For the second week in a row, electropop band Clean Bandit is at the top of the UK Singles Chart with Rockabye, a showy addition to club music, featuring Sean Paul and Anne-Marie. You’d never know listening to Sean Paul’s Jamaican rap introduction that Rockabye praises the hardships of a single mother. Who knew we’d be dancing to a song so sweet and sentimental, to quote the genius writers of Rockabye, “A special bond of creation, ha / For all the single moms out there / Going through frustration” – “ha” being my favourite lyric. Of course the praise towards single mothers is merited, but are Clean Bandit, Sean Paul, and Anne-Marie the revolutionaries of the cause? Probably not.
Right away, Sean Paul’s voice is so loud and distracting that you can’t really understand what the Jamaican rapper is saying. Then again, this is a song formulated for radio and club success, so does it really matter what Sean Paul is preaching to us today? He could have sung his introduction to Sia’s Cheap Thrills and I reckon no one would have noticed the difference. Within seconds of Sean Paul’s intro, Clean Bandit’s iconic strings can be heard building in the background, a nod to their 2014 hit song Rather Be. Sadly for the group, Rockabye lacks the effortless catchiness and original charm of Rather Be. Their iconic hit was different to other dance tracks; the song’s bouncy beat and romantic strings were a match made in heaven. Rather Be was not a conventional, interchangeable chart-topper – much like Rockabye is – but a versatile effort that blurred the lines between music genres. Rather Be managed to blend together elements of pop, house, classical, and dance and it worked. On the other hand, I’m not quire sure what Rockabye is other than a club track. The song’s supposed draws, verses with a steady build-up, a big anthemic chorus, an exciting cameo, feel like a formula I’ve heard too many times before.
If you’re looking for a house song worth a spot on the singles chart, look a little further. At number six, Swedish artist NEIKAD’s Sexual (feat. Dyo) is definitely worth a listen. Maroon 5’s Don’t Wanna Know (feat. Kendrick Lamar), at number eight, lies somewhere in the middle, borderline repetitive and hypnotic. And at number nine, The Chainsmokers’ catchy hit Closer (feat. Halsey), is sadly moving down the list.
This week’s chart has some worthy mentions, but unfortunately its number one song is nothing more a commercialised radio hit destined to be overplayed at the club.