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The Official Charts Company have reached new levels of disagreeability this week; they set down four releases, Slumber Party, The Honey G Show, King and Are You Sure?, let me publish early Monday morning (shortly after George Michael's death), and added another load of records Tuesday evening, one of which had actually been released the week before and so will not appear here. Normally I would simply pile these records on to the next week but there is one particular review I'm quite eager to get stuck into, so I'll let them in.

Satisfaction (Bay Rays)

The Bay Rays have come out with Satisfaction, and it's a menacing track, kicking off with an alarm clock guitar riff and carrying on with a luscious wail throughout the track, it's the musical equivalent of a Geiger counter in Chernobyl; well used, and happy as Larry. We hope to hear more.

Living Single (Big Sean ft. Chance the Rapper, Jeremih & Smino)

Now Big Sean's Living Single, released on 17th December and with Jeremih on chorus and Chance the Rapper and Smino providing guest verses, is a record which really speaks to me, since I'm 21, and I've never not been single. (Really and truly, it should've spoken to me on July 17th, since that's when it leaked, but hey ho.) Unfortunately, it does so in such an interminably slow manner that it gets highly irritating after a while and bizarrely so, given that the instrumental would sit snugly in a golden age hip hop album and the three rappers' verses – minus Big Sean's sexual aberration in the middle of his verse – are captivating listens. There's something that just doesn't 'click', something I can't pick out, and it's irritating.

Slumber Party Remix EP (Britney Spears ft. Tinashe)

You know what, I'm going to review this one, and you'll see why in a minute, but I think this is going to be the last ineligible EP I review. Any EP with more than four tracks new to this site (i.e., we don't mind stuff like issue 19's Collage by the Chainsmokers, because although it had five tracks we'd reviewed two of them) are basically albums and beyond the scope of this site. This EP contains five remixes of Britney Spears' and Tinashe's Slumber Party (we reviewed the original in issue 21, and we noted that "there's the seed of a good track here; hints of reggae fusion over the chorus and sharp percussion over the bridge complement the track [but] adding Tinashe to the record was the equivalent of replacing the hard drive on a computer with a busted central processing unit and extractor fan – it's not the problem – [while] the distorted "like a slumber party" at the start of the third verse feels like a cop-out [where] a proper rapper would liven up proceedings and the synths running throughout the track provide a foundation as suitable as AstroTurf".

Mind you, we also said that "there is a hit buried here, but it needs a firmer bassline". Certainly, the Bad Royale Remix provides this, though the drums jut out a bit much for my liking and the harsh drops in the record sound are as useful as nutella on a Hawaiian pizza, while the Marc Stout & Scott Svejda remix reinforces the whole thing with a sheet of synthesised steel, and is very much the remix you'd put to a dancefloor; it's nice to hear an appropriate use for the distorted "like a slumber party"s I poured scorn on five issues ago. Bimbo Jones' take on it irons the lyrics on to a bog standard acid house beat (at least I think that's what it's called, I can never remember which house is which), and particularly during the verse Britney sounds almost as though she's being roofied. Take a more robust set of lyrics to that, methinks. Danny Dove's version is basically an enhanced version of the original, and sounds more rough and ready and less polished than any of the others; the new spoken word line, "I'll go crazy for you, I'm ready", sounds downright creepy. The Misha K remix is a massive disappointment because it promises a ringing, rambunctious record like MK's My Love 4 U from issue 19 but then deflates into a flat verse which feels as enthusiastic as the actioning of a lawyers' letter which should have been put on a stronger beat like the one at the start; there is a massive hit holed up in captivity here, and it is genuinely infuriating to see it corralled like this.

Let Me Love You (Sean Paul remix) (DJ Snake ft. Justin Bieber)

Sean Paul's remix of DJ Snake's Let Me Love You featuring Justin Bieber premiered on 21st December 2016. The original is a cool-as-a-cucumber cocktail of Bieber's softly-spoken vocals, DJ Snake's trademark vocal drops, inviting tropical riffs and a softly speckled undercurrent which I must confess to have never noticed before of the Diwali Riddim; we'd have given it one more drop at the end before ending it, but it's currently at #33 in the charts. The new Sean Paul version, having replaced the first verse with an uncharacteristically repetitive verse, is a cool-as-a-cucumber cocktail of Bieber's softly-spoken vocals, DJ Snake's trademark vocal drops, inviting tropical riffs and a softly speckled undercurrent which I must confess to have never noticed before of the Diwali Riddim, and if that sounds repetitive, lazy and boring, it's because it is. Stick to your own hits; to quote Claude Littner, "you've got no right to be here because you're feeding on somebody else's idea, somebody else's business. You're a parasite. Frankly, I think this interview is terminated".

