**** (The review portion of this is contained in the last paragraph)<br><br>The UK music charts are frequently accused of being boring by manner of on-demand streaming having too much of a say in the state of affairs. It's easy to see how drastically things have been changed. Before you could have 30 different #1 hits in a year, most of them being debuts, often from the most random of sources. It's July as I write this and so far the only #1 debut they've managed was through the highly publicised debut solo outing for a One Direction member.<br><br>I'm not here to debate the value of all that, just stating the fact that in 2016 it is very difficult to penetrate the upper echelons of the charts without being a generally acceptable listen for the majority. This changes things in a big way because the UK charts were often renouned for their silliness. Some of the highest selling weeks of all time (eg Christmas) were dominated by absurdities like Mr. Blobby or Bob The Builder, or the pop niche of entities like X Factor playing advantage of the numbers game. Now that's vanished, and drastically so. While X Factor could once lock down an instant End Of Year sales #1 with a December release, we've now hit the point where the latest X Factor winner single was down to #61 in its 3rd week. That winner, Louisa Johnson only found commendable chart success when she teamed up with Clean Bandit with a more pop-ready track.<br><br>As for the novelties, they've kind of disappeared too. Gone are the days of supermarkets bulk stocking the sorts of silly records that parents might buy for their kids (or for a laugh?), and ever since the Rage Against The Machine 2009 chart campaign, there's never been quite the same effective rallying. This is partly through apathy and partly through oversaturation for it (which is the fault of the success of the RATM campaign, since that worked, everyone and their mother wants THEIR campaign to work). But mainly it's due to streaming. You can compete with the general public on a sales pitch because of how involved a platform it is, eg. x number of people need to decide in the space of a week that they want to buy a copy of said single. The numbers are high, but in the grand scheme of things, not THAT high, which is how X Factor could succeed in the charts to such a degree. Streaming prevents this because the numbers just get so out of hand that it's impractical. Put it this way, the 200th most streamed song of the week will get around 200,000 streams, which even in the heyday of digital downloads would be an impressive sales count for a #1 on most weeks. Now sure, you can stream songs multiple times in a week, but the chart rules for it are so arbitrary that it's hard to really communicate that to a mass mob. It doesn't fit as naturally as the simple concept of 'most sales = #1'.<br><br>I mention ALL of this because it's really what I find so interesting about the success of "Shut Up" and in a way, modern grime in general. "Shut Up" was originally a B-side to Stormzy's single "WickedSkengMan 4", and before that it was originally just a freestyle.<br><br>What happened is that the song got a bit of viral attention due to a performance, and Stormzy rode the wave, pushing for the song to be a Christmas #1. It wasn't, but it got quite high at #8 considering the climate. What's particularly interesting in this is that unlike the typical affair for these buzz campaigns, this didn't halt its tracks at all. The safe space of the Spotify charts was interrupted by this, and it refused to go away. The track didn't leave the UK top 40 for 10 whole weeks, whereas by comparison, "Killing In The Name" went 1-2-40-100 in the weeks following its campaign.<br><br>So this is huge for Stormzy and it's huge for grime, which is having quite a resurgence that counters the otherwise safe direction of the pop landscape. I quite like the way he references it in his later song "Scary".<br><br>Sorry to keep you waiting, but I quite like this song. It makes good use of an XTC sample, and there's good energy to his flow that I can get behind. Lines about being labeled a backup dancer won't make much sense to anyone in the future who doesn't remember the 2015 BRIT Awards, but they're quite charming. I like to hear from artists whose issues and stories feel so detached from me. A lot of it sounds like something he could have tweeted to great uproar. Mind you he does get that uproar in the actual freestyle video, which just generally feeds off an infectious energy from the crowd that I can get behind myself. And hey, if anyone disagrees, you already know what to say.
** This is seriously not for me at all and I will be happy never to hear this again, but I quite like bits and pieces of the lyrics. It's just a shame it's that voice that raps them. Last edited: 06.01.2017 12:14