Jan 15

The Freaky Trigger Readers’ Poll 2014: #30-#21

FT18 comments • 1,047 views

tasmin“Hi everyone, I’m Tasmin Archer. You may remember me from The Harry Hill Show on TV’s Channel 4, where following a freak accident that NASA have banned me from talking about, I died and was reincarnated as a badger, and was forced to parade up and down for the entertainment of the masses on a weekly basis. How I escaped from my mustelid destiny and returned to Sunderland in human form will remain a secret I shall take to my next grave. Just know this: I can never look Gareth Southgate in the eye again.”

Lovely to hear from you Tasmin. On to the next part of the countdown!

30. “STUPiG” – BiS

Japan got their Pop World Cup campaign off to a storming start earlier this year with this frenzied gabba-grunge horrorshow, which somehow manages to be twee at the same time. If only they’d been around for Bis Week! I judge this is 1000% better than Atari Teenage Riot’s 2014 single.

29. “Empire” – Shakira

Everyone’s favourite she-wolf returns with an improved version of the theme to Nordic crime-fest The Bridge, i.e. starts off all plinky-piano with a sulky teen melody, then everyone joins in for the chorus (right down to the comb-and-paper fzzzzing bits). Let’s hope Shakira isn’t singing about having murdered anyone for political gain!

28. “U-Huh” – Tkay Maidza

Super-bratty snot rap (ft quadruple-timing!) from Australian newbie Tkay, who in this video dresses like Ace out of Doctor Who. Her twitter feed is quite entertaining: “So Solid Crew will always be solid.

27. “Bang Bang” – Jessie J, Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj

I was first exposed to this opus on the small television in the basement level of the Charing Cross Road building where my Robot Hairdresser rents her chair. She insisted on giving my hair a wash (my bathroom was being renovated so recent shampooing had been half-arsed at best) and so from my head-back position at the row of sinks I caught a glimpse of Jessie & Co waving their arms on a suspiciously non-windy rooftop party. The sound was down though!

26. “Chandelier” – Sia

Confession time: I only ‘got’ this song after the Pug Dude sang it on X Factor, which of course was a perfect setting for a big-ass torch song about alcohol dependency. It’s epic and brittle at the same time, and I’ve spent rather too long thinking about elaborate light fixtures in the last few days so I’ll stop here.

25. “Turn Down For What” – DJ Snake ft Lil Jon

One of my 2014 favourites! Is Lil Jon having trouble making his bed? Is his mum trying to talk to Important Grown-Ups on the phone while he’s watching Downton Abbey? Is this stupid booty-shaker completely ridiculous? I think we all know the answer to these questions.

24. “Talking Transgender Dysphoria Blues” – Against Me!

And there was me thinking we weren’t going to get any indie! I like the drum intro that sounds like ‘Making Your Mind Up’ by Bucks Fizz.

23. “Marshall Law” – Kate Tempest

I made it halfway through Kate’s rave-poetry album on the bus in to work, which is the highest percentage of an album I’ve managed to get through in one sitting this year (my phone battery keeps dying), so well done Kate. This particular vignette manages to get you feeling sympathetic for characters who are clearly awful humans. (P.S. I voted for Circles instead as it’s more boshing).

22. “On The Regular” – Shamir

Cracking electro-pop with a bassline that bounces around like a Babybel and a super-catchy chorus – that weirdly sounds like Kelis is doing the overdubs? I’ve been humming this for the last week.

21. “Beautiful” – A.G. Cook

The more ‘accessible’ end of PC Music is still pretty chipmunky but as one voter described it, sounds more like “a videogame where you PUNCH CLOUDS to RELEASE GEMS“. It would be awesome (but not surprising) if A.G. Cook turned out to be a sound designer for Capcom…

Top 20 next week!


  1. 1
    Mark M on 9 Jan 2015 #

    Right so,
    STUPiG – eek!
    Empire – spot-on about The Bridge theme… I don’t like that either, though.
    Uh-huh – this year’s Paper Planes variant; I voted for it.
    Bang Bang – I’m OK with this, something of a miracle considering I normally can’t stand Jessie J or Nicki.
    Chandelier – it’s been boring me rigid for months. Whatever the appeal is has passed me by entirely.
    Turn Down For What – it’s big beat essentially, innit? Kind of fun.
    Talking Transgender Dysphoria Blues – on a quick first listen, sounds like an inferior take on early Manics.
    Marshall Law – this is OK (I confess: my problem with Kate Tempest might largely be her miserable face and horrible hair. Spend a little money on shampoo and conditioner, love).
    On The Regular – never heard this before. It’s terrific! Discovery of the poll so far.
    Beautiful – still none the wiser about this PC music apart from it’s not for me.

