A View From The Top #6

by Miles Rowland

Unsurprisingly Adele has maintained a vice-like grip on the top spot this week given the pandemonium her new single Hello has inspired in every middle-aged woman from Exeter to Inverness. This I feel surely can’t really be a reflection of the quality of the song, which is overwrought and derivative at best. Unlike her best songs from 21, the (as ever vocally fantastic) songstress seems to be reaching slightly futilely for a memorable hook which simply isn’t there. The production on this single is underwhelming as well, the slow piano intro is effective but the airy accompaniment for the chorus doesn’t fit with the drama of Adele’s vocals; you would expect an orchestral explosion rather than muted drums, synths and backing singers.

Anyway, rant over. This week’s UK Top 40 left me wishing (for definitely the first time) that Biebs would grab the Number 1 spot. Canada’s least favourite son has continued his musical rehabilitation in style, once again alongside Skrillex, who is experiencing something of a reinvention himself. The result is Sorry, which fuses an exotic dancehall/reggaeton beat (perhaps the influence of Major Lazer’s Diplo rubbing off on Skrillex here?) with electronic trumpet calls and a tropical housey drop. While it feels unnatural saying it, Bieber has dropped a banger - continuing the tropical vibes of What Do You Mean? which still impressively rests at Number 6 in the charts. One hopes that Sorry doesn’t outstay its welcome like the initially catchy first single has, but the fact that it is certainly more dance-floor ready is a good sign.

Elsewhere the lamentable trinity of Writing’s On The Wall, The Hills and Hotline Bling complete the Top 5. Sam Smith’s Bond theme isn’t a bad song in its own right, but you wonder what on earth Sam Mendes was thinking when he envisioned Smith’s slightly excruciating nasal falsetto embodying cinema’s most macho secret agent. On a more positive note it’s good to see MNEK finally getting his break as a solo artist with his garagey new single Never Forget You (collaborating with Swedish singer Zara Larsson) hitting Number 7 in the charts this week.

New entries to the Top 40 include Ariana Grande’s return single Focus, which is decent enough although it feels too similar to her breakout hit Problem, and Jamie Foxx repeatedly shouting “Foc-Foc Focus on it” soon gets incredibly irritating. The only other new entry is Reality by Belgian DJ and producer Lost Frequencies (of Are You With Me fame). While not quite as memorable as his first single, Reality still uses the same guitar/house remix template to good effect.

Next week could well see big changes to the Top Five, with several potentially big singles dropped this Friday. These include Coldplay’s return to music with the more upbeat Adventure Of A Lifetime, another Bieber single, I’ll Show You, and of course not to mention the new John Lewis Xmas Advert cover (oh joy) – this year Aurora covering Oasis’s Half the World Away.

In any case, my fingers are firmly crossed that we’ll be saying Goodbye to Adele come next Friday.