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.

Juke Box Jury – 05/03/18

After two of last week’s tracks made it into the Top 100, I’m back to run the rule over the latest contenders.

First up, ‘Over And Over And Over’ from Jack White. That’s one half of the White Stripes, in case you were wondering. It’s got a driving beat reminiscent of the best White Stripes tracks, and is instantly recognisable. You can turn this up loud and rock out to your hearts content. This is the first single from his forthcoming album ‘Boarding House Reach’ and if this is anything to go by, it’s going to be great. Will it trouble the charts though? As much as it should, I’m going to sit on the fence and say MAYBE.


The next track is ‘Shrinking Man’ by Ry Cooder. I knew the name, but I had to Google him to be sure, and he’s a real musical legend. This is a cool little bluesy number you can nod your head and tap your feet to. My kind of music. Sadly, not the kind of music that will trouble today’s short-attention-span-lack-of-substance charts. More’s the pity. Reluctantly, it’s a MISS.


The third track of the week is ‘Put It On A T-Shirt’ by The Vaccines. This is another of those bands I’m aware of, but my usual dismissal of new music has meant I’ve failed to look into them. This isn’t bad. It kind of reassures me that decent guitar music isn’t dead just yet. The big question though, is it good enough to impact the charts? MAYBE.


Onto the fourth track of the week. ‘Dancer’ by Flo Rida. The only artist I know that took his stage name by adding a random space to a US state. I’d like to know if this was the first attempt, or if there is a list somewhere with Tex As, Oreg On or Connect Icut on it! If only he put as much effort into his music. It says a lot that I’ve spent more time thinking about unused state names than actually actively listening to this tripe. But, as history reminds us, tripe tends to do well… Meaning this could well be a mega HIT.


Which leads us to the last offering of the week. ‘No Excuses’ is the new single from Meghan Trainor. According to the Official Chart company website, this is a ‘highlight’ of the new releases. According to Specs, Rugs And Sausage Rolls, this is absolute fucking garbage. So, that means it’ll be a HIT.


Finally, that brings us to the classic chart track for the week. Sitting at the top of the charts on 5th March 1966 was Frank’s daughter, Nancy Sinatra with ‘These Boots Are Made For Walking’. A fabulous antidote to the last two tracks I’ve had to listen to this week!!

Juke Box Jury – 26/02/18

Another Monday, another Juke Box Jury. After only one of the five tracks troubled the charts – Muse came in at number 76, here are five more tracks for me to pull apart and leave the bones for the vultures circling above.

First up is the best artist currently active in the world. ‘Mr Tillman’ is the new track from Father John Misty. Clearly inspired by too many hotel receptions and moaning customers, this is a jaunty number that bears a little resemblance to his most recent album, being mostly piano-led, but without the philosophical and sociological lyrics. Personally, it’s a big, monster HIT.


The second track is a potential Eurovision entry for Finland. I kid you not. ‘Queens’ is by the heavily-vowelled Saara Aalto. She’s got more ‘A’s’ than a surly teenager. It screams out Eurovision. And there’s no guarantee it will even make it to the competition. If it doesn’t, then blame the Finns. Will it make an impression on the British charts? Probably not, but I think I’ll sit on the fence and say MAYBE.


The next track is ‘Like I Do’ by David Guetta, Martin Garrix and Brooks. It’s one of those unnecessary ‘collaborations’ and, to be frank, it’s fucking awful. It’s one of those that you have to be completely out of your tree in a club, trying to cop off with some bird you’ve been giving the eye all night. You step on to the dance floor and hope you have the moves to tempt her away from her mates. You catch a glimpse of yourself dancing and gurning like a prick and then, in a flash the song finishes. Then you try and listen to the song when sober and ask yourself what in God’s name compelled you?! Having said that, it’ll probably be a HIT. More’s the pity.


The penultimate track up before my discerning ears is ‘Lullaby’ by Sigala and Paloma Faith. Now, the Official Chart website considered this a ‘highlight’ of the week’s releases. It’s so music-by-numbers it’s not true. Thumping beat? Check. Synthesised melody? Check. Repetitive lyrics? Check. Tagged on a fairly well-known artist with a minimal contribution? Check. I was ecstatic when the damned thing was over. I fear the masses will lap this dross up, so, reluctantly, it’s going to be a HIT.


