Posts from 29th January 2002

29
Jan 02

POP TAUTOLOGIES 1: PINK – Missundaztood

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POP TAUTOLOGIES 1: PINK – Missundaztood

Well, if you are going to spell like that, its no wonder you are going to be misunderstood. Not to mention forgetting to dye your hair pink. Did Debbie Harry ever go out without blonde hair? Is Ludacris anything but? And as for Garbage….

POP TAUTOLOGIES 2: GARBAGE

The lure of the unknown

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The lure of the unknown. Tonight I am drinking in a pub I have never drunk in before – The Marylebone Tup. It was suggested by someone I don’t know very well who possibly won’t even be there, and has been much discussed without being visited over on I Love Everything. The discussion has ranged from whether this pub is any good or not based on the odd proviso that no-one in the discussion has ever been there. The Fancy-a-pint review is non-comittal – which as you know round here is not necessarily a bad thing. But it ought to be a good crowd of people drinking, people I haven’t seen for a while and this is what ambience is after all.

If you want to join us, we’ll be the gang of Interweb Mentalists there from 6:30. One of our numbers will be drinking Budweiser – for his sins. I will report back though, going to unknown pubs is a lovely thing to do, and anyway there are plenty of other nice pubs in the area to attack if this Tup turns out to be a nightmare.

Personal aside

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Personal aside! My Young Elizabethan weblog now has a new home for the NEU! TECHNOLOGICAL AGE at…

STARRY VS THE ATOMMICK BRANE!!!!!

Visit, do, for the same old same old. It’s still vs. the baddies – just that an atommick BRANE is a vvv big baddy if I say so myself.

BLURRRGHHHHHHH hack GROOOOO

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BLURRRGHHHHHHH hack GROOOOO!!!! Or in other words, Cerys Matthews from that Catatonia band is going into the studio (boRING, Brian Eno is a big baldy grasshopper mang but at least he went to record in odd and fun places) to record a solo album! Crap.

As an aside, I would LOVE a Moe Tucker t-shirt.

POP-EYE 27/01/02

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POP-EYE 27/01/02

A slightly late Pop-Eye this week – and why is that you may ask? My friends and readers I have thrilling news. I am converted! I have seen the light and been born again in the Wisdom and Love of Our Lord Jesus Christ. I know you will all be as excited as I am by this, and also that you will want to know what led me to accept His truth? Well, my Sunday was proceeding in its usual sinful fashion when suddenly I heard a song on the radio and its positive message and powerful music Saved me. That song was “Alive”, by P.O.D., and….

What’s that? You don’t believe me? You detect an unlikely element in my tale? Bah. But it’s a fair cop – the notion that P.O.D. could have any kind of inspiring religious effects on the Great British Listening Public is an absurd one, as absurd in fact as the idea of Christian Nu-Metal in the first place. The great thing about this absurdity though, is not that an awful record results (though “Alive” is surely that), but that the record sheds light on the overarching macro-absurdity of Nu-Metal itself. In fact if this week’s rather insipid chart has any high-falutin’ theme it’s the theme of records trying to be what they’re not, and in the process bringing shame not just on themselves, but on the pop styles they’re adopting.

Take A1 for instance. A1 would love to be the biggest boy band in the UK, and must have got the champagne out when Five split – but they’ve found themselves eclipsed by the rough-hewn charms of Blue. So their claim on our attention now is that they Write Their Own Songs. And “Caught In The Middle” is a prime example of what happens when a pop band Writes Their Own Songs. It has nastily high-mixed rhythm guitar (because songs are written on guitar, always). And like all such efforts it sounds exactly like “Torn” by Natalie Imbruglia. The secret lesson to be drawn from A1, then, is that songs not written by professional songwriters tend to be a bit tiresome and have too much guitar on them – further evidence in this week’s Top 40 comes from Haven and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.

Mind you on this week’s evidence the songs which are being churned out by the hit factories aren’t all that great either. “Overprotected” has a more interesting theme and plays with its star’s persona better than any other record in the charts – especially this week, with the Britney virginity herring redder than ever – but its chorus feels clumsy and unmemorable. Compared to Enrique Inglesias’ “Hero”, though, it’s a masterpiece. Just when I think I’m starting to like pop ballads a bit more along comes another real stinker. Have we learned nothing from the fame of his wretched perma-tanned father? “The highest selling Spanish-speaking artist worldwide” touts the radio, which is great and all that but he’s not singing in fucking Spanish now is he? No indeed I can readily comprehend every over-stressed word of this feel-your-pain emetic.

But back to the ahem theme of the chart. P.O.D.’s secret lesson, of course, is that Nu Metal is not the natural expression of a generation’s frustration, it is a shouty way of singing which could be applied with equal conviction to the phone book. That doesn’t mean nu-metallers don’t “mean it” – P.O.D. do, oh goodness yes – but it means that the question might as well not come up. And Kaci‘s secret lesson is to cruelly show up the way right-now pop and back-then pop differ. On her pre-pube schooldisco version of bubblegum smash “I Think I Love You” we hear a voice trained for mocked-up R&B swoops struggling with the much more wordy pop structures of the early 70s, and coming up short. Different times ask different skills of their starlets, and pop – even pop as sugary as this – does change.

So does hip-hop. The next time you hear someone talking about Old Skool rap, play them Afroman‘s “Crazy Rap” to remind them what the earliest rap was actually like – painfully slow, with the word “Rap” in the title to tell you what it is, and full of feeble jokes. Thank goodness that nowadays we have the likes of Ja Rule who raps…well, painfully slowly. But no jokes!! Oh.

January is generally an odd month for the charts – the dregs of last year’s albums getting release, hopeful punts by minor pop stars, and the odd gem. This week’s records seem very January – ill-fitting, a bit pointless, marking time until the big Spring album releases start getting trailed next month. The best new entries are either an OK Nas record lurking down at No.30, or Flip and Fill, which I can’t remember anything about (a better result than P.O.D.). In other words, no conversions in sight.

Listening to Cherry Lips by Garbage

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Listening to Cherry Lips by Garbage on the radio this morning it struck me that every female fronted rock band makes a record like this somewhere along the line. Poppy, with some sort of squelchy electronic sound under the chorus and sung in a very bored voice. Which is fitting in this case because Cherry Lips is a very boring song. When said type of band attempts to use the sex of its singer to titilate its male audience by mention of body parts and provocative clothing (hot pants get a look in here) it looks like the imagination barrel has been emptied. When the song you end up turning out sounds for all the world like Sleeper – it looks like someone took the empty barrel away too.