I just wanted to take a moment to express my opinion on the charts.
I have always been a follower of the charts but until recently I have started to drop away from them. I would say up until about 2009/2010 i bought albums in the top 40, singles you name it, even the merchandise. But when it comes to the charts over the past couple of years, i found myslef buying less and less chart albums and more less well known albums, and remixes of chart tracks. I think the reason is because nowadays you get some 1 trick pony artists here and there, songs that die off too quickly.
Take for instance, gnarls barkley, who stayed in the charts for 11 weeks (a record) with his song Crazy. Now thats what im talking about, it lasted for ages and had a great feel to it. At the moment we get songs enter the top 10 for just a few days or a week. You dont get that massive sellout feel anymore, songs get "old" too quickly.
I remember back when bassment jaxx first came out, when fatboy slim came out, when sweet female attitude got to number 1 and this was all 90's early 00's but see what i mean? They all got a long run and people still remember them and play their songs today.
The other problem with the charts is you get some nonsense artists come through, lilly allen being the first that springs to mind. She just talks nonsense and then gets massive royalties. Her language is disgraceful and she sets a bad example. You hear kids playing this Taio Cruz nonsense on their phones and I think, what happened to real music?
Ok so my last point is that songs in the charts are increasingly becoming older songs remixed, the new songs are not new. Rhianna did a remix of an 80's song, forever young was recently re done with some rapper talking about popping out of porsche's getting done by the cops and slipping into white nikes. Im sorry but that was an excellent song ruined. There is no originality anymore, there are so many songs re done and remixed.
I am sorry to say that im an ex chart fan, recently its been getting worse and worse and maybe i just dont like the "new sound" but i think the whole pop element is still there. Its still about creating new music, its still about rebellion and still the ever changing course of musical history.
Unfortunately... Its just not for me anymore. Maybe i will be a big fan again in the future? I hope so.
Thanks for reading.
The Charts are shown every Sunday from 4Pm to 7PM on Radio One. It announces the top 40 selling singles of the week. Music charts have always been very competitive. The charts don't represent the best music in the world. It has has, it never will. It's only ever represented what's the latest trend in music. Just because lots of people bought it, doesn't mean that lots of people like it or will even care about it ten years time.
The only purpose I can see about the charts now is for something fans and music companies can boast about. It can however give the music that's charting more exposure which could mean even more sales. Since the outburst of reality TV stars and wannabes, it's safe to say that the charts don't represent the best quality of music. Some of it sets awful examples while others have clearly been made for money.
First two paragraphs are mostly referring to music charts after and during the 90's, so most 80's,70's,60's and 50's music is pretty much exempt. They had mainly good trends so the music charts where a lot more entertaining. Another thing that's wrong with the charts is that people assume that if something becomes quickly successful that they're sell-out whores who will never make a quality record again. Same goes to when an artist doesn't sell as much as they did before they automatically assume their music career is over forever. It just shows the hostile environment in the music industry. Getting signed on a label might be hard but staying on it is even harder.
I don't listen to the Official UK Chart Show faithfully because I find that there is a lack of variety and brings nothing new to the table. Although the presenters always seem enthusiastic and friendly towards guests.
I don't like charts in general. I've gone off it a lot. I personally think they're useless because people make a fuss about how something should have charted higher or lower. They'll get over quickly though, much like the X Factor results, it's a bit of a waste of time. Charts can be cheated and easily manipulated like how it was in Popstars: The Rivals where a boyband and a girlband competed to see who would be Christmas Number one. I think reality TV shows spoil the charts by making them predictable.
Some of my favourite music acts have had quite a lot of charting hits, but I don't listen to them because they charted, I listen to them because I like the way they sound. Even if their music was considered a failure because it didn't sell, I would still like it. Of course I would love my favourite music acts to do their best. I think Music can be successful without a chart number. There are plenty of great artists that will never meet the charts. But I have to admit, there is good and bad music in both mainstream and underground.
Just because I think the charts are awful it doesn't mean I hate all the music that's featured in it. At times I can see why people would want buy that particular song/album, but there's some tracks which make me wonder why anyone would want to listen to that? Digital sales seem to be a lot more relevant to chart success nowadays, but I prefer psychical copies like CDs, Vinyls and audio tapes, especially when they have nice B-sides and non single tracks.
I wouldn't recommend the charts, but if you do like music that's popular at the moment by all means listen to the charts. Most of the chart music seem to be more family friendly and orientated for kids to like. If you don't hear your favourite band on a radio or on TV, it's most likely on youtube. A good thing about the internet is that they've made thinks a lot more accessible. Hopefully when the auto-tune trend ends, charts might pick up better music. I see charts as the boring business part to music, but it seems to pull listeners in with enthusiastic presenters.
My apologies on this, this is really more about current chart music than the charts themselves. It might well be the wrong place to put it but I didn’t want to put it in the music in general bit (as I'm working on another op on that) and Dooyoo wouldn’t add a pop category. I watched CD:UK last week, because my favourite band, the Cooper Temple Clause, played their new single “Promises, Promises” on it. Straight after Gareth Gates, who has started growing his hair so it looks ‘indie’, and according to his music company, is going for a new ‘edgier’ sound (of course, this is to fit with the wave of faked guitar rock outfits like Avril, he cant be left behind can he?). They cut the ‘Clause new single short, because, OF COURSE, it couldn’t be longer than the ultimately ‘more important’ Gareth Gates. Although I do love being one of about three people I know who really love the ‘Clause, it sickens me that the flaccid and vacuous chart music of a pretty-boy who looks like a chipmunk on coke should take precedence over something as important as the ‘Clause. Sure, the ‘Clause might be ‘sharing’ a scene full of bands who are trying to emulate either old blues or seventies garage and punk, but they are something different. Something new, something fresh, fusing guitar rock with techno, art-punk with indie, electronica with hard rock. They might not be an easy listen but they are ultimately more satisfying and soul-enriching that that vapid shit (excuse my language) that that stupid little media puppet Gareth could EVER come out with. Its nice to be part of a movement that is a little different, a movement that at least acknowledges the past even if it relies too heavily upon it. Listening to an argument between two musical snob indie boys about which is the best Dylan album can get irritating, but it is ultimately better than listening to insip
id rubbish, the singers of which probably couldn’t even name five Dylan songs. I hate to be all ‘indie’ about it, but the chart music and mainstream pop scene really infuriates me. In the past music was about being YOUNG. It was about the Beatles taking acid and insulting the queen much to the annoyance of their fans parents, and coming out with better albums because of it. It was about Jim Morrison doing what they all knew would happen and dying young. It was about punk, kids who hated the government and hated their school and thought their parents misguided, and about Morrissey singing beautiful, articulate songs about his views on paedophilia, whether hitting your child was ok and meat being murder. It was Kurt Cobain throwing himself and his instruments around the stage in anger, and the insubordination of the acid house generation defying the police and having a get-together in a field to dance, take drugs and have sex. To be fair a lot of that music wasn't too charty at all, the most explicit punk got banned from the charts, and many of the Beatles fans turned on them during the later albums, but the charts still reflected the mood of the times...The Beatles were among the first to create a wave of LSD-soaked music, and the slightly more 'acceptable' punk bands did wriggle into the charts, and of course a whole load of acid house and britpop stormed the charts in the nineties...this was a good thing in some ways, although it did give rise to Menswear! Today’s chart music is not young; it has become like everything else in mainstream society…a means for the old, boring, pseudo-democratic government to control us. Young wannabe’s are chosen by industry moguls, who then order the wannabe to diet and bleach their head, say all the right things and steer clear of drugs and alcohol and set a ‘good’ example. They are then given a bunch of characterless and bland songs, which did
