I can’t help but feel this column has descended week-to-week into unnecessary swaggering smug bile, and it doesn’t work. It doesn’t work for me because all it does is give my blood pressure a twenty point spike on a Sunday evening and it doesn’t work for you lot (whoever you are) because all you get is “snotty rock critic hates inane badly made music” which is hardly going to be the New York Times headline come Monday morning. In my dubious position as a rock journalist I’m supposed to be contributing to the discussion, or bringing new stuff to the table, not just sneering at what comes to the table, and then taking a big steaming dump on whatever this week’s chart toppers are. I think it all stems from my basic belief that a lot of these (hugely successful) people genuinely shouldn’t be making music. This week Ed Sheeran is number 19 and he’s a classic example. Genuinely great music either illuminates some corner of our wonderful world, or makes us forget, and this music does neither. It’s a meaningless advertisement for wealth, sexual success and dreary heteronormative lifestyles without any kind of explanation or defence. It’s designed to spit people off, and alienate them, make them feel more worthless and more alone all the while beaming while it watches its listeners stab each other in the ribs. Just look at the fan reaction to anyone who says anything bad about genderless pop-peddlers Wand Erection and Justin Bieber. It isn’t taking us forward, it’s taking us way back. Well now that I’ve whipped you into the appropriate baleful mood with the intellectual equivalent of a minute’s silence for rock and roll (rock and roll is dead, long live rock and roll)
"Of the very instant that I saw you, Did my chart fly at your service" - the UK Singles Chart Top 20 22nd of June 2014
So while relocating my life from Edinburgh to Dundee and relocating my consciousness from a frontal-lobe frowny worry into a sort of base-of-the-skull miserable smugitude I decided to have a break from the chart rundown in the same way I’d take a couple of weeks off sticking my head down a pub toilet or loading a gun and pointing it at my head while crying and contemplating whether to put myself out of my misery… if people gave me thousands of hits a week for doing such things, which in retrospect they might. But, like putting off the washing up for two weeks, what was a manageable unpleasantness is now more likely to be a crud-stained mountain involving at least one bowl slicked with indestructible Weetabix, and by that I mean a fucking shite song. Oh, and for my sins I will be going through all the old songs that I haven’t heard yet. Yippee. I maintain eternal optimism that a miraculous ex-Melvins power-trio making ur-meditative rock inspired by their extended tenure in the Hindu Kush will have jumped up to at least number five, after a shocking pandemic of good taste.
Wah wah wah, you didn’t do a chart this week. Wah wah wah. Well suck it up, because partly I couldn’t be arsed because doing this is one of my least favourite moments of any given week, partly because I had guests, partly because I’m moving house right now, and partly because I want to teach you insufferable cretins that sometimes life will just shit on you, as it will if you put off doing a chart for two whole weeks and all the chart music piles up like not flushing the toilet for two weeks (during which time you alternated between Guinness- and curry-only diets). Yes I am continuing with the shit analogies, thankyou for asking. Because that’s what the chart is. A waterfall of shite, occasionally noteworthy for jamming up the whole system with a massive unpleasant brick.