I Hate Music
Stop, And Listen
You might hear something you’re missing
Well its quite possible that you missed this, the fantastic highpoint of the fraggle band Mega City Four’s career. It managing to tickle the charts at number 34 in 1992. Which is a bit like getting in to the first round of the FA Cup. Trust me though, you weren’t missing anything good. Imagine a band from the home counties who were given some out of tune guitars and a Husker Du album for Christmas when they were sixteen. Sorry, that’s the Senseless Things. Imaging the Senseless Things older, uglier (!) brothers and you have imagined Mega City Four.
The band name comes from 2000AD comics, like all sensible mature bands they named themselves out of some juvenalia. All I know about 2000AD is Judge Dredd, a character who I rather admire for his ability to be judge, jury and executioner. Ah to have that kind of power, and be near The Levellers. The singer of Mega City Four (though singing is being charitable because he had a terribly weak voice, akin to Sooty’s mate Sweep) was called Wiz. I assume becasue he was a scrawny streak of piss.
They entitled their first album Tranzophobia, named after the fear they had of Transit Vans. Many people assumed this was due to the punishing tour shcedule they followed, trvelling the nation is said Ford Van. Actually i can report that the truth is a little bit more personal. There was a period in the early nineties when I inherited a transit van from my poor departed fathers business. Realising that the vehicle was not registered to me I set about chasing every half arsed indie band down with an eye for the hit and run. I managed to trap Jim-Bob out of Carter USM’s fringe under the wheels. I also managed to give The Frank And Walters concussion, however this made no difference as there was hardly chance of brain damamge. But the prize I wanted most was Mega City Four’s grubby heads on my trophy room hall and I could never quite get them. As long as I have established a permenant fear of vehicular transport my work is probably done. Though I guess they are all bus drivers now so it might be a bad thing…
IS FOR….PS-I LOVE YOU
Well it wouldn’t be an alphabet of crap if the Beatles did not make the cut. PS I Love You comes from the stage of their career when they were not being feted as the single most important cultural event of the twentieth century. The beginning of their career, on the ironically titled Please Please Me (my name for the album is Please Destroy It). This part of their career was notable for being crap with simpler arrangements, and songs which rather than have several verses often just repeated them over and over again.
The conceit here is that the hero is leaving his girlfriend for some time and is writing a note to tell her how much he loves her. Which is why it is a bit odd that he leaves it to the postscript to do just that. Equally it is possible that since the writer is a Beatle, the tortured similies and metaphors with which the idea was being put across in the body of the letter needed a postscript for fear that she would not understand them. After all, how smart could she be going out with a Scouser with a bowl haircut? And just in case it is unclear who they love, they say it twenty six times in the song. PS, they love YOU. YOU. YOU. YOU. YOU. YOU. YOU. YOU. YOU. YOU. YOU. YOU. YOU. YOU. YOU. YOU. YOU. YOU. YOU. YOU. YOU. YOU. YOU. YOU. YOU. YOU.
Get the message?
IS FOR….THE CHI-NESE WAY
Take a journey back in time
Leave the western world behind
Cross the mountains to Peking
Where the paper laterns gently swing
Leaving aside the fact that the Chinese prefer Beijing these days since Level 42 wish us to travel back in time, has there ever been a more stereotypical opening stanza to a song ever? I guess if it got gusty in the mountains the lanterns would do more than gently swing. Any minute now I expect Ping-Pong from Rupert to turn up in this song. Still this is The Chinese Way…
The Chinese way
Who knows what they know?
Mark King was obviously not the worlds greatest lyric writer as he was spending too much time being the worlds greatest slap bass player. Unbeknownst to him, China from ancient days had built a really rather large population of over 1 billion people, so when you ask who knows what they know, you’re looking at about 30% of the worlds population also knowing it. I guess they all knew one thing, that bands named after a joke in Hitch-Hikers Guide To The Galaxy are rubbish.
My eyes wide open
I feel a breeze
Words softly spoken
I will give him the benefit of the doubt that the “Eyes Wide Open” bit is merely some words made to fit. No such leniency given for rhyming breeze with Cantonese. Yet another terrible song written about the orient by the man that made the bit in Seinfeld that everyone hates. The theme tune. Slap bass? Slap him more like.
IS FOR…PHI LIFE CYPHER
Cheery Van Morrison.
The harder edged Cocteau Twins Songs.
The Farms Greatest Hits.
All phrases and concepts which make no sense I think you would all agree. Oxymorons even. And in British Hip-Hop nothing puts the morons in Oxymoron more than Phi Life Cypher. Their record company suggests they are everyone favourite Luton hip-hop crew. Lack of choice does not imply favouritism. I can just imagine the rap battles being thrown down at the Arndale centre, bringing in cres as far flung afield as Dunstable and Bedford to battle for this particular crown.
Phi Life Cypher are Skit Slam(!), Mr Thing(!), Life (should be a lifer), DJ Nappa(asleep on the job) and Si-Philli. They have a member whose name is basically Syphillis. Perhaps they think this means their tunes will be infectious. Instead they just make you itchy all over and prolonged exposure will probably kill.
