot of hobbies, lot of work, and really, there are times when I can't be doing with all this distracting, attention-seeking, arresting music.

What I need is a playlist of songs which are neither so offensively irksome to my refined palate that I'm tempted to smash the speakers, or so astonishingly mind-sparklingly brilliant that my productivity shoots through the floor. Songs which just occur, pleasantly in the background, untroubled by frustrating production trends or magnificent wonderfulness. Songs which I will probably not remember ever having heard in a year's time, when they've fallen off the playlist.

Songs which won't make a fuss when they end up stuck down the back of the cupboards of my mind, never to be heard of again.

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Usher ft. Will.I.Am - 'OMG'

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Fraser McAlpine | 09:54 UK time, Thursday, 25 March 2010


Whatever your thoughts on Will.I.Am, and let's face it, he does provide plenty of evidence for the prosecution AND the defense, you have to admit he knows how to produce. He knows that it's great to have an astonishing beat, it's wonderful to have filled a nine-hundred foot jellymould with sumptuous solid strawberry bass, but if you really want people to get off on your song from beginning to end, you need to break it up a bit.

You can't start with the best bits, that would be mad. In this case what Will has done is pinch an idea from the KLF, the grandmasters of what used to be called 'stadium house'. This, with the benefit of hindsight, turns out to have been pretty much your normal house music, only with the sound of a live audience mixed over the top, to make it sound like an enormous event.

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The Drums - 'Best Friend'

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Fraser McAlpine | 12:12 UK time, Wednesday, 24 March 2010

The Drums

It's always odd when you settle down for a good listen to a band who you know are very highly thought of by the tastemaker magazines and squeebloggers of the world. Somehow, the fact that the world keeps spinning on its axis, and colours remain untransformed becomes the band's fault, as if they personally told you they would change your life and it turns out they can't even help with the washing up.

The Drums are not a clearly world-beating band in the mould of Muse or Oasis, they're too angular, too awkward, to bookish for that. They're not pop stars in the making either. Look at the video. For all that it's cute and clever and charming, they're all radiating embarrassment that someone could be looking at them and holding a camera. Jonathan Pierce's little dances and hand-puppetry can't quite disguise his blushes, and he's the star.

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Scouting For Girls - 'This Ain't A Love Song'

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Fraser McAlpine | 09:38 UK time, Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Scouting For Girls

Well this puts the cat among the scaredy-mice and no mistake. Scouting For Girls have decided to grow up a little bit, leave behind the helter-skelter tumbledown sillypop of 'She's So Lovely' and 'Elvis Ain't Dead' and add a little mature wisdom to their sound.

This will be good news to those of you who froth at the mouth at the very mention of the band's name, or at least, better news than you might've feared, but not quite the Band Disappear In Puff Of Smoke headline you might've wished for, Me, I'm unconvinced.

While we're on that point, another thing I'm not sure I get is where all the vitriol is coming from. I don't think anyone would claim that the Scouts are an IMPORTANT BAND in that kind of deadening, circular way people do when a new band sounds like an old band who probably were, given the benefit of hindsight, quite influential - on the new band at the very least.

They are - or were - a band whose songs could be played at children's discos and would guarantee to fill the floor. Apparently this is a bad thing.

Well now they sound like a matey Keane, is everyone happy now?

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Plan B - 'She Said'

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Fraser McAlpine | 11:03 UK time, Monday, 22 March 2010

Plan B

I love it when a Plan B comes together.*

Once upon a time, Plan B was a startling proposition, a sweary UK rapper with a penetrating stare, dragging an acoustic guitar behind him. That's right, an acoustic guitar. Here's this tough kid with tough rhymes and street-hardened scowl standing on stage with an instrument more commonly associated with weedy singer-songwriters and their endless tales of slightly-disappointing love.

No matter how many photoshoots he did with fake blood running down his hands, no matter how much brutal reality he hammered into his songs, there was always a faint air of suspicion, as if everyone was too afraid to admit that a rapper with a guitar is just a grumpy Jack Johnson.