  2. 2
    Tom on 9 Jan 2015 #

    I voted for (from memory) BiS, Shakira, Sia, and Shamir, and need to go listen to a bunch of these others. “Bang Bang” I do know – it will place high in the second half of the 2014 number ones ranking (coming soon) but that’s more by default than love – still it’s pretty good.

    I described “Chandelier” on Tumblr as the River Deep Mountain High of 00s EDM-influenced pop – a maximalist approach taken to gross, ludicrous, vainglorious excess: takes the sonic toolkit of the last few years of pop and smashes it headlong into a wall.

  3. 3
    sükråt cunctør pinkessen on 9 Jan 2015 #

    SHADOWS RISING AND YOU ARE HERE *mumbles loudly*

    ^^^i appear to have pavlovianly conditioned myself to like this bcz simply it meant MORE MARTIN and MORE SAGA and MORE QUASI-LOCATION SHOTS OF TRAFFIC AND MODERNIST ARCHITECTURE


  4. 4
    Mark M on 9 Jan 2015 #

    Presumably there’s some research about how how we feel about a programme changes our take on the theme song (i.e. how someone can sit through the Friends song with going Elvis on your TV set). All I fucking love The Bridge but do not fucking love its attendant bit of Nordic AOR.

  5. 5
    Tom Lawrence on 9 Jan 2015 #

    The best thing (out of many many good things!) about Chandelier continues to be the following video which teaches you how to sing it like Sia using substituted vowels:


    It looks like this:


    Try it, it’s great.

  6. 6
    thefatgit on 9 Jan 2015 #

    So, songs I have heard in 2014 (continued…)

    BiS – The first of 2 PWC entries here, and innit great? The juxtaposition of flesh and plastic is reminiscent of the juxtaposition of flesh and metal in Tetsuo: The Iron Man. This is a good thing.
    Shakira – The 2nd PWC entry, and not at all bad really. It’s like a power ballad in places. I could imagine overexposure would make this sound annoying. Quickly.
    Jessie, Ariana & Nicki – It’s big because they built it big. Did they need to build it THAT big?
    Sia – “Chandelier” was inescapable and came in many guises, not least this one:
    http://youtu.be/t9ilBHkH9Io (TW: clowns),
    but it’s still my favourite track of 2014 precisely because everybody is sick to death of it. On the whole, I approve of Sia. “Diamonds” one of the songs of the decade IMO. BTW, Tom Lawrence @5, thanks for reminding me to put a dozen eggsies on the shopping list for tomorrow.

    Songs I have not heard:

    Tkay – Yeah, I get a M.I.A. vibe also, which is no bad thing.
    DJ Snake, Lil Jon – I’m enjoying this, because I get to hear the whole thing, unlike the first 30 seconds, and first 30 seconds only of Baauer’s “Harlem Shake”. Same meat, different gravy.
    Against Me! – The year I forgot Indie existed, literally! This is kind of refreshing for its Manics-ness. Laura Jane Grace looks intimidating, in the best way of course.
    Kate Tempest – Every media outlet told me to listen to Kate Tempest. Naturally, I ignored them all. I now wish I hadn’t.
    Shamir – Much to like here. I will look out for Shamir in 2015.
    A.G. Cook – Well, that was rather pleasant, wasn’t it? Nice little baroque flourish at the end…er…

  7. 7
    Rory on 9 Jan 2015 #

    STUPiG! How could I forget to vote for that? At least I did in the PWC.

    First listens and reactions to the rest:
    “Empire” is cracking. Might have voted for that if I’d heard it before.
    “U-Huh”: S’okay.
    “Bang Bang”: Catchier than the last one featuring Ariana Grande. Not sure I’m persuaded by the ensemble as a whole, need another listen.
    “Chandelier”: Wow, what a video, what a dancer. Totally makes the song for me. Theme of YT comments typically depressing.
    “Turn Down for What”: *shrug*
    “Talking Transgender Dysphoria Blues”: worthy message, but not a track I’d return to.
    “Marshall Law”: Poetry slam meets ’80s electro, kinda. Something different. Could see myself digging deeper into her stuff.
    “On the Regular”: Yeah, digging this. (So far I seem to be liking all of Tom’s picks. I’ve been brainwashed by Popular.)
    “Beautiful”: Not really getting this PC Music, but I like this more than QT.

