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: Call me? Definitely

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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.

'Somebody That I Used To Know' hitting the top in the US is great but we shouldn't get excited about Kimbra's contribution to its success... Photo / Supplied
'Somebody That I Used To Know' hitting the top in the US is great but we shouldn't get excited about Kimbra's contribution to its success... Photo / Supplied

Four weeks in a row at the top for Call Me Maybe, so a song I thought was a fun, frivolous throwaway has turned into a fun, frivolous keeper, and the second biggest hit of the year. And given that there still seem to be people discovering its thin, pouting charms I don't think a much longer stay is out of the question. As of writing Gotye's Somebody That I Used To Know has just returned to number one on the New Zealand iTunes charts, off the back of publicity about its US number one, but Carly Rae Jepsen is in the pocket at number two - I think its continuing number one status next week is all but assured.

Somebody... hitting the top in the US is great, because it's a fantastic single, but I don't think we should get excited about Kimbra's contribution to its success any more than Australian's should about Sia's to Wild Ones - she's a featured guest vocalist, in a relatively minor role, and it portends nothing as far as her future successes go. Obviously it can't hurt, but the mountain remains a mountain, and we shouldn't anticipate Vows rolling through America any time soon.

Elsewhere the chart is very stable, that gang of songs which arrived a month or so ago is still there, and still largely great, so this is some stasis you can believe in.

RIANZ Top 10 New Zealand Singles Chart

1 Carly Rae Jepsen - Call Me Maybe
2 Fun. ft. Janelle Monae - We Are Young
3 Nicki Minaj - Starships
4 Chris Rene - Young Homie
5 Justin Bieber - Boyfriend
6 Havana Brown - We Run the Night
7 Katy Perry - Part of Me
8 Taylor Swift - Eyes Open
9 Train - Drive By
10 Cher Lloyd - Want U Back

SINGLE OF THE WEEK: R. KELLY - Share My Love
VOLUME rating: 9/11
The most amazing musician of our time returns with another seduction anthem. Share My Love is pure late-'70s smooth disco, basically Barry White 2.0, which feels like a good mark for Kells at this stage in his career. The whole thing is nuts, but in a very agreeable, unobtrusive style, but it's the lyrics, as ever, which show what a wonderful madman we have singing to us. "Populate/ Let's get together/ Populate/ Make the world better", he intones, and it's clear that he doesn't just want to fuck his conquest, but impregnate them too. Wow. The clip is typically outrageous, with women in lingerie serenaded while fixing their hair and nails, before this ridiculous ejaculation of a party. It's totally out of sync with contemporary r'n'b trends, but executed at an incredibly high level - it's R. Kelly, doing what he does, and we should all be grateful any time that happens.

NELLY FURTADO - Big Hoops (The Bigger the Better)
VOLUME rating: 8/11
The return of Nelly Furtado is an event. Strange to say that, given that her first album was pretty insubstantial, the second tanked and the fourth was a Spanish language-only curio. But in the middle was Loose, released during 2006, the peak of the last great pop music era. And, crucially, this comeback appears to be aimed at her re-taking that ground. Evidence? Aside from her already having had a number one single this year, on the hook to K'Naan's Is There Anybody Out There?, check the production credits of Big Hoops. Rodney Jerkins is the man on the boards. He doesn't work all that often, but when he does it can get very big. D-Child's Say My Name? Rodney. Gaga's Telephone? Rodney too. Whitney's It's Not Right? That's Rodney. And You Rock My World, by, uh, Michael Jackson? Rodney again.

He does amazing work here, ghostly bass-heavy synths with a spare, rattling beat - it's rare for a guy to retain a modern feel over the 15 year span he's been making hits, and the pop-drum'n'bass/screwed'n'chopped coda works great in a throwback style. Nelly is fine too - maybe a little too informed by Rihanna's elongated vowels, but there are many worse people to ape, and the frivolous tone is exactly what we need to back up fellow-Canadienne Carly Rae Jepsen in what is shaping up as a great resurgent US summer for pop.

JANINE AND THE MIXTAPE - Bullets
VOLUME rating: 7/11
The debut single from a local pop/r'n'b singer who is doing her work via Tumblr and YouTube rather than courting radio programmers and execs might end up with a big shiny hit on her hands anyway. Because this doesn't sound DIY or shirk scale in any way - it's got a monster production, and her voice is even bigger. I guess the reference point would be Jessie J, in that she's got this huge voice over a commercial production, but most of Jessie J's singles are excruciating, whereas this is pretty great. The beat is really impressive, slow and relentless, and while the vocals aren't strictly to my taste, retaining the same portentous heft throughout, they do share a lot with some of the biggest singles and singers of the past couple of years. Which is to say that this one could chart high right now, and still be only the start.

FIVE MILE TOWN - Saturated
VOLUME rating: 5/11
Not sure what's going on here - maybe I've lost my shit completely, but this is another song from Auckland that sounds like a hit. If it were up to me I would never listen to it again, because Saturated is really against everything I stand for - not just "real" instruments, but f**king banjo and double bass and stuff, and a singer who sounds like he's in tears throughout. But this basically comes at the Adele audience from the opposite end of the spectrum as Janine above, and if they can put together a whole record of this they'll likely sell shitloads to that crowd. Because the song works, for all its rectitude, and the guys are like 18 years old and all tousled-hair handsome - there's not a thing about this project which will prevent it getting massive. So all they need to do now is get lucky.

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

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