Sound Of The Overground

Volume's Duncan Greive scours charts from the world, the 'net and NZ in the hope of finding the perfect pop song.

Sound of the Overground: It's a brand new era, but it feels great

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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.

Canadian singer Carly Rae Jepsen. Photo / Supplied
Canadian singer Carly Rae Jepsen. Photo / Supplied

Apart from Reece Mastin's second week at number one, which is a bit of a bummer, there are any number of good things happening deeper into this chart. For starters there are eight new entries, of which at least four are objectively 'not rubbish' - if the whole chart kept up that ratio you'd start listening to the radio again, right?

I've reviewed a bunch of them before, namely Fun ft. Janelle Monae (shockingly high at 11), The Far East Movement ft. Bieber, The Wanted, Emile Sandé and K'Naan ft. Nelly Furtado, so I'll concentrate on the other three.

The first is Carly Rae Jepsen's Call Me Maybe, a song by a Canadian (!), Idol competitor (!!), following up a John Denver cover (!!!). In case you were wondering, the exclamation marks are to indicate fear, rather than excitement. Call Me Maybe is actually fine, really cool synth drops on the chorus and shrill, excited singing about nothing in particular. No issue with that.

The two local songs are pretty rough but. Tiki's cover of Over the Rainbow is a charity single for Starship, but I'm not here to rate the purity of men's hearts or the causes they choose. It's about the song, and this is just a bit maudlin and heartfelt for my liking.

Six60 are probably the band people who are really into the genre 'New Zealand Music' love the most. Literally their entire audience wears map-of-New-Zealand or 'Born Here' tees - they turn you away at the door with a sad shake of the head if you don't comply.

There's an appallingly recorded clip of this song live at the Coroglen Tavern in September of last year which has had over 30,000 views. One keyboard guy moshes super hard, while the other rolls his eyes in the back of his head because the music fully puts him in a trance. That's probably all you need to know about Forever.

RIANZ TOP 10 NEW ZEALAND SINGLES CHART
1 Reece Mastin - Good Night
2 Flo Rida ft. Sia - Wild Ones
3 Cher Lloyd - Want U Back
4 Nicki Minaj - Starships
5 Ed Sheeran - Lego House
6 Train - Drive By
7 Katy Perry - Part of Me
8 David Guetta ft. Nicky Minaj - Turn Me On
9 Chris Brown - Turn Up the Music
10 Annah Mac - Girl in Stilettos

SINGLE OF THE WEEK: Carrie Underwood - Good Girl
Volume rating: 8/11
I can't recall the last time I heard a chart song this riffy and direct - it seems to have fallen from favour since probably peaking around the mid-'80s, but set against everything else on radio worldwide this sounds startlingly unaffected. Underwood won American Idol in '05, and this represents something of a departure from more regulation fiddle-soaked country-rock material like Before He Cheats or Cowboy Casanova. Good Girl would be pretty tough to play on the radio down here, but melodic, energetic, non-self-pitying rock music is way too scarce right now, and this is as fun as Pink or Kelly Clarkson at their most seething and outraged.

Danny Saucedo - Awesome
Volume rating: 7/11
"I'm feeling great/ I'm feeling awesome," sings Danny Saucedo on the chorus of his new single Awesome. A Swede born to Polish and Bolivian parents, Saucedo makes Guetta sound like Morrissey here, a heartfelt paean to feeling awesome and having a great time. And so long as Basshunter keeps delaying that mythic fourth album we'll have to keep seeking out lunatic Europop like this in lieu of the grandmaster himself.

Dappy - Rockstar
Volume rating: 7/11
We edge closer to being able to make a compilation album called Rockstar consisting entirely of songs entitled Rockstar. So far it would feature Poison, Nickelback, Hannah Montana, R. Kelly and Taio Cruz, amongst others, so obviously it would be one of the all time greats. Dappy's contribution to the emerging genre is actually one of the better examples to date, with heavy synths and an awesomely silly solo to close out, along with Dappy making very unconvincing gunshot noises. He really is one of the funniest singers around right now, with this massive disconnect between the 'example to the likkle youth' he believes himself to be and the sordid reality. Pop has always thrived on such divergences though, so I always enjoy Dappy's mad, heroically inoffensive music.

Bic Runga - Tiny Little Piece Of My Heart
Volume rating: 8/11
It boggles the mind to think of what's happened to Bic Runga. With over 300,000 albums sold (the equivalent of over 22 million in a market like the US) she makes one slightly left-field move in writing with ex-Mint Chick Kody Nielson and suddenly she's entirely invisible. A pretty, romantic '60s-inspired pop song like this languishes with 1,000 views in two weeks, and nothing like a chart placing, from a CD which debuted at five (behind David Dallas' The Rose Tint - an album which had been free to download for months) before disappearing from view. It's a bizarre mass desertion, and entirely undeserved, because this is about as good as anything she's released in her career to this point.

To submit or suggest a track for review email singles@volumemagazine.co.nz or tweet @duncangreive.

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