The UK Top 40, October 25th 2014

I realized recently that - rightly or wrongly - I am completely oblivious to current chart music. To keep up to date, and down with the kids, therefore, I decided to sit and watch the entire UK Top 40 singles, as broadcast on the TV channel Viva on October 25th 2014.

Here is my live report. It might contain graphic images.

Top of the Pops.

40 - Waves by Mr Probz. A former number 1, apparently. Sounds like the Lighthouse Family with a dance beat. The sort of thing you might think was quite good at 3am if you were monged.

39 - Let It Be by Labrinth. Doesn't sound much like the Beatles' original. Quite funky, though, with a dash of Animal Magic theme tune.

They now go for an ad break, but the voiceover lady says the upcoming tunes will be 'eclectic' and that 'every musical taste is covered'. Sounds amazing.

38 - God Only Knows by loads of people. They don't play it because there's no video. This is probably for the best.

37 - Happy by Pharrell. I do feel like a room without a roof, Mr Williams. Any chance you could send round a tiler?

36 - Chandelier by SIA. I think this is being sung by a robot, a very squeaky robot. The mannequin dancing girl in the video is quite a performer though.

Now they play a future hit by Pitbull featuring John Ryan. Mr Pitbull looks like Ben Kingsley playing Huey from the Fun Lovin' Criminals (or vice-versa). As for the song, it's rather like Mambo No. 5 but more vapid.

35 - Break The Rules by Charli XCX. Electric lights blow Miss XCX's mind, apparently. She then sings a lot about not wanting go to school. Remedying the latter might cure the former, I suspect.

34 - Say You Love Me by Jessie Ware. This is very whiny and boring.

33 - Sunlight by The Magician featuring Years and Years. Lots of bottoms. And beach balls. Indeed, 'beach balls' is a pretty good descriptor for the song. Hen says the vocals are 'Will Young soundalike'.

Another break, but don't go anywhere, as there's 'pure pop power' a-plenty still to come.

And we're back! She's Danielle, and she's here to bring you the best-selling UK singles of the week.

32 - Lullaby by Professor Green feat. Having only seen him but never heard him before, I didn't think Professor Green would have such a weedy voice. He sounds about twelve. The wailing woman doesn't help him.

31 - Take Me To Church apparently isn't appropriate for a 'family-friendly' show.

In Your Arms by Nico and Vinz. All the acts so far have pretty hopeless names. And fairly hopeless ideas of melody too. This is a song Lemar would have rejected.

30 - Sing by Ed Sheeran. Perhaps the last song wasn't at 30. I am now confused. Hen is also confused as she thought this song was by Justin Trousersnake. I don't know it. Oh, wait a minute it's that one they use in the rubbish M&S clothes advert based on the opening sequence to The Muppets. Appropriate really, because in this video Mr Sheeran is a muppet. He also looks very odd with all those tattoos, as though a schoolboy had run away to join the navy.

There is now another ad break, and I have just learned from a friend that there is a God Only Knows video, but VIVA won't show it because it's a BBC advert. Danielle has lied to us.

29 - Am I Wrong by Nico and Vinz. It's them again! That previous song must have been a new release. Anyhow, Algernon Nico and Dennis Vinz want to know if they're wrong for trying to reach the things that they can't see. I suspect they probably are.

28 - Don't by Ed Sheeran. It's him again! This is getting suspicious. Mr Sheeran certainly has the lyrical magic of Craig David and the musical gifts of Aaron Carter, though, so who am I to question his chart dominance?

27 - Drunk and Incapable by Krishane feat. Melissa Steel. A New Entry! What excitement! Hmm, actually, now I'm hearing the song I'm not so sure. I'm also not sure about the lyric 'I love your bigamist boom-diggy-boom', but I may have misheard it. If they are drunk, it's presumably from too much whine.

I am beginning to get concerned about Danielle's understanding of the meaning of the terms 'eclectic' and 'variety'. Not a hint of acid skiffle so far.

26 - Black Widow by Iggy Azalea feat. Rita Ora. The popular 80s orange drink has teamed up with Mr Pop's floral sister with this ditty to a dangerous spider. One of them is going to love you till it hurts, the other till you hate her. I think Michael Madsen is in the Kill Bill-esque video. Moral: you will die.

25 - Ugly Heart by GRL. Is this Sinitta? Is this a surprising foray into music by the Durham-based geological consultancy? Sadly no, it's neither.

Now it's a Future Hit! It's almost as if the charts are pre-selected. I go head over heels for Tina, sings a man. Well I can understand: River Deep, Mountain High is one heck of a song. If only this tribute was too.

24 - Rude by Magic! The band name is rubbish, and the song appears to have been written by a petulant 14 year-old. Apparently they are Canadian. I'm not sure what this tells us.

23 - Stay With Me by Sam Smith. I think this man was on X Factor. His videos appear to revolve around him walking down streets, wailing. He looks very bored indeed, and I have to say that feeling is contagious.

22 - All Of Me by John Legend. Slow piano. Nice coastline. Boat trip. Smiling girl. Sad girl. Happy man. Sad piano man. Sounds a bit like Coldplay. Everyone seems very depressed in pop these days.

A break again, but don't fret, because 'it's all about fresh new diverse beats' when we get back.

21 - Superheroes by The Script. I've heard these guys are AMAZING. Their frontman, Danny Dyer, is not just a singer, but also a poet, philosopher and acrobat. The chorus is actually moderately catchy, which in terms of what's gone before, does make them exceptional.