n’t come from their heart (because they probably don’t have one) to market on unsuspecting youth in order to keep them in control. And because the increasingly brainless youth are so well-trained, said bland rubbish rockets right up the charts. Britney releases one catchy song that makes it to the top, probably more because of the school uniform than anything else, and spends the next few years riding a wave of fame she neither needs nor deserves...until she starts crashing and burning and people start saying they always preferred Christina anyway. Remember the outcry when Britney was caught smoking, because she was ‘setting a bad example’? I’m surprised Marlboro didn’t give her a contract for that one, to market it on unsuspecting youth, along with the Skechers and McDonalds (right, because I’m sure that semi-anorexic bint eats burgers) she tried to entrance her zombified fans into buying. So there you have it, the charts, the mainstream pop culture. It sickens me to the core. Boring bands (if you can call them that) make boring kids, kids who all want to wear DKNY and bleach their hair to look like Britney or Westlife, instead of learn or say or do something interesting. Old men making music that they think youngsters want…and interestingly a lot of these ‘musicians’ are barely eighteen years old, in the S Club Juniors case, some of them barely fourteen. I read a book called “Branded” recently and one of the S club junior’s girls was quoted as describing herself “girly and flirty, a bit of a shopaholic”. When I was her age I was having play fights with the boys and listening to my dads David Bowie records. Why don’t we blame the media for the increasing cases of child pornography and paedophilia? Clearly some of these industry blokes are obsessed with young girls and barely pubescent boys given the amount of them inflicted upon us. The media is obsessed with
youth and then they blame people who are undoubtedly very wrong, but take it the wrong way. Even ‘alternative’ culture has been controlled. In the early nineties, very cool bands like Nirvana or Pixies escaped the net and made cool, loud and subversive music, but the industry has clicked on to that and has a series of bands for ‘arty’ or ‘alternative’ kids. These bands, which started out with the unmanufactured (but still pretty rubbish), likes of Greenday and Blink182, have morphed into increasingly manufactured forms, from Sum41 through Good Charlotte until we have bands like Busted and so-called sk8er rawk chick riot grrls such as Avril Lavigne who cannot skate, cannot rock and don’t even know what a riot is. The media has cleverly made it acceptable to like these bands too, thus creating animosity between ‘townies’ and ‘moshers’ or as we call them in Edinburgh, ‘schemies’ and ‘sweaties’, and keeping these young, intelligent but ultimately under control minds off what is important…being an individual. And of course, now these 'sk8er punk' bands are riding high in the charts too. Even more popularised forms of the ‘alternative’ chick are the likes of P!nk. Although I must say the most laughable one is the recent incarnation of Christina Aguilera. She has all of a sudden gone all pro-feminism stuff, what with her last song denouncing the fact that if a guy sleeps with a girl ‘he da man’ (so eloquently put Christina) and if a girl does it she’s a whore. Stating this fact does not make Christina pro-feminism, she’s simply pissed off that the media are trashing her for being too racy. That girl does nothing for feminism. Using your body to sell records IS being a whore, she’s simply pandering to a new FHM generation who don’t give a damn what she has to say so long as her ass is nice. I do believe w
omen have the right to do what they want but I think showing off your (totally perfect) body in the likes of Maxim is the least feminist thing you can do in today’s society. If someone with a ‘normal’ body such as Kelly Osbourne did it, that might be a different matter, of course FHM wouldn’t be interested. But the bottom line remains that Christina has to keep up with the new generation of fake riot grrls in order to sell her records. So I like my bands a little different. I went through a passing flirtation with nu-punk myself, in the form of Greenday (I’m proud to say they were the only one I liked), then one with the Strokes, now I’ve moved on to something I can get my teeth into. My fave ‘old’ bands and artists are the Rolling Stones (when they were important, not now), the Doors, Dylan, The Clash, the Velvet Underground, the Stooges, Black Flag, Sonic Youth and Pixies. My fave ‘new’ bands are Idlewild, the Cooper Temple Clause, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, the Super Furry Animals, and McLusky (a fantastic new band who sound like Pixies) among others. The bands I like all have important things to say, unfortunately they will never be able to say it to a large amount of people, these are not; with the possible exception of the odd Idlewild and Super Furry Animals song, bands that are going to storm the charts. Part of me would be jealous that so many people were getting in on the act, but if I heard one 12 year old say how much s/he loved the new Super Furry album I would be in raptures. The Cooper Temple Clause has wonderful lyrics and a schizophrenic love of music that results in them being, like my favourite movie “Donnie Darko”, completely uncategorisable…at best its space-prog-techno-indie-art-punk. Idlewild on the other hand are taking a new gentle approach, but it is still beautiful and fantastic, and I’m delighted to see them broaching the ma
instream a little. Perhaps when a pop fan bought the single “American English” s/he didn’t think to hard about that beautiful and true line which damns the mainstream pop industry- “Sing a song about myself, keep singing a song about myself, not some invisible world. Sing a song about myself, keep singing a song about myself, not some invisible woman”, but maybe for every fifty pop buyers of that single, one pop buyer did think about it and that’s enough for me. Its just sad that Idlewild are one of the few good bands in the charts, and also sad that fans of their new toned down sound will never love to learn about the anarchic noise machine that Idlewild used to be. Equally, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club have a new political air about them, their new album is called “Take them on, on your own” and includes some great tracks. As for the Super Furry Animals, forever on the fringes of the pop world, “Phantom Power” is for sure one of their greatest releases, a pop (if slightly alterna-pop) album that deserves to be number one a million times more than Christina Aguilera’s album. It’s the sad truth that all of these wonderful bands, while they may score the odd top twenty single, will probably never reach a place of high enough power where they can use that power to influence young people. This is what makes today’s music scene different, its not that the wonderful music isn’t there, it’s just that it isn’t getting heard loud enough, often enough or by enough people. The charts is being controlled by a bunch of stodgy boring people. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want a bunch of stodgy anti-drugs, anti-booze, anti-youthful sex, and anti-fun gits dictating what I listen to. I don’t want to listen to what Bill Hicks once delightfully dubbed “ball-less, soul-less, spiritless suckers of Satan’s cock”. Like him,
I want some passion. I want my bands dirty and hungover reading poetry, listening to old punk music and fusing it with new ideas, coming up with something new and interesting and throwing themselves around the stage with the kind of passion George Bush couldn’t muster if the UK asked him to blow up the entire world. I want dirt, sweat, blood and tears, not some dull pretty boy crooning at me from a stage and swinging his barely pubescent crotch in my direction. Regardless of your thoughts on drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, premarital sex, surely you have to admit that music was better when it was wild young things making it, not pretty, vapid, stupid things. Its time for a shake-up of the music industry and the way the charts are operated, but unfortunately until the music climate changes it will never happened and bands like the beautiful Cooper Temple Clause won't be heard as clearly as they should. Back then there was soul, r’n’b, rock ‘n’ roll, punk, new wave, blues, metal, Britpop and acid house, a good deal of is diffusing into the charts. The charts were once at least half-full of good, quality music. Now we’ve got Gareth Gates (no wait, his RECORD COMPANY), telling us he’s got a new, ‘edgier’ sound. Someone pass the rotten tomatoes.
