Monday, August 03, 2009

Number 1s of 2009: 2 August 2009

Oh god in heaven no.

Yes, it's The Black Eyed Peas, "I Gotta Feeling."

I really don't like this record at all. Which is probably unfair, because I've never actually listened to it the whole way through... but then, that's because I can never stomach it long enough. I'm not quite sure why I find it so irritating. I'm tempted to say it's the empty-headed blandness, but then you could say that about a ton of pop and dance records that don't particularly bother me. I think maybe it's the combination of that empty-headed blandness coming from a group who continue to hold themselves out as being in some way a proper band, and who, lyrically at least, are evidently setting themselves a very low bar these days.

The Black Eyeds Peas aren't really a band any more, so much as a ringtone generator. When they tell me they've had a feeling, my initial reaction is scepticism. "An emotion? Really? Are you sure it wasn't wind?"

It's the second single from their current album, and it's climbed to number one over the course of a month, so it's not just a case of one-week hype. Some people must really like this record. I find that a bit depressing, in the same way that a lot of "live for the weekend" records seem to me like implicit accounts of an otherwise bleakly dismal life. Maybe it's just me.

This is their second number one of the year, following "Boom Boom Pow", which had two separate runs in May and June. Also, it's produced by David Guetta, who had a number one under his own name in June with "When Love Takes Over." Just to complete the sense of treadmill, the song appears to recycle a sample that Guetta previously used in his 2007 single "Love Is Gone." Which was much better.

I suspect this won't be number one for very long. It was widely predicted to top the charts last week, and ended up tailing in at number three. What's more, this was an exceptionally quiet week for new releases. The highest new entry, at number 14, was "I Made It Through The Rain" by John Barrowman - which isn't even a single. It's a track from his 2008 easy listening album "Music Music Music", which has been championed (presumably ironically, but I haven't been listening) by Radio 1 breakfast host Chris Moyles. The original version reached number 37 in 1981 for Barry Manilow.

There's no official video for it, but if you want to experience the song, you can do so here. Barrowman is an odd figure. Americans will know him (if at all) as Captain Jack from the Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood. He's actually from Glasgow, but grew up in America. The BBC adores him, which means he's developed a weirdly multifaceted career as actor, all-round entertainer, talent show judge, and game show host. As a presenter, he's... well, unsettling. There's a sort of manically intense enthusiasm combined with inappropriate bursts of shouting. I keep expecting him to pull back a curtain and reveal Batman strapped to a deathtrap. Here he is in action from his Saturday night variety showcase Tonight's The Night, a show that makes vision itself seem an unwanted curse.

Masochists will be pleased to hear that a devoted fan appears to have posted the entire series to YouTube, and I can assure you it doesn't get any better.