Monday, June 18, 2007

The Baby's number 1


Forgive me another baby-related post. It is my all-consuming preoccupation at the moment, so I’m sure you’ll understand. Anyway, amongst the many congratulatory emails we received after announcing the birth of The Baby Growl, one was from a friend who suggested that like her, we bought a copy of the number one single of the week in which she was born. If that sounds a bit sad, try being a new parent. We’ll be holding on to her hospital ankle tags as mementos, and we even got a bit annoyed when her cord clip disappeared.

But I digress. I thought this No. 1 single thing was a neat idea, so when out shopping for some essential infant products last Sunday, I popped into HMV to do some blind purchasing. After all, I don’t exactly pay much attention to the nation’s top 40 these days. It turned out that the number one single was Umbrella by Rihanna, featuring Jay-Z. It had also been pointed out to me that the indie number one was Heavyweight Champion of the World by Reverend and the Makers (also in the real top 20). How appropriate too, since at 3.83kg, The Baby Growl certainly wasn’t a lightweight at birth.

So I got my purchases home, and readied myself to listen to how the nation’s tastes had marked my baby’s birth week. The Rihanna single bore some promise. After all, a lot of these big R ‘n’ B artists have at least one blisteringly good song, even if the rest of their material is gash. Could be interesting? But in reality it’s awful. Really, really terrible. Jay-Z turns up at the start for a perfunctory rap, then collects his bag of money and disappears off before the rest of the track turns into a sort of R ‘n’ B power ballad, with none of the spark, exciting production or even just good tunes that allow some of her peers (like Amerie) to make occasionally brilliant tunes. And the remixes are even worse – seemingly conjured up just in time for the Reebok Classics brigade to board their planes to Ibeefa.


So what hope then for the indie number one? Not so sure, especially in these times when vacuous Big Brother contestants declare unironically that a new type of music called indie is taking over. The word just doesn’t mean much any more. And sure enough, the single is another stinker. The only good thing to say about it is that here’s a Sheffield band that isn’t another Arctic Monkeys identikit. Sure, singer Jon McClure’s lyrical flow sounds a bit like Alex Turner, but it’s not his fault he’s from the same city as his more famous peer. It’s sort of electro-pop-rock, but of the JD Sports variety. The sort of electro-pop that the aforementioned Reebok Classics brigade would find acceptable, in the absence of the Happy Mondays. Hold on, they’re back too, aren’t they? Groan.

So despite a having a memorable birth date (05/06/07), The Baby Growl didn’t have a good musical week to mark her introduction into the world. But maybe it doesn’t matter. I fully intend to bring her up well, instructing her in the true musical way (and yes, Matthew Song, By Toad, that does mean no boybands and emo – hopefully), and by the time she’s old enough to understand, I’ll probably have to explain what singles were anyway.

For what they’re worth, here are the smelly singles:

Download: Rihanna – Umbrella
Download: Reverend and the Makers – Heavyweight Champion of the World

No click to buy links here. I strongly advise you not to.

1 comment:

Matthew said...

Maybe you could make her a compilation CD of your favourite songs, the currently popular ones you've heard a lot of but don't hate, and the ones you want to play for her - The Musical Umbilical, for example. This might be something really nice for you guys to look back on together in years to come.