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Bieber fever, Ludacris and one lucky Superfan

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Reggie Yates Reggie Yates | 19:59 UK time, Sunday, 21 March 2010

Today was a chart and a half! Not literally of course...I'd need a time machine for that. Not only did I get a chance to talk to the living legend that is Ludacris but I turned into a teenage superfan in the middle of the interview. [Listen to the Ludacris interview]


Speaking of teenage fans, Bieber fever took over the Radio 1 building this week as Justin stopped by for a natter and ended up chatting up his radio plugger for our amusement as part of the interview. Oh to be a popstar... [Listen to the Justin Bieber interview]

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Pixie Lott - 'Gravity'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:11 UK time, Sunday, 21 March 2010

Pixie Lott

Being a polite, glass-half-full, supportive kind of person, I've held off commenting on this song for as long as possible, because really, I want Pixie Lott to get the most out of her time in the pop limelight.

OK, to some people she's a stage-school madam with a growly voice who represents all that is wrong with modern music. And when I say some people, I mainly mean old people. I'm not so sure. 'Boys And Girls' is still a firm fixture on my iPod, 'Cry Me Out' sounds more and more like a well-made high-quality modern pop song with every play (on Radio 2), and she's nowhere near as self-consciously THEATRICAL as Paloma Faith, for which we should all be grateful.

However, there's a big problem with this song, one which it will take more than an impassioned delivery and immaculate production to get around.

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Skepta - 'Bad Boy'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:13 UK time, Saturday, 20 March 2010


Y'know, listening to this and thinking doesn't strike me that Alexandra Burke - a self-confessed fan of the badder boy - would be at all pleased if she bought a new dress and her fella failed to notice, would she?

I mean come on, she's a pop star. She went on a TV talent show in order to get constant feedback and praise from the British public every week. The very least she is going to expect from a man is the ability to tell her she looks hot in her new frock. That need for attention drives her every move, as it does for everyone.

Heck, even bad boys like Skepta do what they do partly because they're not supposed to and it makes people look. Or at least, they SAY they do the things they do because of that. There is a difference.

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Five Minutes With Justin Bieber

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Fraser McAlpine | 09:59 UK time, Friday, 19 March 2010

Justin Bieber

You only have to look at Dev's pictures of the carnage outside Radio 1 towers when Justin Bieber came for a quick visit this week to realise that there is a LOT of pressure on his young shoulders at the moment. His album - which was split into two halves in order to satisfy demand - finally came out this week, and in order to promote it, he's been everywhere from GMTV to Radio 1 to...well, here.

That's right, GMTV. Justin, a teenager, got up before noon, voluntarily. The man's a miracle, I tell you.

Here's what happened when I grabbed a very quick phone call with him:

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Young Money ft. Lloyd - 'Bedrock'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:07 UK time, Thursday, 18 March 2010

Young Money

Hey, you impressionable young men, what we have here is a masterclass in how to talk to The Ladies. Everything you need to know about getting to know a girl you like is contained within the lyrics of this song. Literally everything. OK, some of the things take a little bit of excavation and interpretation, but if something's worth having, it's going to take a little bit of work, right sport?

NOTE: I am not an expert in these matters either. But with Young Money's foolproof system, I now feel empowered to take their message to all of the romantically hopeless fellas of the world. And girls, if it means you won't have to put up with idiotic ridiculousness on a night out, aren't we all winners?

Alllrighty then...

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Inna - 'Hot'

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Fraser McAlpine | 09:35 UK time, Wednesday, 17 March 2010


Is anyone out there good at crosswords? I've never really had that kind of brain, try as I might. Scrabble, yes. Hangman, like you wouldn't BELIEVE, but crosswords...not a chance.

I think it's to do with the way your memory works. If you're someone who tends to remember things in visual terms, Pictionary is probably your game. If you're a concepts person - who would see little difference in the words 'bush' and 'shrub' because they basically describe the same thing - chances are you'll be good at crosswords. If you tend to think about words as sounds, stringing together sentences in your head using phrases and expressions you've heard somewhere else, like a patchwork quilt of language, well maybe you should stick to word-searches.

