2016 : THE HALF-TERM HALF CENTURY

It’s that time of year again, where we have reached the halfway point. So, as is tradition, it’s time to look back at the 50 best songs of the year so far.

1. The Strumbellas – Spirits
2. James – Nothing But Love
3. Iggy Pop – Gardenia
4. Blossoms – Getaway
5. Aurora – Conquerer
6. Travis – Magnificent Time
7. Blossoms – At Most A Kiss
8. Grimes – California
9. The Lumineers – Ophelia
10. James – Dear John
11. Christine and the Queens – Tilted
12. Stone Roses – All For One
13. Bloc Party – Virtue
14. Manic Street Preachers – Feels Like Heaven
15. Taylor Swift – Out Of The Woods
16. Last Shadow Puppets – Bad Habits
17. The Temper Trap – Fall Together
18. The Coral – Miss Fortune
19. The Last Shadow Puppets – Aviation
20. Jake Bugg – Gimme The Love
21. Lukas Graham – 7 Years
22. White Spaces ft Jim Kerr – The Man Who Sold The World
23. Tom Odell – Magnetised
24. Foxes – Feet Don’t Fail Me Now
25. Tegan and Sara – Boyfriend
26. Coldplay – Hymn For The Weekend
27. Ellie Goulding – Army
28. Biffy Clyro – Wolves Of Winter
29. Halsey – New Americana
30. Richard Ashcroft – This Is How It Feels
31. Bruce Springsteen – Purple Rain
32. The 1975 – The Sound
33. DNCE – Cake By The Ocean
34. Lorde – Life On Mars?
35. The 1975 – A Change Of Heart
36. All Saints – One Strike
37. Laura Tesoro – What’s The Pressure?
38. Birdy – Keeping You Head Up
39. Nika Kocharov and Young Georgian Lolitaz – Midnight Gold
40. Tame Impala – The Less I Know The Better
41. Paul Simon – Wristband
42. Laura Mvula – Overcome
43. Manic Street Preachers – Together Stronger
44. Sergey Lazarev – You Are The Only One
45. Graham Nash – This Path Tonight
46. Tegan and Sara – U-Turn
47. Chvrches – Warning Call
48. Richard Ashcroft – Hold On
49. Nina Nesbitt – Chewing Gum
50. Travis – 3 Miles High

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 11.3.2016

1. Ladyhawke – A Love Song
2. Stereophonics – White Lies
3. James – Nothing But Love
4. Coldplay – Hymn For The Weekend
5. Lukas Graham – 7 Years

So, the rumours are true, Red Hot Chili Peppers will be coming to Belfast in August for Tennent’s Vital. The tickets go on sale this morning. Sorry to sound smug, but i’ve already got a ticket in the pre-sale.

To get you in the mood, here’s a RHCP Top Five.

FIVE SONGS BY RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS

1. The Adventures Of Rain Dance Maggie
2. Cabron
3. Snow
4. Zephyr Song
5. Dani California

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 4.3.2016

1. Lukas Graham – 7 Years
2. James – Nothing But Love
3. Coldplay – Hymn For The Weekend
4. Richard Ashcroft – This Is How It Feels
5. Nathaniel Rateliffe and the Bad Sweats – I Need Never Get Old

Firstly this week, an apology. Who to? The nation of Wales, all 3 million of them. Last Tuesday was St David’s Day and I forgot to do a Welsh Music Chart.

A bit belatedly, here is a Welsh Music Chart for St David’s Day.

FIVE SONGS BY WELSH ACTS

1. Stereophonics – Dakota
2. Donna Lewis – I Love You Always Forever
3. Bonnie Tyler – Total Eclipse Of The Heart
4. Manic Street Preachers – Autumn Song
5. Lisa Scott-Lee – Electric

I could just about get away with offending the Welsh, but there’s one group of people you shouldn’t offend, and that’s Internet Feminists, which is why there was never any danger of me forgetting International Women’s Day next Tuesday.

So, to celebrate this event, here’s some related charts for you – Female acts and songs with female names and pronouns.