Back in the days when you could get more than ten sweets in a ten pence mix up and people left their doors open without fear of being brutally murdered or robbed the music charts were born. In those ‘good old days’ the music charts were used to see how many copies of a song was sold, nowadays the charts are used to see which song is the ’best’ in that week. The battle for the number one spot is now getting ever so juvenile, in every newspaper you read stories about a group or artist moaning about another. For example, the battle for the 2002 Christmas number one between Girls aloud and One true Voice. Or you see pictures of scantly clad singers who try to sell more singles by getting naked, Christina Aguilera anyone?! Also to sell more copied of a Cd many singers bring out remix after remix which hard core fans stupidly buy it for more drum beats or song with a different backing vocals, and low and behold, the remixed album is again number one. Jennifer Lopez is a fine example of this ‘new and improved’ album tactic. Recently the sordid chart battle graced my school, Busted came to ‘perform.’ I use the term perform very, very loosely as; firstly, the band could not have actually been playing their guitars, as they were not plugged in and the band were also miming, very obviously. Anyway, after the pathetic 20 minutes of miming Busted left in a hurry and for the next week everyone talked about the concert and as a result of this publicly stunt many of the credulous pupils of my school, who actually believed that Busted came to our lame ass school of their own accord went rushing out to the shops to buy Busted’s album!! Keep you eye on this week’s album chart to see if Busted are number one because of this little stunt, I hope that they aren’t! Also the charts, in my opinion are dim-witted, just because a list of random songs is printed in the paper doesn’t
mean that they are good, most band that I find good, for example System of a Down and little known cKy have never reached the number one spot but are better that some of the crap that is stacked on our record store shelves, I mean who actually brought Candle in the Wind because they like the song? Hardly anyone. Most people brought it because of the death of Princess Diana. Also, in biased world of radio plays a part in the charts, the formula goes, Song + lots of radio play = number one Usually the songs with the most radio play are those that have recently been in the top ten or the artists which are the flavour of the week so all the good but unknown bands get very little air play whilst the talent less wonders gets lots of air play, where is the justice!!!!! Sometimes there is hope, sometimes real music does kick the ass of the manufactured bands with their stupid stunts and interviews, and a classic example is David Gray. He kicked Gareth Gates ass in the album charts due to talent, although it took David Gray years to claim the number one stop it was worth it just to rub it in the faces of all the Gareth Gates fans!! All in all I believe that the music charts are a waste of time, the talented band or artist are rarely number one, it is ripped from their hands by young, manufactured stars with powerful agents. Overall the music charts should be changed to one of the following names; What the companies want you to buy charts. Stupid fake music charts Cunning scams charts Impressionable people charts Buy these Cd’s as we say they are good charts
Supeficiality. It's the thing that I hate most in the world. I hate it with such a passion that when my friends start complaining about their weight or talking about some new celebrity miracle diet, I just lose it. Because I hate this world's obsession with the outside, with image, beauty over talent, image over creativity. This is why I love rock music so much, because it (most of it) is individual, creative, and a reflection of what is inside the artist's soul. Its their inner feelings, their emotions, their soul captured in a song. That makes it meaningful, that makes it beautiful. And I truly believe with every last breath of my being that that is what music should be, that is how it should be made, and it should communicate with everyone, a shared emotion that brings strangers together. However, the way that the charts are going now, music is being made a mockery of. Manufactured bands whose sole aim in their careers is to make money and be famous are being spouted from every corner while their creators, 'pop svengalis' like the detestable Pete Waterman sit back and count the coins that pile up to line their pockets. Are money-hungry vultures exploiting an impressionable public to take over every aspect of life? They have already taken over television, the movies (at least in Hollywood), the cosmetic industry, and they are now closing in on what should be one of the most wonderful ways of communication - music. The charts are what people buy, but why do they buy them? Ruthless marketing campaigns, endless exposure and careful creation of the image is what it is all about. Frankly, this makes me sick. When I come home after a bad day, and I feel like the world is against me, I just want to listen to music, i want to feel like some one else understands what I am going through, I want someone to touch me with their music - I DON'T GIVE A CRAP WHAT THEY LOOK LIKE!!! Whether they are fat or short or have a double chin or wh
atever, i don't care because they make music, and so their voice and instruments are all I care about. The thing is, clever Simon Cowell and his calculating associates are extremely clever. They reckon if the record buying public see as much of the bands they are hawking as possible, if they lap up the carefully constructed image, see the 'struggle' they go through to get in the band or be picked, then they will feel close to them, sympathize with them, buy their records. So Will Young, Gareh Gates, Popstars The Rivals, they all enjoy what looks like great success because of the amount of indoctrinated ten year olds that buy their third rate pap, but the truth is they've failed miserably. Because they have not reached anyone, they haven't felt the music that they are making, they haven't felt the emotions in their songs or truly connected with the people that listen on a personal level. The fact is that these production line clones are clogging up the charts so that people with real talent and real heart can't get a note in, and this is the real problem. The charts are a mockery of music, and it is pathetic that we are succumbing to sharks just out to get money and who don't give the slightest sod about creativity or talent. I've said this before but I'm going to say it again, it makes me sick, it really does. It feels like image is the only thing that matters nowadays... image, for GOD'S SAKE PLEASE WHY WON'T YOU FORGET THE OUTSIDE??? The inside is so much more precious - any two people can be made to look the same with highliting, make up and clothes, but are two souls ever the same? No, each one is unique and has its own special beauty - why don't people look in, see it and appreciate it? I read a comment about Atomic Kitten that totally summed up everything that I am trying to say - "there was one Elvis, one Hendrix... sadly, there are 123,000 of these constructed tarts a
round ." That sums up everything that is wrong about the charts, about the music industry nowadays, and I hope with all my life that the record-buying public will eventually see this, and stop contributing to Pete Waterman's next Ferrari by buying the processed s**t his robots churn out. Here's to the uniqueness, variety and beauty in life. Here's to real love, real happiness, real emotions, and here's to real music and artists that produce it with all their heart and soul. I would like to say to them, thank you for helping me on my bad days, thank you for making my good days better, thank you for helping me and others who listen to feel your emotions and love you for it. As for Pete Waterman, Simon Cowell, Simon Fuller and the like, the rubbish you churn out will eventually die away, only to be replaced by more. But no matter what you do, there will always be room for real music and the people who make it, and they are the real winners, not you, no matter now many houses and Porsches you own because they symbolise all that is special and wondeful about life.
Ah, the charts. A complete waste of time they are. I'm looking at the Radio 1 site and, oh my, Holly "Neighbours" Valance, S*** Club Juniors, the Sugababes... AGGGHHHH! I'm fed up with the pop charts. I'm fed up with "Pop Idol", "Popstars" and tedious 4/4 dance music. The singles chart is now so bad that they do not REAL tastes, not the artificial, in-bred, commercial teeny-bopper S Club 7 tastes. Call me strange, but all this cheap entertainment fodder is making me sick - bad movies, pop music, celebrity gossip from crap magazines like Hello!. After browsing the Radio 1 site with it's Chart area, I can honestly say I don't care about Britney Spear's disguise to go shopping, or Holly Valances pop career, where Will Young is going to tour next, or any of that crap! But the worst thing is, all music seems to be going towards bad commercial stuff. Metal and rock have deformed in to nu-metal, and become all horrible and commercial. Soul and R'n'B have fused with pop to make crap like Destinys Child etc. I don't see why I should be forced to have to listen to the radio around midnight to find good music. The John Peel show is one of the few remaining bastions of art, rather than entertainment. Things that will try and make people think. And I can only listen to that 3 nights a week. Giles Peterson is keeping alternative urban and world music alive, in his 2 hour slot. And The Lockup is the place for alternative punk and rock. What this world needs is change - to stop the corporates feeding everyone commercial teeny-bop "Britney v Christina" trash, and for real people to take over and publish real music. That's why I'm really in support of MP3 and P2P file-sharing services like Napster, Morpheus and Audiogalaxy - it will give new artists a chance to break open new markets, and still retain their artistic quality. And it'll
be a better way for new artists to get some limelight than bloody Pop Idol crap! I've threatened to do it before, and I'm considering it more than ever now - locking myself away from society with just good music. For a start, commercial radio should be on the deathlist. You try and stop your kids getting diseases, but you still let them listen to S Club? That's like injecting them with the musical equivalent of a terminal illness. Get your kids listening to real music now. It worked for me (as a child)! I'd now rather listen to Miles Davis than Mis-Teeq, and feel all the better for it. Try alternative music - it is so good once you purge all that radio crap out of your life.
