THE HALF-TERM HALF CENTURY, 2017

We’ve reached that time of year when we are halfway through the year and it is time to do the Top 50 songs of the year so far.

There’s no scientific formula to it. I just went through The Friday Five, and tried to assemble them into some sort of order.

If you love pointless stats, there are three former “The Sound Of …..” winners in the chart.

Remember, it can all change by the time of the main chart in December.

It could even be a Gallagher brother duopoly.

1. Liam Gallagher – Wall Of Glass
2. Rose Elinor Dougall – Closer
3. The Killers – The Man
4. Paramore – Hard Times
5. John Hassell and the April Rainers – Intercity 125
6. Rose Elinor Dougall – All At Once
7. Royal Blood – Lights Out
8. Blondie – Long Time
9. Kasabian – You’re In Love With A Psycho
10. Pale Waves – There’s A Honey
11. George Ezra – Don’t Matter Now
12. Harry Styles – Sign Of The Times
13. Lorde – Green Light
14. Arcade Fire – Everything Now
15. Beth Ditto – Fire
16. Dagny – Wearing Nothing
17. Haim – Want You Back
18. The Kooks – Be Who You Are
19. Haim – Little Of Your Love
20. The XX – On Hold
21. Coldplay – Something Just Like This
22. Amy MacDonald – Dream On
23. Erasure – Love You To The Sky
24. Ed Sheeran – Castle On The Hill
25. Rag n Bone Man – Skin
26. Liam Gallagher – Chinatown
27. The Charlatans – Plastic Machinery
28. James – Sit Down (Game Of Thrones 2017 version)
29. Joy Williams – Ordinary World
30. Liam Gallagher – Bold
31. Muse – Dig Deep
32. Shed Zeppelin – Good Times, Bad Times, Disco Down
33. Barry Manilow – New York State Of Mind
34. Kasabian – Bless This Acid House
35. Robin Bengtsson – I Can’t Go On
36. Black Grape – Pop Voodoo
37. Imagine Dragons – Believer
38. Matt Maltese – As The World Caves In
39. The Courteeners – Don’t Look Back In Anger
40. Maggie Rogers – Alaska
41. Ryan Adams – To Be Without You
42. Miley Cyrus – Malibu
43. Cast – Faith
44. Blossoms – In Da Club/Carelss Whisper
45. Imelda May – I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
46. Ariana Grande and Miley Cyrus – Don’t Dream It’s Over
47. Rory Lavelle – Poor Pride
48. Rose Elinor Dougall – Hell and Back
49. Amy MacDonald – Automatic
50. Paul Draper – Things People Want

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 21.4.2017

1. Paramore – Hard Times
2. Kasabian – Bless This Acid House
3. Prince – Deliverance
4. Camens – Boys Will Stray
5. Spoon – Hot Thoughts

Today is Robert Smiths’s birthday, and it’s his favourite day of the week. It’s the first time it’s fallen on a Friday since 2006, and won’t happen again until 2023, so he had better enjoy it.

To celebrate, here’s a The Cure Top Five

FIVE SONGS BY THE CURE

1. Friday I’m In Love
2. Lullaby
3. Hot Hot Hot
4. Close To Me
5. In Between Days

This Sunday, is St George’s Day, so time to lie back and think of England with some themed playlists for you

FIVE SONGS BY SINGERS CALLED GEORGE OR BANDS WITH SOMEONE CALLED GEORGE

1. Wham! – Freedom
2. One Night Only – Say You Don’t Want It
3. George Baker Selection – Little Green Bag
4. George Ezra – Blame It On Me
5. The Beatles – While My Guitar Gently Weeps

FIVE SONGS BY ACTS FROM ENGLAND

1. Pulp – A Little Soul
2. Depeche Mode – Enjoy The Silence
3. Cast – Finetime
4. The Beautiful South – Ole Red Eyes Is Back
5. Duran Duran – Ordinary World

Gig news, Paramore are coming to Belfast. The downside is, i’m already going to see The 1975 that night. If their marketing team had any brains, they could get them to do a gig at the bar of a South Belfast hotel and call it “PARAMORE AT THE PARADOR”

No doubt you all saw May’s big announcement on Tuesday morning. Brian that is, not Theresa. “Queen” are coming to The Odyssey in November. I’m not a big fan of him as a solo artist (apart from What Do You Want From Me?) but Adam Lambert is a capable vocalist and Queen + Adam Lambert looked decent at their BBC New Year’s Eve concert in 2014/2015. However, £74? For £74, i’m expecting Freddie Mercury and John Deacon on stage, and David Bowie to make a guest appearance on Under Pressure.