And finally, ‘Nothing To Regret’ by Robinson. We’ll see about that, shall we? Ok, so it’s not the worst track of the week. That’s all I can really say in it’s favour. I’m already regretting listening to it, and there’s another 40 seconds left of the damned song. I know what she’s trying to do, she’s trying to use the repetitive chorus to try and get into people’s heads. I sincerely hope it fails. MISS.


And that’s the end of this week’s new releases. Now for some classic chart entry fun. A new entry in February 1963, Cliff Richard and the Shadows were clearly in an optimistic mood with ‘Summer Holiday’!

Juke Box Jury – 19/02/18

Back again! Sadly none of the featured tracks from last week made it into the top 100, so instead of being disappointed, I’m going to get on with putting the no-chart hex for another five lucky artists!!

First up is ‘Thought Contagion’ by Muse. This is the first single from their forthcoming album. Now I will state for the record that I really don’t see what the fuss is with Muse. Seriously don’t. I’m trying to be open-minded here, but listening to this song merely serves to consolidate my opinion that they are nothing special. I’ve always considered them a second-rate Radiohead wannabe band, and with this song, they’ve sunk even below that standard. Sorry folks, but it’s a MISS.


The second track for consideration is ‘Baby I Love You’ by Ryan Adams. Mrs Moore is a fan of Mr Adams. His last album, ‘Prisoner’ was on her playlist for ages. I remember listening to a few of the tracks and finding them alright, but nothing really stood out. In fact, the most memorable Ryan Adams track I have heard was a cover of Oasis’ ‘Wonderwall’. So with that in mind, listening to this track was a nice surprise. I’m now listening to it for a second time, and it stands up. I don’t know if his following would be sufficient to trouble the charts, but if it is, then this would be a monster HIT.


The third track on the block is ‘Been A While’ by Wiley, adding a bit of grime to the mix. Apparently, Wiley is the Godfather of Grime, but I don’t think I would necessarily trust him with the spiritual guidance of my children. For a start, he talks so fast, it’s hard to understand a bloody word he says. I suppose this is alright, if you like that sort of thing, and I’m led to believe that the kids are down with this sort of thing, and with Mr Wiley being the leader of the pack, I’m sure the kids will cough up and send this one into the charts. It’s a HIT.


The penultimate track up for discussion is ‘Moon River’ by Frank Ocean. When I started playing this, I thought it was a joke. I really did. If Billy’s boy (he has no relation to Billy Ocean whatsoever) thinks that he has earned enough kudos to fuck around with a classic, then he’s very much mistaken. With all the icons that have recorded this song before, this has to be the worst version I’ve ever heard. Having said that, the feckless youth of today will probably like it and lap it up in their droves, making this a hit. But me, I’m hoping it’s a big fat MISS.


So, on to the final entry in this weeks jury. ‘Icarus’ is by someone called Dan Owen. Now, I picked this because I was intrigued by the title. But it turns out there is some local interest here as Mr Owen is a Shrewsbury native! What are the odds of that?! According to Google, he falls under the ‘folk’ genre, but I wouldn’t say this is necessarily folk. There is something about this song that has the ability to embed itself into your brain and cause you weeks of distress trying to work out what it is and where it came from. Ear worms do that to you. I don’t know much about Dan Owen, and I have a feeling his following may be niche, too niche to trouble the charts sadly for him. So while it may be a MISS, that doesn’t mean it should be seen as a failure.


And now for this week’s classic chart entry. From 1960, ‘La Mer (Beyond The Sea)’ by Bobby Darin was at number 9 between February 19th and 26th. Now this is a beauty of a song. If you’ve never seen the film ‘A Life Less Ordinary’ with Ewan McGregor and Cameron Diaz, it’s worth it just for their rendition of this song! For now, here’s the original.

A Very Short Valentines Day Story

It was love at first sight. For him. For her, not so much. It took months of perseverance, badgering and borderline stalking before Jeanie finally agreed to a date with him. He tried to make it a first date to remember, taking her to a nice restaurant for a romantic candle-lit dinner, with wine and good food. Then, afterwards, a romantic walk down by the river on the way back to her place. He tried to get a good-night kiss out of her, but she wouldn’t. He settled for a peck on the cheek and the hope of a second date.

He gave it a couple of days before calling her again. He tried, but the number was not obtainable. He went round to her home, but the place was empty. Almost as if she’d never been there. Confused and feeling lonely, he wandered down by the river. He looked at the fast flowing water, and felt it beckoning him in. Without another thought, he felt himself enveloped by a cold wetness. As he was carried away by the torrent, he thought he heard his name. Just before he sank below the surface, he thought he saw Jeanie standing on the river bank.