The Honey G Show (Honey G)

This is the first time I have laid ears upon the shell-suited scumbag you people say G to and my God I have never heard anything more abortive in my life. Starting with the same nails-down-chalkboard autotune which introduces issue 15's 24K Magic, Honey G apparently 'raps' lyrics a four year old could write over the sort of rubbish The Notorious B.I.G. wouldn't think fit to wipe his backside with in the same way a psychotic old woman who has sufficiently deteriorated mentally to begin answering herself would; it is truly, truly diabolical. What is the attraction of this woman? Female rappers in their mid-thirties aren't all that uncommon in the music industry – Blondie's Debbie Harry was 35 when the band's Rapture was the first American #1 to feature rapping (and still sounded serviceable when she re-recorded it at 68 for their album 4(0)-Ever), while Nicki Minaj turns 35 next December – and frankly if I wanted to listen to a 35 year old woman having a breakdown I'd go to Vegas and watch one of Britney's shows (sorry, couldn't resist…).

Blood (King)

Not to be confused with the British band of the same name (not that that's doable without pugnacious pedantry, mind), King the unGoogleable Dane – who seems to put records out at different times on different platforms – put Blood on Soundcloud on 20 December 2016, and her sickly vocals are an ill fit for the disagreeable atmosphere of the track; like listening to whispered narration over footage of a war, it's a dreadful dichotomy.

Are You Sure? (Kris Kross Amsterdam ft. Conor Maynard & Ty Dolla $ign)

Whoops! Since issue 6 we've misspelt Ty Dolla $ign's name as Ty Dolla Sign. Sorry about that. Anyway, he's back with Kris Kross Amsterdam, who have a lot to answer for, and Conor Maynard for Are You Sure?, a funky dancehall number which flickers gorgeously in spite of Ty Dolla $ign's paint-by-numbers filth and lyrics from Maynard whose adaptations to Bernard Wright's Who Do You Love over the chorus make him sound like a bipolar teenager who's been dumped several times and requires constant reassurance from his/her partner every minute or so. Mind you, that does constitute a large portion of the record buying public nowadays so we'll have to see.

To Be Without You (Ryan Adams)

Hey, if I didn't know that Ryan Adams was born David Ryan Adams I'd think he'd purposely called himself Ryan Adams in order to try to get listeners to confuse him with Bryan Adams. There are worse things he could've done, like leave abusive messages on a reviewer's answering machine… His new single, To Be Without You, is a mellifluous single with only a couple of guitars and the forlorn kick of a drum accompanying Adams' heartfelt vocals; the solo adds a touch of class to the track, which is why it's irritating that it's so short, however in its current form it is an excellent teaser for his new album which comes out next year.

Daddy Yo (WizKid)

WizKid has released Daddy Yo, and it's basically One Dance part 2 with its ostentatious afrobeat rhythms, shoehorned in female vocals (on this occasion courtesy of Efya) and, er, WizKid's pizzicato lyrics, though on this occasion they take center stage rather than melted expendably across a faux-Balkan guitar; it is a harder version of One Dance, and it's not a patch on the original.

Other notes

Christmas Day this year was, to put it morbidly, George Michael's Last Christmas; just as we were about to publish this issue, my sister came bursting in with the news of his death. He topped the charts as half of Wham! with Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, Freedom, I'm Your Man and The Edge of Heaven, and Last Christmas is the highest selling single on the UK Singles Chart not to top the chart, while on his own he topped the chart with Careless Whisper, A Different Corner, I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me) ft. Aretha Franklin, my Mum's favourite record Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me ft. Elton John, the Five Live EP with Queen and Lisa Stansfield, Jesus to a Child and Fast Love. He was exactly 53 and a half (he was born 25 June 1963).

