Posts from 2nd October 2000

2
Oct 00

“Damn you, Tom, I want singles reviews

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“Damn you, Tom, I want singles reviews, not this tipping the wink to everyone with the wit to HumanClick you! And reviews of proper singles, too, not some nonsense by Piano bleedin’ Magic.” If this is your attitude, dear reader, go and look at bitchcakes!, a new blog by Ally Kearney which kicks off with four top-notch-crotch-pop singles reviews (actually, calling Aaron Carter crotch-pop is somewhat off-colour, so forget I did).

A nice fellow

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A nice fellow chatted to me on HumanClick and asked me to put a link to his band’s (nicely laid-out) homepage. So here it is: there are nine of them, and there are live MP3s too. Go visit.

It’s Tanya’s birthday!

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It’s Tanya’s birthday! Help her celebrate by rating her at bloghop. And if you look around a bit you’ll find almost every other weblog we run or link to listed there, too, including – on-topic bit here! – a whole page of music weblogs.

THE PUB SEVEN DEADLY SINS: 1: Jukebox / MTV combo’s

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THE PUB SEVEN DEADLY SINS: 1: Jukebox / MTV combo’s

Many pubs are now littered with televisions. Useful in sporting occasions, which therefore draw in the punters who drink more. Certainly I have spent many a happy afternoon in a Saloon, pint of India Pale Ale in hand watching two obscure football teams battle it out. Nevertheless, despite all the good works of Sky TV in this field, football is not on all of the time. And when it isn’t, the simple minded landlord will – rather than turn said goggle box off – like a five year old child they change the channel to the flashy, gaudy bauble channel.

Now I have nothing per se against MTV. I mean, I used to work for them and they were bastards, but the idea of music and video is not a priori abhorent to me. Its really the synchronicity aspect which bothers me. Y’see when they put MTV on, a certain breed of landlord will turn the sound down, and pop on the jukebox. So you get Eminem dancing wildly behind the bar, and Queen’s Greatest Hitson the juker. Of course the natural rule of opticals is that if a television is on, you will invariably watch it. Thus causing dizziness, nausea and a general irritation with the pub in general.

This – my friends – is pub deadly sin number one.

One fabulous reader

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One fabulous reader suggested to me that NYLPM run, for its American readers and those Brits who affect not to be interested in the Top 40, a weekly column on the charts. So here it is:

POP-EYE: 1/10/00

Actually a frankly inauspicious week for the first Pop-Eye and for the UK Top 40, as Mariah Carey And Westlife‘s pestilent rendition of “Against All Odds” clings to the top like cancer in a lung. Roll those words around your addled Monday brains. Mariah Carey: arch-criminal of over-inflected soulpop, least memorable ‘diva’ of all time. Westlife: the sound of suet, and judging by their chubby faces the taste of suet to boot. “Against All Odds”: grisly post-split fightback ballad written by bald arsehole.

Not only are all three ingredients in this cake of cack in themselves horrid, they’re also completely incongruous. “Against All Odds” is a song based around one man’s struggle to rekindle a dying love (gag), i.e. it isn’t obviously designed to work as a duet, let alone a sextet. And Westlife, mere slips of lads, don’t suit the song either, having not known the weight of grief required to fully interpret Collins’ hem hem moving words (other kinds of weight are more familiar to them).

The worst thing about the ‘dog with five dicks’ (thankyou PopBitch) continued dominance is that it keeps “Zombie Nation” by Kernkraft 400 off the top. While this years crop of viral Ibiza imports hasn’t been nearly as malformed as 1999’s, there’s still been precious few tunes which have managed the dancefloor-radio transition and kept their appeal intact. “Zombie Nation”, every bit as dumb as its title suggests, breaks the pattern. A bouncing bassline, a few droning old synths, and nonsensical Teutonic vocals make for one fine piece of pop.

Elsewhere, little to report, because I’ve not heard a lot of it. So “Body Groove” by the Architechs, for instance – no idea even of the genre, and my work PC won’t play the helpful little .ram files the BBC handily provides for jaded fucks like me to make snap judgements on. I do know, though, that “Tell Me” by Mel B is tedious, that “Who Told You” by Reprazent is hectoring and annoying, about a tenth as interesting as his track with Method Man (which is still only half interesting, a nice fractions test to start your week with). Placebo‘s No.19 entry is gratifyingly low: The Beautiful South‘s No.22 placing even more so, with a song of typical eye-popping infuriation (can they be attempting funk? Say it isn’t so.). More happy news: a rapid plunge for Billie, whose “Something Deep Inside” is too slow and too late, a stale fart at pop’s endless party.

The Five Best:
Kernkraft 400 – “Zombie Nation” (2)
Pink – “Most Girls” (7)
Wyclef Jean – “It Doesn’t Matter” (21)
Robbie Williams – “Rock DJ” (23)
Britney Spears – “Lucky” (35)

CORNELIUS – “Perfect Rainbow”

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CORNELIUS – “Perfect Rainbow”

He plays games. And nothing else. And your tolerance of Keigo Oyamada’s tactics depends entirely on your tolerance of artists whose entire raison d’etre is to play about with past music and come out with lavish synthetic pastiches. Often it works: “The Micro Disneycal World Tour” was, for me, last decade’s finest example of “la-la-la-la-la” sounding like the most profound lyrics in the world, and “How Do You Feel?” was possibly its finest Beatles appropriation. But the downside of J-Pop is, of course, the way it defines “perfect pop” as something entirely classicist, which places more importance on playing games with the past than defining the loose, elastic, indefinable spirit of the moment; the way its fanbase seem to consider their chosen music to be the most innovative pop extant, the way they tend to look down on genuine modernist pop masterpieces (whether Timbaland or Daphne & Celeste), an entire ethos which is not that different to the jangly 60s idea of “perfect pop” beloved of the indie boys that British J-Poppers so often disown.

Sometimes this misleading process – revivalism disguised as modernity by playing the post-modernists’ card – works: Pizzicato Five’s “World Is Spinning At 45RPM” is aesthetically indefensible, but affects despite itself: the chord changes, and the air of lost innocence and wistful reminiscing over pop past, do the trick. But that’s pop revivalism: Cornelius’s “Perfect Rainbow” is actually rock revivalism, more heavy-handed than he has seemed in the past, and hence devoid of the lighter touch that runs through all his best work, sounding rather unexciting and uninspired. Oddly reminiscent of (but inferior to) the Style Council, it runs through the cliches of 60s and 70s US pop efficiently, but J-Pop has now been around long enough for the same sense of wonder in these “naive” appropriations to have disappeared. The ostentatious “naivety” now sounds irritatingly contrived, and the joy of “How Do You Feel?” is absent here. It’s Cornelius-by-numbers and, while it’s grown on me, it still feels oddly empty and academic, as though he knows what he’s expected to do; harmonica here, shuffling Motownish rhythm there, ostentatiously happy summer mood title on top. It doesn’t necessarily work, and it certainly doesn’t here.

Keigo Oyamada was clearly the one really great talent to emerge from the mid-90s’ Shibuya-kei scene. He’s shone in the past, and will again. Not this time, though.