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 – 10.3.2017

1. Rose Elinor Dougall – All At Once
2. John Hassall and the April Rainers – Intercity 125
3. Rory Lavelle – When The Crazies Come Out
4. Pale Waves – There’s A Honey
5. Coldplay – Something Just Like This

In gig news, Erasure have hinted that they’ll be doing a UK tour in 2018. At least that’s something to gt hopeful about.

Hoped to see The Pigeon Detectives doing an instore gig at HMV Belfast last Friday but it was a meet and greet rather than an instore gig, which was a bit rubbish.

The announcement of the full CQAF line-up is near, but The Divine Comedy and Rich Hall (not a singer, but a bloody hilarious comedian) are definitely worth getting excited about.

Culture Night Belfast has been confirmed for Friday 22nd September this year. Slightly annoyed, as I wanted it to be on that weekend last year. I missed the 2016 night as I was in Liverpool and was desperately hoping they would make it the weekend after. Missing it last year makes me look forward to this even more. A half day has already been applied for.

Oh, and i’m still on the lookout for a Ryan Adams ticket.

THE FRIDAY FIVE- 3.3.2017

1. John Hassell and the April Rainers – Intercity 125
2. Pale Waves – There’s A Honey
3. Ryan Adams – Streets Of Philidelphia
4. Blossoms – In Da Club/Carelss Whisper
5. Ray Davies – Rock N Roll Cowboys

In gig news this week, it’s all about people not coming to Belfast. The Kooks are already on a Greatest Hits tour which bypasses Belfast, but now they’ve announced a European tour with Blossoms as support. It would be brilliant if that line-up came to Belfast. That said, i’m going to see Blossoms on Wednesday night as a headliner, having already seen them support Paul Weller. Regular readers will know I think Blossoms are brilliant.

Erasure have announced a new album and tour for May which has no Belfast gig. I’m staring expectantly towards the organisers of Belfast Pride. Outdoor show, Custom House Square. You know it makes sense. Go on go on go on go on. That’s just me hoping and wishing rather than any inside info by the way.

Shed Seven are back with their first album since 2001 and are touring in December. It gets better, they have Cast as support. Guess what? No Belfast gig. Seeing as Cast have been to Belfast the last two years, i’m hoping John Power has a word in Rick Witter’s ear and rectifies this.

Ryan Adams is coming to Belfast in September. Unfortunately, it had sold out by the lunchtime of the day it went on sale. So, if you know anybody selling a spare standing ticket, get in touch.

On Monday lunchtime, I chanced my arm by going to the Venue Box Office during my final ten minutes of lunch. I was third in line, and manage to spend all ten minutes queuing. The person at the front couldn’t make their mind about about what seats they wanted for whatever show they were booking for, then proceeded to pay with a credit card that wouldn’t work.

The next person had a complaint about tickets they had recently purchased and were referred to Ticketmaster but then proceeded to argue that the problem had to be dealt with by the Venue Box Office Staff.

Seriously, how the fuck do people get out of the house and be so fucking stupid?

Also announced in the past week was the line-up for Party At The Palace in August at Linlithgow Palace. If you’re wondering where that is, it’s near Edinburgh.

Regular readers will know I go to Edinburgh every August. Very tempted to make this the weekend I head over.

FIVE SONGS BY ACTS APPEARING AT PARTY AT THE PALACE

1. Lightning Seeds – All I Want
2. Razorlight – America
3. Ash – Oh Yeah
4. Amy MacDonald – This Is The Life
5. Kaiser Chiefs – Oh My God

Finally, I spotted an article wondering whatever happened to the mythical and mystical place in music history called 3 Alveston Place. 90s kids will know what i’m talking about. You can read the article here.

This Wednesday, is International Richard Herring Being A Sneering Dick On Twitter Day. Or, if you prefer, International Women’s Day.

If it’s just another day to you, or if you’re doing something to commemorate it, enjoy yourself. Except if you’re planning on sitting in front of the computer screaming “IT’S NOVEMBER 19TH!!!!” all day. You’re a bit of a weirdo and you need help.