Ever since BBC Four had a night of programming dedicated to Depeche Mode, i’m been rediscovering how brilliant they are. There’ll be a Belfast gig this year, date to be announced, so I might pop along to see them.

Ryan Adams update. Still looking for a ticket for his Ulster Hall gig.

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 14.4.2017

1. Barry Manilow – New York State Of Mind
2. Kasabian – You’re In Love With A Psycho
3. Royal Blood – Lights Out
4. Biffy Clyro – Friend and Enemies
5. Saint Etienne – Magpie Eyes

Ryan Adams update. Still looking for a ticket for Ulster Hall in September. (Yes, I will do this every week between now and September)

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 7.4.2017

1. The Charlatans – Plastic Machinery
2. Kasabian – You’re In Love With A Psycho
3. James – Sit Down (Game Of Thrones 2017 version)
4. Shed Zeppelin – Good Times, Bad Times, Disco Down
5. The Sundowners – Great Beauty

So, concert news this week. Kasabian, supported by Blossoms playing CHSQ in August. Yes please!!!! Already happy with Kasabian, but Blossoms as support is the icing on the cake. I predicted that Blossoms would be coming back for a festival appearance this summer when I reviewed their recent Limelight gig. I wonder will Orla who got dumped be there. It was a you had to be there moment.

Also, George Ezra will playing The Limelight at the end of next month, previewing songs from his second album. Hopefully, as good as his last Belfast gig. Already got my ticket in the presale. You can read about his last visit here.

Meanwhile, Pet Shop Boys have announced a second Dublin gig in September due to demand. How about a Belfast gig due to demand? I bet they do one on the night Northern Ireland play Czech Republic so I can’t go. What have I, what have I, what have I done to deserve this?

Meanwhile, Bangor Court House might be turned into a concert venue. Interesting, very interesting.

Ryan Adams update. Still looking for a ticket for Ulster Hall in September. Standing, Face Value. Ta very much.

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 24.3.2017

1. Kasabian – You’re In Love With A Psycho
2. Blondie – Long Time
3. The Music Gang – How Can I Compete?
4. Chuck Berry- Johnny B Goode
5. Saint Etienne – Heather

So, some gig news. Got myself a ticket to see Amy MacDonald at Custom House Square in August. Her last Belfast gig was so long ago (feel free to correct me if i’m wrong) that it was in Auntie Annie’s. She’s actually supporting Foy Vance. I’m not that fussed on Foy Vance, so i’ll be going to see her instead.

It won’t be the first time i’ve went to a concert just for the support band, having seen The Charlatans at Falls Park in 2013 while not being fussed about Happy Mondays. Also, in 2011, I left an outdoor Laura Marling concert early because it was a monsoon. I had a free ticket so it was no loss to me. Worst thing was, the next evening was beautiful sunshine.

That concert seems to be part of a series of concerts known as CHSQ, which as any abbreviations expert will tell you stands for Switzerland Squared.

I hope Switzerland Squared becomes my favourite music festival in Belfast.

Talking of festivals in Belfast, Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival is due to publish it’s programme soon. I had a dream Birdy was doing a concert there. I don’t think that has any merit or value, but I just thought i’d share it.

Shed Seven (with support from Cast) announced some extra tour dates. No Belfast date. Fuck sake.

Martin Garrix announced as the last Belsonic headline. At least they had the decency to tease that it would be an EDM (that’s Electronic Dance Music for all you old farts out there) “superstar” on social media, so I knew it was going to be shite.

Kasabian announced some gigs for (relatively) smaller venues in April. They did the same in 2014, so hopes up for an Odyseey gig later in the year.

Anyone fancy taking me to Electric Picnic to see Duran Duran and Madness?

Would love to see Duran Duran. The closest i’ve got was John Taylor doing a Q and A with fans at the Edinburgh Festival in 2013.

Also, i’m still looking for a Ryan Adams ticket for September.

THE SOUND OF 2016 : 1-25

And here we are, what you’ve been waiting for, to find out the best song of 2016. Not long to go until it is revealed. Are you ready? Are you ready?

Oh ok, I’ll shut up, here’s the Top 25.