From listening to 'Hot', I'm getting the sense that Inna is more of a Sudoku girl.

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Laura Marling - 'Devil's Spoke'

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Fraser McAlpine | 09:28 UK time, Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Laura Marling

When you're young, you want to be old. Old enough to do the things that grown-ups do, old enough to understand the complications of the world and old enough to be able to change all of it and make it better. There may even be a compelling argument to make that young people, once they're out of childhood, have the oldest minds of all, because once you get past a certain age - let's say 21, for argument's sake - all you want to do is stop the passage of time, to prevent your youthful vitality from ebbing away.

Laura Marling, while older than Pixie Lott and Daisy Dares You, is very young. Younger than N-Dubz, for example, and far too young to sound as experienced and time-worn as she does. She makes older people, such as myself, feel terribly silly and naive next to her ageless, timeless wisdom. I do not know that she is ageless or timeless or wise, but she sounds it. She has a voice like the ticking of a dusty grandfather clock that never loses so much as a micro-second. She sounds like someone opened a pantry door in some Jeeves and Wooster stately home and out came a pale, frosty maiden with a Medusa stare who put an end to all hijinks with one dark look, and then sang a song about the diptheria, which made Bertie gasp "crikey!" in a beaten whisper.

Plus she's a brunette now, which means hottie o'clock in my book.

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50 Cent - 'Do You Think About Me'

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Fraser McAlpine | 12:43 UK time, Monday, 15 March 2010


Guest Reviewer: Anna Nathanson

In the past, Fiddy's certainly made no secret of how minted he is, culminating in his last single 'Baby By Me', in which he invites you to reap the benefits of his wealth by having his child.

Indeed, his history of making money-focused music has been long documented and this next offering is no different. But wait up - is that a glimmer of vulnerability I detect?

Breaking from his usual bad boy persona, 50 lets his guard down a bit, utilising some slick radio-friendly production and smooth vocals courtesy of singer Governor to convey his thoughts on relationships and how his wealth has negatively impacted on them.

That's right, there is now such a thing as a 50 Cent song in which being hugely rich and important has a down-side. Who knew we would live to see such a day?

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Two Word Reviews, Mr Pop Reggae and kick-ups

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Reggie Yates Reggie Yates | 20:29 UK time, Sunday, 14 March 2010

How goes it Blog World? This week we saw Tinie do it again, Taio take over America and Boyzone embrace pop reggae! We had so much happening on the show and you lot were really funny with your texts and tweets throughout. We introduced the Two Word Review off the back of the epic (fail) of a video for Gaga and Beyonce's Telephone. You guys were hilarious and my favourite had to be the two word review: Boo and bees.

Even though it was really early for him in New York, we got Taio Cruz up for a natter on the show. He is currently a record breaking number one in the Hot 100 and is loving every minute of his success. Good on him and his sunglasses-indoor-wearing self!


We made McLean (pictured above) do kick ups in the studio since his cousin plays football professionally... He may be able to sing but he really can't play. At all!

Really nice to talk to Mr. Pop Reggae himself Ronan Keating, as he and the boys, sorry Men, found themselves as the UK number 1 album.

Another week, another chart. If you missed it, grab the podcast. See you next week.


Black Eyed Peas - 'Rock That Body'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:17 UK time, Sunday, 14 March 2010

Black Eyed Peas

Will.I.Am and I have a lot in common. We're both very clever, but also a bit stupid, we both like computers and music, and we both have very short attention spans. Luckily for me, wandering off the point is not necessarily a bad thing when it comes to thinking about pop music. Actually making it takes a bit more focus.

The frustrating thing about some Black Eyed Peas songs can be how wildly they vary in quality from moment to moment. The band are frequently very good at coming up with a refrain or a beat or a squelchy bass quack which twangs on the brain's thrilltacular ganglion like the elastic on a catapult. They will then bring in one of the band to try and rap against this, as if trying to prove they can literally nail any cloud to any frog and come up with a new kind of milkshake.