For the first time since the US billboard charts, theres no British acts in the top one hundred. The once bastion of great and original music is now reduced to producing every day dross on a 24 track like Atomic Kitten and Steps. The latter wouldn?t even have got a Butlin red coat in the seventies as they are so kitsch. Any reasonable attractive girls with the relevant curves can now become stars with today?s technology. Napsters internet free distribution could still revolutionize and free up new music to get reasonable airplay and a fair hop window away from the big record companies. The charts are full of crap created by a greedy money making music biz dictating to ypoung minds on what they should be listening to.At that gae they really don?t know what else is out there and except it as creditable. Dance and tecno music has blossomed because of that as the imbecilic din now drives our kids to drugs and overly expensive super clubs. The monotonous beat captures their emotions and pulls them away from individuality and creativeness to one of the heard. Record companies new that this din would be cheap to make and easy to distribute to a captive audience. The royalties would be minimal as the artist?s brains and the next best thing is just around every urban corner. Keeping out creative and forward moving bands like the new wave of Indy and Goth Rock would mean low cost promotions and definitely less instruments. Britain is no longer a player in the world wide game with Robbie Williams now responsible for 13% of British sales. Now no offence to the young lad but his voice is poor and single choice erratic. Music has been dumbed down so much that literally anyone can be number one as the industry has total control over the charts and TV. Radio One even has a playlist supplied by the biz to make sure their next big thing gets the airplay and their investment meets the balance sheets. Why take a risk breaking anew band or
solo singer of talent when you can pluck some tart of the street in Camden town and make her a star with that 24 track and keep 99% of the profits. So sure are people that we are going nowhere anymore in this country music wise that a punter put tried to put a thirty grand bet on the Elvis impersonator winning tonights Stars in their Eyes final. If this guy is basing his punt on their will be more Elvis fans out there watching Saturday night than Cerys Mathews on a wet April night we are in trouble. Ok David Cassidy and Luther Van Dross are not exactly top opposition, but it does show that the people out there don?t want to see someone mimicking modern slap. Its amazing how many of these modern dance and urban street acts disappear with in a year. Uk Garage comes and goes,as does college rock and trance. Pop Idol and the other one highlighted just how much control the PR and medias people have on the workers when they got them to pick up the phone and vote for the eventual winners. We have the farcical situation of a gay man in Will Young singing about his love for little ten sweethearts from a previous tacky incarnation called Westlife. If constructed acts are copying constructed bands 24 months on we must be in series creative trouble. Or the record companies can get away with it and do it for that reason. We need the net to be the way forward so bands and singers can release their music there and distribute it democratically that way, bypassing the big monopolies filling the airwaves with factor music. Stock Aitken and Waterman and the like will always win out if they control the method of distribution. These big players have tried to sell us back catalogue twice in tape and CD with MP3s the next way for us to re-purchase the Beatles White album.
Hmmm, I guess this topic could be a bit of a hot potato depending on a number of factors, including your own musical taste, age, listening and shopping habits among them. Why? Well I'll be going into all that here. To begin with, in my personal opinion, as far as "chart" music goes i.e. that showcased by Top of the Pops, daytime radio and the Top 40 lists the answer is a big YES IT IS OVER-COMMERCIALISED. These are full of boy?girl groups who churn out either unimaginative cover versions of old songs, songs written by others, backed by session musicians because none of them can play (or sing in some cases) a note. They are hyped up because they are on powerful record labels which can influence media coverage and afford extensive advertising and marketing schemes. To a young (let's say pre-teen) music listener/buyer this is all they may come into contact with and so, being unaware of alternatives, are force-fed over-commercialised, unimaginative, unchallenging bubblegum for the ears and mind. Of course, there are older people who actually like it too! For those older people among us we're more likely to have a wider knowledge of the alternatives out there - old bands that remain firm favourites, music magazines that don't appeal to younger people which list more alternative musical releases, maybe we are more inclined to browse through music shops to find something new rather than just going in and buying the newest hyped-up release. Personally I have always preferred the non-chart side of the tracks being an old punk and a rock chick! I do like some of todays chart music but these are by what I term "proper" bands - those who write their own music, play instruments, sing and are not manufactured, e.g. Blur, Pulp, Manic Street Preachers, Ash to name but a few. Then I have my favourites such as The Damned, Nirvana, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Grand Theft Audio, Marilyn Manson, Metallica, Rancid and Back
yard Babies - all genuine bands with very little hype and, to my mind, not over-commercialised. However, the truth of the matter is, for a lot of younger listeners, such alternative music is played on the radio or television later at night, if at all, and not covered by glossy pop magazines so chances are they won't even be aware of it until many years later when their musical horizons broaden. I'm sure the same can be said of many other genres of popular music too but I am not so familiar with the dance/techno/rap/soul/reggae market, but I feel the same arguments could probably be levied here. I was turned away from the mass-produced teeny pop bands at about the age of 12 (err, about 1978) by discovering John Peel on the radio and the New Musical Express - a whole new world opened up. The Bay City Rollers were binned and in came The Undertones, The Fall, The Damned, Sex Pistols, Nick Cave/Birthday Party, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Patti Smith and loads more - I have never looked back! After that if I went shopping for records or music magazines I looked around more, experimented, (as far as money would allow) and discovered new gems (to me). I feel overall the over-commercialisation of the pop world is aimed at this younger market who are by and large unaware of what else is out there as well as being influenced more by TV, radio, magazines and their friends and the shrewd marketing of these music "products" takes full advantage of this. It won't change because there will always be a large pre-teen market who will buy and be enthusiastic about such music and when they become older and move on there is the next generation to carry it on.
