Posts from 26th October 2000

Oct 00

GOLDFRAPP – “Lovely Head”

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GOLDFRAPP – “Lovely Head”

A duet for theremin and heartache: at least that’s what it sounds like. Goldfrapp make a cool, nervy noise – you mught draw torchy parallels with Portishead, but this is much nearer Broadcast, or at least what Broadcast should be doing. The same airy retro stylings and polite beats, the same alien chills, but with a heap of extra hurt that makes “Lovely Head” more than just the impeccable sum of its sonics.

Though I have to say, sonically this is great: spectral whistling, underwater lasers and then the sound of birds tearing themselves to pieces. But despite my best initial efforts to write her off as another wannabe trip-hop smoulderer, I have to admit it’s Alison Goldfrapp’s drawn, dignified singing that puts “Lovely Head” rungs above its obvious peers. There’s not much of it, but no more is really needed: she sings “Do you recognise the smell? / Is that how you tell / Us apart” and the frost on her voice says everything about her situation. Any more and she might crack, or her lover might – but she holds back, and “Lovely Head” freezes into a painful, powerful tableau.

And the point of novelty songs is…?:

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And the point of novelty songs is…?: Anyone who is currently living in New York will know what I’m talking about, but for those of you who don’t, let’s give you an appraisal of the situation: Z100, the big pop station in the city, currently has at least 3 novelty sports songs playing in heavy rotation. There’s “Who Let The Mets Out?”, which is exactly what you think it is: “Who Let The Dogs Out” set to a disco beat but about the Mets instead of about dogs. Then there’s the Yankees songs. Last year’s big hit has come back to haunt us; “How Ya Doin’ Yanks?” is possibly the strangest, most Village People song I’ve ever heard used as a sports anthem. Then there’s the new one, “Pin Stripin'”, which is this horrendous parody of “Big Pimpin'” except about baseball (but of course). This is quite possibly the worst thing I’ve ever listened to, including Radiohead’s last two albums and 98 Degrees’ new single. If Jay-Z had anything to do with it, he should just shoot himself right now.

I know the sports song isn’t a purely American phenomenon; other countries have made a big event out of the soccer/football song. Why does this urge exist though? The songs are invariably awful, but people buy them. So, I’ve asked the question in I Love Music, and I’m truly curious as to who listens to these songs and why they exist. Some of them have become huge hits, like “The Cup Of Life”, so obviously someone loves them.

Well, someone out there still cares about Ricky:

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Well, someone out there still cares about Ricky: The video for “She Bangs,” where he plays Super Underwater Heterosexual Man, knocked “Shape of My Heart” out of the number one spot on TRL yesterday. Whether that “someone” consists of teenagers who get off during the “naked people in a box” scene or Sony executives who need the ego boost, however, is still questionable.

POP-EYE U.S. – 10/26/00

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POP-EYE U.S. – 10/26/00

and here, we find, is the fundamental problem about writing about the u.s. pop charts. once again, the top five remains solidified, with christina aguilera on top for a fourth week with “come on over baby.” “genie in a bottle” was a fine song: good singing matched with state-of-the-pop production. her efforts since then, however, have been tepid at best, and bland at worst: aguilera herself even bad-mouthed “come on over baby” in her interview in rolling stone.

there are, though, three new entries in the top ten. ‘nsync’s “this i promise you,” penned by richard marx — what? yes, that richard marx — jumped five spots to number 6. they also have a spanish version of this song, just in case you were wondering what richard marx songs would sound like in spanish. it’s all a part of their plan to subjugate the hispanic children in the way they’ve conquered the youth of the u.s. (see their performance on the latin grammys, where they were blown off the stage by son by four). destiny’s child have this week’s greatest gainer in airplay with “independent women part 1” which moved up eight places to number 7. they actually leapfrogged themselves as “jumpin’ jumpin'” has fallen to number 8. the final new entry in the top ten is mya’s “case of the ex (whatcha gonna do)” which moved seven notches up to number 10. it’s a inoffensive-to-the-point-of-being offensive song that features a video wherein mya dances in the desert with poles, looking for all the world like mad max, but as a girl.

look out now, the backstreet boys have made their way into the top 20 with the excellent “shape of my heart.” the song leapt from 24 to 15 and it’s poised to only climb higher as the release date for their new album approaches. ja rule, last week’s chart king, has his “between me and you” enter the top twenty, placing at 16 with this i-can’t-believe-it’s-not-dmx single. oh, and ricky martin — remember him? — also enters the top 20, after five grueling weeks. “she bangs” hit number 18: while i’m no huge ricky martin fan, it’s sad that this this-close-to-being-quite-good single of his isn’t being rewarded. come on, gang, doesn’t that new blonde hair turn you on? for God’s sake, he’s frolicking with women in his new video! what does a man have to do?