Sometimes they do, and that's great, but sometimes...eesh! There's a verse here where Will raps bouncily about making your body rock/taking it to the top, first with his natural voice, then with the robot-lady voice. Trouble is, next to the martial rhythm of the hi-hats it just sounds a bit saggy and a bit strange. And not wow-fresh-amazing strange. Ramshackle strange.

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Rox - 'My Baby Left Me'

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Fraser McAlpine | 09:52 UK time, Saturday, 13 March 2010


Ho-hum, another day, another female-fronted pop act straight off the shortlist of the BBC's Sound Of 2010 thing. Another great big heap of expectation piled onto another determined set of shoulders, and another desperate chance to justify the acclaim to every snippy cynic who went through that list with a magnifying glass and some litmus paper to sort out the wheat from the free plastic toy.

Yeah, kinda bleak start there, eh? And, y'know, wholly unfair. I mean it's not Rox's fault there was a stampede of new releases from almost everyone else on the list within the first two months of the year. And in many ways, if you're not gonna be at the front of the race, you might as well saunter along behind. You'll get just as much attention that way, just ask Eddie 'The Eagle' Edwards.

Oh wait...I didn't mean Rox is a kind of Eddie 'The Eagle' Edwards of music. She's not having a go at this, she's not just here for the experience, it's something she can actually do. Just listen to that pretty voice! Listen to the song!

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McLean - 'My Name'

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Fraser McAlpine | 11:05 UK time, Friday, 12 March 2010


I don't know how the people who made this record ever got through it. I mean I've some idea of how you record a song, and usually it requires several million listens to the same three minutes, adding bits, taking bits away, polishing, until it's finally perfect. I only have to review the thing and by my tally I've clocked up over three hours on the one song so far (not all of it continuous).

And, to be honest, the strain is starting to show. The same four chords around and around, the different spiralling melodies, the chuntery synth...well all I can say is that some songs are built for repetition and some are not. One more play of this and I am going POSTAL.

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Jamie T - 'Emily's Heart'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:56 UK time, Thursday, 11 March 2010

Jamie T

With good friends, you don't have to judge them on what they do, you love them for who they are and how they make you feel whenever they're around. They can mess up, they can excel, you're just happy to be along for the ride.

Jamie T feels like a good friend to me. I've never met him personally, never had any contact at all, in fact. But I'm always pleased to see him, always keen to hear his latest tall story or dewey-eyed ode to happier days. I like the cut of his jib, the things he notices, the fact that he's strong enough to admit weakness, the fact that he's a geezer who can write a tender, string-laden ditty like this and not go all EPIC/HUGE about it.

Hell, he's even toned down the swearing, so that everyone can enjoy its scuffed magic, and it doesn't mess with the sense of the thing or sanitise the reality of the situation in the song at all.

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Hey, Chart Fans!

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Fraser McAlpine | 16:14 UK time, Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Greg james - Chart Update

Tired of waiting a whole week to find out who the runners and riders are in the Top 40?

Impatient that time, which goes so very quickly nowadays in every other walk of life, still plods along in Chartland at the same speed as it did 30 years ago?

Generally keen on lists and statistics?

Well, help is at hand. From today, Radio 1 has launched a new show called the Chart Update, which is a rundown of where everything in the Top 40 is on a Wednesday, before the full official chart rundown on Sunday.

Look, here it is...

Chart predicters, reset your future-ometers!

Justin Bieber ft. Ludacris - 'Baby'

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Fraser McAlpine | 09:55 UK time, Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Justin Beiber

It does say something curious about the people who work in the entertainment business in America that the only way they can relate to the idea of teenage innocence is basically rooted in the 1950s. They get some hot young buck like Justin, fresh off the internet and with a readymade fanbase from YouTube, and before you can say Instant Messenger, he's filming a video in a bowling alley, and singing a song which is part 'Runaround Sue' by Dion and the Belmonts and part 'Stand By Me' (both versions, Ben E King and Sean Kingston).

Oh sure, they've jacked the beats up, this ride has been 100% pimped, but seeing as it's doubtful that anyone who was a teenager in the actual '50s has a lot to do with the creative decisions in Justin's career, whose youth is he having to painstakingly re-enact here?

