Juke Box Jury – 16/04/18

Happy Monday, folks. I was as surprised as anything to find out that Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa entered the charts at Number 3 with their dirge ‘One Kiss’. So, fresh from my success, I’m back again with another five tracks.

The first of which is ‘Sky Full Of Song’ by Florence & The Machine. It wasn’t long ago that Florence could do no wrong. I’ve never quite understood the appeal myself, I can’t see what’s so special. On the basis of this track, I’m still struggling to work it out. I do think it will probably do quite well in the charts though, so I’m going with a HIT.


On to the second track of the week, which is ‘Crazy’ by 50 Cent featuring PNB Rock. The bits with 50 Cent are alright, but whoever this PNB Rock fella is, he’s just ruined this. In a major way. I don’t know if there’s enough of a following out there for Mr Cent, so I’m saying this is a MAYBE.


The third track of the week is ‘Tender’ by Jones. Now, artists who choose to use just one name usually go with something memorable, or unique – Madonna, Cher, Beyonce. The overwhelming majority going with their first name. Very few artists choose to go by just their surname. And if you were going to, doing it with a name like Jones is just plain silly. In fact I’m not even sure I’ve found the right person – Cherie Jones-Mattis. This song is very average. Nothing particularly stands out about it. Let’s just say this is going to be a MISS.


The fourth of this week’s tracks is ‘When You’re Wrong’ by Twin Shadow. Well, what can I say about this? No, really. I’ve got to say something. I suppose someone out there will like it. So, anyway. Oh, fuck it. This is awful. Really bad. Someone should really have exercised some quality control with this. I want it to be a MISS so much.


And finally, the last track of this rather lame week of new releases. ‘Let Me’ is from Zayn, who according to Google, is the member of One Direction who decided he was better than the others. There’s always one who thinks they are better – Robbie Williams of Take That, the one out of Westlife that knocked up Kerry Katona, Ronan Keating from Boyzone, Justin Trousersnake from his group… Anyway, this is boring as hell to listen to. But because of who he is, it will no doubt be a bit of a HIT.


Ah, the reward for all the suffering. The Classic Chart Hit. Back in 1994, the teenage me, in the throes of puberty, had a bit of a crush on Mariah Carey. Yeah, I know. Unlikely. Anyway, when you put that together with a very good Harry Nilsson song – ‘Without You’, well, you can imagine how happy I would have been. So here it is, for my teenage self…


See you next week, hopefully…


Juke Box Jury – 09/04/18

So, last week was a bit of a let down, chart-wise, but I’m not too downhearted – they were mostly shite anyway. I’m back again this week with another five tracks of varying quality, so sit down, prime your ears, and let’s begin…

The first track is ‘One Kiss’ from Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa. I’m going to shock you all by saying I’ve heard of both of these two. I happened to watch the start of the Brit Award ceremony this year, and Dua Lipa was all over the place. I can’t remember why I know who Calvin Harris is. But I’m sure that this sort of collaboration is like a chart wet dream. For me, though, it’s a nightmare. There is nothing about this song that stands out. It’s just a dirge. And that means only one thing – HIT.


The second track before the jury is ‘Into My Arms’ by Band of Horses. From the opening chords, you know it’s a cover of the Nick Cave song, and that’s as good as it gets. The vocals just don’t have the same effect as Mr Cave’s. Apart from that rather massive issue, it’s pretty true to the original. For me, it’s not a patch on the original, so I’m plumping for a MAYBE. I wonder what my Nick Cave loving wife will make of this…


The third track of the week is ‘Love Like Waves’ by Friendly Fires. Hmmm. I’m immediately regretting this choice. It’s poor, even by today’s standards. Big fat MISS. I can’t even find anything to write about this. I want it to be over. Where’s the stop button…


The fourth track is ‘Better Than That’ by James. Now I’ll admit that apart from ‘Sit Down’ I’m not familiar with their back catalogue, but this sounds alright, really. It has Tim Booth’s recognisable vocals, and to be honest, after what I’ve had to listen to so far this week, it’s a marked improvement. I could listen again, and enjoy it too. The sad thing is it won’t trouble the charts, but I get the feeling that James fans wouldn’t give a flying fuck about the charts. So while it may be a MISS, that will be seen as a triumph over quality over, well, shiteness!


And that brings me to the week’s final new release. ‘Get Along’ by Kenny Chesney is so fucking Country. Not Dolly Parton ‘Country’, or Billy Ray Cyrus ‘Country’. It’s probably what you’d call ’21st Century Country’.  Which, if you like that sort of thing, is all well and good. Sadly all I can think of is checked shirts, tassles and cowboy boots. This will not be a HIT, folks.


