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.
The chart has a very settled air at the moment, with the top six only swapping places among themselves, while the top spot is still held by the aroused exhortations of Call Me Maybe, which so enraptured fashion bloggers Isaac Hindin-Miller and Katherine Lowe that they've made a tribute video to the Bieber/Gomez/Tisdale unofficial clip, featuring a sea of local models. It's pretty cute, and testament to how a serious pop song can just grab the world by its throat in a way that Guetta and Flo Rida just aren't going to do. The bloggers' clip has had 4000 views in just a few days, and while there has been typical Twitter snark, that's a number which beats out most NZ On Air-funded clips, and suggests that the majority find the song and the weird obsession it's generating pretty great.
Anyway - it's an otherwise very quiet week, just a shitty new B.o.B. song to avoid. Do that and you'll be fine - the music is on the up right now.
RIANZ Top 10 New Zealand Singles Chart
1 Carly Rae Jepsen - Call Me Maybe
2 Nicki Minaj - Starships
3 Fun. ft. Janelle Monae - We Are Young
4 Chris Rene - Young Homie
5 Havana Brown - We Run the Night
6 Justin Bieber - Boyfriend
7 Taylor Swift - Eyes Open
8 Cher Lloyd - Want U Back
9 Katy Perry - Part of Me
10 Rihanna - Where Have You Been?
SINGLE OF THE WEEK: THE GOSSIP - Perfect World
VOLUME rating: 11/11
From unlikely beginnings, as a scrappy Arkansas punk-soul band on labels like K Records and Kill Rock Stars, The Gossip have swollen in their sound and vision over the past decade to become the rarest of beasts: a legit band played on commercial radio with no hint of compromise in their sound. I've always felt like Beth Ditto is the best singer in the world when she wants to be, reaching down into a pit of anger and lust, and her band have kept rolling to the point where musically, this is basically tough disco. Perfect World is an anthem like Heavy Cross, but if anything larger and more gripping - intense, emotionally taut, pounding pop music. Perfect.
OPOSSUM - Blue Meanies
VOLUME rating: 9/11
It's a little worrying to think that Opossum might get subsumed to the interests of Unknown Mortal Orchestra, in the light of Kody Nielson's drumming for his brother Ruban's band. The post-Mint Chicks projects of each are both fantastic, but UMO are clearly further down the conveyer belt, particularly in the US. Opossum's debut Electric Hawaii has been pushed out, and it'd be easy for them to become perceived as a side-project, a curiosity. That would be entirely unfair to Opossum's music though, which is comfortably the equal of UMO's, and Blue Meanies might be the best song out of either side to date - a swooning psych-pop nugget, but one which manages to bring that chemically-altered serenity to a very modern sound, courtesy of a beat and bassline which flows mercilessly throughout.
LENO LOVECRAFT FT. GREATEST HITS - Scandalous
VOLUME rating: 7/11
A throwback gem, part of that '80s revival set which won't truck any attempt to modernise the sound. Which means this is painfully thin, but the solos and fidgety beat elevate it to the most lovable kind of pastiche. Simon Ward's video is outstanding, too, imagining a Holograms-esque Asian girlband powering this out, which feels exactly right.
NICKI MINAJ FT. 2 CHAINZ - Beez in the Trap
VOLUME rating: 8/11
Nicki Minaj is operating at a very high level right now, not so much over album length, where it starts to feel a little wearying. But on a single the elasticity of her voice and the sheer joy in the sound of her words is beyond infectious - she's maybe the best in the game at the short form. Beez in the Trap is on a popping, druggy beat, the early highlight of her bananas new LP Roman's Revenge. Minaj takes it gully and street level here, and destroys 2 Chainz, who sounds like he's under the misapprehension that this is a candy floss r'n'b tune. But against Minaj, no one really stands a chance right now.
DRAKE FT. RIHANNA - Take Care
VOLUME rating: 10/11
If you don't have Drake's Take Care, the album, sort it out - it's the best, most ambitious hip hop album of the last year or so. And the title track is utterly perfect - hushed, romantic r'n'b with none of the overt sexuality which has been a big part of recent Rihanna. That stuff's great too, of course, but it's nice to hear her back in this kind of territory too, as this is basically a Rihanna song with Drake cameo-ing. The production, a barely touched adaptation of a Jamie XX and Gil Scott-Heron song, is the true star - soft, supple, emotionally resonant piano. It will play forever.