Monday, May 31, 2004

The Show Will Go On

Yousendit.com has twigged onto what we mp3 bloggers have been using it for and has temporarily disabled unlimited sharing of files less than 10mb. I'll be back with sugar cubes of pop goodness just as soon as this is changed or a solution is found.

Friday, May 28, 2004

The Stirring Deep Inside

Today's installment of pop nuggets comes from my good friend Emma (Ms. Revolution to those of you who frequent the Popjustice boards):

Sometimes, a good metaphor is really no excuse.

Then again, sometimes it is.

If, say, you are a fairly low-rent girlband, it's Autumn 2000, and you need a hook to separate yorself from the Vanillas, Thunderbugs and N-Tyces of the world. Costume is important. If, say, you each get a catsuit in a different metallic shade for your video, that will help.

If you offer the world a camp beyond belief, raucously cheery, impossibly singalongable, sneakily filthy pop masterpiece comparing caffiene to sex, that might be a good thing too.

Sadly, the utter aceness that was - and still is - Coffee did not save the Supersisters from smacking into obscurity arse-first merely a year later, despite it's being broadcast to the world via a naff Big Brother 2 table-dancing sequence. Which is a crying bloody shame, because this is how pop music should be, and with lyrics comparing premature ejaculation to Nescafe, I can't be the only one petitioning for the Girls Aloud cover version.

Before Christmas, please.

Obscurity is a fickle and unfair mistress, as the reality TV induced return of Herr Andre surely must show. What makes this blow doubly hard to those of us who remember 1996 is the utterly unjust ignoring of Mark Owen's Celeb Big Brother enabled second solo album. The only reason I can think of why sweet little Mark's "Green Man" album never propelled him to greater things (damn you, Williams! Damn you to The Priory! Again!) is that he never had his photo taken with a Gallager so the indie munters can't quite trust him and the ex-Thatties switch off as soon as they see the admittedly dodgy Camden flares.

But this is a shame, because Child, whilst never going to win an award for most accomplished first solo effort ever, is shockingly sweet, touchingly fragile and has aged rather better than Mysterious Fucking Bint was ever likely to. Best listened to with the lights off, so you can imagine your mum kissing you goodnight.

1996 was a strange old year in a lot of respects. It heralded not only the sadly short lived solo career of Mr. Owen and those of his more photogenic bandmates, but the mildly more bizarre one of The Lovely Sarah Cracknell of St Etienne. Within a year of releasing her album, the name of which escapes me, she was back with Those Two Blokes Who Run A Label, which was all well and good, but on the lovely, shimmery, fuck-you-I'm-not-gonna-be-anyone's-cerebral-whore evidence of Anymore she could do just fine without them. A video on a moped and an appearance on the made-for-video edition of Never Mind The Buzzcocks followed. Go, girl.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Nothing On Earth Could Feel So Nice

In the last entry, I talked briefly about acts which made a big splash in the deep end of pop only to hit their heads on the bottom and, their career in the water, float unceremoniously in the shallow end for crowds of gaping simpletons to stare awkwardly at their lifeless body. Of course, not all acts suffer this fate: Most, despite generally jumping from a great height, make little more than a vague plop in the paddling pool of pop music and are left dazed and confused, wondering how their cannonball became a giant belly-flop. Readers, I give you Fe-m@ail. Though perhaps doomed from the start, Flee Fly Flo is an awkward but endearing attempt at pop with vocals that I can only assume were intended to inject 'hip-hop flava' into the proto-Fast Food Rockers cheese. Thus, it is essential.

I had a bit of a crush on Kaci circa 2001. In retrospect, this was less to do with her being either good looking or talented than it was to do with a distinct lack of girls my age or younger in pop at that point. Shockingly enough, readers, even those mere few years ago there was no Frankie S Club 8 for 14 and 15 year old boys to admire, no Katy Rose for the confused, awkward indie boys nor a Joss Stone for older teenagers. Kaci was it. And my, how our hearts fluttered when she sang of those 'feelings that I'm feeling are so new to me' and that she was 'going through so many changes'. It amazes me, in my older years, that Paradise has not, to the best of my knowledge, become a gay club anthem. With cheesiness, danceability and a name like Paradise, it seems obvious to me that a P.A. at Powerhouse awaits. Oh, well.

A few posts ago, I wrote wistfully about the joys of a world in absent Blue. While it certainly was a wonderful place, this is not to say that the idea behind the group had not been formed yet. No, it certainly had been concieved, it had even been put in practice. It just happened that the group in question weren't called Blue, they were called Another Level, and where Blue were incredibly bad, Another Level were just incredible. Way before Lee Ryan and co talked about 'love for the city streets' and 'hip-hop beats', Dane what shagged Jordan and the other three sang gloriously about summertime on the west side and, more importantly, the elusive Bomb Diggy. All managed without sounding like utter twats. Which, I think you'll agree, is quite an achievement for a twunt like Dane Bowers.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Hold On For the Love Sensation

Everyone has their own summer of love, I think. One perfect summer where - even if it's only in the rose-tinted memories of your bitter, jaded later years - the sun is always shining like it did in old photographs, you discovered the opposite sex like never before and the radio played songs that soundtracked your life like an old teen film. Stand By Me, perhaps. Only without the dead body. Mine wasn't anywhere close to 2001, but I'll be damned if Jo Breezer's Venus and Mars doesn't make me wish it was. Sadly, after this single flopped, Ms. Breezer's career departed to join the cast of the great summer movie in the sky. Rest in peace.