It’s been a tough week, new release-wise, but now this is the bit where we all take a trip down memory lane. On this day in 1987, at a lowly number 25, The Beastie Boys were tearing up the charts with an absolute belter – ‘(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party)’. Scaring the bejesus out of parents everywhere, this was the track that announced them on the world stage. Plus the music video is pretty damned good too!

Juke Box Jury – 02/04/18

Hope you all had a good Easter celebrating the death and rebirth of Jesus Christ?! Have so much chocolate you felt sick?! Then realised how incompatible those two ideals are?! Nevermind, since last week’s Jury post, only one made it into the Top 100 – congratulations to Panic! At The Disco. And, yes, I told you it would be a hit! You heard it here first (or possibly not). Enough of the self-congratulating, time to delve into the murky depths of this week’s new releases…

First up it’s ‘Queue Jumping’ by Plan B. Just like nobody likes a queue jumper, I am finding it difficult to like this song. I can see how the masses might like it, though, there’s the thumping drumbeat, the rather unnecessary falsetto bit, and if I’m not mistaken, he was fairly big a year or so ago, wasn’t he? So, on that basis, I’m fairly confident this will be a HIT.


Next up, we have the nation’s favourite ill-looking pop star. Yes, ‘Pray’ from Sam Smith has apparently been fiddled with and added to by some American dude calling himself Logic. I’ve not heard the non-logic version, and I can’t see me bothering to either, but it’s got all the ingredients of a genre-crossover HIT. Logic gets his name on a Sam Smith track, and Sam Smith gets… logical??!! Hopefully, he gets a good dinner down him and puts a bit of weight on.


Onto the third track, which is ‘Philly Forget Me Not’ by Daryl Hall, John Oates and a train. Sorry, that’s Train. It’s not a plea to a young lady horse to not forget them, or is it? No, I’m sure it’s not. What it is is an attempt by some old dudes to try and stay ‘relevant’ by ‘modernising’ their sound for the present day. Not something I enjoyed listening to, and probably not something the majority of people will ever hear, meaning this is a massive MISS.


The penultimate track of the week is ‘Rescue Me’ from 30 Seconds To Mars. So, someone needs rescuing. That much is clear. Well, I can tell you that I need bloody rescuing from the last 30 seconds of this shite. Jesus Holy Christ, this is awful. Which probably means that many people will like it. But, for me, it’s a MAYBE. Apologies for the blasphemy, but once you’ve heard it for yourself, I’m sure you’ll forgive me.


Which brings me to the last track of the week. From a forthcoming Elton John ‘tribute’ album, Lady Gaga has had a bash at the classic ‘Your Song’. Yes, I know, it’s Gaga. But, bear with me, she hasn’t fucked it up. Seriously. I’m sure even the most diehard Elton-ite would agree that it’s listenable. If it was a hit, I wouldn’t be upset – there have been many worse efforts *cough Ellie Goulding* – but I’m going to hedge my bets on this one and say it’s a MAYBE.


Right, time for my favourite bit – the classic chart hit. From this week in 1977, comes quite a statement from Barry White, the Walrus of Love. ‘I’m Qualified To Satisfy You’ was just outside the Top 40 with this track, which is textbook Bazza, and probably something you could picture Chef from South Park serenading the ladies with at an inappropriate time!!


Juke Box Jury – 26/03/18

Well, after last week’s tracks failed to trouble the Top 100, I’m going to try again with another five.

The first track could have a family connection, but it’s just a coincidence. Yes, ’17’ is by Lily Moore (not my niece). Whoever she is, she’s clearly trying to channel the ghost of Amy Winehouse. If you like Amy Winehouse, you’ll probably like this. I never really liked her, so for me, this sucks. It’s the sort of thing that might get a cult following, so I’m going to go with a MAYBE.


Next up is ‘Don’t Give In’ by those insipid, dreary musical dullards Snow Patrol. Apparently they’ve been away for a while and now they’re back. Pity. I was enjoying the Snow Patrol-less world. This reeks of stadium rock with a few naughty words thrown in like a kid who drops the F-bomb in a conversation with his parents when he has his mates round. On a separate point: they’re ugly fuckers aren’t they? Absolute awful tripe, but likely to be a HIT.


The third track of the week is ‘Follow Your Fire’ by Kodaline. I’ve heard of this lot. Never actually listened to them though. If this is what I’ve been missing, then I’ve not missed anything. It’s poor. Really, really poor. I’m hoping there’s going to be a redeeming feature. Alas, no. Big fat MISS.