2001 didn't start well - Bob the Builder was at number one. It got worse, he was dethroned by a terrible trio:- Touch Me by Ru Da Silva, Everytime You Need Me by Fragma and It's The Way You Make Me Feel by Steps. But 2001, so we were told, was to be the year ROCK returned. and, as if to prove it, Limp Bizkit were Rollin' (Rollin', Rollin'; Rollin', Rollin', Rollin') all over the airwaves, with the first ever DVD-single. But any thoughts that the charts were going to harden were swiftly demolished, Goodies' style, as U2 and Wheatus were licked by the kittens from Liverpool. Wheatus may have been listening to Iron Maiden according to the lyrics of Teenage Dirtbag (one of the songs of the year) but the kids weren't rushing to buy The Number of the Beast, they were buying Atomic Kitten's Whole Again - the first big seller of 2001, and no.1 for virtually the whole of February. Sadly nothing could keep Jamie Oliver off the television, and one of his interminable adverts kept Toploader Dancing In The Moonlight, and round our heads, for weeks. Someone else who we couldn't get out of our heads was Dido, whose album No Angel was the biggest seller of the year. Lovely voice, but a bit middle of the road. You expect kids to rebel, not buy music that could have been played on BBC local radio any time in the last 30 years. Westlife continued their reign as the biggest boy band around, selling nearly 300,000 copies of the annoying Billy Joel song Uptown Girl during Comic Relief week. We had a band like that when I was a kid, they were called The Bachelors, and your nan would listen to (Sir) Jimmy Young playing them on them on Radio Two. The trouble is that the tin pan alley days are back. Rock 'n' Roll is starting to look like an aberration. The kids took control for a few years, playing their own instruments and writing their own songs. But now the record companies are back in charge, manufa
cturing pop stars to perform like puppets - and this year they did it quite brazenly on prime time television. When one auditionee on Pop Stars talked about writing her own songs, she was sneered at by one of the judges. The spawn of ITV's Pop Stars programme was Hear'Say, whose first single Pure and Simple shifted 549,822 units in its first week on release in March. 160,995 of those in a single day - making it the third fastest selling single ever! Talent + Marketing = Big Bucks. (Innovation + Ugliness = Sweet F.A.) At least Pop Stars and Pop Idol showed us the people who are responsible for manufacturing these acts, so now we know who to blame! Of course there was one man who denied everything last year: Shaggy. Shaggy doesn't do things by halves, when he makes a record he makes a good 'un. OK, so sometimes he has a lot of help from pop's recycle bin, but there's no denying that he does it boombastically well. It Wasn't Me sold over a third of a million copies in its first week at number one, after equalling Lou Bega's thirty-place jump to the summit. (Both records had been selling on import for a few weeks before their official release.) The Manic Street Preachers bunged out two singles on the same day for no apparent reason, and then buggered off to Cuba in March. Meanwhile cartoon band Gorillaz slipped a tune called Clint Eastwood into our heads just in time for the summer - which, like the rock revival, didn't happen. (Well, not as far as the singles chart and radio playlists were concerned, even though bands like Staind and Slipknot were topping the album chart.) Instead, the summer saw an awesome string of catchy pop tunes that would have shifted shedloads in any era... DJ Pied Piper and the Masters of Ceremonies asked Do You Really Like It? and everyone replied "we're lovin' it, lovin' it, lovin' it...", but not as much as we loved S Club 7's Don
39;t Stop Movin' - surely one of the catchiest pop singles ever, and recently voted the Record of the Year. And then there was Kylie. Oooh er. The little bird, who escaped the clutches of the evil Pete Waterman, sang Can't Get You Out Of My Head and we knew how she felt. Travis told us to Sing, si-ing si-ing sing, and that the circle only has one Side, and DJ Otzi, erm, should have been shot. Henry Ford told his customers that they could have the Model T in any colour they liked, as long as it was black, and the record industry have adopted the same policy. You can have as much 'product' as you like - as long as it's pop. Variety is dead, long live pop. Naaa naaa na, naaa naaa na-naaa-naaa, naaa naaa na, naaa naaa na-naaa-naaa... As usual there were boybands. cover versions, and films to promote too. Bridget Jones's Diary spawned stick-insect-Spice Geri's umpteenth number one with It's Raining Men, Destiny's Child had another chart-topping song from a soundtrack and another Baz Luhrmann movie flooded the airwaves. Oh, and Michael Jackson made a comeback, but no-one took any notice. The year ended strangely with Daniel 'he did it in his bedroom' Bedingfield selling oodles of copies of his garage track Gotta Get Thru This, the lyrics of which would be NU'd on dooyoo, while wrinkly Gordon Haskell launched a one-man-band assault on the Christmas No.1 spot with How Wonderful You Are, but got beaten by the perfect photo-fit of a pop single in the eyes of record company bosses: two stars duetting on a cover version. So the year ended with Somethin' Stupid at Number One as usual. It's a cliché to say that cover versions are never as good as the original, but this was a case of: once a rubbish song, always a rubbish song. 2001 was the year that Terrorvision and Geri Halliwell both asked whether 'you wanna go faster'; Love Don't Cost A Thing by
Jennifer Lopez segued indistinguishably into All Rise by Blue; and we all cringed at songs about friendship sung by people whose friends must surely have disowned them - namely All Stars (Best Friends), the Tweenies (Best Friends Forever), and, saddest of all: Right Said Fred (You're My Mate) - surely the most embarrassing single ever heard. Although Help I'm A Fish by the contradictorily named Little Trees was just as jaw-droppingly naff. 2001 also saw the inevitable demise of 5ive, Steps and George Harrison. He will be sadly missed by those of us too old to know our White Strokes from our Stripes, or our Linkin' Brakes from our Turin Park, yet. It would have been much more fitting for George Harrison's My Sweet Lord to be the Christmas No.1, but EMI dragged their feet to ensure that Robbie was at the top, just as they refused to press enough copies of Kylie & Jason's single at Christmas 1988, because they wanted Cliff's Mistletoe and Whine to wear the advent crown. It's pop music's equivalent of a professional foul in football. Thus a handful of big record companies carve up the charts between them, co-ordinating relase dates months in advance and stoking demand with saturation publicity for weeks before a single's release date. But it's not true to say that the charts aren't as good as they used to be. There was always rubbish around, even in the good old days (whenever they were - certainly not the 70's and 80's I remember!) But these days there is more of everything, good, bad and indifferent. The trouble is that certain types of music are marginalized by record companies and record stores - greedy fat cats, who are only interested in maximizing profits. In other words, if you don't have mass market appeal you can bog off. Welcome to the machine, son, have a cigar. For the record, here are ten chart hits I didn't get fed up of this year: Alcohol
ic - Starsailor Sing - Travis Handbags and Gladrags - Stereophonics Juxtaposed With U - Super Furry Animals Frontier Psychiatrist - Avalanches Mr. Writer - Stereophonics Clint Eastwood - Gorillaz Don't Stop Movin' - S Club 7 Side - Travis Butterfly - Crazy Town Sorry if I missed out your favourite song of the year, but there's always the comments section... ___________________________________________________________ ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ _______ | STATS | ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ The Top Ten Best-Selling Singles of 2001 ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ `1 It Wasn't Me - Shaggy featuring Rikrok `2 Pure and Simple - Hear'Say `3 Can't Get You Out Of My Head - Kylie Minogue `4 Whole Again - Atomic Kitten `5 Hey Baby - DJ Otzi `6 Uptown Girl - Westlife `7 Don't Stop Movin' - S Club 7 `8 Angel - Shaggy `9 Teenage Dirtbag - Wheatus 10 Because I Got High - Afroman The charts did swing slightly back towards sanity in 2001, having reached a manic peak of activity in the year 2000, when there were a record number of number ones, top ten hits, and top 40 entries... ........................ Straight ... Top ... Top .......................... In At ...... Ten .... 40 Year ... No. 1s ... No.1 ...... Hits ... Hits ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ 2001 ..... 31 ........ 29 ....... 200 ... 601 2000 ..... 43 ........ 41 ....... 221 ... 595 1999 ..... 35 ........ 31 ....... 204 ... 619 1992 ..... 13 ......... 1 ........ 146 ... 594 1991 ..... 17 ......... 6 ........ 146 ... 484 1990 ..... 19 ......... 0 ........ 141 ... 445 1982 ..... 22 ......... 2 ........ 154 ... 360 1981 ..... 20 ......... 1 ........ 148 ... 360 1980 ..... 25 ......... 2 ........ 148 ... 376 1971 ..... 14 ......... 0 1961 ..... 22 ......... 0 ____
