This is the series where I feature The Guardian’s idea of the best UK #1s ever, and we see what I have to say about them.
I must say, I was rather taken aback by the positive response to the first post in this series. It may take a little while for me to find my feet with it, so bear with me.
So, here’s what The Guardian had to say about the record that they placed at #99 in their Greatest UK #1 Singles list:
By disavowing the hollow opulence and bloated scale of pop’s reigning class, Lorde accidentally ushered in a brand new one: there would be no Billie Eilish if not for her conspiratorial incantations. While she weathered accusations of appropriation for disavowing hip-hop cliches in her obviously rap-influenced delivery, she ultimately echoed the genre’s own move towards unvarnished portrayals of teenage disaffection instigated by a parallel wave of SoundCloud upstarts. As much a generational bellwether as a pop classic.
I have no idea what much of that means.
Perhaps I should begin by declaring that I already know and love this record, but I had no idea that this had been a UK #1 until I read this, which just goes to show how out of touch I am.
But if you’re going to talk about people she has influenced, then I don’t think you have to look any further than current music journo darlings Christine & The Queens, who have clearly seen a Lorde live show or two. As for the music: well, firstly, this is one cool record, not just in its anti-establishment lyrics, but in its glacial pace, space and echoes; it just glides from start to finish, with Lorde twittering away like a wannabe (slightly less demented) Björk. Secondly, Royals was the name of the brand of cigarettes I used to smoke, which my friend Cath once, memorably referred to as “bus drivers’ fags”, so y’know, there’s that to consider too.
Put it this way: had someone presented me with a list of every UK #1 ever, and I had to pick my favourite 100 – and I think this is how I will judge things, going forwards – then this would be on my list, no question.