The fourth track is’Walk The Walk’ by Gaz Coombes. I’ve tried to feature different artists, but this week is so poor, and so when I saw Gaz Coombes in the list of new releases, I couldn’t resist. There’s an element of funk about this. It doesn’t sound like anything else he’s produced before now, which is good – he’s not churning out the same old stuff. Maybe I’m just biased, but this is streets ahead of what has featured so far this week. I’m sure it won’t make it into the charts, so on that basis, it’s a MISS. But it’s a hit in my heart.


Which brings me to the last new release of the week. ‘Say Amen (Saturday Night) is from Panic! At the Disco. The most remarkable thing about this is the music video, which makes Home Alone look like My Little Pony. The song itself is average. Could be a HIT though. On a slight tangent, are there any other bands with punctuation within the name rather than at the end?!


And so we come to the classic chart section of the week. Back in March 1961, Elvis Presley was in the midst of his movie career. This little gem, ‘Wooden Heart’ featured in his G.I. Blues film and is a million miles from his rock and roll roots, which is why many feel he sold out. All I can say is it’s better than fucking Snow Patrol!!

Juke Box Jury – 19/03/18

Monday night is Juke Box Jury night. Of last week’s tracks, only the Years & Years one made it into the Top 100, entering at the dizzy heights of 25!

The first of this week’s tracks to be put to the test of my discerning ear is ‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart’. This is a cover version of the Elton John and Kiki Dee hit by the rather unlikely duo of Q-Tip and Demi Lovato. Q-Tip I know from my youth (being brought up with my brother’s music blasting from the room next door does that – A Tribe Called Quest featured a lot), but this Demi bird, I do not know. I probably should judge this on it’s own merits, but the truth is, it doesn’t have any. I don’t think this will trouble the charts either, so it’s a MISS.


The next track is ‘Can’t Deny Me’ by stalwart American rock band, Pearl Jam. I have to admit I’ve never really bothered with Pearl Jam. Never felt the need. Based on this song, I’m not going to spend the next three hours trawling Youtube for all their videos, but if it came on the radio, I certainly wouldn’t turn it off either. It’s bearable. Which is a good sign, ask my wife! Could it make it into the charts? Probably not. Which makes it a MISS.


The third track of the week is ‘Saviour’ by George Ezra featuring First Aid Kit. I’ve heard many people talk about Mr Ezra, raving about him. Which immediately makes me determined to avoid him like the plague. A decision that it vindicated on listening to this. Also, who the fuck are ‘First Aid Kit’, and what part do they play in this charade of music?! I have to say, it’s absolute crap, and that leads me to declare it a HIT.


The fourth track of the week is ‘Premonition’ by the Eels. A welcome respite after the previous tripe, this a melancholic number (it’s the Eels, right?) and it’s the sort of thing you can stick on late at night and just relax in the darkness. My sort of music. I like this, quite a bit. But I don’t think it will make it into the charts, which is something I’m quite pleased about. It may be a MISS, but it’s a hit with me.


And so, on to the final track of the week. ‘Desire’ by Matt Cardle is one of the so-called highlights of the week’s new releases (according to the Official Chart Company website). This fell won the X-Factor didn’t he? Then sank without a trace. After listening to this, methinks he ought to have remained untraceable. I’m trying to find a redeeming feature in this song. Ummm… I like the way it fades to nothing at the end. There. Call it a MAYBE.


Which brings me to the joyous task of selecting a ‘classic’ chart hit from the annals of history. Who doesn’t like a bit of Tom Jones?! Well, here he is belting out that good old sing-a-long ‘Delilah’, which sat at Number 6 on this day in 1968. All together now, “My my my, Delilah..”


Juke Box Jury – 12/03/18

Monday night means Juke Box Jury time. Of the five tracks featured last week, only the Meghan Trainor song made it into the Top 100. Which is a travesty. I continue this week, unperturbed, with another five new releases.

First up is the official song of the 2018 World Cup in Russia. It’s called ‘Colors’ and it’s by Jason Derulo, who might be big in Russia. Possibly. Sadly, it’s a thinly veiled advertisement for Coca Cola, which is not surprising as it’s billed as the Coca Cola song for the World Cup. Expect to hear it endlessly over the next couple of months in all those adverts on telly and so on. No number of repeat listens will make me change my mind. It’s a bag of shite. I honestly don’t know if it’ll trouble the charts in the short term, possibly nearer the World Cup in June. I’ll hedge my bets with a MAYBE.


The second track is one of two new releases by Lily Allen. ‘Higher’ is textbook Lily Allen lyrically. Musically, it’s a bit different from what I expected. If you like her stuff, then you’ll probably like this. Personally, I liked ‘Smile’ and ‘LDN’, but kind of got bored after that. I’m not won over with this. Are there enough fans to get it into the Top 100? I’m not so sure, so it’s going to be a MISS.