__________________________ ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ Total .... 916 ...... 218 ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ Biggest jumps to the number one spot: ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ 29/06/1982 ... #33 to #1 ... Happy Talk - Captain Sensible 29/08/1999 ... #31 to #1 ... Mambo No.5 - Lou Bega 04/03/2001 ... #31 to #1 ... It Wasn't Me - Shaggy featuring Rikrok ..../05/1961 ... #27 to #1 ... Surrender - Elvis Presley 28/09/1982 ... #26 to #1 ... Pass The Dutchie - Musical Youth 28/07/1981 ... #22 to #1 ... Green Door - Shakin' Stevens ..../09/1968 ... #21 to #1 ... Hey Jude - The Beatles 16/12/1980 ... #21 to #1 ... (Just Like) Starting Over - John Lennon Biggest selling singles of all time (UK) ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ 4,800,000 - Elton John - Candle In The Wind (1997) 3,510,000 - Band Aid - Do They Know It's Christmas (1984) 2,130,000 - Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody (1975/1991) 2,050,000 - Wings - Mull of Kintyre / Girls' School (1977) 1,995,000 - Boney M - Rivers of Babylon / Brown Girl In The Ring (1978) ___________________________________________________________ ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯
Will a good record sell? Firstly, what constitutes a good record? It’s all down to personal taste – what’s your opinion? (Let me think where I last read that online). Secondly, how will it sell? How does EMI, Sony or the company concerned bring it to the attention of the masses, or in short market it? And how does it end up in the charts? It’s easy to complain about the state of the Top 20, the Top 40, the Top 75 these days. But when all is said and done, it’s part of the British music industry. It's controlled and governed according to various conditions laid down by the British Phonographic Industry which tries to assure that, in a murky world, everybody adheres to the same set of rules at least part of the time. A few years ago, major record companies which gave away free albums, videos or T-shirts with singles at selected outlets, or issued a single in ten different formats with different bonus tracks or fancy packaging, in order to rack up extra returns and boost a record’s chart placing, soon saw the goalposts altered accordingly. Then came the craze for selling singles at 99p in the first week of release (at least in chart return shops), thus almost guaranteeing a healthy entry position followed by swift descent out of sight. More recently, hyping an artist has paid off handsomely in terms of hit after hit after hit. The majority of acts have a short shelf life, so make the most of ‘em while the going is good and just remember their days are numbered. Four years ago, the Spice Girls could put any old rubbish out on a single, and it would fly out of the shops before you could say Jamie Theakston. (Hands up, those of you who said “We know - they did.”) Now nobody (least of all the girls themselves or their staff) can be bothered to issue a press statement confirming whether they’ve split up or not, at least one has been dropped as a solo act by their record label, an
d interest in the others is evidently waning. One week in the summer of 1984, Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s first two singles accounted for around 15% of all singles sold in the UK. Two years later, a second album and two hits from it fared less well than expected. Goodbye Frankie. Boyzone wisely quit while they were ahead. Any bets on Westlife? There was always an element of marketing, and the charts have never been squeaky-clean. But it all seemed more innocent, more interesting 20 or more years ago. Once there was a time when your single might just enter the charts at No. 1 if you were the Beatles, Slade, or the Jam. Now it happens almost every week, even with debut releases. A far cry from Jennifer Rush’s four-month climb to the top in 1985 with ‘The Power Of Love’. Remember Hot Chocolate, who scored at least one hit every year from 1970 to 1984 inclusive, occasionally hitting the top three, sometimes barely scraping the Top 50? That almost never happens today, and apart from Madonna or Kylie Minogue, none of today’s chart regulars have been around for more than four or five years. It speaks volumes about built-in obsolescence. I think the prevalent ageism of today’s music industry has done much to narrow the diversity of the chart. Tom Jones has defied trends, presumably by virtue of teaming up with younger names like the Stereophonics and Cerys Matthews, and Cher, or her arrangers, have kept ahead of musical trends pretty smartly, but they are the exceptions. Radio 1’s sweeping dismissal, or rather exclusion, of anything but ‘new music’ was highlighted in 1996 when Status Quo took them to court for an unofficial ban on their then Top 30 single ‘Fun Fun Fun’ on the apparent grounds that they were a bunch of wrinklies who had had their day and wouldn’t we all far rather be listening to the current No. 1, ‘Firestarter’, by the Prodigy. (No thank you,
Mr R1 FM Controller, am I the only person under 50 who couldn’t abide the latter?). A year later, Paul McCartney’s ‘Young Boy’ entered the chart at No. 19 and was to appear on ‘Top Of The Pops’, but dropped from the running order at the last moment, again apparently on grounds of, well, Sir Paul’s age. Two years after that, Cliff Richard’s ‘Millennium Prayer’ looked like dying a death until his fans defied general opinion and bought it in droves, making it well nigh unexcludable. Of course, denying a record exposure in this way (or alternatively, giving it publicity by banning it – remember ‘Je T’Aime..Moi Non Plus’, ‘God Save The Queen’, ‘Relax’) doesn’t stop punters from going out and buying it, but making a single Radio 2’s Record of the week (which ‘Young Boy’ was) hardly carries the same sales clout. The occasional MOR pop number manages to find across-the-board appeal and take up a lengthy residence in the chart – the Mavericks’ ‘Dance the Night Away’ and LeAnn Rimes’ ‘How Do I Live’ (both 1998) come to mind, but I can’t recall many others. It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the charts of 2001 are by and large pretty narrowly based. On one hand are pop acts like Steps, Hear’Say and Kylie, on the other various dance concoctions such as Oxide & Neutrino, So Solid Crew, and Basement Jaxx rule, with little in between. Let’s go back 30 years and take a random Top 40, from the week ending 9 January 1971, a sufficiently broad-based roll call including Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra, T. Rex, Status Quo, the Jimi Hendrix Experience (at that time almost considered too loud and noisy even for daytime Radio 1), pop-ska pioneers the Equals, rock’n’roll revivalist Dave Edmunds, 12-year-old Michael Jackson and his four elder
brothers, Stevie Wonder, fellow Detroit soulsters the Motown Spinners, folk/country rockers McGuinness Flint and Matthews Southern Comfort, plus veteran 60s pop heroes the Kinks and Herman’s Hermits. And who was No. 1? Clive Dunn (Lance-Corporal Jones of ‘Dad’s Army’ and “Don’t panic, Captain Mainwaring, sir!” fame) with ‘Grandad’. Now I know many of us could live without ever hearing the latter again, but can you imagine that kind of diversity today? A better barometer of musical opinion is served by the album charts. For the last few years, chart singles have only needed to sell a fraction each week to qualify, compared with what would have been necessary to do so in the 70s. A few thousand people might be persuaded to shell out three or four quid in a moment of madness one week for ‘Flat Beat’ by Mr Oizo (in my opinion, possibly the least deserving No. 1 to date), but 50,000 punters or more parting with cash or handing over their plastic card for an album demonstrates, ahem, more commitment. Music critics on the staff of ‘NME’, ‘The Guardian’ or ‘The Independent’, may scoff, but Meatloaf’s ‘Bat Out Of Hell’, Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Rumours’ and Queen’s ‘Greatest Hits’ have between them clocked up around twenty years, measured by total weeks on chart. A rather truer indication of public taste? Oh well, the charts are a load of nonsense anyway. When did you last see a decent fine upstanding classical tune in there? (Ten years ago, I think, courtesy of Kiri Te Kanawa, ‘World In Union’, and Pavarotti, ‘Nessun Dorma’ – and on the back of rugby and footie respectively). Beginning to sound like my elder sisters and my parents, aren’t I? It’s all down to public taste. I’ll shut up. Just leave me with my memories of when it was all, well
, so different. On second thoughts, come to think of it, did somebody say ‘marketed bands’? In 1967 the Monkees (as in “Hey hey, we’re the...”) were a prime example of a marketed boy band, scathingly known in their prime as ‘the pre-fab four’. They're still fondly revered as part of the 60s scene. Go back further, and even the Beatles, scruffy leather-jacketed punkish-looking lads who served their apprenticeship in seedy Hamburg clubs nearly forty years ago, were carefully smartened up and groomed for mass appeal and global stardom. Rumour has it that their manager only got their first record into the charts by getting employees to do a bit of hush-hush bulk buying. ‘Twas ever thus.
Do the official UK charts mean anything anymore? Well, in my view they don't tell you anything about how good or bad an artist, band or song is. Recently, we've seen a noticable decrease in the quality of top 10 singles. Firstly, it's clear to see that the top 10 has been taken over by light "pop" music. Where as in the past, we might of seen some rock or even new age slip past number 10, but now? Not likely! And that's not all. Over the last three months, DJ Otzi (some fat european man), Bob the Builder(a childrens character with the voice of comedian Neil Morrisey) and Afroman (a practical joke to the music industry) have beaten the likes of Michael Jackson and U2 to the top of the charts. Is this fair? Today, huge bands like Westlife and Steps don't need a particulary good song to get high in the charts, they just need lots of favoured publicity. It's almost guaranteed that their albums and singles will enter somewhere within the top 10. *I'd like to point out how pleased I was when formely unknown star Daniel Bedingfield beat commercially dependent band Hear'say to the top spot. It's about time this started to happen, lets hope other artists like Daniel have this sort of luck in the future. All I can say is at least the album chart hasn't plummeted down the way the single's chart has. Massive, fairly big and even small artists manage to score faitrly into the album charts. But, I do notice that the odd one or two don't even slot into the top 20 (e.g Aaliyah's albums). S Club 7, Steps, Westlife and so on.. are not awful bands. It is clear from the amount of fans they attract that they must be reasonably "good". But, what else do they do except sing? They usually don't sing live, play their own instruments or write/compose their own tracks. Yet, for whatever reason, they are beating artists that do manage to get into
showbiz without the help of people like Pete Waterman. But the most annoying aspect of charts is when the likes of Kylie Minogue continuously get to Number 1 with totally terrible tracks. We all know that Kylie, Dannii and Natalie Imbruglia only got into "pop music" after appearing on Australian soaps. So overall, I don't take a blind bit of notice as to who gets into the top 10 singles chart. And if Britain continues to stay the way it's going, I don't think I ever will.