This blog will be commemorating it in the only way it knows, by having a series of charts of songs by and about women

FIVE SONGS BY WOMEN

1. Rose Elinor Dougall – Stellular
2. Kylie Minogue – I Believe In You
3. Madonna – Rain
4. Taylor Swift – Ours
5. Laura Branigan – Self Control

FIVE SONGS BY GIRL GROUPS

1. Girls Aloud – Biology
2. Eternal – I Wanna Be The Only One
3. Bananarama – Cruel Summer
4. The Saturdays – Up
5. All Saints – Pure Shores

FIVE SONGS BY BANDS WITH FEMALE SINGERS

1. Chvrches – Lies
2. Paramore – That’s What You Get
3. Blondie – Heart Of Glass
4. Echosmith – Cool Kids
5. The Pretenders – I’ll Stand By You

FIVE SONGS WITH FEMALE NAMES IN THE TITLE

1. The Beatles – Dear Prudence
2. Bastille – Laura Palmer
3. Cosmic Rough Riders – Melanie
4. Glasvegas – Geraldine
5. Britney Spears – If You Seek Amy

FIVE SONGS WITH FEMALE PRONOUNS IN THE TITLE

1. Oasis – She Is Love
2. James – She’s A Star
3. U2 – Hallelujah Here She Comes
4. The Kooks – She Moves In Her Own Way
5. Shed Seven – She Left Me On Friday

FIVE SONGS WITH GIRL/WOMAN IN THE TITLE

1. Tori Amos – Cornflake Girl
2. Kate Bush – Rubberband Girl
3. Ash – Girl From Mars
4. Alicia Keys – Girl On Fire
5. Simple Minds – Chelsea Girl

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 3.2.2017

1. Cast – Faith
2. Rose Elinor Dougall – Hell and Back
3. London Grammar – Big Picture
4. Blondie – Fun
5. The 1975 – Chocolate

Been an interesting week for gig announcements. The 1975 will be playing Belsonic. That’ll do nicely. I know they’ll be at the tail end of a tour they’ve been doing for eighteen months, nut it’s a tour that hasn’t taken in Belfast or Northern Ireland so far, so it’ll be great to belatedly have them here.

Simple Minds announced KT Tunstall as support for their Waterfront Hall gig. Not that surprising, she is supporting them in Europe. The down side is that it’ll lessen the chances of KT Tunstall doing her own gig in Belfast this year.

I was planning on going to that but decided I couldn’t be bothered once it turned out to be an all seated gig. Anyway, i’ll be otherwise engaged, as i’m going to see Limmy at Mandela Hall that night.

Rose Elinor Dougall has announced a tour for April but there’s no Belfast gig. Got her album this week but haven’t got round to listening to it in full yet.

If you’re planning on going to Scotland this summer, TRNSMT line-up looks decent, especially the Saturday.

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 6.1.2017

1. Amy MacDonald – Dream On
2. The Killers ft Paul McCartney – Helter Skelter
3. Rag n Bone Man – Reach Out I’ll Be There
4. Bastille – Blame
5. Rose Elinor Dougall – Stellular

Listen up Pop Pickers, I bring you the news you’ve all been craving, that the Top Of The Pops repeats on BBC Four will continue into 1983.

Tonight on BBC Four is Top Of The Pops : The Story Of 1983 at 9pm, followed by a clip show, and then the first 1983 episode will be on next week.

To celebrate this, here’s some tunes from 1983 for you.

FIVE SONGS FROM 1983

1. Siouxsie and the Banshees – Dear Prudence
2. Culture Club – Karma Chameleon
3. Simple Minds – Waterfont
4. David Bowie – Let’s Dance
5. Men At Work – Down Under

As a bonus, Saturday night on BBC Two (9pm) is the documentary David Bowie : The Last Five Years. The subject is self explanatory.

Meanwhile, over the Christmas period, BBC Four broadcast Pop Quiz – The Comeback. A show which is self explanatory, it’s a music quiz. I’ve only seen the first one (I have the second one recorded to watch this weekend) but I feel both proud and ashamed of the fact that I got 99% of the questions right.

I’m hoping to get 100% right when I get round to watching the second episode.

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 23.12.2016 (AND SOME MUSICAL THOUGHTS FOR 2017)

1. Robert Goulet – Jingle Bells, Batman Smells
2. The Waitresses – Christmas Wrapping
3. Greg Lake – I Believe In Father Christmas
4. Fountains of Wayne – Alien For Christmas
5. John Lennon – Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

You didn’t think I wouldn’t have any Christmas songs this week? I’m not that much of a Scrooge.

Somebody started a rumour that i’ve cleared my diary to watch Christmas With Daniel O’Donnell on RTE 1 at 9.30pm tomorrow. It might be true, or it might not be true.

This week, saw the first headliners for Belsonic 2017 announced, a lot earlier than usual (recent years have been announced between February and April)

Just the two announced, and they were, well, underwhelming.

