Monday, January 07, 2008

Number 1s of 2007: April

"Give It To Me" by Timbaland featuring Nelly Furtado and Justin Timberlake (April 15 to 22, one week). No matter how many times I hear this record, it always takes me the better part of a minute to figure out which is the first beat of the bar. Weird, that.

Timbaland's had a remarkably good year. We'll be seeing him again in July, and if you count his guest appearances on other people's records, he's had four top three hits this year. (Oh, and "Anonymous" with Bobby Valentino, which stiffed at number 25.) He's been charting on and off since 1999, but it's only recently that he's started releasing records in big numbers. "Give It To Me" only spent a week at number one, but it's still in the top 75. In previous years, record companies would have deleted the thing to make way for future singles.

But the most memorable thing about this record, for me, is stumbling across it on "Signed By The [insert name of channel here." This bizarre show crops up on several music channels late at night, and consists of music videos... with on-screen sign language for the deaf. Even better, the videos are signed by bouncily enthusiastic dancing interpreters, almost invariably middle-aged and thoroughly un-glam. The woman who does hip-hop looks a bit like Anne Widdecombe, only much, much happier. She is a cheerful, if baffling, presence.

It seems there genuinely is a demand among deaf people for this service. But boy, it's weird television. Especially when they choose records where the lyrics are almost totally irrelevant.

Perhaps there really are deaf people watching that video and thinking, "Boy, I wish I knew what the vampire cheerleaders were saying..." But they must have been terribly disappointed to find out the answer.

"Beautiful Liar" by Beyonce and Shakira (April 22 to May 13, three weeks). I'm assuming we all know the original, so this is the Freemasons remix, which probably got more airplay in the UK. I actually prefer this version, since the original has some ill-advised pretensions to soulfulness, tragically undermined by the persistent name-bleating. This version is stupid, and so it can get away with the persistent name-bleating. Just.

Wikipedia's entry for this song is hilariously nerdy. Did you know that "Beautiful Liar" is an R&B song written in the key of G minor, written in common time at 96 beats per minute, with a vocal range spanning from G3 to B♭4? That information is followed by a tag warning that "This short section requires expansion", and I for one will be checking back regularly in the hope of updates.

It's a worldwide hit - number one in Argentina, Brazil, Holland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand and Switzerland, apparently. I've been largely underwhelmed by Beyonce's recent singles, but I'll grudgingly admit this one's got something.

The US number ones in April: two weeks for "Give it to Me" (see above), and two weeks for "Don't Matter" by Akon. (It got to number 3 in Britain.)