  8. 8
    koganbot on 10 Jan 2015 #

    If it makes you go “eek” you can say with confidence that I voted for it. If it’s inescapable, though, you can’t say with confidence that I’ve even heard it (though for all I know I have). I can say with confidence that I’ve heard several others of these, though. I will likely hear more when I’m on a different computer.

  9. 9
    swanstep on 10 Jan 2015 #

    I’m surprised that ‘Chandelier’ is this low (there were 20 tracks better than it this year? really?). While I’m a bit sick of it now, the first 100 times or so were intoxicating back in May or whenever it first hit…so it was my #3. Of the seven tracks that are new to me here it’s the Kate Tempest that jumps out. Like Rory, thefatgit, I’ll be checking out her album if ‘Marshall Law’ is its calling-card.

  10. 10
    swanstep on 11 Jan 2015 #

    I don’t need to hear ‘Turn Down for What’ more than once, but its vid. is pretty amazing (currently at 165 million views on youtube) and bears studying I’ve found. I assumed that it was strongly influenced by The Raid, but the vid’s directors don’t mention that (or any other influences really) in this interesting (both technically and career-wise) two-part interview.

  11. 11
    weej on 15 Jan 2015 #

    Way too late to comment on this, it’s been that sort of week.
    BiS – BABYMETAL would’ve been better, can’t begrudge this though
    Shakira – Feel like I feel about 95% of Shakira tracks – i.e. this is BIG, but not very interesting for that.
    Tkay Maidza – New to me, and can’t believe I missed it – will investigate further.
    Jessie J, Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj – In ascending order of interest. Not bad, not exactly amazing either, this sounds like the essence of 2014.
    DJ Snake ft Lil Jon – Terrific video, track doesn’t have quite enough ideas to keep me interested without it though.
    Sia – Still only just starting to get this one.
    Against Me! – Teriffic intro, enjoyable-enough track. She seems to have stolen James Dean Bradfield’s singing voice (no, really stolen, he’s changed his singing style on the new MSPs album, it’s quite odd)
    Kate Tempest – Voted for this, hadn’t thought about how unpleasant the two characters are, good point there.
    Shamir – Voted for this too – Possibly my track of the year, though I thought he was an English girl until I saw the video. I’d urge anyone to check out his other stuff, he has quite a range of styles.
    A.G. Cook – Aaand voted for this too! – there’s a good article on PC music over at 20jazzfunkgreats right now, I’d suggest that as a way in, or GFOTY’s ‘Secret Mix’ which is more brimming with ideas than anything I’ve heard in years.

  12. 12
    thefatgit on 15 Jan 2015 #

    Weej, the Spotify playlist linked to within 20jazzfunkgreats’ piece was a real eye opener!

    What I Am – Tin Tin Out ft Emma Bunton
    Hey Mickey – Lolly
    Viva La Radio – Lolly
    Word Up – Melanie B
    Synth & Strings – Yomanda
    Better Best Forgotten – Steps
    Goodbye -Spice Girls
    Honey To The Bee – Billie
    I Want You Back – Melanie B & Missy Elliott
    Girlfriend – Billie
    The Incidentals – Alisha’s Attic
    Viva Forever – Spice Girls
    Because We Want To – Billie
    Bamboogie – Bamboo
    Beat Goes On – All Seeing I
    No Way No Way – Vanilla
    I Know Where It’s At – All Saints
    Do Ya Think I’m Sexy – N-Trance/Rod Stewart
    Don’t Leave – Faithless
    Choose Life – PF Project/Ewan McGregor
    You Might Need Somebody – Shola Ama
    Hey DJ (Play That Song) – N- Tyce
    Your Woman – White Town
    Indestructible – Alisha’s Attic
    Passion – Amen UK

    “and many many more”, as the saying goes. Over 5 hours of ’90s pop, mostly made in the UK. Absolutely one of the most daunting playlists I’ve come across, but at least it’s a fair indication towards the PC Music aesthetic.

  13. 13
    flahr on 15 Jan 2015 #

    “No Way No Way – Vanilla
    Your Woman – White Town”

    This is like one of those puzzles where you have to make CAT into DOG by changing one letter at a time.

  14. 14
    lockedintheattic on 16 Jan 2015 #

    There’s quite a bit on there to my ear that sounds nothing like the PC Music aesthetic, in places it just feels like a complete dumper of 90s british-made pop

  15. 15
    weej on 18 Jan 2015 #

    I think the playlist is more to do with setting a context than identifying individual sounds / influences. Remember that it’s presented to an American correspondent who won’t have lived through this stuff.

  16. 16
    Rory on 19 Jan 2015 #

    “Chandelier” is 2014’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart”. And great for exactly that reason.

  17. 17
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  18. 18
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