My Eyeball Stuck On The Plane

Published by Rick on Tagged Uncategorized

                 This last Sunday was my first chance to hear BBC Radio 1’s chart show in almost a month, as I was occupied with being in America, and then moving back to the lovely hamlet of Dagenham on either side of that. I also didn’t listen to much pop radio in the States, because I got too fascinated with the right-wing lunatics on AM radio, who spend an inordinate time complaining about the liberal media (?) Glenn Beck, Michael Savage, and Rush Limbaugh and their devotees are much easier to get angry with than a simple crap song.

                    If I had listened to US radio, I wouldn’t have found that much different from here, as this week’s top 10 has seven tunes by American acts, including the top three. They are Owl City’s “Fireflies,” the cast of the TV show “Glee” doing a remake of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing,” and Iyaz’s “Replay.” Owl City is the creation of one Andrew Young, on a budget of whatever it cost to market the thing, but you gotta credit the guy for sitting in his bedroom and toying with a group of flighty concepts, both musical and lyrical, and bringing them all together in semi-coherent commercial piece.  I couldn’t imagine listening to a whole album of that nasal tenor, very reminiscent of the lead singer on Wheatus’s 2001 hit “Teenage Dirtbag.” That voice and that enunciation could only come from an American. I sense too, that Owl City has one-hit wonder written all over it/him. 

                    “Replay” has added Iyaz to that ever-growing and almost interchangeable roster of US R&B crooners (Usher, Chris Brown, Ne-Yo are the best known) who can come up with the occasional gem, but are not going to replace the recently departed Teddy Pendergrass as any kind of Soul God. In defense of the current brood, at least they can claim full responsibilities for what they’ve created, where Teddy was primarily a vocalist/interpreter. Iyaz is off to a good start, though: The song is about a melody getting stuck in your head, which is exactly what the song achieves. The first time I heard it, I thought he was saying “Got my eyeball stuck on the plane,” which sounds like a grade school Arts & Crafts mishap. Somehow I can’t help but picture Ralph Wiggum in that precarious position with a model plane. 

                      I must confess to not having seen “Glee” yet, but will endeavor to do so this next Monday to see what the shouting’s about. However, the fact that that annoying Journey song has become their starting block does not bode well for me. (Also, anything that remotely resembles “High School Musical” scares me.) How many songs need to be written to tell us, in so many words, keep the faith? Essentially “Climb Every Mountain” with a different refrain?What was so refreshing about the Grunge sound of the early 90s was commercial radio finding a space for music that said “maybe that dream we’re dreaming is a bunch of bullshit.” Simon Cowell was right again, dammit, when he persuaded Olly Murs to sing “Don’t Stop Believing” as the last series of “X Factor” was nearing the finale. The tune, and Journey, a San Francisco band big in the 80s, were relatively unknown in UK before then. Cowell had obviously been aware of the Journey/Glee connection, so not only is the Glee cast version a major hit and potential number one, but from that X Factor exposure, Journey’s original has been on the charts since before Christmas.

                       Maybe there’s worse yet to come, for next week, certain to chart is Jedward’s “medley” of “Under Pressure” and “Ice Ice Baby.” You’re torturing me!


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