Each week Duncan Greive performs some low grade analysis on the week’s New Zealand Singles Chart and reviews a few new release pop singles.
There's only one thing to pay attention to this week: Number 34. One Direction, who are vying with The Wanted for most exciting band in music today, have a new single charting. A friend pointed out that One Thing is basically What Makes You Beautiful with the intro to Backstreet Boys I Want It That Way tacked on to it. IE it's totally amazing. The only other thing worth noting is that Annah Mac's Girl in Stilettos has risen to number two. I think I'd be a lot more excited about this song if the opening line wasn't "Power lines and pohutukawa trees", but it's actually pretty sweet, and certainly deserves to kick Flo Rida's disastrous Wild Ones off the top spot next week, which looks a reasonably good bet.
Sia - Titanium
5 Coldplay - Paradise
6 Ed Sheeran - The A Team
7 Pitbull ft. Chris Brown - International Love
8 Labrinth ft. Tinie Tempah - Earthquake
9 LMFAO - Sexy and I Know It
10 Kelly Clarkson - What Doesn't Kill You (Stronger)
11 Six60 - Only To Be
12 Gym Class Heroes ft. Neon Hitch - Ass Back Home
13 Christina Perri - A Thousand Years
14 One Direction - What Makes You Beautiful
15 The Wanted - Glad You Came
16 Cher Lloyd ft. Mike Posner - With Ur Love
17 Gotye ft. Kimbra - Somebody That I Used to Know
18 Rihanna ft. Calvin Harris - We Found Love
19 The Babysitters Circus - Everything's Gonna Be Alright
20 David Guetta ft. Nicki Minaj - Turn Me On (View video teaser here)
SINGLE OF THE WEEK: LADYHAWKE - Black, White & Blue
Volume rating: 8/11
Ladyhawke is inarguably the biggest New Zealand music success story of the past few years, or the biggest non-comedic one anyway. And given the shocking inability of our one-time stars to retain their international profile (see: The Datsuns and The D4) there's a lot riding on this one.
Like those two garage rock bands, she's largely stuck to her knitting, but what worked last time still sounds pretty fresh. She's maybe turned up the guitars a little, and it sounds slightly more "live" than the first LP, but if you were a fan, chances are you'll still be one now.
The weird thing is that this doesn't sound a million miles away from Ke$ha - it has that treated, processed, compressed sound, and takes the harder shards of '80s production (the drums in particular) rather than the suppler elements which are over-familiar at this point. But Ke$ha's basically the least credible artist on earth at this point (though I think she's pretty amazing at times), while Ladyhawke is the thinking indie person's pop choice. I guess it's because there's a coherence and artistry to Pip Brown's work, and while this is not quite as immaculate as My Delirium or Magic, it remains an extremely compelling sound and vision. She seems very well positioned to break our second album slump routine. Which would be nice.
KELLY ROWLAND - Keep it Between Us
Volume rating: 7/11
Kelly Rowland always seems to get marginalised in the post-D Child era. As if the earth-shaking talents of Beyonce relegate all other members to background dancer status. But starting with her superb Nelly duet Dilemma she's proven a reliably potent source of r'n'b killers, including the sexual dynamo that was The Freemason's mix of Work, and the, um, even more sexual dynamo that was Motivation. Two utterly perfect singles. Keep it Between Us is a pretty straight ballad, but has lift and longing and deserves attention if not quite obsession.
MIIKE SNOW FT. LYKKE LI - Black Tin Box
Volume rating: 8/11
This guy I work with is f**king obsessed with Miike Snow. It's a bit weird. Like I have sat and listened to that album all day, from 8am-6pm several times. It's pretty good, I suppose, but I don't think he or the other Snow fans would be aware that the masterminds behind it, Bloodshy & Avant, honed their talents working with Sugababes and J-Lo. And that the best music they've ever done will always be Britney's twin classics Toxic and Piece of Me. Anyway, all that's more interesting than important. Black Tin Box is a chaotic, spooky synth riot which lives in the dark edges which were merely hinted at on their debut. Well worth your time.
EMILE SANDE - Next to Me
Volume rating: 6/11
Ex-Real Groove master critic Stevie Kaye put me on to Emile Sande's Heaven, which he accurately compared to Massive Attack's immortal Unfinished Sympathy. It was an uncannily similar sound, sweeping strings and unabashed heartache, but didn't sound remotely backward looking. One of the best singles of 2011. Next to Me suffers a little from that Winehouse/Adele retro-soul-is-the-only-soul production disease, but she has pipes for days, so it gets a pass. She definitely works better on that futuristic shit though.
FAR EAST MOVEMENT - Jello ft. Rye Rye
Volume rating: 7/11
I know very little about this rising set of new pop kids - Catarac, Dev, Far East Movement, New Boyz - they seem to collaborate and release singles and have a reasonably unified sound. But none of the places I go talk about them, so I have to think they've been dismissed as unimportant or downright rubbish by even the smart pop set. Which is a shame, because A) almost anything which charts and doesn't use the brute force of the pop house sound deserves respect on some level and B) some of their singles have been fantastic, particularly New Boyz' deliriously aroused Back Seat. Jello, featuring sometime Diplo/MIA collaborator Rye Rye, doesn't quite scale those heights, but has that sleazy bass production and "no adults allowed" feel which is common to all their work. I fervently hope this factory keeps on churning.
*To submit or suggest a track for review email firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @duncangreive.