Posts from February 2014

Feb 14

GARY BARLOW – “Love Won’t Wait”

Popular79 comments • 5,881 views

#766, 10th May 1997

gblww Few figures from 80s pop could match Michael Jackson for popularity and cultural weight. Perhaps only one, and she had also found the 90s harsher going than anticipated. Madonna’s apparent decline was more respectable than Jackson’s, but less interesting: intriguing grapples with R&B, pleasant soundtrack ballads, sales drifting downwards, and finally a solid, unrevealing, turn on a revived Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. “So what happens now?” her final single from that project asked. The answer, in 1997, was cloudy. Meanwhile one of her demos from a scrapped LP ended up in Gary Barlow’s hands, giving Madonna her first number one song in seven years.

Feb 14

PWC14: Group C Match 2 (Japan, Cote D’Ivoire, Colombia, Greece)

Pop World Cup 201422 comments • 2,163 views

especia Group C’s second game finds a confirmation that David Cooper Moore has been given the Colombia manager’s job full-time after impressing with his urgent substitution in Game 1. He’ll be looking to build on a point, while Japan (Patrick St Michel) and Cote D’Ivoire (Garry McKenzie) seek to capitalise on strong starts. Rounding out the group is Greece (Billy Dods) – yet to find the net. All of that could change with your votes!

4 tracks, 2 votes, below the cut – as well as news of our first ELIMINATION.

Feb 14

MICHAEL JACKSON – “Blood On The Dancefloor”

Popular80 comments • 5,964 views

#765, 3rd May 1997

blooddance “Blood On The Dancefloor” dates from the 1991 Dangerous sessions – and its rigid, peg-legged Teddy Riley production, full of choppy, cut-up synths, would fit with some of that record’s harsher contours – but it works as a coda to his Popular career, too. Surely “Earth Song” would have been a grander way to go out, fitting the heal-the-world fantasies of Jackson the philanthropist. But “Blood On The Dancefloor” is a truer epilogue – a narrow, claustrophobic song, the sound of Jackson slipping into what we know now as his twilight years. At this point, he’s still younger than I am writing this. But it’s not just hindsight that makes him sound worn out and ragged here.

Feb 14

PWC 14: Group B Match 2 (Netherlands, Australia, Chile, Spain)

Pop World Cup 201412 comments • 1,760 views

Hydroboyz Group B finds the Netherlands (Job) in pole position, but with a point to prove after commentators speculated their first-game victory was down to crowd intimidation. Meanwhile, Australia (Matt) look to build on a decent start, and it’s a vital game for Chile (lartsaegis) and Spain (Carsmile).

Four songs, two votes – below the cut.

Feb 14

R. KELLY – “I Believe I Can Fly”

Popular82 comments • 47,151 views

#764, 12th April 1997

kellybelieve Every so often on a project like this you meet records made by somebody who is widely seen as a monster. R Kelly has a lengthy history of accusations and lawsuits saying that he is a serial sexual predator, a man who uses his fame and power to exploit underage girls and escape the consequences. The details – to be approached with appropriate trigger warnings – are covered in this interview between Jim DeRogatis (a Chicago music critic who has reported on the lawsuits against Kelly for years) and Jessica Hopper. You should particularly read it if the extent of your awareness is that he’d been tried for something and acquitted.

Feb 14

PWC14: Group A Match 2 (Cameroon, Brazil, Croatia, Mexico)

Pop World Cup 201413 comments • 1,609 views

luisa The second round of group matches kicks off, and there’s all to play for in Group A. Cameroon (Chris) and Brazil (Matt DC) will look to build on their early advantage, Croatia (intothefireuk) and Mexico (Steve M) have ground to make up. The rules are exactly the same as in the first round – four tracks, you vote for two of them.

Feb 14

THE CHEMICAL BROTHERS – “Block Rockin’ Beats”

Popular46 comments • 5,022 views

#763, 5th April 1997

blockrock “Chemical Beats”, “Dust Up Beats”, “Three Little Birdies Down Beats”… “Block Rockin’ Beats” is the latest (and joint last) in a Chemical Brothers naming convention that plays up functionality – a beat is something designed to be used, after all. But used for what? What was “big beat”, anyway?

One thing it wasn’t was hip-hop – where the idea of “a beat” as a hand-tooled studio creation, rather than something a rhythm section puts down in real-time, comes from. Hip-hop beats typically exist to be given to others: a genre that is so often about coping with and beating material circumstances dramatizes that in the most direct way possible, with a rapper proving their mastery over someone’s production choices.

Feb 14

Flash Pop Poll from… Twitter

FT6 comments • 615 views

Which one is YOUR favourite: Debbie Gibson or Tiffany?

View Results

Poll closes: No Expiry

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Feb 14

PWC14: Group H Match 1 (Belgium, Algeria, Russia, South Korea)

Pop World Cup 201423 comments • 3,078 views

ggen The last of our 32 teams take the global pop stage, including South Korea, a side whose profile has rarely been higher – after a strong showing in the 2010 tournament, could this be their year? Iain Mew is in the managerial hotseat. Trying to stop him are Katherine St Asaph’s Algeria, Chelovek Na Lune’s Russia, and Belgium, managed by Glynn.

Before kick-off, though, a minute’s applause in memory of our FT friend – and former Algeria boss – Martin Skidmore. He was an enthusiastic supporter of the Pop World Cup concept, never missed a vote, and was especially passionate about the Algeria side he steered in the 2010 competition. We still miss him enormously, across every aspect of the site and well beyond. Thanks Martin, once again, for your unflagging support for others’ projects as well as all your own excellent ideas.

4 tracks, 2 votes – the choice is yours, below the cut.

Feb 14

SPICE GIRLS – “Who Do You Think You Are?” / “Mama”

Popular79 comments • 5,660 views

#762, 15th March 1997

Wdytya-ukcd The Spice Girls’ determination to get 4 out of 4 singles to Number One – breaking a long-standing record – means this package heaves with reasons to buy. Not just a double A-side, not just a Comic Relief charity record, the single came out the week before Mothering Sunday. It’s remarkable nobody had thought of this trick before – or maybe they just didn’t have the songs. “Mama” is the first Number One since St.Winifred’s School Choir to be designed as a present for an older relation – a chilling precedent, but the Spice Girls sniff out a better angle than just sap, tingeing their sentiment with a regret for past filial beastliness. That – and the pensive flute figure that breaks up the cotton-wool arrangement – make “Mama” waft past in a pleasant haze, not a cloying one.