1. The Strumbellas – Spirits
2. James – Nothing But Love
3. Iggy Pop – Gardenia
4. The Courteeners – No One Will Ever Replace Us
5. Christine and the Queens – Tilted
6. The Temper Trap – Fall Together
7. Chvrches ft Hayley Williams – Bury It
8. Clean Cut Kid – We Used To Be In Love
9. Sia – The Greatest
10. Oasis – D’You Know What I Mean? (NG’s 2016 Rethink)
11. Travis – Animals
12. Stone Roses – All For One
13. Bastille – Good Grief
14. Travis – Magnificent Time
15. Aurora – Conquerer
16. Biffy Clyro – Howl
17. Bastille – Send Them Off
18. The Lumineers – Ophelia
19. Grimes – California
20. Travis – 3 Miles High
21. Two Door Cinema Club – Are We Ready? (Wreck)
22. Blossoms – Getaway
23. KT Tunstall – Maybe It’s A Good Thing
24. Rose Elinor Dougall – Stellular
25. Clean Cut Kid – Make Believe

Thank you for your support over the past year and I’ll hope to bring you more Friday Fives and pointless themed charts throughout 2017.

Congratulations to The Strumbellas, who join Kasabian, Feist, Sons and Daughters, Little Boots, Marina and the Diamonds, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Taylor Swift, Haim, Jamie T and Blossoms in the Hall Of Fame.

Hopefully, over the past four weeks, i’ve helped you discover some songs you’ve never heard before.

If you haven’t heard the winning song, here it is ……

Want to get excited for music in 2017? Here’s four words for you – Liam. Gallagher. Solo. Album.

THE SOUND OF 2016 : 76-100

Well, 2016 is almost over and what a year of music it has been. Bowie died, Prince died, and Phil Collins announced a comeback. It hasn’t been all bad. There were some songs I liked, and I’ve put them into a chart.

There’s nothing scientific to it, I just cut and pasted Friday Fives and spent half an hour trying to put them into an order based on what I liked the most over the past year.

You may notice a few rerecordings and previously unreleased versions of songs that have already been released. Well, my chart, my rules.

So, who will join the list of previous winners? You’ll have to wait a few weeks to find out.

2006-2009 were done on Bebo, so the articles are sadly gone, but you can click on the links to previous countdowns. There are a few former winners in this year’s chart.

2015 Blossoms – Charlemagne
2014 Jamie T – Zombie
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

76. Wyvern Lingo – Letter To Willow
77. DNCE – Cake By The Ocean
78. Tegan and Sara – Faint Of Heart
79. Bruno Mars – 24k Magic
80. Frank Turner – Mittens
81. David Bowie – Killing A Little Time
82. Garbage – Empty
83. James – Dear John
84. Primal Scream and Sky Ferreira – When The Light Comes In
85. Travis – Everything At Once
86. Manic Street Preachers – Together Stronger
87. Laura Tesoro – What’s The Pressure?
88. Nika Kocharov and Young Georgian Lolitaz – Midnight Gold
89. Sergey Lazarev – You Are The Only One
90. KT Tunstall – Evil Eye
91. Tove Lo – True Disaster
92. Kings Of Leon – Waste A Moment
93. The Divine Comedy – How Can You Leave Me On My Own?
94. Bear’s Den – Dew On The Vine
95. Richard Ashcroft – Hold On
96. Izzy Bizu & the BBC Orchestra – La Foule
97. Travis – What Will Come
98. Madness – Herbert
99. Primal Scream – Mantra For A State Of Mind
100. Madness – Can’t Touch Us Now

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 7.10.2016

1. The Courteeners – No One Will Ever Replace Us
2. One Republic – Kids
3. Kasabian – Comeback Kid
4. Placebo – Jesus Son
5. Daughtry – Come Undone

This week saw the announcement that Coldplay will be doing a concert at Croke Park in the Summer of 2017. I’m going to admit something really uncool ……. I like Coldplay. Well, their singles, I can’t really be arsed listening to any of their albums in full.

I’m undecided if i’m going. If you are, here’s five songs to get you in the mood.

FIVE SONGS BY COLDPLAY

1. Violet Hill
2. Talk
3. Lost
4. Pricess of China (ft Rihanna)
5. Speed Of Sound

Forgot to comment on it last week, but Two Door Cinema Club announced a tour for January with no Belfast gig. That can mean one of three things.

1. Belsonic headliner?
2. Vital support act?
3. Bangor gig as part of Open House Festival?

1 and 3 sound quite tempting.

Also, I went to see Supersonic last Sunday. It was very enjoyable. I’m absolutely certain that there will be an Oasis reunion one day. 2017? 2018? 2019? 2035? It will happen one day.

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : Q – MARCH 2011

Liam Gallagher is the cover star of Q as he prepares to launch the debut album of Beady Eye, a band comprising of the non Noel Gallagher members of Oasis.