FIVE SONGS BY FEMALE SINGERS

1. Nina Nesbitt – He’s the One I’m Bringing Back
2. Jane Weidling – Rush Hour
3. Lisa Loeb – Stay
4. Sinead Lohan – Whatever It Takes
5. Brianna Corrigan – Love Me Now

FIVE SONGS BY GIRL GROUPS

1. Sugababes – Soul Sound
2. Little Mix – Black Magic
3. Girls Aloud – Biology
4. Madasun – Don’t You Worry
5. All Saints – Pure shores

FIVE SONGS BY FEMALE FRONTED BANDS

1. Chvrches – Leave A Trace
2. Blondie – Heart Of Glass
3. Texas – Black Eyed Boy
4. Hole – Celebrity Skin
5. Sixpence None The Richer – Kiss Me

FIVE SONGS WITH FEMALE NAMES IN THE TITLE

1. The Killers – Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine
2. Oasis – Lyla
3. Jon Bon Jovi – Janey Don’t You Take Your Love To Town
4. Glasvegas – Geraldine
5. Franz Ferdinand – Eleanor Put Your Puts On

FIVE SONGS WITH WOMAN/GIRL/SHE/ HER IN THE TITLE

1. The Kooks – She Moves In Her Own Way
2. White Town – Your Woman
3. Ash – Girl From Mars
4. Neil Finn – She Will Have Her Way
5. Kate Bush – Rubberband Girl

Of course, when International Men’s Day comes around, there’ll be similar charts for the menfolk.

If you don’t know when International Men’s Day is, just go on Twitter on Tuesday and you’ll have smug and self righteous comedians (looking at you Richard Herring) and journalists pointing it out to you in a patronising manner.

It’s on November 19th, if you want to save yourself the effort of being spoken down to by patronising wankers (looking at you Richard Herring) desperate to boost their own personal brand.

That’s eight months away. Until then, you have St Patrick’s Day, St George’s Day, Euro 2016 and International Yorkshire Day charts to listen to.

THE SOUND OF 2015 : 76-100

So, it’s that time of year to look back at the twelve months just past, and this blog is no different.

Totally unscientific and totally guesswork, time to present to you the Top 100 Songs Of 2015, to see who will join Kasabian, Feist, Sons and Daughters, Little Boots, Marina and the Diamonds, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Taylor Swift, Haim and Jamie T on the honours list.

Spoiler alert. There are four former winners in the Top 100, and there are two acts who appear on it who also have a cover of one of their songs in the countdown.

I’ll let you guess them, and the winner. Here’s the first 25 to get you going. Another 25 will appear every Thursday for the next three weeks.

76. Hidden Cities ft Tim Halperin – Hungry Like The Wolf
77. The Libertines – Gunga Din
78. Coasts – Modern Love
79. The Charlatans – Come Home Baby
80. Walk The Moon – Shut Up And Dance
81. Mans Zelmerlow – Heroes
82. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Lock All The Doors
83. The Vaccines – Give Me A Sign
84. Marina and the Diamonds – Blue
85. Bear’s Den – Agape
86. Gun – Every 1’s A Winner
87. Years and Years – Desire
88. Muse – Lies
89. Olly Murs – Kiss Me
90. Carly Rae Jepsen – I Really Like You
91. Miguel – Waves
92. Seasick Steve – Summertime Boy
93. Jason Derulo – Want To Want Me
94. The Courteeners – Has The Told You That He Loves You Yet
95. The Maccabees – Marks To Prove It
96. James Taylor – Montana
97. Coldplay – Adventure Of A Lifetime
98. Brandon Flowers – I Can Change
99. The Charlatans – Let The Good Times Be Never Ending
100. Years and Years – Shine

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 13.11.2015

1. X-Ambassadors – Renegades
2. Cee-Lo – Music To My Soul
3. Fleur East – Sax
4. Bear’s Den – Agape
5. Coldplay – Adventure Of A Lifetime

It’s a good week for gig goers in Belfast. Today, tickets go on sale for Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott (tickets shall be purchased for that) and Busted (Just a Public Service Announcement, i’m not purchasing one for that) while Paul Weller and U2 are due in town in the next seven days. Ever so slightly looking forward to those two.

Meanwhile, next Thursday is International Men’s Day. In celebration of all that manliness (grrr) here’s a man based music chart.

FIVE SONGS BY MEN

1. Ryan Adams – Bad Blood
2. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – AKA …… What A Life
3. Paul Weller – The Changingman
4. John Parr – St Elmo’s Fire
5. Elton John – I’m Still Standing

FIVE SONGS WITH BOY, MAN OR MEN IN THE TITLE

1. Michael Jackson – Man In The Mirror
2. Texas – Black Eyed Boy
3. Andrew Gold – Lonely Boy
4. David Bowie – The Man Who Sold The World
5. REM – Man On The Moon

FIVE SONGS WITH MALE NAMES IN THE TITLE

1. Rick Springfield – Jesse’s Girl
2. Elliott Smith – Son Of Sam
3. Wonder Villains – Oh Peter
4. Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros – Johnny Appleseed
5. Kasabian – Stevie

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : NME BIG BOOK – NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2003

It’s the end of 2003, and NME brings out a Big Book to celebrate, as a photo collage of stars from the year such as Beyonce, Justin Hawkins, Charlie Simpson and Chris Martin form the cover.

