Posts from November 2013
The point of this post is very simple. If you want to be a manager in the Pop World Cup, put your name in the comments and pick a specific team (first come first served) or choose a random one.
More clarification? But of course!
The passing of an era – this is the last (to date) directly Eurovision-related Number One, 29 years after the first. And honestly, even Gina is an outlier: the Eurovision Song Contest had intersected with mainstream UK pop less and less often since its 70s and early 80s heyday. Glam, bubblegum, AOR balladry and soft rock had been good fits for it – hip-hop and house distinctly less so.
Freed from any hope that it might reflect or divert the currents of modern pop, Eurovision could settle fully into the role in British pop it had half-played for years. It presented a comfortable image of what European pop was: gaudy, kitschy, ironic and out-of-date. Marketers, then waking to the idea of the pink pound as an untapped resource, seized on the show’s popularity with gay audiences (and students) and promoted it to the UK mainstream as an unabashed festival of camp. At the same time, though, the definition of Europe itself was expanding. It seemed post-communist countries wanted to use Eurovision the way Western Europe once had: as a symbol of European belonging and a fillip to national pride. The tension between these two trends made for fascinating contests, and Eurovision in the 00s was the competition at its best – after it had ceased to ‘matter’ in UK chart terms.
This data – on every UK Top 10 hit, taken at 10-year intervals – comes from a study on alcohol references in music, published in Psychology Of Music last month. The study is less interesting to me than this one fascinating table, which puts a bit of concrete data around trends in pop over the last 30 years. They even significance tested it! I’ll add my analysis under the cut.
Ten years, or considerably more, ago Friday nights were easy. Some of us involved in FreakyTrigger would go to the pub. We would have a suitable amount of beer, and then often as not retire to my house, where a few more beers were drunk and maybe some records were played. But how to choose those records? Well luckily, when we weren’t playing Genius/GZA’s Liquid Swords (which was actually quite a lot), we would pick some seven inches to play. I had a lot of seven inch records, and we discovered that about an inch of them was exactly the right amount to take us to the time we had to sleep. And my seven inch records were in no particular order (though they did contain much godawful 90’s indie to my now jaundiced eyes).
Of course life has moved on now, and it has been a while since we have subjected ourselves to an inch. But in taking stock of items at work (and anyone who listened to the Lost Property Podcast will know, this is where I get my best ideas), I realised we still have a vinyl jukebox, and we also have about 3000 jukebox records. In no particular order. SO I wondered whether it was worth resurrecting the old game (for game it was, with very arbitrary rules) and see what an inch of these records were like.
So when Tom came in to do his Lost Property Office, I also grabbed an inch of records and we had a go. The result is a little rough and ready, it turns out there is genuine skill in talking whilst cueing a record absent when you are doing it with CD’s or mp3s. There is some serious music chat, some guff and some guessing. I’d be very interested to know if you liked it, if you wanted to hear more and how you think it sounds. In the meantime, here is an Inch.
“All that bullshit conversation, baby can’t you read the signs?”. This is a curious record: there’s little in pop like the way “Fastlove” marries seductive form – the discreet grind of its mid-to-uptempo groove – with an impatient candour that undermines it. Other seduction jams enjoy their playfulness, however frank they are about its endgame. “Fastlove” is wary of allowing itself that generosity.