will the top five change next week? will the backstreet boys overtake their mortal nemeses, ‘nsync? and is ‘nsync mastering another language in preparation for such a contigency? will anyone care about ricky martin again? find out the answers to these questions and many MORE when pop-eye u.s. returns next week!

destiny’s child – “jumpin’ jumpin'” (8)
mystikal – “shake ya ass” (13)
backstreet boys – “shape of my heart” (15)
nelly – “(hot sh*t) country grammar” (17)
ricky martin – “she bangs” (18)

Liking a song more when you hear its history

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Liking a song more when you hear its history. I’m more than anti this idea, but having heard a heart-aching song this morning on my travels, and then hearing its even more heart-rending story makes me want to at least discuss the subject. Its the reason why I particularly dislike Imagine – not just its sappiness but that Lennon’s death has invested it with some odd poignancy. This appears nonsensical to me, yet perhaps I am disliking what is a rather blandly inoffensive piece of pap more than it deserves due to the reverence in which it is held.

Anyway, the tune was Lowell George’s “2 Million Things” – off of his only proper solo album “Thanks I’ll Eat It Here” (but don’t buy it from Amazon – you can get it in the HMV sale for a fiver). Now my knowledge of Little Feat and indeed their music is pretty darn minmal, yet this seemed like an oddly bitter sweet paean about not having enough time to do all the things he wanted to do. I rather liked the sentiment, and the country tinged melancholy was still resolutely upbeat. The general idea I got was positive, you can’t get everything done, but its the trying that matters. However, the story behind the tune makes it more poignant. Lowell George dies realtively soon after it was recorded, and “2 Million Things” was the last session from that album. So – the story goes – it was the last tune he ever recorded.

It is a fabulous record, but – this demon on my shoulder asks – would I have even made a note about it if it was not for its history. Sadly, probably not. So maybe “Imagine” goes up in my estimation. Hating is so hard anyway.

Rat And Parrot Counter-Theory

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Rat And Parrot Counter-Theory: but that mocks sense. For surely you’d want monster VFM songs such as “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” to be on in the afternoon when nobody could hear them, not taking up valuable punter-time later.

Useful Advice To Pubgoers: Don’t have the nachos in the Rat And Parrot. They’re generous with the sauces but not the cheese (a common nacho felony I find). And they burn them at the edges, every time.

TWAS 300: A Belated Introduction

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TWAS 300: A Belated Introduction: Glenn McDonald tells us why.

Rat And Parrot Theory I

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Rat And Parrot Theory I: Last time I was in said hell hole we were subjected to much of the collected works of that old rock dinosaur the Pinkus Flloydus. Just guessing but is that section of the juker topped and tailed by other suitably long songed items. Is 45 Wish You Were Here and 60 The Stone Roses? Its an idea.

Mystery Pub Warnings II

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Mystery Pub Warnings II: in the Rat And Parrot last night at Victoria Place (yes, yes, I know I shouldn’t be going into the Rat And Parrot, but Simon had won a fantasy golf tournament and was treating us all to drinks, and for free beer I’d go anywhere except Bar T@ctic@l). Anyway, as usual I step up to the jukebox and a sign catches my eye:


What was this jukebox watershed? Were all of selections 45-60 filthy? On investigation it turned out that said selections were all ancient indie (this being the kind of jukebox well equipped with old volumes of the Shine series) or greatest hits by Mojo rockers (Van the Man, Beatles, etc.). Also selections 45-60 lie slap in the middle of the jukebox and are thus rather time-consuming to flick past in pre-watershed hours. What is going on? My only guess is that arcane PRS royalty schemes mean that the venerable old bores in this section of the j-box cost more to broadcast during daytime hours. However this seems on the face of it mad. Can anyone fill me in*?

*a song not banned at any hour. Alas.

Stern warnings in pubs.

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Stern warnings in pubs. The Swan – a hithertoo rather pleasant drinking hole on the booze hound heaven twenty yards that is Cosmo Place has taken to placing the following signs on some of their tables.

“This table reserved for four or more people eating”.

This edict is thoroughly ignored by myself, alone for a good twenty minutes and then ignored after the arrival of Mr & Mrs McGhee. For two reasons I suspect we did not trust its autheticity. Firstly the sign was made of a bit of forest green paper written on – badly – in blue chalk. I would guess pool cue chalk, except the Swan is bereft of poolers. Secondly, and far more importantly – it is wrong. You drink in pubs, there is certainly no priority for eaters. We wanted to sit back and shoot the breeze, and the staff rightly noted this and ignored my scary visage.

Much fun was then had transporting said sign to a table which could only seat two people. Stop this trend from spreading…