The forward, comes from Jack and Kelly Osbourne, with Jack stating his highlight of the year was discovering The Darkness.

The format takes on a month by month review of the year, starting, obviously with January, with Danger! High Voltage by Electric Six being named Song Of The Month.

The Libertines get a double page spread, with Carl Barat looking back at 2003 with some of his favourite photos.

Coldplay go one better and have three pages, looking back at their successful year, which saw them play venues in the UK such as Earls Court and MEN Arena.

That is then followed by a Top Ten highlights from the 2003 NME Awards, which included Steve-O exposing himself in front of The Polythonic Spree.

Turning over the page, it’s The White Stripes. Or is it? Closer inspection reveals The Cheeky Girls dressed up as The White Stripes.

In the accompanying interview, Monica revealed she bought a recent edition of NME and found the articles very interesting, and she would most like to date Hugh Grant, if given a choice of Hollywood stars.

In their review of February, NME announces Move Your Feet by Junior Senior as their Song Of The Month.

NME faves The Strokes get a double page feature as they released their second album in late October.

Also getting a double page feature are Radiohead, as NME lists their Top Ten Radiohead Gigs Of The Year.

In Da Club by 50 Cent is declared Song Of The Month for March, while in news, Top Of The Pops ban t-shirts protesting against the Iraq War.

Which leads us nicely into NME’s Top Ten Anti Iraq War Songs, which includes a reworking of Faith by George Michael and Ms Dynamite.

Avril Lavigne, who had a successful 2003 gets a three page interview, where she reveals her favourite swear word is fuck.

Also getting three pages, is The Music, listing their top ten cities visited, including Blackpool, Paris and San Francisco.

NME love their Top Tens. Next up, is Top Ten Pin Badges.

The next Top Ten goes on a sombre theme, as NME remembers the ten much missed stars who died in 2003, such as Johnny Cash, Barry White, Maurice Gibb and Robert Palmer.

It’s not all Rock, as NME does a double page interview with Girls Aloud, discussing their favourite animal based stories of 2003, such as a farmer who played Classical music to his pigs being branded a noise nuisance by the local council, and a Jack Russell who mastered Surfing.

Back to The Strokes, if you wanted, you could make your own finger puppets of The Strokes.

In news, Siobhan Donaghy, former Sugababe, played at Glastonbury wearing a The Darkness t-shirt.

There is a two page review of Glastonbury, followed by a Dress Up Justin, where you can dress up Justin Hawkins from The Darkness in various outfits.

With the ipod new onto the market, NME dedicates a page to the songs you should put on yours, assuming you had one.

Dick Valentine of Electric Six gets a full page, discussing their massive hit that year, Gay Bar.

More Top Tens now, we have Top Ten Comments From Blazin Squad’s Messageboard, and Simon Amstell details his Top Ten Interviews Of 2003, in his role as host of Popworld on Channel 4.

There was also a quiz, most notably, What Christina Are You?, as you try to find out which Christina Aguilera alter ego you have.

We also get a Top Ten CD:UK Moments, featuring a spat between Louis Walsh and Mel C, where Louis defends Girls Aloud, who he manages, proclaiming “At least Girls Aloud will have successful solo careers”

Having interviewed Princess Diana and Michael Jackson (not together though), who was next for Martin Bashir? Busted. He interviewed them for NME.

And that, was 2003. Um, what a year.

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : NME YEARBOOK 2005

Rather misleading title this week, as NME brings out a yearbook to look back at 2005, than forward. The cover stars, are a series of stars from the year, such as Oasis, Arctic Monkeys, Coldplay, and Green Day.

The review of the year, unsurprisingly, begins in January, with the year starting off with a feud between The Killers and The Bravery.

The Killers get four pages looking back on their year, and the ten things that made it such a successful year, including the obvious one, “Have more than one good song”

February’s story of the month was the NME Awards. Curiously, with their lead story each month, NME include a selection of choice quotes from various music bloggers.

Ricky Wilson of Kaiser Chiefs gets four pages talking about the big news stories of 2005, including the return of Doctor Who, which he approved of, but not the choice of doctor.

“I would have went for someone a bit more leftfield, like Harry Hill. Or Eddie Izzard”

In March, the Feud Of The Month was within Snow Patrol, as Bassist Mark McClelland was sacked.

Meanwhile, Bono declared himself a fan of The Futureheads.

By May, Make Poverty History wristbands were the Fashion Item Of The Month, while the feud between The Killers and The Bravery escalated to be Feud Of The Month for May.

But the big news, was that The Darkness lost “Their only cool member” with the departure of Frankie Poullain.