From the ashes of New Order, Monaco rose in the mid 90s like an electropop phoenix to trouble the charts with a minor hit and fade back into the ether. Which is a shame, because What Do You Want From Me? is a bit of a stormer, perhaps the equal of anything Peter Hook did in New Order.

In the theme park of pop music, the average boyband is a rollercoaster. Fast, thrilling, but ultimately short and soon after confined to the fond memories of those who rode it before hopping back onto the minibus of life and making the journey up the A1 to musical Heaven. Nobody, I venture, knows this better than 911. In retrospect, it seems obvious that the squeaky clean trio were doomed from the start - not even the wild, ironic 90s could be so permissive as to give eternal success to three northerners named Jimmy, Spike and Lee. While Bee Gees covers and ballads spelled a dismal end to their career - Jimmy now works at a restaurant in Widnes, Lee was last spotted doing panto in London and, well, nobody knows where Spike is - I prefer to remember them as young, enthusiastic popsters shagging Spice Girls and singing songs like Love Sensation. Behind the Music awaits.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Some People Wanna Fill the World With Silly Love Songs, and What's Wrong With That?

Readers, we all always knew that A Million Love Songs was a bit ace, didn't we? Well, think of just how fantastic it will be now that they've let me join the party!

Crazy fun, man!

More songs tomorrow, because I treat you just like a sugar daddy should.

When I Walk Through the Door, I'm a Debutante

It's perhaps hard to believe in this day and age, but there once existed a normal, happy world - a world without Blue. A world in which the Backstreet Boys ruled the boyband roost and we Brits engaged in a time honoured tradition that reaches as far back as Cliff Richard and manifests itself today in the very existance of Javine: Producing slightly hokey copies who make up in sheer enthusiasm what they lack in slickness of any kind. It was this world, dear readers, which produced 5ive. As we bow our heads to remember times past and our younger readers dream longingly of a world with no Lee Ryan, I'd like everyone to don a basketball vest, grab a cool drink and boogie on down to Got the Feelin' by 5ive.

Still, that's not to say that today's sullied world can't produce pop genius. I'm not exactly sure what this next song has to do with either punk or ye olde English custom of pretty, of age girls dressing up in fancy gowns and going to dances with polo playing rugger-buggers named Miles, Giles and Hugh, but who ever said pop music has to make sense? Get your O.C. on to Cooler Kids - All Around the World (Punk Debutante)

Katy Rose. Rose Carson. Fefe Dobson. Lillix. Do these names ring a bell? If you answered 'yes', the image in your mind right now is probably one of a dimunitive Canadian pop princess with a funny name surrounded by an army of angry clones. Sadly enough for us, the mightiest of these clones has not to date made it off the assembly line. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Brooke Adams. Honestly, I know next to nothing about this girl: In March of last year, she was 16 years old and this song is from her Exodus produced demo, downloaded from the music industry tipsheet Demodiaries. I also know that The 5th of Never is perhaps the best dose of teen-girl pop-rock since Avril went and got all mature on us. Which is certainly saying something.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Hem Hem. My Life, so Far. By Me.

1996, as anyone who was there will testify, was a great year for pop. Cathy Dennis shared chart space with Kavana, Alisha's Attic and 911 were splashed across the pages of Smash Hits and Dodgy proved that no matter how strong your rose tinted glasses are, the past did produce some truly crap songs. One of the defining moments of my summer came while lying on a beach in Mallorca. "This song is great," my ten year old self enthused. "When I grow up, I want to be just like the Pet Shop Boys!" Worried looks were exchanged by my parents, who promptly informed me that if I were to grow up to be just like the Pet Shop Boys they'd love me all the same. That I didn't have to worry.

While I certainly thought that was odd of them to say, my ten year old self reached for his walkman, hit rewind and played Se a Vida é (That's The Way Life Is) one more time. Life is much more simple when you're young.

Fast forward to April 1998. My parents are still worried that rather than play football and read Match, I prefer to read Smash Hits and extol the virtues of North and South. While they are somewhat relieved by my undying love of Baby Spice, my near religious fervor for the debut single of a soon-to-be-forgotten boyband named Ultra seems to cause a few more gray hairs. "Surely," I think, "if they only heard how ace Say You Do is, they'd know why I love this band. My, they're the future of music and I dare say they'll be around forever!"

By 2003, I had ceased caring what my parents think of my sexuality (Believe it or not, I am of the straight). Having spent the best part of the decade so far as a die hard, true blue, "my Fierce Panda records are on rarer coloured vinyl than you" indie twerp, I began to come to my senses and reason with myself that it is more rebellious to listen to the music you like - whether that's Steps or Strike Anywhere - than to listen to bands officially accredited by the NME or Pitchfork. In a blast of defiance towards indie sheep, I turn on the stereo and groove to Fool No More by S Club 8. I now know what Robbie Williams was referring to all those years back when he sang of Freedom.

Hello! Well, sadly enough, I've gone through about three different drafts of this original post, most making yet more jibes about the tens - nay! Hundreds of blogs posting dull indie mp3 after dull indie mp3. Only to decide against it in favour of a more positive, clear-cut message:

This is a blog about pop music.

Here, I will be posting mp3s. Of pop groups. And pop stars. Singing pop songs.

Let the joy begin.