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.
Flo Rida is still sitting atop our chart like a warty old troll, sapping our will to live. His success is an analogue to weather which never really gave us a summer, so as a result we never got a perfect song of summer, either. Three are attempting a run at the moment - each making a large leap in an otherwise fairly static chart. They are Guetta and Minaj's frivolous Turn Me On, Train's shockingly banal Drive By and The Black Keys' Lonely Boy. The latter might not make the top, but could turn these guys into legitimate stars.
Because anyone who liked Kings of Leon, or, say, Led Zeppelin, is going to eat this up. In its third week the song leaps from 20 to seven, and with the post-Adele campaign-for-real-instrument guys needing a new fix, The Black Keys could end this year with 50,000 albums and a couple of nights at Vector under their belt if they're not careful. New entry-wise Hey Hey Hey (Pop Another Bottle) is new at 39, "r'n'b house rapper" one participant says at one point - as an example of that dominant archetype you could do a lot worse. Further up there are a couple strummy snoozers from people who use their own names to sell their music - a very un-pop practice, so they only get half a line - f**k y'all grown-ups.
RIANZ TOP 10 NEW ZEALAND SINGLES CHART
1 Flo Rida ft. Sia - Wild Ones
2 Annah Mac - Girl in Stilettos
3 David Guetta ft. Nicki Minaj - Turn Me On
4 David Guetta ft. Sia - Titanium
5 Labrinth ft. Tinie Tempah - Earthquake
6 Train - Drive By
7 The Black Keys - Lonely Boy
8 Snoop Dogg & Wiz Khalifa - Young, Wild and Free
9 Ed Sheeran - The A Team
10 The Babysitters Circus - Everything's Gonna Be Alright
SINGLE OF THE WEEK: GOLDEN AXE - Moon of Peaceful Planet
Volume rating: 9/11
The latest single from Auckland duo Golden Axe's superbly titled new album Liquid Bacon (available on Bandcamp for any price you like) moves at a glacial pace by comparison to some of their more frantic prior recordings, but is no less entertaining for it - it might even be the most perfect execution of their tangled vision yet. A coolly hypnotic synth line bubbles on over a feather-lite drum beat, while the cosmos oozes and belches ominously in the background. If Norwegian slo-mo master Lindstrøm had grown up op-shopping in Birkenhead he might sound like this - my only complaint would be that at five minutes it's about half as long as it could be.
MADONNA FT. NICKI MINAJ & M.I.A. - Give Me All Your Luvin'
Volume rating: 5/11
Every part of this that Madonna didn't control is pretty good. Martin Solveig's production is classic Swedish poppy new wave (I know he's French - but the sound is pure Teddybears), and Nicki Minaj and M.I.A.'s chanting is fantastic, plus their rappy things would be good if they were given a little longer to stretch out. Unfortunately Madonna's lyrics and chorus are just weak - she's labouring under the misapprehension that with all this talent around she just needs to turn up at this point. That may have been true at that dazzling Super Bowl half-time show, but on an artefact as holy as a pop single she needs to bring the AAA game we last saw from her circa Hung Up. A let-down.
FUN FT. JANELLE MONAE - We Are Young
Volume rating: 8/11
Pretty much everything about this band is horrible. Their previous projects had names like The Format and Steel Train. They gave away a single when they reached 40,000 Facebook fans (such an unambitious number!), as a prelude to associations with everything from Sprint Mobile, to Chevrolet, to Expedia - they don't need to be Fugazi, but all this before a proper shiny hit? And their video features a brutal plug for the new Windows phone OS, along with a judgement-free shot of a woman getting bottled by a man. With all that being said, I've always found it very difficult to resist this kind of blatant OC-bait single, wallowing in the transience and emotional intensity of youth running wild, in its first flush of freedom. So despite all those black flags, I love it.
BRANDY & MONICA - It All Belongs to Me
Volume rating: 7/11
One of the many logical inconsistencies present in my criticism is a bias toward "retromania" (as Simon Reynolds recently dubbed it in his book of the same name) which revives programmed or electronic sounds as opposed to analogue or organic instrumental sounds. So this single - a sequel of sorts to the pair's utterly perfect The Boy is Mine from 1998 - which is entirely derived from the tone and feel of mid-late '90s r'n'b, gets a pass from me. Whereas Mayer Hawthorne makes me sick to my stomach. What are you gonna do?
ROLL DEEP - Picture Perfect
Volume rating: 5/11
The one-time grime standard-bearers have now polished their sound until it gleams like the chain around Pitbull's neck. Which is to say this is trance-rap, distinguishable from its US counterparts only by the accents. But they definitely give it a certain ludicrous charm - there's something cutely aspirational about the English version of this sound, like they're annoying kids on BMXes trying to get let in to the party. Whereas their colleagues from across the Atlantic are pure mercenaries, this still feels pleasantly amateurish.