A View From The Top #29

by Sam Watson

When I was a kid I used to be really keen on the charts; I watched Top Of The Pops each week and even got my mum to record the chart show onto tapes so I could listen back to them in the week. This is something I would never do now for a number of reasons, one of them being the fact that if tapes were still a thing and the Internet didn’t exist I would probably be able to do it without my mother’s help, but the main reason being the fact that back then there was actually some half decent music in the charts (and to be fair, I was 10, didn’t have the Internet and Nokia 3310’s were the most advanced technology that could fit in your pockets). 10 years ago bands such as Arctic Monkeys and Orson were scoring number ones in the singles charts alongside songs by Justin Timberlake, Madonna and Beyoncé – even My Chemical Romance had a run of two weeks at number one with Welcome To The Black Parade, compared to that of today where we have Justin Bieber, Mike Ponser and now Drake - I think I can be excused for not being so enthralled.

This is a feature about the track at number one so probably should talk about that for a bit - its rubbish; to reiterate Jessikah’s words from last week I am also confused to what the point of this song is. The rhymes in the opening verse are hideous, his voice is so auto-tuned it hurts and the beat is something I would put on if I wanted to go to sleep. One Dance was initially leaked before it was officially released and there was a massive social media hype about the fact that Drake (arguably one of the biggest acts in the world) had sampled a UK funky song so, being a fan of this genre, I was looking forward to hearing it… I couldn’t have been more disappointed. The Kyla song Do You Mind that he used was a hit at the time of release and I personally think it’s a decent song that Drake has somehow taken all energy and feel out of and I’m unsure why Kyla gets a feature in the named artists as it is literally a one line sample. I’m also confused about Wizkid, he’s added a grand total of nothing to the track so Drake must owe him a favour and has featured him for some publicity. There are some positives to the song – for example everything is in time - but that really is about it. I was going to write it’s easy listening in that last sentence as a positive but it really isn’t. The wording and the way it is sung/auto-tuned actually makes it quite a struggle to keep on. One of the genres I like is grime (the good stuff – not the Skepta stuff that you can hear blasting out of a phone held by a kid in a full tracksuit waiting at a bus station), and with Drake having just signed to Boy Better Know (a grime collective/record label) I would have hoped that there would be some influence from this, which apart from Logan Sama (a grime DJ) recommending a song to sample that Drake took all the soul out of, I’m again disappointed.

For me One Dance sums up chart music today; completely uninspiring, pointless and to an extent talentless (genuinely, anyone could have written One Dance). I certainly wouldn’t have wasted any of my tapes recording anything this week. Most of the time I get why songs go to number one but not this week; I was really hoping that after his performance of This Is England on Jools Holland Kano would have been a sudden entry and shot to the top but he doesn’t even register on the top 40 which is a shame, with that said I’m not a huge fan of the song, it’s just the most commercially viable song that I could see possibly being liked by enough people to have a chance of getting to the top spot that I do like.

I was hoping that I would be surprised and my long held opinion of chart music being in a bit of a crisis would be wrong however doing this column has only cemented that view even more; I think I’ll stick to my dancehall and grime for now!