Letters Have No Arms have packed their bags, put their travel hats on, and moved to a new land!

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Saturday, October 4, 2008

A Look at the Charts (apparently they still exist!)

Sitting here in my vinyl encrusted indie tower, gazing down at the great unwashed through my dorky yet hipster glasses, it's occasionally easy to forget some things.

'Like what?' I hear you ask. Well, some people don't own an iPod! Hell, some people don't even own an mp3 player!

Sounds ridiculous, I know. But it's true!

But I digress. The topic today is Charts. Remember those?! Apparently they still exist!!! And I don't mean Hype Machine's Popular chart either. I mean REAL charts. Based on sales! Yep, apparently, and I've done a little research on it, people DO actually still buy music! Quaint, but true.

So, Charts. That great democratic institution, the mechanism that tells insecure teenagers what to buy, record company executives what bands to drop, and which (successful) artists to feel less guilty about demanding 10,000 sorted M&Ms and a pony on their rider.

So I Googled 'Charts + 'US', and decided to listen to and write about the top 3 tracks on it; with an open mind and an empty stomach. Another criterion was that I had to write the first thing that came to me, after only one listen. The top 3 tracks are from the Billboard 100.

Are you comfortable? Here we go!

# 1 - T.I. - Whatever you like
ok, it starts pleasantly enough. Someone mentions a 'sugar daddy'. Could that be a taste of what's to come? Ok, now he's singing about how she can have 'whatever she likes'. Sex, food and I think he said he'll call her all the time. Which is a nice sentiment.
He's 'got what she wants' too. Oh yeah, 'late night sex', and she can 'go wherever you like' (hmm, surely that's his job...?).

Ok, it kinda goes on like this for a while. The lyrics are repeated a lot. It's all, seemingly, about doing what 'she' likes. We don't find out who she is though. Maybe a girlfriend? Probably not his mom. It sounds vaguely Timberlandesque. I can see this being used in an ad, for a soft drink perhaps. It will also feature in many Valentine's Day mixtapes.

Rating: 7.0 (but it from Insound)

# 2 - Pink - So What
Ok, I must admit, Pink has always confused me a bit (apart from the fact that I thought she surely must have stopped making music by now). For all the girrrl power sentiment, she always seemed rather conservative in interviews. The kind of girl who really just wants a baby in her stomach and a man in the... uhm, on the sofa. To watch DVDs with, and have long talks about how her dad was a prick. The Linda Perry connection is also always a huge turn-off for me (that "and I say heeeeeeeey ehyeaaaa eh eh heeeeey Hehyeah ehe eh, what's going on" song always just really pissed me off, what can I say?)
Anyway, let's have a listen.

Whoa! Beginning sounds like a Bond film! Oh, she 'lost her husband'... Well if I was at all right before, I'd guess that would be really upsetting. But wait! She's 'having more fun' now, and/because she's 'a rockstar'
Jessica Simpson was just mentioned. And Pink's looking for trouble and singing a playground 'nananananana' taunt. It's kind of amusing. The song that is. The 'nananana' is just annoying.
Some vaguely Ronettesque drums here. I like them. An 'I Will Survive' for the 00s?
Pink repeats that she's 'alright'. Apparently the breakup was good for her. We can rest assured.

Rating: 4.9 (buy it from Insound)

Ok, what's next?

Ah, Kanye! Did you know he has his own travel website? Yep. And a blog. He was also arrested a few weeks ago for grabbing a camera from a photographer (grrrr). He's a busy man. But anyway, let's have a listen.

# 3 - Kanye West - Love Lockdown
I spend the first whole minute checking to see if this really is Kanye. Then some drums kick in. I'm still not sure. I check the mp3 tag.
Yep, it's Kanye. Uhm, Kanye with a vocoder. Lyrics are:

"So keep ya love locked down, ya love locked down"
"I'm not lovin' you, the way I wanted to
What I had to do, had to run from you
I'm in love with you, but the vibe is wrong"

Ok, we can relate to that. Kanye's hurting. He clearly also has a breakup behind him. Like Pink. I have a quick Google to see if there's any connection there. The results are inconclusive, though I somehow doubt it.
It's nice, you know, just nice. Nothing special. It suits the weather though, leaves falling, people breaking up, etc. If I walked into a Burger King and this was playing, it'd be alright, nice even.

Rating: 5.5 (but it from Insound)

This was a. fun. and b. not at all as bad as I expected. Definitely worth repeating. Watch this space...


Agnes said...

It takes a lotta guts to do what you've done...and live to tell the tale! Nice work.

Steven B. said...

haha well it was fun!

Sorry to anyone who has come here from Hype Machine/Elbows et al, only to find themselves redirected or unable to find the original post; Blogger somehow managed to DELETE this post... I have no idea HOW, but assume it's just 'one of those things'. Anyway, I reposted it now, and the links are fully functional.

IndigoCrayon said...

Since I stumbled across one of your other posts... I decided to look through some more.
That sure sounds like fun! Maybe I'll give it a try sometime... :)