When a song is released people look at how well it performs in the music chart. This chart consists of the best selling 40 records for each week. This chart is displayed in music shops around the country and is played on the radio every Sunday night on various music stations. Pepsi sponsors it and so you may know to it better as the Pepsi chart. The chart itself has information sent into it from around the country from large stores. So why do people care how well a record sells? Surly if you like a song you buy it and if not you don’t. Either that or you download it off the Internet. When you buy a record it will normally say as well featuring the top 10 hit… Does it matter if a cd has top ten hits on it? If you like songs by an artist you would think you would buy the cd no matter how it does. I don’t think albums by some artists would do as well without those little stickers on the front saying… with the no. 1 hit… But why? Are people today so style conscious that they think people will care what place a song got. ‘Oh no that song only made it to no. 20’. Only made it? Well the song could be brilliant, just because it wasn’t at no.1 for five weeks means anything. So what makes songs get to no. 1? Advertising normally does help. However there is an exception as there always will be. For example Posh Spice advertised her single ‘I’m not just an innocent girl’ spending what I heard to be £3million. Yet she didn’t make no.1 and the song soon vanished. Airplay is another factor. If you play a song lots more people here it. If you play it less people here it. With more people hearing a song more people are bound to like it and so here it. Maybe it is then that the music I like (which I have to admit I don’t hear much on the radio) doesn’t sell well because people haven’t heard it. As well there is the point that do you think Britney w
ould sell less records if she was wearing some clothes for once on the cd cover? I would like to not damage my eyes when I look around the shop. I used to listen to the chart and hope that my favourite artists of the time were near the top. I would go into school and people would go, ‘Did you hear Madonna made it to no.1’ as if the world had ended. So what? She sold a lot of records does it matter that Westlife are not no.1 this week. I don’t listen to the chart now. I sometimes go in a shop and see how many artists I have heard of in the top 40. I normally end up at 10 if I’m lucky. So what made me change my mind? Well I discovered music outside of the chart. Music that doesn’t sell very well and should do, although then it would be pop. I knew I would never hear this music on the chart shows so I stopped listening. An artist doesn’t need to do well in the chart to be successful, trust me. There are lots of mini charts around not just the top 40. The rock charts are an example of that. They are published every week in Kerrang magazine, never heard of it? In today’s world I don’t think we need to know how songs are selling. Artists are an amusing factor to all this hustle. They go on the chart show and sound so excited that their song is this week’s no.3. ‘No. 3 really? Wow just think of all those royalties.’ Are we all really that shallow to follow their example? I hope not. The chart however is here to stay. Well established in todays society as the home of Briteny and other sold out artists. I mean what else would they fill on a sunday afternoon. My words of advice are, if you like a song buy it, it doesn’t matter how a song performs because if you like it you like it and enjoy music. It was made to be listened to, not to battle it out in a chart that wont matter two weeks down the line. Sara
Dooyoo – The Charts Welcome to what the masses regard as the ‘official’ nature of music in the UK, the recordings of the record industry, songs that are played from the placing at number 40 to the all importantly ‘acclaimed’ number 1 spot on Radio 1. As much as I abide by the fact that the majority of what I listen to isn’t intended to shoot into the ‘weekly rundown’, I admit that the charts do hold a certain degree of relevance to the popular music industry. The sales and placing of songs are intended to be implicitly indicative of what people are buying at the time. In addition, there are cases where the prominent moods of the nation can be reflected through them. 3 Lions during Euro 96 was a good example of the how the nation was generally united and enthused with the nature of the event. Which means that in a manner of speaking, it could be argued that when Teletubbies Say Eh Oh stole the number 1 spot during Christmas time, notions of lunacy and disposable novelty value were mirrored in the wake of Tinky-Winky’s sexuality issues and parental groans over childish crazes. Which brings us to another angle regarding this topic, another issue, the effect of marketing and the promotion of music. Promotion can be helpful with shedding light on what’s out there. Yet on the other hand, so-called ‘teeny magazines’ are often saturated with advertisements regarding (what could best be described as) songs that are bound to achieve a chart placing. If something is promoted where the eyes of the intended audience are bound to wander, that particular product is almost certain to sell in abundance, well only if the intended audience covers most of the nation. This somehow reminds me of the run up to the presidential elections in US politics. Money helps. A lot. Playing as much of a part in the final outcome as other factors. Money and manipulative marketing can cause a steaming sh
it-stitched song to hit the number 1 spot. Successful drivel released over the Christmas season tends to support this point. I wonder if Bob the Builder is familiar with the taste of Chocolate Salty Balls. But marketing and promotion is a 2 way street. Referring back to the so-called ‘teeny magazines’. Complementing the plethora of advertisements are features on these youngsters’ heroes, idolising them. Popular stars have their appearances commented upon frequently. This doesn’t help the position of chart music in general, so often labelled as technocratic, plastic and disposable. So as much as I love 2Pac’s Hit ‘Em Up, I can understand why a song like that, bathed in simmering hatred and obscene language to match, would never have reached number 1. The general view is that the public are more inclined to go for happier songs, often something to dance to. Occasionally a few unexpected things get through, like Mr. Slim Shady himself, Eminem. But then again, the almost comical way his singles are put across (excluding Stan) act as a camouflage to the lyrics within and the more extreme material on his albums. Sometimes etiquette is breached, like when misery mongers Radiohead, encountered high chart hits that included the Paranoid Android or how Metallica somehow managed to chart once in their younger days, amazingly without any radio play or conventional advertising whatsoever. Thus, sometimes music that even I consider to be good can get into the charts. Sometimes. Rarely. So overall, my (admittedly) angular musical preference keeps me disinterested from what goes on in the UK singles charts. But everyone keeps private opinions regarding what constitutes good music. It’s a personal thing. I can understand and accept differences like these. It’s easily possible to generalise the charts and label them as a dumping ground for pop music. True as well. But let’s face the fact that the charts have been
the mainstay for which pop music thrives and continues to grow. Not malignantly, for I doubt pop will ever die. To ask whether or not the charts are overall, a forum for artificially constructed bands out to get money, is to question the very nature of popular music itself. People that prefer other genres such as jazz, classical, rock, metal, hip-hop or whatever (I know I’m missing out loads here), would most likely argue that the majority of chart music is artificial. Other types of charts exist that are solely to do with specific genres, mainly due to the obvious cemented resilience of the stereotypical pop song that people generally want. However, the technical nature of the general chart allows for some outside influence to enter. Like a democratic system whereby the main forces are prevalent, yet third parties are heeded from time to time. It seems like popular dance tunes, with less emphasis on lyrics, tended to head the third party leadership, as the main rival to the stereotype of ‘typical’ pop songs that gripped the charts in the early 90s. Prodigy and Sash, eh? It’s possible to trace different trends like this. Some songs just have to be released at the calculated time for the money to rake in. Good cause or not, Elton John’s reworked Candle In The Wind is an example. Which brings things back to where they were. It depends on people moods at the time. Of course there are blindingly obvious financial objectives in plenty of cases, with emphasis on pretty faces and vocals sometimes acting as a channel for other people’s lyrical work. But it all boils down to preferences, if you’re happy with that sort of thing. The charts are a record of the norm and the norm is overwhelmingly pop, occasionally attempting to fit into what is conventionally acceptable. This has become much more broad, especially with entangled genres (Puffy and Page, Rage Against The Machine, Limp Bizkit, Blink 182, Metallica and a
symphony orchestra). This makes the construction of the genre specific charts that I mentioned earlier all the more difficult and futile. But now with the likes of N-Sync and Westlife being joined by Madonna and the return of Michael Jackson the future of a ‘conventional’ kind of pop music seems secured. It seems like it’s unimportant to declare war against it, as some artists have done in the past. I can’t condemn the industry if people so evidently like what they buy. But pressures should be abhorred. It’s becoming more a matter of choice with the dodgy Audiogalaxy and Napster clones on the increase out there (I can’t say that I’ve used them though). As the record companies and artists attempt to find their own fan bases, I’m just glad that I’ve found my own niche of favourite music to call my own, inspirational in accompanying my moods and imploring me to work harder with my own creative works.