In addition, the start of Top of the Pops 2: Christmas on Christmas Eve contained a dedication to Rick Parfitt, who died earlier that day "as a result of a severe infection, having been admitted to hospital on Thursday evening following complications to a shoulder injury incurred by a previous fall" on Christmas Eve. He had been suffering from poor health for some time, having suffered at least four heart attacks over the last twenty years. As half of Status Quo, he topped the charts with Down Down, though listeners unfamiliar with their work are most likely to be familiar with Whatever You Want (#4) from it being featured in a Furniture Village advert.

Decca Decca Records

In the week the Christmas number one is crowned, there are 27 Christmas re-entries, one with two versions in the chart, plus Matt Terry's When Christmas Comes Around making 29 Christmas records in the charts, which is really irritating because I was hoping to write a section called "Firty Festive Fripperies". It's a long shot, but I'm rather hoping that George Michael's death will prompt lots of people to buy December Song (I Dream of Christmas), but I'm not holding my breath given that Greg Lake's death hasn't had any effect on sales of I Believe in Father Christmas (probably because very few people do believe in him, they just use him as an excuse to bleed their parents dry) or that another record currently at #101 or lower finally re-enters the chart. Otherwise, I'll just plug the gap with Our Superhero (A Christmas Wish) by Liv 'n' G, which got to #100 in the mid-week charts.

In the meantime, I'm getting fed up of there being so few of the records I actually review making the charts. So I'm going to start tunnelling down the charts, two at a time, so that by issue 75 I'll have cleared the lot. These records will be on a green background. At #2 this week is Human by Rag 'n' Bone Man, an interesting record because this column remembers hearing this on Jools Holland back in September and thinking that it had no chance. And at the time, it was right; it got gifted one after it was performed on The X Factor by Emily Middlemas on 26 November. It's a stirring record with Rag'n'Bone Man's vocal adding real soul to the record; it's a gorgeous listen, however little we rated its chances of actually doing anything.

    1. Rockabye
      (Clean Bandit ft. Anne-Marie & Sean Paul)
    1. Human
      (Rag'n'Bone Man)
    1. I Would Like
      (Zara Larsson)
    1. Starboy
      (Weeknd ft. Daft Punk)
    1. Say You Won't Let Go
      (James Arthur)
    1. 24K Magic
      (Bruno Mars)
    1. Shout Out to My Ex
      (Little Mix)
    1. I Feel It Coming
      (Weeknd ft. Daft Punk)
    1. Don't Wanna Know
      (Maroon 5 ft. Kendrick Lamar)
    1. Closer
      (Chainsmokers ft. Halsey)
    1. I Don't Wanna Live Forever
      (Zayn & Taylor Swift)
    1. The Mack
      (Nevada ft. Mark Morrison & Fetty Wap)
    1. By Your Side
      (Jonas Blue ft. Raye)
    1. Starving
      (Hailee Steinfeld ft. Grey & Zedd)
    1. So Good
      (Louisa Johnson)
    1. All Night
      (Vamps ft. Matoma)
    1. The Greatest
      (Sia ft. Kendrick Lamar)
    1. Mercy
      (Shawn Mendes)
    1. Love Me Now
      (John Legend)
    1. Cold Water
      (Major Lazer ft. Justin Bieber & MØ)
    1. After the Afterparty
      (Charli XCX ft. Lil Yachty)
    1. My Way
      (Calvin Harris)
    1. Love On Me
      (Galantis & Hook N Sling)
    1. Love My Life
      (Robbie Williams)
    1. Can't Stop the Feeling
      (Justin Timberlake)
    1. In the Name of Love
      (Martin Garrix)
    1. Party Monster
    1. Million Reasons
      (Lady Gaga)
    1. You Don't Know Me
      (Jax Jones & Raye)
    1. Find Me
      (Sigma ft. Birdy)
    1. Don't Let Me Down
      (Chainsmokers ft. Daya)
    1. Party
      (Chris Brown ft. Gucci Mane & Usher)
    1. No Lie
      (Sean Paul ft. Dua Lipa)
    1. All We Know
      (Chainsmokers ft. Phoebe Ryan)
    1. The Living Years
      (London Hospices Choir ft. Paul Carrack)
    1. Now and Later
      (Sage the Gemini)
    1. Ain't My Fault
      (Zara Larsson)
    1. Redbone
      (Childish Gambino, third re-entry)
    1. Only One
      (Sigala & Digital Farm Animals)
    1. Bad Things
      (Machine Gun Kelly ft. Camila Cabello)
    1. This Town (Niall Horan)

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