If you don’t know, it’s Jess Glynne and Axwell Ingrosso (who sounds like a Swiss footballer)

I know i’m guilty of complaining about bands I don’t like/have never heard of being on the bill when Belsonic headliners are announced, because I should know by now that not every Belsonic concert will appeal to me due to the line-up being so vast and varied.

These concerts will be at Ormeau Park, the third venue in the last three years. It’s slightly concerning that it’s starting to have a nomadic existence like what Tennent’s Vital used to have.

I thought Titanic worked as a venue in my own observations. Spatious, easy to get to and out of. I didn’t experience any real problems, even though Ormeau Park will be very convenient for me.

I really hope they don’t go down the Tennent’s Vital route of having pits. I find the idea that someone could just turn up ten minutes before showtime and get a better view than me, simply because they’re mates of a mate of a mate of a mate of someone who works for a sponsor.

I love Belsonic because it’s not Tennent’s Vital. I really hope it doesn’t go down a road of trying to be Tennent’s Vital.

I would imagine there will be more concerts announced in the new year.

One of the fun things I like to do when announcements are announced is to try and predict who will be performing.

As you can see from the link, my predictions were well off.

Belsonic isn’t the only festival in Belfast/Greater Belfast. There’s also Catherdal Quarter Arts Festival, Feile and Open House Festival (Bangor) which will be staging concerts.

So, i’m going to post my musical hopes for people coming to Belfast. The only 2017 concert I have in my diary is Blossoms. They’re brilliant. You may remember them winning The Sound Of 2015 on this blog. If you want to see how good they are, they’ll be on Top Of The Pops on New Year’s Eve.

You may remember me getting excited about Simple Minds coming to Waterfront Hall in June next year. Well, it’s an all seated gig and I can’t be arsed with that.

So, i’m going to post my hopes for those who I would love to come to Belfast in 2017.

Cast and Embrace will have albums out in 2017, so hopefully they’ll fit in a Belfast gig.

Kaiser Chiefs, Paul Weller, The Kooks, Amy MacDonald, KT Tunstall and Two Door Cinema Club all have 2017 tours announced but no Belfast gig. Hopefully some of them well be adding Belfast to their schedule.

Rose Elinor Dougall is a singer I absolutely adore, a former member of The Pipettes (Remember them? They were brilliant too) who is releasing her first album in six years, so i’m hoping she stops off in Belfast.

This week, Red Hot Chili Peppers were supposed to be doing two concerts in Dublin, but due to Anthony Kiedis being unwell, they have been postponed until September 2017.

Wouldn’t it be great if they snuck in a couple of Odyssey gigs around that.

If you were to sum up 2017 in four words, it would be ………… LIAM. GALLAGHER. SOLO. ALBUM. Which i’m hoping is as entertaining as his Twitter.

It may be brilliant, it may be bad, it won’t be boring. Cannot wait for it. Potato.

Meanwhile, the race for Christmas Number 1 (Usually dominated by X-Factor in the same way Celtic have dominated the SPL over the last few years) is between Rangers and Little Mix, which gives me an excuse to post my favourite Youtube videos, from the time Celtic and Rangers players formed a band with a man in a tiger costume to record a charity single to promote Glasgow as a tourist destination.

Think of it as my seasonal gift to you.

Merry Christmas.

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 FRIDAY FIVE – 18.11.2016

1. Bastille – Send Them Off
2. Rose Elinor Dougall – Stellular
3. Tove Lo – True Disaster
4. Bruno Mars – 24k Magic
5. Catfish and the Bottlemen – Outside

Tomorrow, is International Men’s Day. Just another day for me, but if you’re commemorating it, enjoy yourself.

Some people even choose to celebrate it by being a self-hating dick on Twitter.

But most importantly, it’s an opportunity to do some theme charts. And yes, I do the same on International Women’s Day. It’s on March 8th if you don’t know. You may be shocked to realise you can point out the date of something and not be a sneering dick like Richard Herring.

SONGS WITH MAN/MEN/BOY IN THE TITLE

1. Duran Duran – Wildboys
2. Michael Jackson – Man In the Mirror
3. The Verve – Lucky Man
4. The Charlatans – North Country Boy
5. Andrew Gold – Lonely Boy

SONGS BY MEN

1. Simple Minds – She’s A River
2. U2 – The Fly
3. Bruce Springsteen – Badlands
4. Enrique Iglesias – Do You Know?
5. 10CC – The Things We Do For Love

SONGS WITH MEN’S NAME IN THE TITLE

1. Elliott Smith – Son Of Sam
2. Bat For Lashes – Daniel
3. Joshua Kaddison – Jesse
4. Oasis – Little James
5. Rednex – Cotton Eye Joe