I promise we will get back to the regular album reviews soon, but for now, you will have to make do with possibly the most exciting Heatseekers Chart for months. There are a horde of excellent tracks either entering the chart for the first time, or making significant moves towards the top. We have already covered some of them – but it is worth sending out our congratulations to The Courteeners, who have jumped to No 1 with ‘The 17th’, preventing ‘Georgia’ by Bear’s Den from regaining the top spot. And there are major climbs for the three tracks we discussed in detail last week, Autoheart’s ‘Oxford Blood’, Foreign Fields’ ‘I Killed You In The Morning’ and Arkells’ ‘My Heart’s Always Yours’.
So, what else is happening? Let’s start at No 4 with one of the year’s biggest breakthrough acts, Christine and the Queens. ‘Saint Claude’ follows ‘iT’ and ‘Tilted’ as singles from the No 1 album ‘Chaleur Humaine’, and this is another absolute cracker. No, it’s better than that, actually. The music is gorgeous, Heloise Letissier’s voice is hauntingly emotional, but the lyrics… bloody hell! How astonishing are they? There are so many things wrong with the man Letissier is telling us about. “Such an attitude – impatient, gloriously rude” she sings, adding “Every breath you take is a violent strain that breaks”. But then there is an absolute killer line in the chorus. “Here’s my station – but if you say just one word I’ll stay with you”. The song is even more sublime in French. It’s quite exceptional stuff. What a star Letissier is – and how brilliantly well deserved. I have said this before, and I will say it again probably, but to see a top class singer hit the heights purely on the strength of her music and her performances – it kind of restores your faith in the world, really.
So, here come some more superb new songs. Daughter have released a fourth single from their No 1 album ‘Not To Disappear’ – ‘No Care’ isn’t quite as mesmerising as ‘Numbers’ and ‘How’ but it does add a bit of an extra edge to their approach. “No one asks me for dances because I only know how to flail” is a great first line, building to a rather cutting chorus. “No care, no care in the world: I don’t care, I don’t care anymore”. Daughter are another of the year’s major successes – their show at Brixton in October is one of the highlights remaining this year. Then we have Ingrid Michaelson’s second single from her new album ‘It Doesn’t Have To Make Sense’, which has just been released. I suggested a few weeks ago that Michaelson’s marital breakup might have given her music the necessary kick to take it out of AOR land and into something more interesting. Well, on the evidence both of ‘Hell No’ and her wonderful new song ‘Whole Lot Of Heart’ that is exactly what has happened. The cutting vitriol of ‘Hell No’ has been replaced with a magical and moving piece of work. “You said it’s life that moves too much – We’re losing touch, but I’m not losing you”. It’s great – and Michaelson is also hitting the big time.
There’s more! We have new songs from Empire Of The Sun (‘High And Low’), Charlotte OC (‘Blackout’) and Carly Rae Jepsen (‘Higher’)… it’s all so competitive that even a solid piece of indie rock from Jimmy Eat World (‘Get Right’) has only managed to enter the chart at No 37. But the most auspicious new song of all is the first release from the forthcoming Bon Iver album ’22: A Million’. Justin Vernon has been discussing the album at a press conference in the last 24 hours: the album has a genesis mixed up in drum loops, a trip to the Greek Islands and an uncredited Stevie Nicks sample among many other things. Plus all those weird song titles. We are promised something of a departure from Bon Iver’s previous work, but encouragingly there is a lot that is familiar in the opening single (and lead off track) ‘22 (OVER S∞∞N)‘. Vernon’s haunting vocal is centre stage as ever, of course. Are Bon Iver responsible for possibly the best song of the millenium to date in ‘Holocene’? Answers on a postcard please (or in the comments box).