And is the only alternative to bobbysocks and bowling alleys to go the iPhone and crib-party route?

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The New New Young Pony Club

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Fraser McAlpine | 11:07 UK time, Tuesday, 9 March 2010

New Young Pony Club

There's a lot of guff talked in music circles about bands and how they evolve. You would think, the way some of them talk, that the idea of putting a guitar next to a flute next to a drum next to a synthesizer was an act of artistic astonishment on a par with inventing a brand new colour. There again, you can't be too modest about your achievements or no-one will care.

So, hats off to Tahita Bulmer from the newly-refurbished New Young Pony Club. She's honest enough to admit that their previous new rave incarnation had run its course and that they were a bit stuck for inspiration until they went back to their old record collections and had a bit of a delve.

And the good news is, it's all paid off. 'The Optimist' is a great album, poppy and rocky and dancey, and also happy and grumpy and sleepy and bashful.

Here's what she had to say about it...

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Tinie, Daisy and a celebration in the studio

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Reggie Yates Reggie Yates | 20:21 UK time, Sunday, 7 March 2010

Reggie and Tinie Tempah


What a chart show this week!

Loads went on, from the awful elevator and staircase impression in the Live Lounge by Daisy Dares You, to Tinie Tempah running on the spot due to waaaaaaayyyyyy too much adrenaline.

Daisy was really sweet and spoke about her time on tour with Chipmunk, Gramaphonzie sounded like he was speaking in reverse as none of us could work out what the heck he was saying and I as ever, ate too many sweets and poked fun at producer Adele for three hours.

Congratulations to Tinie Tempah who hit the top of the chart with his debut single 'Pass Out' the man brought around fifty people to the studio and like the track says, he popped bottles and raised a toast of celebration. It was brilliant to see someone who was actually chuffed to go to number one and deservedly so, Its been a bit of a mad journey and im proper proud of him!

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Lady GaGa ft. Beyoncé - 'Telephone'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:08 UK time, Sunday, 7 March 2010

Beyonce & Lady GaGa

Guest reviewer: Kay Smith

You can't blame a man for getting confused. I mean, one minute a woman (and her friend) is purring away at you in breathy, panting tones, demanding that you call her on your video phone so she can show you how naughty she is - and the next, they're telling you not to call at all.

With so much contradiction going on, it's a wonder any fellas keep persisting. But then again, the women concerned aren't exactly average. After the innuendo-riddled (but slightly rubbish) 'come and get me' sexiness of Beyonce's 'Video Phone' featuring Lady Gaga, the superstar pair are back with another telephone-themed collaboration, and this time it seems they're no longer in the mood.

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Cheryl Cole - 'Parachute'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:16 UK time, Saturday, 6 March 2010


So I was talking to someone this morning about Glee. He's not a fan. He doesn't like the TV show and he doesn't like the music. That's his choice. I like the music, and the TV show, but when I said so, he accused me of pandering to the lowest-common-denominator (*eyeroll*), and went on to say that as I'm normally so snooty about music, I must be just SAYING I like Glee to make some point or other.

Now, this is nonsense. For all that you can form an opinion about music before you hear it, based on factors which are not present in the music itself, once the song hits, it either works or it doesn't. You can't MAKE it work because all your friends love the song, any more than you can force yourself to hate a song you love, just because it is by someone whose work you do not normally enjoy.

Or to put it another way, there's no room for 'should' in popular song. There's only "yay!" or "boo!".*

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When Is A Sugababe Not A Sugababe?

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Fraser McAlpine | 09:55 UK time, Friday, 5 March 2010


The launch of a new album should be such an exciting time in a young girlband's life. They've got all these musical goodies to share with their loving fans, they've got fresh costumes to wear, bendy-over dances to do, strutting, pouting, photoshoots, interviews, it is, in a very real sense, all go.

But what if the album you're about to generously bestow on a grateful nation has had to be hastily re-recorded after one of your band members left? What if that band member was the last of the original three girls who formed the band back in the late '90s? That's got to add an extra layer of shrill tension to all the excitement and fun, right?