If you look closely, in Liam’s shades, you can see the other members of Beady Eye in his reflection.

In “Q Mail”, Simon Hunt e-mails to respond to previous correspondence complaining about Take That appearing in Q, while cheekily asking when Justin Bieber will be appearing on Cash For Questions.

Jonathan Paul from Leicester contacts Q to complain about their ignoring of Ian Matthews and Chris Edwards in Kasabian articles, in comparison to Serge Pizzorno and Tom Meighan.

Q50 is a feature of the 50 songs you should download this month. Top of the pile was The Beat Goes On by cover stars Beady Eye.

Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol gets a guest submission, choosing Coal by The Mariner’s Children.

In news, Alex Turner records solo songs for a movie soundtrack, Green Day release a live album, The Kills are reforming and Beth Ditto is going on a solo career.

Featuring forthcoming albums, Glasvegas get a double page spread for their as yet titled new album.

Also working hard in the studio were Hard-Fi, with a propsed release date given as “Summer 2011”

Q dedicates a full page to a phone interview with Plan B, where he reveals that Forrest Gump is the one movie that makes him cry.

Tipped for greatness this month are The Joy Formidable, Miles Kane and MNDR.

Shaun Ryder is the subject of this month’s Cash For Questions, answering questions about Tony Wilson, UFOs and Reality TV.

In ads, Paul McCartney stars in an advert for PETA.

There are nine pages dedicated to cover stars Beady Eye, with Liam Gallagher claiming that “People will be calling their kids Beady Eye by the end of the year”

It’s not all about Liam, as Gem, Andy and Chris get profiled, looking at their musical CVs pre Oasis.

Junior Gallagher had gotten the first blow in to release post Oasis music, but Senior Gallagher (Noel) was at work on his debut solo album, with 17 tracks believed to have been recorded, one of which has Miles Kane on guitar, and was set for release in late summer.

Noel’s (using the name of Noel Galagher’s High Flying Birds) self titled debut album was eventually released in October 2011.

KT Tunstall gets a full page interview, where she denounces her stepdad, who was a BNP candidate.

Riding high on the success of Rolling In The Deep, Adele gets a four page profile.

Cee Lo Green is gets interviewed by Q, where he discusses his favourite albums.

Another band riding high in the charts, were Noah and the Whale, who got a three page feature.

2011 was the year that saw the 20th anniversary of the death of Freddie Mercury, and Q interviews Roger Taylor and Brian May, ahead of a feature about unseen Queen photographs being made public for the first time.

In reviews, Beady Eye’s debut album Different Gear, Still Speeding gets four stars.

Also getting four stars was Clare Maguire’s debut album Light After Dark and Hotel Shampoo by Gruff Rhys.

If Bruce Springsteen is your thing, Q has a handy guide for those wishing to explore his vast discography.

Concert Reviews sees Paul McCartney get a five star review for a concert at 100 Club in London just before Cristmas 2010.

Also getting five stars were The View for their pre Christmas gigs in Sheffield and Stoke.

THE SOUND OF 2015 : 1-25

So here we go, what you’ve been waiting for …….. The Top 25 songs of 2015. Enjoy.

1. Blossoms – Charlemagne
2. The Strypes – Get Into It
3. Chvrches – Leave A Trace
4. Muse – Revolt
5. Chemical Brothers – Go
6. Muse – Mercy
7. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Ballad Of The Mighty I
8. Ellie Goulding – Love Me Like You Do
9. Florence and the Machine – Queen Of Peace
10. Everything Everything – Spring/Sun/Winter/Dread
11. Calvin Harris ft Haim – Pray To God
12. Mumford and Sons – The Wolf
13. The 1975 – Love Me
14. Little Mix – Black Magic
15. Taylor Swift – Style
16. Mini Mansions – Death Is A Girl
17. Florence and the Machine – Ship To Wreck
18. Muse – Dead Inside
19. Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats – SOB
20. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – You Know We Can’t Go Back
21. FFS – Piss Off
22. John Newman – Come And Get It
23. Everything Everything – Regret
24. Soak – Sea Creatures
25. Paul Weller – Saturn’s Pattern

So, congratulations to Blossoms. I bet they didn’t think that supporting Paul Weller and The Charlatans on tour could be topped, but it has.

If you haven’t heard the song before, here you go …..

They join an illustrious list of winners. Sadly, Bebo has wiped their archive, so I can’t link you 2006-2008.

THE SOUND OF …… PAST WINNERS

2014 Jamie T – Zombie
2013 Haim – The Wire
2012 Taylor Swift – We Are Never 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