20 - Dirty Love by Wilkinson feat. Talay Riley. The cut-price high-street shop diversify their interests, making a foray into drum and bass. Both drums and basses can now be bought cheaply from the 'Modern Instrumentation' aisle. This single is 49p.

19 - Break Free by Ariana Grande feat. Zedd. I'd be quite happy with an Ariana Medio, as a grande like this has too much caffeine in it. I'm also not clear what Zedd did.

Goodness. Apparently, 'we're knee-deep in this week's colossal chart shake-up'. Let's hope we can survive the ad break then.

18 - Budapest by George Ezra. I love both types of Hungarian music: Buda and Pest. I'm not sure Mr Ezra does. It appears he has been inspired by Sting and Paolo Nutini to sing in a cod-reggae style. I presume the title refers to the fact the song is utter ghoulash.

17 - Glow by Ella Henderson. Most of the songs so far seem to think you can get away without any noticeable melody as long as you spend lots of time going "oh-oh-woah-oh-oh" and have a cranked-up chorusy bit. This is a particularly fine example.

16 - Ghost by Ella Henderson. What? The same song is at both 17 and 16? That's not allowed! You can't fool us seasoned pop observers just by changing the G-based title word, Henderson! (Unless the title of your next single is your home town.)

The adverts are now playing that slowed-down version of Kylie singing 'I Believe In You'. It's comfortably the best thing I've heard all evening.



Time for yet another fresh new hit!

15 - Bullet by Watermat. You can tell immediately this is a Europop summer clubbing anthem. The outfit's name makes no sense, the video is set on a beach, and the music sounds like the auto button has been pressed on a Bontempi keyboard. With added wasp.

14 - Prayer in C by Lilly Wood and Robin Schulz. You can tell this is another one, this time with words (by someone who doesn't really speak English). As if further proof was needed, this turns out to be a German remix. And the original was by Lilly Wood and The Prick. Hmm.

And now another Future Hit. I'm not sure you can call a remix of a rubbish 20 year-old R Kelly track as the Future, but Danielle certainly thinks 'Bump and Grind 2014' is. She is wrong.

13 - Blame It On Me by George Ezra. If this was Mike Read singing, the left-wing press would be up in arms. Mr Ezra is also following the Sam Smith school of walking-slowly-down-a-street-looking-sad video-making.

12 - Sam Smith. And speak of the devil, here's Mr Smith again! Can't anyone else have a go at the charts? I wish this would be over now, he sings. I'm very much with him. (Oh, and he still looks sadly bored.)

11 - Anaconda by Nicki Minaj. I was told this video isn't suitable for families, but Danielle is playing it anyway. It features pineapples, twerking and the jungle. I imagine it is supposed to be sexy, but it helps if you actually have a song to set the video to and Ms Minaj has omitted that part.

By way of compensation, here's The Snake by Al Wilson:



10 - something new by Eminem. Oooh, I've heard of him. Oh, Danielle's not going to play it.

9 - Oh Cecilia by The Vamps feat. Shawn Mendez. Lacking a chorus for their magnificent composition, The Vamps decided to borrow one from a 1996 Suggs hit, thinking it was the original. For good luck, or possibly to appeal to Cheryl Cole, they also added a load of 'why-ayes'. Paul Simon will be delighted.

Now it's another Future Hit, this time from Jessie J. Everyone is rather oiled or soaking wet. Appropriately, the song is a slickly produced damp squib.

8 - Blame by Calvin Harris feat. John Newman. I'd understood that Mr Harris is both MASSIVELY successful and MASSIVELY talented. Yet this is pretty much exactly the same song as The Rhythm Of The Night by Corona, which was quite shit (but still better). This suggests I understood wrong.

7 - Changing by Sigma feat. Paloma Faith. This is not what I expected a Paloma Faith record to sound like. I thought she was an Amy Winehouse/Adele-wannabe. On the basis of this track, she is actually a Black Box-wannabe. I also think she and George Ezra might be on a vocal timeshare.

Now we get the treat of a new song by Cheryl. I presume she's now known by just the one name because her new surname is too much for the simple folks of the charts. She says she doesn't care, but I don't believe her.

6 - Don't Tell Em, but we're not playing this song.

5 - Bang Bang by Jessie K, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj. There is one thing very 21st century about this chart: a love of recycling. To make 40 songs with only 5 recording artists, 3 chords and one vocal style is a fine achievement.

4 - Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran. When your legs don't work like they used to before, you won't be able to run away from this unbearable tripe.

3 - Steal My Girl by One Direction is a NEW ENTRY (but there's no video yet, so we can't see it). So by way of diversion, here's my only Harry Styles story. When I volunteered on accreditation at the Olympics I managed to figure out which category all the celebs were filed under. I spent many a happy hour viewing their photos. With a tiny, tiny face and ENORMOUS hair, Harry Styles looked like one of those troll dolls.

One Direction are wizard!

I should point out at this juncture that I love pop music. I am not a musical snob. I genuinely want to like some of the current chart singles. So can the top two redeem the day?

2 - Shake It Off by Taylor Swift. This one can't. It's rubbish.

Well, after about four days-worth of dirgery, we make it all the way to number 1, where it is...

1 - All About That Bass by Megan Trainor. This is a high. A genuine high. It's fairly catchy, a bit of fun, and has some kind of lyrical meaning. It's not amazing, but of the 40 offered songs, it is unequivocally the number 1. The doo-wop bit also gave me joy in reminding me of Sebastien Tellier's wonderful 2008 Eurovision entry, Divine:



So there you go. I have watched the charts so you don't have to. And they were sponsored by Boohoo.com, which is appropriate, as having listened to them I do feel profoundly sad.
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