And what if, WHAT IF, PEOPLE, one of the other original three members of the group decides to use this moment, the moment when the spotlight is on you and your girls, to launch legal proceedings in order to claim your band name off you? What if she said it was hers first? And worse, what if she's right?

Welcome to Sugababia, a place where the bickering never stops and every machine comes fully equipped with enough spare parts to last FOREVER.

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Bombay Bicycle Club - 'Evening/Morning'

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Fraser McAlpine | 11:56 UK time, Thursday, 4 March 2010

Bombay Bicycle Club

The comedian Richard Herring has a nice little monologue about this lot. He noticed a boy in the street wearing a T-shirt with Bombay Bicycle Club on it, and this caused him to have a ponder about what kind of message this young fella was trying to send out. Was he, perhaps a fan of the Indian Restaurant of the same name on London's King's Road? Or indeed any of a wealth of similarly-named eateries around the world?

Was he claiming to be a member of the various health and fitness clubs which have also made use of the name? Was this, perhaps, an ancient T-shirt, handed down the generations from the original Bombay Bicycle Club? Or is he just a fan of the band?

Chances are the answers to all but the last of these questions will have been no, but can you imagine the car-crash of cultural signifiers if the lad had been wearing the T-shirt which depicts an octopus spelling out the band's initials? Think about it...

Especially now, when the worlds of indie rock and the actual BBC (hello!) are seemingly at loggerheads. It could spark a RIOT!

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Jason Derulo And His Great Lost Box Set

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Fraser McAlpine | 09:42 UK time, Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Jason Derulo

If there's one thing we at ChartBlog Towers all agree on, it's that we don't work in a tower and there's only me here. But if there's ANOTHER thing we all agree on, it's that you don't get a No.1 single without a lot of dedication and hard work. And luck, dedication and hard work and luck, and sex appeal. And some money for marketing. And probably a decent video. And sometimes it's a matter of good timing too, no bigger records around that week...'s not easy, is my point. So, Jason Derulo has a No.1 single, which means he's managed to harness the power of ALL OF THESE THINGS. Now would be a good time to ask him a thing or two, right? Right...

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Delphic - 'Halcyon'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:07 UK time, Tuesday, 2 March 2010


Contrary to what you may believe, this reviewing lark isn't all glamour. Oh sure, there are perks - you get to listen to a lot of great music for starters - but there's a dark secret behind the job which has never been revealed until now. We're all a bunch of nigglers.

Seriously, it's like an affliction, a kind of ADHD. You can't just listen and enjoy a fun song without ranking it alongside other fun songs, or worse, attempting to work out how the magic is created, or even WORSE, trying to name the thing in the song which is similar to things in other songs. Niggling is not for the faint-hearted, and once it takes hold, there's not a right lot you can do about it.

If I was in In The Night Garden, I'd be Niggle Piggle.
If I sold insurance on the telly alongside a terrifying puppet version of myself, I'd be Niggle Pop.
And if I had formed a groundbreaking LA-based hardcore rap troupe in the late '80s with a bunch of other reviewers, we'd be absolutely terrible.

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Goldfrapp - 'Rocket'

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Fraser McAlpine | 17:18 UK time, Monday, 1 March 2010


Remember when the name Goldfrapp conjured up images of horses with glitterball heads? Remember when Goldfrapp scared the pants off you with their imperious, synthy glam rock? Remember when you'd see Alison Goldfrapp out on stage or even in a TV interview and you were never quite sure if she wasn't about to rear up and bite someone's head off with some previously-hidden mandibles...just like a preying mantis does?

Yeah, me too. In retrospect, it's hard to remember quite what was so unsettling about this lot in the first place. They made a trip hop album (five years too late), then they made a sexy synthpopglamrock album (enter the mirrored horses), then they made another one which wasn't quite as good (or felt like a repetition, which is always a bit disappointing), then they made a folkier, more pastoral album which restored their artistic reputation but didn't win everyone round.

Scary? Thrilling? Must've just been a trick of the light.

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