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I must confess that this is not my idea; having recently come across Tom Breihan’s ‘The Number Ones’ column for Stereogum, and in turn, Tom Ewing’s ‘Popular’ column for Freaky Trigger, I felt inspired to approach the format from my own geographical perspective; that is, review every single to reach number 1 on the ARIA Charts/Kent Report, and assign a numerical grade from 1-10. In the interest of brevity (and some pertinence), the column shall begin from July 1974, the date in which the initial Kent Report was first published commercially, and work forwards from there. Dependent upon time constraints and general interest, publishing of these articles will, similar to Ewing and Breihan’s columns, be daily. And now…


 

R-3739169-1358059721-5056.jpegBilly Swan – “I Can Help”

27 January 1975 (1 Week).

Parallel to novelty songs are one-hit wonders; not always novel, yet always desperately grasping at the tendrils of good taste, and always indebted to whatever timeframe birthed them. Consider Billy Swan; a country troubadour who nevertheless saw “I Can Help” succeed as his only hit, better yet a hit that only lasted a week at the top of the charts. At no point does it dwell in the margins of camp, though it nevertheless sounds like a mid-‘70s record, all acoustic jangle and line-stepping waltz.

Compositionally, Swan admits that the whole thing came together in less than an hour; the lyrics are plucked at random, as evidence by the barrage of platitudes and odes to women who never get the blues. The bridge shuffles into tight verses that suffix every line with a ‘babe,’ and it all comes together as pleasantly inoffensive. Swan went on to work with other moderately famous musicians, and has since cultivated a career as a session musician: by all accounts, he’s living the good life. His career, forever defined by one song, isn’t a bad song, isn’t a great song, isn’t an annoying song, and isn’t a momentous song. It’s just a song about wholesome love in the warm, Missouri summer, and sometimes, that’s just good enough. 6.





Arcade
04.20.18
lagging a bit with these ones but i should hopefully be back into the swing of things now

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