Freddie Matthews writes from London: Yes, it’s that time of year again when the X Factor bandwagon rolls into town.
The annoying show is supposed to have a massive influence on the music scene in Britain, even though it produces cardboard cut-outs who slaughter other people’s songs. Not to mention that it has a repetitive format that should have been a turn off for most people by now. But, as it happens, the X Factor still has a massive following and that basically says it all about the music tastes in Britain of the wider masses. (On the other hand, PM Cameron and Mayor Johnson danced to the Spice Girls at that closing ceremony, so why blame the masses for their bad taste?)
The only good thing about the X Factor is that Simon Cowell bowed out of it as one of its judges, probably realising that everyone was sick of his lego hair and his patronising look. But the damage that the X Factor does to the UK Top 40 is still there and there is no hope that the Official Charts Company would ever dare put a stop to this. (I wonder why?)
So, what will be new on the British music scene in the coming weeks, you may well ask. And I would have to concede that it will have a lot to do with the X-Factor
Take the debut single from Amelia Lily. Remember her from X Factor 2011? She was voted off in the early stages only to be later reinstated, when that talentless creep, Frankie Cocozza, left under dubious circumstances. Lily eventually came 3rd. At the ripe old age of 17, she comes with her debut single You Bring Me Joy, due at the end of August. It’s not that bad actually but on the scale of 10 I would put it at 4.8
And then there’s Cheryl ‘I’m better in a shampoo advert than I am at singing’ Cole who has now dropped her surname and goes under just ‘Cheryl’. Which sort of implies that she is not planning to make up with Ashley, her former great love. Cheryl is a former X Factor judge and even crossed the Atlantic, hoping to emulate that success in the US, but our friends over there couldn’t understand her Geordie accent either. The elocution lessons proved as effective as a handbrake on a canoe! Cheryl’s new song Under The Sun is the follow up to the hugely single Call My Name that for some unknown reason became the fastest selling UK single so far this year when it sold 152,000 copies in its first week alone. Although her new track is not all that great it still gets loads of TV and radio play just because it’s Cheryl. I’d say 5.8 out of 10.
Still on the X Factor theme – sorry about that – it’s the turn of one of the judges, no, Louis hasn’t picked up a banjo, thank God, it’s Tulisa the best looking of the four. Didn’t she win FHM UK’s top hottie of the year or something? She’s back with a solo single number 2, Live It Up. She’s better at singing than Cheryl and her accent is not that heavy either. And she’s way more ‘down with the kids’ having been a key member of the culturally significant (according to a press release) band N-Dubz for several years before you or I had ever heard of her.
Tulisa’s last single Young was a belter, a summer anthem of 2012, up there with the David Guettas of that scene. Now, stand by for single number 2, it has shed loads of urban and dancehall influenced groove (that’s mine and nothing to do with a press release). Think Rihanna because that’s what I thought and that’s a sure fire recipe for success. OK, Tulisa may be signed to Island Records and not Syco but I think we’ll find that the X Factor ball is still rolling here too. My rating, for the song and not Tulisa, is 6.9 out of 10.
And finally, forget The X Factor. Now turn the speakers up to 11 for some great British rock ‘n roll as this is a ‘must have’ download: the band is called Feeder and the new single is ‘Idaho’. With its gigantic, uplifting chorus I think these lads are UK’s answer to Foo Fighters. Idaho is taken from Feeder’s current and excellent 7th studio album, Generation Freakshow, and is released at the end of this month. Honestly, it’s at least 8.6 out of 10.
In the end, this week is not solely about The X Factor but it certainly plays its part, as we sadly wait to see its influence reflect upon the UK music industry from here on in.