Is there any point in the music charts anymore. The big record companies gather around an Ikea table and carve it up. Whose turn is it to have their new boyband at number one. Whose turn is it to blood the new manic Indy band they have been holding back until fresher’s week, and those juicy grant cheques. It’s so contrived its embarrassing. If you look at the multiple charts in HMV theres one just for that moronic happy dance music. What concerns me about people that take that dross seriously is the constant listening of it. They et up in the morning to Radio One…..They stick it on the CD player. They put it on the factory radio. They go to the bars that blast it out. They go to the clubs until 4 AM!.Then they go to Ibiza for 24/7,aghhhhhh. You guessed that I cant stand the beat of the moment and would like it wiped of the face of the planet like the Thalaban.Theres even a dance compilation chart where one can buy all their 3-99 CD singles all over again. Why are all those girls sexy and sophisticated on those Ibiza ads yet when you get there its full of scraggy Northerners with ankle bracelets. And we all know what those mean don’t we girls. Anyhow with valuable chart places taken up by the beat of the factory it leaves no showcase for genuine talent. Indy College rock managed against all the odds to break the “biz”chart monopoly recently but we are almost back to normal. Ok im a dinosaur and have always liked the rock I grew up with. But at least my music can survive the short termism of modern simulated pop. 80S pop was fun and non-pretentious, aimed at the time. But now it’s so cynical and geared towards our vacuous youth, and their single mums. 1) Six boybands. One white band pretending to be black of course. 2) Three girl bands. 3) Ten American acts with fit black people attituding around. 4) Five latest silly dance tracks from Ibiza and Aya Napia. 5) 5 U
K garage tracks that sound like someone falling over drunk on some dustbins. 6) 2 marose depressing Indy bands for the college kids to pretend to feel sorry for themselves. 7) I token skateboarder rock track 8) Two movie soundtrack hits to push the failing film. 9) That song from the advert. 10) That song with the video copied from Fatboy slims excellent video forever more. In the terrible and traumatic Stock Aitken and Waterman years have taught us all about record fixing. If the record shops ordered 500.000 copies then as far as the charts were concerned, they were sold. They used to send ringers out to buy large chunks of singles to boost a poor records launch. The record companies now tie the Hear Says and Boyzones into terrible contracts with minimal royalties. Hear Say have made less than three percent of the bands turn over. The more contrived the music then the more control the record companies have. Hopefully the Internet and MP3 will return a little more democracy to real music fans and collectors. Marrilion are the world’s biggest selling Internet band these days as they use their garage to record and mail their stuff out. They even e-mailed the fans for the money to cut the album. Contrived simpleton music dominates the charts as it gets the best commercial returns. If the record companies had to take the risk of hunting down talent and then showcasing it they could lose big bucks. But if five gay boys from a Manchester housing estates are going to produce big bucks regardless of the said talent, wheres the problem. Modern youth are eased into American culture and commercialism by music such as we have in the current charts. All the product placement and gang culture references are all part of the brain washing. Black youth is fed up of being looked at as criminals and thugs, pimps. Yet all their music forced on them portrays that. The radio One play list is the biggest c
ulprit here as they dictate the music played on British radio. The record companies have an incestuous relationship with them and make sure the big six get their product played. Bands trying to break through get little or no coverage or airplay. Well we don’t want talent getting in the way of All Saints and Cleopatra do we.I want to know what happened to Bewitched!. I remember the school days with the excersize book, a dirty mag and blotting paper. Ladies!,we had to use ink pens and they always leaked.The sacred tuning in of the static concealed station on the dial would just take preference over every school boys favorite. Radio One even then was considered mainstream and predictable by true music fans. The moment I picked up the signal and heard ELOs Don’t bring me down,I was in heaven.Let alone Gary Newmans ,Her in my Car im deciding to…………heavenly memories.
The top 40 chart has long been a murky graveyard for washed up has-beens and pretentious one-hit wonders, and yet many who manage to mount the summit still claim it to be the pinnacle of their career. Quite how you can take any satisfaction from being top of a chart that is a behind-the-scenes conspiracy between retailers and record labels in the first place is baffling - but thats another story altogether. You can imagine it now; 'yes, made number 1, beat that Scandinavian bird who I've never heard of and that 56-member underground pop garage group...'. You wanna know why the top 40 is anything but top at this present moment in time? Let's look at some of the evidence from its latest installment... 38 Sisqo - 'Dance For Me' After singing about pants (ha ha!), Sisqo comes up with probably the worst rhyme scheme known to man. 'I don't mean no disrespeezy/I'm just trying to make things easy...' Good grief, speak English man! Either that or stick to songs about knickers (hope my spelling's right as well) 36 Wheatus - 'A Little Respect' 35 Shaggy feat. Rayvon - 'Angel' Oh look, here's 2 cover versions these artists didn't write themselves. Whatdyamean, Angel is original? Why has Shaggy nicked that bassline from Steve Miller Band's The Joker then? 29 Tweenies - 'Do The Lollipop' Realistically, the Uk's next biggest musical export. Yes, Milo, Fizz and co are gonna be that big 21 M.O.P. - 'Ante Up' First and foremost, go buy their album - its a cracker. You can tell though they feel slightly ashamed of how their singles have gone as they say there's a cat in hell's chance of promoting or touring in the UK. Enthusiasm in abundance 15 OPM - 'Heaven Is a Halfpipe' Apart from being the most annoying ode to skateboarding since...er..., well the irony is that the lead singer can't actually skateboard
himself. Or come up with a decent tune for that matter. Nice line in nail polish mind you... 11 Little Trees - 'Help I'm A Fish' Who says popstars don't do drugs? Judging by this title Little Trees have been smoking something similarly forest-based...crikey 9 Atomic Kitten - 'Eternal Flame' Played Shepherds Bush Empire recently and got absolutely mauled by the critics. Little wonder really - and there I was thinking there were 4 members to The Bangles... 3 Sophie Ellis Bextor - 'Take Me Home' Good idea Soph - lets take you home, lock you up and never hear from you again 2 So Solid Crew - '21 Seconds' A real hard, tough UK underground garage outfit. 'Yeah we're gonna be playing Ayia Napa, 2wice As Nice, and then A CD-UK/Poll Winners Party double header...' If that geezer with the mad stare really only has 21 seconds, how come he sings the chorus about 3 times? That's over a minute! 1 Five - 'Let's Dance' How disinterested can a band look in performing their new single? Apparently Sean is suffering from glandular fever - considering he's a mute anyway its no great loss. Containing elements of euphoric trance, French filtered house, US hip hop, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz Glad that's off me chest - I'm off to order my copy of the next Mrs Beckham single...keep listening y'hear!