Regular Trashed contributor Charlotte Jarman takes stock of the pop charts
For the last few years the UK chart is something I have dipped in and out of as it suited me, bobbing my head above the sheltered recesses of the underground when the occasional good tune came along. But recently I’ve been venturing out less frequently and leaving my radio fixed on 6 music. If you have any interest in the music industry you will have heard this all
before but it’s dead out there. The chart is a wasteland strewn with boy bands dressed up in Topman’s finest and overdone remixes of songs you vaguely recollect from a better time. Take this week’s chart for example.
The UK’s current number one, essentially the most popular track in the country: Jessie J’s ‘Domino’. A far cry from the ubiquitous ‘Price Tag’ (Oh yeah were in a recession you’re so #relevant) that propelled her into 2011. To me the song sounds like it’s been rejected by Katy Perry and ripped off a Toploader song. From previous posts it may appear that I have some kind of personal vendetta against Jessie J. I don’t, she never bullied me at school or pushed me into an elevator shaft. She just epitomises everything I dislike about the mainstream music of today.
Firstly warbling every prolonged note does not make you a vocal gymnast. It makes you sound like Mariah Carey on top of a washing machine. Secondly, releasing statements like “breaking my leg has really given me a new found respect for people with missing limbs” does not make you a kooky zany Princeesque pop star, it makes you an idiot.
One of the most hotly tipped artists of 2012 is Emeli Sande or as I like to call her Emily. I cant help feeling that she wouldn’t be out of place as the backing vocals on a dance track. I know she did exactly this for that learned scholar Professor Green, and she was brilliant. Providing a melodic harmony to counterbalance the yelpings of Green. But that’s just it, she
was a pleasant accompaniment. Her voice is just like any other of a backing vocalist. I think we all Sande is not going to be the next diva, it’s just the fact that there is nothing else out there that she is receiving this much attention. As if she’s the only one to have shown up to a party and to hide their embarrassment the host is spending all their attention on their one
One act I am excited about this year is Lana Del Rey. Aside from the fact that Jarvis Cocker has announced his praise her voice is utterly unique and rich. Some have described her as dull and droney but those are the qualities I like best in her. That sense of wallowing in your own misery yet thoroughly enjoying it. Much the same as how I feel when listening to The Smiths. I guess all things considered she’s not going to take the chart by storm. I’m predicting success in the alternative chart and perhaps amongst the more sophisticated of the Radio 2 crowd. But her album will be one for the bedroom loiters who wrap their vinyl in plastic and read Edgar Allan Poe
Many “industry experts” (basically journalists) have blamed this to the dawning of the internet and the bevy of free music it brought with it. By raising this debate I am aware of the huge can of worms I am opening but I’ll briefly explain my opinion derived from the information I have read. I used to be of the opinion that free music would mark the collapse of the music industry. But have realized it will only rid us of the current system we know today. When television came around in the 1950’s Hollywood studios feared it would be the death of film making as instead of going to the cinema everyone would sit at home in front of their television sets. Well I think we can safely say they were proved wrong. For artists to survive they need to adapt to their changing landscape by embracing new platforms such
as Last FM and Spotify. There are more ways than ever before for bands to get their music heard by the right people, in theory the industry should be thriving.
At the risk of sounding patriotic, this green and pleasant land that spurred the likes of The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Dusty Springfield, T Rex, David Bowie, Kate Bush, The Sex Pistols, The Clash, Queen, The Cure, Oasis, Blur and Radiohead. The list is endless. ENGLAND! We have achieved greatness, it can be achieved again (just not by Jessie J).
Read more of Charlotte’s writing on her blog