Piers Morgan gets four pages, where he reviews the stories that filled the biggest amount of column inches in the tabloids.

A series of stars get Q and A’d about their year. The best thing someone said to Richard Archer from Hard-Fi was when somebody informed him that Brentford had went top of the league.

Coldplay get six pages, most of it photos, as they present their favourite photos from their year, which saw them release their third album.

Oasis gig at City Of Manchester Stadium, their first at the venue since it opened in 2003 was Gig Of The Month for July, but it was another gig, Live 8, which was the Story Of The Month.

Kasabian get a two page feature where they list their Top Ten gigs they attended in 2005, with The Prodigy at V Festival being the best.

Across the page, they list their Top Five gigs played, with Glastonbury coming out on top.

Four pages get dedicated to lyrics, as acts such as Kaiser Chiefs, Hard-Fi and Razorlight discuss the lyrical content of some of their big hits from the year.

Where in 2005 could you find the coolest bands on the planet? Yorkshire.

Yorkshire was so cool in 2005, that NME did a full page on how cool it was.

Like Coldplay, Bloc Party get a four page photo diary, looking back at their year.

By October, The Killers had moved on from The Bravery, and were now feuding with Fall Out Boy.

2005. The year of The Killers having feuds.

50 YEARS OF TOP OF THE POPS : CHRISTMAS SPECIAL

Own up, who has ever fallen asleep during Christmas TOTP and woke up thinking The Queen was Number 1 with a Spoken Word song? Just me?

As Noddy Holder once sang ITTTTTT’SSSSSS CCCCCHHHHHRRRRISSSSSTTTTTMAAAASSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So here, is a selection of Christmas songs for you.

Keep an eye out for a hilarious Band Aid performance.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!

THE SOUND OF 2014 : 51-75

51. Thiago Thome – Aquarela do Brasil
52. Marina and the Diamonds – Froot
53. Paloma Faith – Can’t Rely On You
54. One Republic – Love Runs Out
55. George Ezra – Listen To The Man
56. Lykke Li – Never Gonna Love Again
57. Alicia Keys ft Kendrick Lamar – It’s On Again
58. James – Moving On
59. Broken Bells – Holding On For Life
60. David Guetta ft Sam Martin – Dangerous
61. Embrace – Follow You Home
62. Ellie Goulding – Goodness Gracious
63. Ella Henderson – Glow
64. Fiona O’Kane – I Can’t Help Myself
65. Courteeners – How Good It Was
66. James – Frozen Britain
67. Royal Blood – Come On Over
68. Simple Minds – Honest Town
69. Nina Nesbitt – Peroxide
70. Florrie – Seashells
71. Merrymouth – I Am The Resurrection
72. Black Rivers – The Ship
73. Foxes – Let Go For Tonight
74. Coldplay – A Sky Full Of Stars
75. Tove Lo – Habits

THE SOUND OF 2014 : 76 – 100

Well, it’s that time of year again, Christmas is coming and we’re looking back at the 12 months just past.

As is tradition, time for a musical look back, at the Top 100 songs of the year, to see who will join this illustrious list of former winners :

2013 Haim – The Wire
2012 Taylor Swift – We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together
2011 Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – AKA …. What A Life
2010 Marina and the Diamonds – Shampain
2009 Little Boots – New In Town
2008 Sons and Daughters – Darling
2007 Feist – 1, 2, 3, 4
2006 Kasabian – Empire

Spoiler alert – There’s three former winners in this year’s Top 100.

Anyway, on with the music. Enjoy.

76. The Horrors – So Now You Now
77. Foo Fighters – Something From Nothing
78. Courteeners – Summer
79. The Kooks – Forgive and Forget
80. Ed Sheeran – Sing
81. Maximo Park – Leave This Island
82. Nick Mulvey – Cucurucu
83. Per Gessle – He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother
84. Alexa Goddard – So There
85. Caro Emerald – Walk Like An Egypitan
86. Kaiser Chiefs – Coming Home
87. Twin Atlantic – Brothers and Sisters
88. Dolly Partin ft Richie Sambora – Lay Your Hands On Me
89. Tom Odell – Real Love
90. Becky Hill – Losing
91. Mark Ronson ft Bruno Mars – Uptown Funk
92. U2 – Iris (Hold Me Close)
93. Train – Holding Back The Years
94. Damon Albarn – Heavy Seas Of Love
95. American Authors – Best Day Of My Life
96. Mnek – Every Little Word
97. Coldplay – Magic
98. James – All I’m Saying
99. Matthew Dear ft Tegan and Sara – Pale Shelter
100. Charli XCX – Break The Rules