Posts from 21st January 2002

21
Jan 02

TANYA’S RAINBOW OF RUBBISH: Indigo – MOLOKO

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TANYA’S RAINBOW OF RUBBISH: Indigo – MOLOKO

I often wonder exactly what would have happened if the bloke out of Moloko had replied – as obviously would have been the right answer – “no”. The famous (as famous as any story about Moloko can be) story is of course that the Irish bint out of the band came across blokey at a party and asked him “Do You Like My Tight Sweater”. A bit forward, and the correct answer would probably have been no. At least if it is anything like any of her other sartorial choices – including the glitterball dress from the Sing It Back video.

Moloko were a no hope trip-hop band, releasing albums to a completely disinterested public. Then some fool remixed Sing It Back and for a reason which still eludes me to this day it became a big hit. Perhaps it was the tedious house beat, perhaps it was the genius of rhyming of “sing” with “bring”. Whatever, they were granted some spurious claim on existence. Luckily they have now retreated back to releasing albums to a completely disinterested public – pretty much on the strengths of ditties such as Indigo.

Usually when I take a deep look at a songs lyrics I dissect for sense, meaning and intent. In this case it is merely a matter of stupidity. The most frequently used words in Indigo are “Rameses” (Egyptian pharaoh) and “Collosus” (large statue, wonder of the world on Rhodes). The reason for invoking said sculpture and king are not clear, except to highlight how wacky the singer is. This is compounded by the chorus in which the colour is mentioned in typical deep and meaningful fashion:
“Indigo here we go-ho
Indigo here we go-ho-ho”
All this over a beat they would like to describe as slinky, but would only get away with if sounding like a spring falling down some stairs could ever be described as rhythmically adept.

Indigo is the no-mark colour of the rainbow, marking time between blue and violet. Moloko are much the same, marking time between Portishead and Morcheeba – with seemingly the only point of notice being they have a singer who does the “I’m crazy me” schtick all the time. I just hope that the mummy of Rameses rises up from the dead, whilst rebuilding and animating the Colossus of Rhodes to smite the Sheffield simpletons for taking their names in vain. Short of that though, them losing their record contract would suffice.

TANYA’S RAINBOW OF RUBBISH XTRA: The Blues

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TANYA’S RAINBOW OF RUBBISH XTRA: The Blues

I woke up this morning”. cf: Any blues song ever written.
I wish you hadn’t.

THE PUB SEVEN DEADLY SINS: 5. Menus On The Table

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THE SEVEN DEADLY PUB SINS: 5. Menus On The Table

The pub deadly sins have been quiet for a while. That is because past the first four I could not think of anything which seem so severe as to be a deadly sin. Plenty of annoying incidents occur in the pub, plenty are the fault of the pub. From irrational dislikes of antipodeans bar staff who do not understand how to pour Guinness to one particular joints lousy layout which makes it impossible o navigate from the bar to your table. In the end I felt I had to look at the most universal of these tiny niggles, and it hit me straight away. Menus.

These are not always food menus; they may be the wine list. Often made of shiny, colourful card they stand proud in the middle of your table and they are resolutely in the way. Perhaps they are laminated, or even in a strange panelled plastic wallet. However they are presented, they are always in the way.

I have no desire to blow my own trumpet here, but chances are if I am visiting your hostelry I may well fit more people round my table than you might be expecting. A table with four seats can easily accommodate eight people given that our empties are taken away regularly and there isn’t some colourful piece of card propped up in the middle. Its a minor annoyance, but it annoys none the less.

Reading matter, unwanted reading matter, is like a television in a pub. It draws the eye and in the end you will end up reading it. This may then cause you to toy with the idea of food, and hunger will enter the equation, demeaning the drink sensation. Do not misunderstand, I am not against eating in a pub. If I want a menu I will ask for a menu, or even better this is exactly what blackboards are for. Indeed blackboards are so much more about a bill of fare than poorly painted comedy pissed people or thoughts of the week (thank you very much Halfway House, Camden Town). I object to being given reading matter I do not want to read.

It may be said that the irritation with menus may well be due to an irritation with the pubs in which such things can usually be found. The menu and wine list is a staple of the chain pubs – especially Wetherspoon’s. This may be why this is here, if one wants to avoid the pre-fab menu then avoid the pre-fab pubs. More and more however are these bastard things being introduced to otherwise nice pubs. Stop this floppy card madness now.

