Tom Ewing

5
May 20

The People’s Pop Poll: Day 1

FT5 comments • 419 views

These are the groups for Day 1 of the People’s Pop Poll! Obviously it contains SPOILERS for the day’s match-ups so if you’d prefer to be surprised read no further!

4
May 20

The People’s Pop Poll: Starts 5th May

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Below the cut is a very geeky process-oriented post about THE PEOPLE’S POP POLL, which starts tomorrow on Twitter (@tomewing).

The main thing, though, is that over 100 people have nominated the songs which will fight it out in this poll, and donated over £2100 for Refuge (the fundraiser is still open!). They are amazing and make this whole thing something I’m very proud of.

You can listen to 186 of the songs here (the others are not on Spotify) more »

28
Apr 20

KYLIE MINOGUE – “Slow”

Popular21 comments • 3,350 views

#963, 15th November 2003

I’m raising money for domestic violence charity Refuge by running a People’s Pop Poll on Twitter, which starts in May. If you can spare any money, please consider donating (and nominating a favourite pop track!)

The extraordinary success of “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head” did more than revive Kylie – it confirmed her, all over again, as an adopted national treasure, a woman who’d be guaranteed at least a respectful hearing, whatever she did next. And it liberated her to let that “next” be whatever she liked, from electrotrash, to weird country-pop, to full-orchestration belters. She went from being an act who a site like Pitchfork would review for an April Fool’s Joke to someone they’d cover instinctively, a journey to respectability the rest of pop took alongside her. For good and ill.

20
Apr 20

The People’s Pop Poll (in aid of Refuge)

FT1 comment • 244 views

As you’ll know if you follow me on Twitter, I’ve been using the quarantine to run pop polls – there’s a UK Number 2s one about to enter its third round right now. This has been a delightful distraction for me, a useful way of structuring my days and weeks, and has been pleasingly popular with other people too.

After the #2s poll, I’m doing something a bit different – a People’s Pop Poll, with tracks nominated by anyone who donates to this fundraiser I’ve set up for domestic violence charity Refuge. One of the hidden costs of lockdown has been a horrific spike in domestic violence, and I want to do my bit to help those affected. Here’s the link.

So far the fundraiser has hit £260 in less than a day, which is fantastic, and we have 20-ish tracks nominated for the People’s Pop Poll, including Kraftwerk, Labelle, Kate Bush (twice!) and of course Urban Hype. If you want to see the up-to-date list of nominated tracks, go here. more »

25
Mar 20

Things I Wish I’d Known Before My Wife Got Presumed Coronavirus

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For the last 12 days I’ve been nursing my wife Isabel through presumed COVID-19. She’s starting to feel better now, or I wouldn’t be writing this. 

9
Mar 20

FATMAN SCOOP ft CROOKLYN CLAN – “Be Faithful”

Popular28 comments • 2,782 views

#962, 1st November 2003

The NME once put Public Enemy on the cover with the strapline “The Hardest Working Man In Yo! Business” – you feel Fatman Scoop might fancy a shot at that title. It’s not so much the intensity of his hustle, but the breadth of it – he branched out from hype man to radio DJ to featured artist to DVD producer to Celebrity Big Brother star, barreling through a career on confidence, connections, and that parade-ground bellow of a voice.

5
Mar 20

SUGABABES – “Hole In The Head”

Popular19 comments • 1,783 views

#961, 25th October 2003

“Hole In The Head” has three tough acts to follow. “Overload”, the one which perfectly introduced the Sugababes and their core idea – talk-to-the-hand teenage moodiness as a girl group operating system. “Freak Like Me”, the one (and the one-off) which brought them back from the edge of dissolution. And “Round Round”, the one which established, with an easy confidence, who the Sugababes were as a newly stable concern. 

24
Feb 20

Unheard / Unread: January 2020

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Starting in 2017, I’ve had the aim of listening to a new (to me) album every day. This has been – for the most part – one of my best ever ideas. That said, in 2018 and 2019 I didn’t actually manage to finish – in fact I only got about 100 days in each time. The error was in trying to write it all up as well as doing it.

Still though, it’s good to have some way of recommending these things! So this year, the plan is more modest – a monthly round up of my favourites from the new (to me) records I played. Oh, and this year I’m combining it with the Unread Comics Project too, an attempt to do right by half a decade’s worth of Comixology sale buys. 

Here are my picks for January. more »

23
Feb 20

THE BLACK EYED PEAS ft JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE – “Where Is The Love?”

Popular19 comments • 2,331 views

#960, 13th September 2003

The album the Black Eyed Peas put out before Elephunk featured DJ Premier beats and Mos Def and De La Soul guest spots. The album after it featured “My Humps”. Perhaps there are more dramatic transformations in music, more shameless grabs at pop’s brass ring, than this shift from mid-ranking respectability to world-straddling infamy – but not many.

We’ll get our chance to weigh up the Peas’ platinum-coated Imperial Phase eventually. First, though, the song which broke them – the only record you could credibly claim as a pivot between the head-nodding backpacker Peas and their incarnation as cyborg hit delivery systems.

It’s also – and with hindsight this seems even odder – the only No.1 single explicity about the Iraq War and the wider War On Terror.  There are bands who would have given their granny’s liver to get lines like “Overseas we’re tryin’ to stop terrorism / But right here we got terrorists living / In the USA, the big CIA” to the top of the charts. And “A war’s going on but the reason’s undercover / The truth is kept secret, it’s swept under the rug” is more forthright and plain-spoken than anything the Manics got to the top. Where are the protest songs? Right here. And nobody gave a shit. more »

11
Feb 20

ELTON JOHN – “Are You Ready For Love?”

Popular11 comments • 1,960 views

#959, 6th September 2003

Elton John’s best moment at number one comes with a forgotten track from a barely-noticed late-70s EP, lucked onto years later by someone in Sky Sports’ ad agency, remixed (delicately and discreetly) by Ashley Beedle, used to promote the new football season, and received with delight as a lost gem from a national treasure.