Saturday, 5 November 2011

UK Top 40 watch - Edition #1 (Lana Del Rey, LMFAO & Rihanna)

The UK top 40, the beacon of glory all budding pop artists and bands dream of penetrating. The top 40 acts as a comprehensive check on the public's musical purchases, and is traditionally the place to find all the hottest sounds. Well, not so much any more.  In a time with more musical genres and sub-cultures than ever before, the top 40 is less of a consensus for the masses than a representation of those who download things on itunes (because lets face it, sales of CD singles are hardly breaking the banks) and generally, the stuff people buy on itunes is absolute crap.

Although we at Sound Influx like to focus on the more 'alternative' side to music, this new feature will help navigate you through the myriad of shit in the top 40, critiquing the bad stuff and shedding light on the songs that are actually listenable and hell, maybe even pretty good.

Best Song Of The Week:
Lana Del Rey - Video Games


No doubt probably 2011's most talked about song, is riding high in the charts at number 13 as it damn well deserves to be. In writing this I'm very much mirroring the praises of many before me, but the fact is Video Games is such a beautiful anomaly in a chart full of cretins like The Wanted. Unlike many modern pop songs, it has lyrical and musical substance, any listener can immediately feel the emotion Lizzie Grant exudes as she coos in her soon to be trademark sultry tone "It's you, it's you, it's all for you, everything I do, I tell you all the time heaven is a place on earth with you". Grant's vocals have a remarkable ability to not become grating after repeated listens (unlike female pop contemporaries Florence & Adele) which is an impressive achievement indeed. It is a song of such sweeping and utter devotion, which will be treasured for a long time to come.

Worst Song Of The Week:
LMFAO - Sexy and I Know It

'Party Rock Anthem' wasn't too bad. The processed beeping present on nearly every modern floor-filler was present, but managed to be uplifting in small doses and taken generally in good humour, I mean they must know their music is a bit of a joke, their name is LMFAO for christ's sake. 'Sexy and I Know It' isn't a massive shift in sound, but it does certainly feel like the joke is getting old. Essentially it sounds like a couple of frat-boy tools attempting to impress girls (who they would most likely refer to as 'bitches' or 'honeys' as many morons do) with a series of hollow boasts over the top of the most basic and drab club synths. The lyrics could have been written by a horny 12 year old boy "Girl look at that body, I work out!" and nearly all of them would make anyone with any sort of taste or decency cringe so much their neck collapses. A few years ago LMFAO would probably be a one-hit wonder, but unfortunately their ringtone happy fans seem to be genuinely buying into it. But for those of us maintaining a degree of sanity, AVOID LMFAO AT ALL COSTS.

The current number 1:
Rihanna - We Found Love

I have to admit, Rihanna is one of my guilty pleasures. With Lady Gaga and Beyoncé both releasing records this year about as memorable as Joe McElderry's pop career, Rihanna is surely by default the new queen of pop (I mean it's hardly ke$ha is it?). However Rihanna has more claim to being queen bee than just being more tolerable than the others, she's actually got tons of super catchy mega-hits under her belt and probably many more to come. 'We Found Love' then isn't her best, but has the kind of chorus you think nothing of at first but cant help humming to yourself the next day. The real testament to Rihanna's power here though, is that having Calvin Harris on the song doesn't completely ruin it. The instrumental to the song isn't the most notable, but this allows Rihanna to fully take flight and stamp her sassy romantic story-telling all over the track as she wails "We found love in a hopeless place" over and over. It's perhaps not deserving of the number 1 slot, but certaintly isn't a bad song, and will no doubt get many a fan's hunger for forthcoming album 'Talk That Talk' palpable.

By Toby McCarron

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