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Music Blog - Billboard Top 10

posted 12 Jul 2012, 08:51 by Chris Morris
Another re-shuffling of songs this week with no new entries. The Billboard top ten songs pretty much represent the ten most popular songs in the world today, so it's nice to get a little bit of an insight to what people are listening to. So let's take a look at the order this week:

10. Scream - Usher

This lively song from Usher (Who I thought was a rapper? I’m so out of touch with these chart thingies) sticks in the head a little but that’s not to say that it’s very good. The singing is good but sounds like it may have had the auto-tune treatment at some points. The drums are nothing exciting either, programmed electric sounds keeping the heads nodding. The sythns are never too loud however, hanging nicely in the background of Usher’s voice. 

9. Starships - Nicki Minaj

I was really enjoying the funky guitar at the start of this song until Nicki Minaj’s annoying rap spoiled it. After that the song falls into a generic dance song – Synths, silly noises, a boring drum machine, you know the drill. This is all pretty standard stuff although there is a groovy little bassline at some points. 

8. We Are Young - fun.

The first thing that struck me about this song is that it is performed by a group of musicians (Isn’t that how music is supposed to be produced?). The drums are quite rhythmically interesting at the beginning but then lose a bit of momentum going into the chorus. The chorus is very striking and dramatic, and sounds inspirational. There’s a nice feature for Janelle Monae too. However, she is almost drowned out by the rest of the band during her part. 

7. Titanium - David Guetta (feat. Sia)

When this song started I thought I was listening to Every Breath You Take by The Police ... Is it a sample possibly? The song is among a few out there at the moment to feature Sia who is the artist behind some great music likeBreathe Me, not sure what she’s doing in this type of music. The electric noise in the chorus of this song is enough to give you a sore head. There are some pretty neat little sounds coming from the drum machine but I would have preferred to hear a human drummer. 

6. Where Have You Been - Rihanna

Nothing stand-out about this effort from Rihanna. This fits right in with the UK Music chart – Electric music produced by someone sitting at a computer (Which, you got it, means no drummer). Rihanna’s voice is okay but this song does nothing to showcase exactly what she is capable of, especially because it is fiddled with here and there by said man on computer.

5. Lights - Ellie Goulding

Ellie Goulding’s voice is really nice but the backing music in this song is a little bare. Drums are a standard machine-generated beat and there isn’t much music played by a human in here at all. There’s actually quite a nice little ringing sound through this song which gives a sort of majestic sound, but the songwriting is very basic. I have to say though, on another listen this week I am somewhat warming to it. It's definitely not the type of music I like to listen to but for what it is it's not bad.

4. Wide Awake - Katy Perry

I found this song to be pretty standard electric stuff – There was no human drummer... In fact the only musician involved in this song is Katy Perry herself as the rest of music is made by man on a computer. 
The chord progression remains the exact same throughout the verse and the chorus. And speaking of the chorus, I found it pretty bland in comparison to the verse. So all in all this song involved a guy sitting at a computer laying down a simple chord progression then adding sound effects, and then getting Katy Perry (Who, don’t get me wrong, is a good singer) to sing over it.

3. Somebody That I Used To Know - Gotye (feat. Kimbra)

Glad to see this song is still so high up in Billboard's top 10, I really like this unusual one from Gotye. It starts very quietly and almost bare but for an uncharacteristic xylophone melody ringing out. The drummer stays very subtle and grooves nicely with the guitarist. The chorus breaks out into a more lively emotional sound but retains it's mysterious atmosphere. The feature for Kimbra is very nice, showcasing some ace vocals. She also puts in some nice backing vocals afterwards. Definitely a great single and it makes me want to listen to more from Gotye.

2. If you go to Google Images and type in “sell outs”... You get a picture of a jar of peanut butter. But there should be a picture of Maroon 5. Back in 2002 this band were a semi-promising act with a couple of hit songs. Now they play standardized pop music so that they can shoot to number one. The vocals are pretty shocking in this song – They sound auto-tuned and there is a lot of very unnecessary swearing – I’d expect this in a gangsta rap song but it just sounds very out of place here. The drums have a very weird rhythm all the way through and sounds again like it may be a drum machine. The snare falls on the 4th beat making the music lose a bit of momentum. 
Again, this is a song which features someone who is better than the main act – Wiz Khalifa. The rapping is certainly the best part of this otherwise forgettable song.

1. Call Me Maybe - Carly Rae Jepson

The electric strings at the start of Call Me Maybe sound like a bad imitation from a student version of Sibelius. They get a little better during the energetic chorus though, but don’t do much to set this standard electric song apart from others in the charts. The singer is good, but is shown singing with a band of human musicians in the music video which unfortunately aren’t present in the actual song.








My opinion on the quality of these songs remains the same as last week:

1. Somebody That I Used To Know – Gotye (feat. Kimbra)
2. We Are Young – fun. (feat. Janelle Monae)
3. Lights – Ellie Goulding
4. Payphone – Maroon 5 (feat. Wiz Khalifa)
5. Call Me Maybe – Carly Rae Jepson
6. Scream - Usher
7. Wide Awake – Katy Perry
8. Where Have You Been – Rihanna
9. Titanium – David Guetta (feat. Sia)
10. Starships – Nicki Minaj

Best Drummer - Jack Antonoff from fun.

This is the fourth blog where I have named Jack Antonoff the best drummer in the charts but unfortunately he really isn't doing very much in We Are Young. If the other acts out there would use a real live drummer then he may face some competition next week. Until then, we will settle for his nice rolls and ghost notes on the snare. 

Nicki Minaj is at the bottom of my list and I thought I would give my thoughts on her and her music in this blog. One of the trending articles that my friends are reading on Facebook is about Minaj's attitude backstage at T in the Park last weekend. If you read that article you will have hopefully been as appalled as I was at her self-righteousness and arrogance. None of which can be backed up because in my opinion she is one of the worst acts out there at the moment (With apologies to my sister, I know you love her). I hadn't heard of Nicki Minaj before very recently and if she doesn't change her attitude, I doubt many people in the future will.

Next Week's Album Review

It looks as though people are tired of Chris Brown's latest effort already (I know I was after my first listen) as he has fallen down to number five already. By the end of the week it looks as though the number one album will come from either Newton Faulkner, Lianne La Havas (Who on earth is that?) or Dundonian favourites The View. There are also new albums from Frank Ocean and Adam Lambert which have made it into the top ten. My guess is that I will be reviewing Write it on Your Skin by Newton Faulkner, but only time will tell...
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