December 2015 – Do Nothing


DCCLVIII – December 2015

Running total Highest chart placing The song and who did it
Nathan Sykes
Grace featuring G-Eazy
Sigala featuring Bryn Christopher
Louisa Johnson
One Direction
Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Choir

One man, his piano, a love song specifically designed to wrench your heartstrings right out of your body and a video that at times resembles a perfume advert, complete with “beautiful people” getting down to some serious bedroom-based business. There’s no doubting that Mr Sykes gives this song everything he’s got and possibly even a little bit more, but this one has a, and I’m trying to be polite when I say this, deliberately engineered quality to it.

Oh hello, You Don’t Know Me is good. Not just good, but “it has absolutely no right to be this good” good. Rap, hip-hop, sixties soul, the whole lot’s in here and it all fits together so well I’m surprised nobody’s done it this way before.

Great, Coldplay are back. On the bright side, they sound a lot happier than before but on the downside… and I never thought I’d say this as a downside… they don’t really sound like Coldplay anymore. If anything, it sounds like Chris Martin’s guest starring on a Keane single. Blimey, there’s a thought. It’s their best single for some time, but it’s all relative. Sweet Lovin’ is even happier than Adventure Of A Lifetime, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t prefer it so I won’t.

Louisa Johnson won The X-Factor, which for some unfathomable reason was still running in 2015, but something’s gone horribly wrong here. She’s supposed to go to Number One first week out, and failing that she sure as hell should get there in week two. Going in at No.9 must’ve been a bit of a shock, but falling to 12 seven days later and then to 61 for its third week on the chart? Maybe the bubble’s burst for this particular competition – it’s well overdue if it has. As for the song, I haven’t heard the original, but the production here is far too overblown. La Johnson does her best, but the backing track almost drowns her out at times. With a bit of luck, this’ll be the last time I ever hear an X-Factor single in the Top Ten. There’s more originality and feeling in Shut Up than there is in Forever Young, and there’s no doubt that it earned its place in the upper reaches – it spent 13 weeks inside the Top 100 (without ever going higher than No.59) before jumping from 99 to 8. Don’t ask me, I’ve got no idea why it suddenly caught fire like that. The only thing I really don’t like about Shut Up is the expletive-laden ending, but that’s probably because I’m old and I don’t understand what the kids listen to these days.

One Direction are better than History and I bet they knew it while they were singing it too. For me, it tries far too hard to be a good-time song and comes out sounding a little bit forced. So, the Christmas Number One then. The NHS is bloody wonderful, and it turns out that its staff can sing a bit and all. The idea was to merge Bridge Over Troubled Water and Fix You (see what they did there?) together, put it out as a single and donate the proceeds to charity. If you like the song, fine, but really it’s all about the sentiment behind it. Bloody worked too – even Justin Bieber (who was at Number One the week before) had a Jim Diamond moment and went and told his fans to buy the NHS Choir single instead of his. Say what you like about him, and God knows many of us have, but that was a very classy move, and with the X-Factor single crashing and burning we had the first battle for the festive honours that actually mattered since Rage Against The Machine’s victory in 2009. Marvellous. Mind you, it wasn’t all good news – the single immediately tumbled from 1 to 29 after just a week at the top – comfortably the biggest fall from the top of the chart to date (the previous record was 1 to 20). One week later, it was gone altogether – no Number One single has ever stayed on the singles chart for just two weeks before. Maybe I’m getting old, but I remember when charity singles used to achieve their goal of hitting the top of the chart, but then either stayed there for a while or hung around for a few weeks afterwards – surely they would make more money that way? Be nice if that could happen again one day…


So that was 2015. Not bad, and also not many – only 105 singles reached the Top Ten. That’s the smallest intake since 1971, and I should know. It won’t go down as a vintage year but all the same, we’ve had worse years. Again, I should know. What delights (or, more likely, otherwise) will 2016 bring, I wonder?