POP-EYE: 20/1/02

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POP-EYE: 20/1/02

Tom has said he never wants to do the first week of the year for Pop-Eye ever again. Last week had a blitzkrieg of new releases – many of them dance tunes which had finally chanced their way into the charts via the seasonal sales shortage. Me, I’ve got lucky, this week the pop world woke up and thought it might be a good idea to cry freedom and let loose some tunes (at least in the Top Five). That and dead people who seem to be awfully active for this time of year.

If it wasn’t for said dead people, a deserved number one by a country mile this week would have been Pink’s Get This Party Started. A great rallying call for the rest of the year, let’s get this year started with some good pop. A few commentators have said that Get The Party Started is the best getting ready for a night out tune since Whigfield’s ‘Saturday Night’. No-one appears to remember that ‘Saturday Night’ was not about getting ready at all, it was barely about anything but a kiddie friendly dance routine and sparky Scando-pop. Just goes to show how much people remember the video. While ‘Get The Party Started’ does share an infectious, positive vibe with Whiggy you get the feeling that Pink might be around a wee bit longer. Especially with super daft lyrics about cars and getting people to kiss her ass (or even dafter radio remix about people kissing her Benz).

Its all party tunes in the top five to be fair. Christina Milian’s AM to PM is an equally supple pop confection trading on the wonderful contrast between sweet and hard. She has a pretty voice laid over what sounds like the soundtrack to a John Carpenter horror film. This then goes to the gentle harp based break – its a perfect example of contrast at work. If Pink is about getting the party started the Milian is about making sure the party goes on as long as possible. The only problem I have with it is that she would probably be better off starting in the PM and working to the AM. That’s the secret of most successful parties I find. Still she’s only nineteen – she’s not even allowed to drink in the States.

Around this Aaaliyah plummets (ahem) to number five. The other dead person in the top ten is of course George Harrison. Almost the most superfluous record in the charts this week (more on that later) it was number one thirty years ago and re-releasing it now does not show any mark of respect for Mr Harrison. I like the Aaliyah record, I like My Sweet Lord – but My Sweet Lord has already been number one thanks very much. His beard on the TV has put me off at least two dinners. There is also something a bit distasteful about seeing him singing ‘I really want to see you Lord’ post death.

So back to the most superfluous record in the charts. Its some kind of staccato electro-pop version of a Bucks Fizz record. The marketing think behind this record completely baffles me. ‘We’ve had great success with Steps, a sort of Abba-esque band who did a cover of that much loved Bee Gees record ‘Tragedy’. Can we replicate this with one of our bands? Well we have that crap ITV S Club 7 copy band on our books. How about – oh I don’t know – Bucks Fizz’s most derided and worst single. That should be a smash.’ Jokes on us. The Allstars – a band named after a chocolate selection box – are number nine. Its as bad as the original and it even has the really embarrassing voice-over bit at the end.

Did we ever think the Chemical Brothers were cutting edge? I fear we may have. Star Guitar reminds me of nothing less that an ELO instrumental – the type without any of the amusing voices or lyrics. A pointless drugged photofit indie boy rambles some nonsense over a really tedious tune. It even lacks the comedy value of their Shooting Stars tie-in previous record – It Came From Ulrika-ka-ka. Just woeful.

P.Diddy & Neptunes at 18 marks the solid end of The Neptunes honeymoon period, from their excellent work way back with Kelis to this really, really annoying Sean Combs collaboration. Its all well and good Puffy changing his name to Diddy if he wants, but we don’t need a leaden spelling lesson in the bargain. Diddy for chrissake – Ken Dodd should sue. Unfortunately I’ve looked through the statute books and there does not appear to be anything we can officially arrest Mercury Rev for. The Dark Is Rising is a big release from the band at this dead time of year and they must be pretty disappointed with a number sixteen. This – and George Harrison – are officially the Radio 2 records of the week having the dubious distinction of having more plays on Radio 2 than Radio 1. Its lush orchestration and Jonathon’s falsetto should be warning enough – its not the dark that is rising, it is the ‘grey’ consumer.

Elton John’s ‘Train Doesn’t Stop Here Any More’. That will be the ‘Chart Stop’ it no long serves then – lowly entry for Elton’s boring ballad. Elton was a chart contemporary of Harrison first time round of course (Your Song – oh the horror – was 1971). And I think if you compare the top five from when My Sweet Lord was number one last time to this weeks top five – this year compares very favourably. If you factor in the rather fun if comically laboured ‘Addicted to Base’ at number four, you do end up with a top five which is about as good a selection of pop singles we’ve seen for some time. Even if they do happen to be topped by a really old tune, with two dead people sandwich the rest. I just hope it does not mean that the record labels think the next big thing is dead people.

Mind you – can you really call the Hermes House Band truly alive?