Posts from 2nd February 2004

Feb 04

Old news for some readers

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 383 views

Old news for some readers, but just in case you missed it linked elsewhere: tots on pop is failsafe entertainment, of course. Smell-a-rat moment: when Beth asks “Who’s Annie Key?” And I think Ben already writes for Uncut.

Oi Jel!

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 248 views

Oi Jel!

(pic by our gracious host Steve M)

Crumbling Loaf

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 328 views

Crumbling Loaf: I read this quite often on other people’s sidebars but it occurred to me I’ve never linked to it. I picked the Wedge for it because i) we’ve not had a post on here today yet; ii) I really like the way he writes about culture as just a part of everyday life.

The king is gone but not forgotten…

Do You SeePost a comment • 668 views

The king is gone but not forgotten… : I’ve been busy every night so far, but – such is the power of teenage loyalty down the years – I feel I’m somehow letting him down (or myself, or someone) by not watching.

Stealth Marketing

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 483 views

Stealth Marketing is getting some people talking on ILE. I have never been able to work out how a stealth marketing business model can work – the ‘audience reach’ for these walking adverts must be amazingly low, microscopically low even if you are able to hit ‘tastemakers’. And if you can identify tastemakers then just sending them free stuff is cheaper and to be honest just as effective. Like a lot of marketing and market research this stealth nonsense smacks of faddishness and in-company politics – it may make zero difference to your products’ sales but it makes people say “ooh how clever” in an internal pitch.

The guy who started the thread does have a point about trust though. A lot of marketing is about tapping into areas of consumer trust, and these areas are seen as shrinking rapidly by the marketing industry (which I suspect overestimates consumer consciousness as a matter of course). Hence gimmicks like stealth marketing. Actually a lot of distrust is caused by marketers being (naturally) very good at selling their methods – so proposals like stealth teams, consumer brainscans etc. filter through to the public who get the idea we’re living in some freemarket superfuture where free will is being abolished. In fact marketing is mostly about lashing bits of vague data together with sellotape and then prettying up the conclusions and the people who do it are no more competent or committed than your workmates. i.e. our minds are safe. For now.

(What has all this to do with pop music? LOADS! Though as lots of people have pointed out on ILM, the singles chart is now so low-selling that the good old buy-in is probably the most effective form of marketing at the moment.)

Settled into one of my usual neighborhood diner haunts this weekend…

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 226 views

Settled into one of my usual neighborhood diner haunts this weekend, as I normally do, with a copy of the New York Times and a cuppa coffee. One of those real American kinds of diners where you can get eggs made fifteen different ways and the chocolate malt is something that’s made by instinct. Now, I’m great at making breakfast, but on Sunday mornings I like someone else to make it for me. It’s the little things, you know. Anyway, so I’m sitting there reading the paper and a smile is playing on my face as I watch two horrifyingly skinny girls walk in and ask the poor waitress if she could adjust their menu choices to “not have any carbohydrates in them.” I’m always bemused by this particular request (particularly at DINERS!) because to me, someone with a chemistry background, it’s kinda like asking if you could get your food made without esters in it, or without polysaccharides or proteins (“tertiary-folded proteins are fine, but no quaternary ones!) “Can I get my organic compounds made without carbons, hydrogens, and oxygens in it?” I guess I’ll never fully understand people, but this is also, I suppose, why I’m not into marketing. Or crazy anti-carbohydrate diets.

Super Bowl Halftime Show: Play-by-Play

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 466 views

Super Bowl Halftime Show: Play-by-Play

My scrawled notes, typed out for your amusement!

-J. Lo and other celebs instruct us in cautiously neutral tones to “choose to vote,” to soft U2 cocktail-party background music; any potential political impact of said commercial immediately defused by cheerleader leading the call “Choose to paaarty!” Fuck off, CBS!
-Okay, so Janet Jackson’s outfit: a sort of swashbuckling pirate motif? What’s with that white ruffly flouncy thing in the back?!
-Haha P. Diddy! As stilted and wooden as ever! This is much better than Janet though
-TONI BASIL!!!!!!!! Hey Diddy you’re so fine…my brain has turned to rice pudding
-It’s a medley with Nelly! GENIUS!
-Nelly makes everything else look like amateur night. Wow. I hadn’t heard ‘Hot in Herre’ in a very long time (after hearing it nonstop for months, obv) and it still sounds like the greatest song ever penned.
-Kid Rock is wearing an American flag cut into a poncho. Yes, a poncho. I am going to cry now.
-Okay explain to me why Justin Timberlake (who is way cuter when he shaves, I might add — that stubbly thing ain’t doin’ NOTHIN for him) gets to laze around on stage in a t-shirt and baggy khakis, looking like he’s about to head out to play Gamecube with his buddies, while Janet has to robo-dance with pinpoint razorsharp precision in an exceedingly uncomfortable-looking patent-vinyl catwoman gladiator corset job: WE WANT FAIRNESS HERE!!
-But then Justin redeems himself with THAT MOVE!! Hahahahahaha!

Additional notes: job search commercial featuring sped-up version of “I Feel Love”: YES YES YES!
-All SUV commercials can fuckin’ die already
-Message to America’s frat boys: Budweiser will NOT get you laid
-Commercial for new sitcom featuring girl who can “talk to God”: please God make it stop
-Unfortunately the car commercial featuring ‘Metal Machine Music’ and giant spiders only existed in my fevered brain!!

CONNIE FRANCIS – “Carolina Moon”/”Stupid Cupid”

Popular3 comments • 2,197 views

#75, 26th September 1958

“Stupid Cupid” on the other hand deploys its gimmicks with confidence and humour. That –tzoinng!– guitar sound; the sassy handclaps; the cute voicebreaks – but these things wouldn’t work if the song itself wasn’t so fun. “Stupid Cupid” is a song I recognise at once as my pop, modern pop – self-aware, as sexy as it can get away with, built on the most up-to-date chassis in the shop, immediately adorable. The song stops after a couple of seconds for Connie to sashay in: it’s a great, calculated moment and also a fine example of how ably pop producers were exploiting the sound and excitement of rock and roll, adding craft and money to play little symphonies on its audience’s hormones and hopes.

(The lead track, “Carolina Moon”, is less arresting but awfully dreamy, a country lullaby which lets Francis shimmy and swoon up and down her vocal range as she wonders if a boy’s wondering too.)