The third track up is ‘Dylan & Caitlin’ by Welsh rock stalwarts the Manic Street Preachers. Are they ‘Rock’ or ‘Indie’? I don’t know anymore. But you’ve got James Dean Bradfield’s recognisable voice, melodic guitar sound and the potential sing-a-long chorus. The version linked below is an acoustic version, but I think I could get used to listening to it a bit more. As to whether it will make it into the charts, well that’s not what it’s all about for the Manics, really. It will be a MISS, but that’s no bad thing…


The fourth track of this week is ‘Sanctify’ by Years And Years. I have to ask, who are Years And Years? Should I have heard of them? First of all, it’s a bloody stupid video. Secondly, it’s a shit song. Which probably means it’ll be a HIT.


Which leads me to the final track of the week. ‘Greatest Comedian’ by the rather strangely named Matt Maltese. Is it a real name? Or is he Maltese, and decided to differentiate himself from another non-Maltese Matt? Either way, this is an assault on my ears. Thankfully it’s less than three minutes long, and kudos to you if you actually make it to the end… MISS.


Which brings me to the pleasant task of sharing a classic chart hit with you. On this day in 1972, the charts were awash with some fucking amazing songs. So many, I struggled to actually pick one to feature here. In the end, in the pursuit of something a bit different, I’ve gone for ‘Morning Has Broken’ by Cat Stevens. It was down at number 42, but had been as high as number nine.


And that’s that. See you next week, dear readers!


Mother’s Day

Stan owed his mum big time. She’d always been there for him – when he had his heart broken by a girl for the first time, and for the tenth time. And all eight occasions in between. She never said “I told you so”, she just comforted him and made him cups of coffee and brought him cake. She had been there when he finally found ‘Miss Wright’ and he remembered her beaming with pride on his wedding day, and the big hug she’d given him at the end of the night. He knew she’d been a little tipsy, because his mum wasn’t the hugging sort, but it meant a hell of a lot anyway. He remembered the little sobs of joy when he’d called her to announce the birth of Lenny, even if she didn’t entirely agree with the choice of name.

Now, Stan was driving back to his home town to visit his mum on Mother’s Day. Things were a little different now, his dad was gone, and his mum had moved into a residential home because she was struggling to adapt to life on her own. He pulled on to the car park and found a parking space. He retrieved the flowers from the back seat and walked up the long path to the main entrance. He was about to ask a petite little woman in a white tunic where to find her, when he heard his name being called. He turned to see his brother, Bobby hustling through the door, a box of Milk Tray tucked under his arm.

“Stan, I’m glad I caught you first,” he said with a serious look on his face.

“Why?” Stan questioned him.

“Mum’s taken a turn for the worse since you were last here.”

“What do you mean?” Stan urged his brother.

“She’s not seeing things the same,” Bobby explained.


“You’ll see, but I thought I’d pre-warn you,” Bobby patted him on the arm gently.

Together, they wandered down a corridor and Bobby came to a stop outside a door, with the number Thirteen on it, Stan looked at the number and wondered if this was an omen. His brother opened the door and ushered Stan in. He was not prepared for what he saw. His formerly strong-willed mother was sat in an armchair looking out of the window with a vacant look on her face.

“Hi mum,” Stan said, bending over to kiss her on the cheek.

“Get off,” she snapped, wiping her cheek with her hand, and then her hand on the arm of the chair.

“Hey mum,” Bobby greeted his mum.

“Oh, hello Robert,” his mum smiled. She leaned over to him and said not so quietly, “who’s that weirdo that slobbered over me?”

“That’s Stanley, your other son,” Bobby explained.

“What other son? I had a daughter, what happened to her?”

“No, mum,” Bobby smiled patiently, “you had two sons. Robert and Stanley.”

“Don’t lie to me!” she snapped. “I had a daughter. Her name was Jenny.”

“Wasn’t your sister called Jenny?” Stan offered.

“Shut up,” his mum yelled at him. “I know who was my sister, and who was my daughter.” She turned back to Bobby. “Tell this weirdo to get lost, will you?”

Bobby looked sadly at Stan. Stan felt like his heart had been taken out of his chest, kicked around by a load of hyper-active eight-year-olds and then stuffed back inside his body. He stood up and walked over to his mother. She leaned away from him, a look of disgust on her face.

“You may have forgotten me, mum,” Stan whispered tenderly, “but I’ll never forget you.”

With those words, he opened the door and stepped out into the corridor.