BBC Music – God Only Knows

“It’s not Perfect Day.”

Tim: You may or may not remember Perfect Day, the Lou Reed cover that the BBC put together back in 1997 that had just about every artist in the world in it.

Tom: Remember it? I think it was the first single I bought. Charity and all.

Tim: Well, they’ve gone and done something similar with this Beach Boys track seventeen years later. This got broadcast on every channel and station last night (except Radio 3, who were busy playing Brahms) both to promote the new BBC Music thing and to raise money for Comic Relief. Shall we?

Tim: Hmm.

Tom: “Hmm” is right.

Tim: Well, I think the first question we should all be asking is what on Earth is going on with Louis and Niall’s hair –

Tom: I was going to mention that.

Tim: – but musically I’m going to say…ehhh. It’s a track, certainly, and it’s musical, for the most part it’s very enjoyable.

Tom: But it’s not Perfect Day. Am I looking back with rose-tinted spectacles? Possibly, but I can remember being absolutely blown away by Perfect Day when it first appeared on TV — here, they seem to be dazzling with ridiculous CGI rather than just good music.

Tim: The only criticism I have is that I’m really not sure the orchestral/chorus break sounds right. I get that they want to indicate that it’s about all types of music, but I think if you want to do that, make it longer.

Tom: Right! Yes! Perfect Day is busy, but it never approaches anywhere near “cacophony”. There’s not room enough to breathe in here. The instrumental break of Perfect Day was one very good solo: here, we’ve got loads of instruments and vocalists, and each one gets a pause to itself. And Brian May crowbars his trademark guitar sound in. It doesn’t work.

Tim: I’m usually the first to complain that a track’s too long, but you’re barely pushing two and a half minutes there, and I don’t think anyone’d begrudge you an extra minute to fit it together better.

Tom: Also, let’s be clear about that video: Brian Wilson has the haunted look of someone who has no idea what’s going on.

Tim: Still, gets the point across, and it’s good enough to listen to. Makes the right point about how important music is to them, and at a time when people are having a go at the BBC right, right and further right, it’s nice to have them showing off what they can do. And beg for our support, which I suppose is a more cynical and probably unfair way of looking at the lyrics. So I’ll close by saying: great idea, not quite so great execution, but good enough for me.

Dappy feat. Brian May – Rockstar

Actually a very good track.

Tom: No, you read that right. Featuring Brian May. What’s even more surprising? This is actually a very good track.

Tim: Well bugger me.

Tom: Blatant use of drugs in the video as well, which would mark it as a very British track even if it wasn’t for the I’m A Celebrity reference in there. There’s no way that’d fly in a mainstream US video.

I have an enormous amount of respect for Brian May. I don’t need to run through his achievements in either music or astrophysics. My question isn’t “why is he slumming it with Dappy” because he’s blatantly not slumming it: this is an absolutely amazing bit of pop music. And no, I didn’t think I’d be saying that.

Tim: It is. Weirdly (actually, probably not weirdly) I’d never thought of Dappy as someone who actually sang – just a hip-hiop rapper who called himself a singer. But here he is, doing just that, and it sounds good.

Tom: Here’s my question: why is Brian May so criminally underused on this track? It’s a full three minutes before you even start to hear that trademark guitar sound. Sure, he might be noodling about in the earlier bits, but unless you’ve got that precise combination of effects that say “THIS IS A ROCK GOD, SHUT UP AND PAY ATTENTION” – the ones you heard when he smashed the grand finale at Reading Festival last year – who’s going to know it?

Tim: Best guess? If he was on there more he’d outshine Dappy just by being him and Dappy being Dappy (bloody hell that’s a a stupid name – how have I not noticed it before?), and Brian May fans would be all over it saying who’s this stupid bloke singing?