It is sad to see good British kids wanting to emulate their American cousins into such poor fields as hi-hop. What is wrong with hanging around phone boxes with a two litre bottle of cider. Instead this slippery slope will almost certainly lead them into buying heavy gold chains from Elizabeth Duke and drive by shootings on the A5. The tragedy is that we will actually be saved more of this horrific noise. Phi life Cypher, the puzzle is why?
IS FOR…OOPS UPSILON YOUR HEAD
A tradition Greek song, as mentioned by Homer in the Iliad, sung by Achilles and Hector after the prophecy of the death of Paris. Recently updated by The Gap Band in the ceaseless trek of modern popular culture to piss on antiquity. I did not mind the original, as the Greeks had no form of musical notation and therefore all that was left in Homer was less a song, more a rather bawdy poem. The Gap Band, by stapling their interpretation to a poor funk workout left us is no longer anywhere near a rousing war song.
There are many theories as to why The Gap Band named themselves such:
a) The were named after what was between their ears
b) They were pioneers of rap, if it weren’t for their singers odd G/R speech impediment
c) They foresaw a time when adverts for a particular clothing store would dominate all of popular music and thought they would get in on the ground floor before Missy and Madonna destroyed both of their legacies
or d) They were actually a special force of the Real IRA, so incensed by what was seen as traitorous moves from Sein Fein leader Gerry Adams that they went deep undercover, relocating themselves and undergoing somewhat sever surgery and skin toning experiments so that twenty five years later they could assassinate Adams in a Irish unification concert where their brand of anodized funk would be welcomed with open arms. The crack squad was known as the Gerry Adams Project, acronym being the GAP Band.
IS ALSO FOR…TA-tU
Just to say these pretend schoolgirl Russian lesbians are ridiculously offensive with their high pitched Pinky & Perky whinings which convince absolutely nobody of their personas basis in any sort of truth. I mean sure, there is a legacy of lesbians in pop but come on, are we really supposed to believe these two liars. After all, they worked with Trevor Horn who is used to covering up for other duplicitous types, see Frankie Goes To Hollywood. They can act all they like in the All The Things She Said video, but they will never convince me. There is no way that they are still at school.
IS FOR…BERNIE TAU-PIN
Elton John gets plenty of hate here. Rightly so, this pompidour is the chandelier in the toilet that is pop music, shining his shitty light wherever he goes. But wherever he goes, he has his wordsmithw ith him. Bernie Taupin. Many people have often wondered why Bernie Taupin, with such a gift for lyrics, never released any songs under his own name. In cannot be musical ineptitude; if he wanted decent music he would not have gone to Reg Dwight. No, there must be another reason.
The reason is simple. Bernie is an agent of the devil who exists solely infiltrate our charts with banal rhymes. He cannot be viewed by the naked eyes of a human, since we would detect the horns of a daemon on his bonce. Instead we are driven to madness by rhymes like this one from Daniel – I hit:
‘Daniel is travelling tonight on a plane
I can see the red tail lights heading for Spain’
But there are plenty of songs which weren’t hits, like this biting political piece Facist Faces:
“I read about how you’re slow with the truth
Like any old Aesop’s Fable
But when you’re turtlesque, I’m a hare’s breath
Into payment under the table”
Or even from the frankly frightening Christmas flop ‘Ho Ho Ho – (Who’d Be A Turkey At Christmas)’
“Ho ho ho, guess who’s here
Your fat and jolly friend draws near
Ho ho ho, surprise surprise
The bearded wierdy’s just arrived”
IS ALSO FOR…THE SIGMA SOUND STUDIOS
What do you think of when I say the word Philadelphia. Is it the lush, orchestration of Philly soul classics, timeless songwriting buffed up by the exemplary studio work of the Sigma Sound Studios. Or a particularly bland cream cheese. Yep, it was the cheese wasn’t it?
The Sigma Sound Studios, opened in 1968, were responsible for the supposedly iconic sounds of Philadelphia Soul (remember, bland cream cheese soul). Almost instantly the studios formed an unique partnership with Philly songwriters like Leon Huff and Thom Bell (warning, use of the first name Thom). Unique of course because no other studio would work with such Middle Of The Road chancers. Artists of the calibre, and I use that word purely in the selecting the right bullet sense, of Teddy Pendergrass and the O’Jays passed through its doors, so much so that it resembled a holding cell for musical criminals. A factor finally proved when that arch criminal David Bowie recorded the Young Americans album there, the first recorded time that someone had actually killed someone with a saxophone.
Anti-vivsectionists bomb the labs of the scientists plying their trade – unfortunately taking out the animals sometimes in the process. I think it follows that I can spread my campaign against recording studios. If I take out Patti LaBelle on the way, well that would be a bonus.
IS FOR…..SIGMA SIGMA SPUTNIK
Okay, its better than Sigma Ros or the insane suggeston of Losig Ma Religion. I could talk about the Italian heavy metal band Sigma, but frankly the most I could do to insult them is to point out that they wear leather trousers and since they do this on purpose they would just stare on uncomprehending my oh so witty barbs. At least Sigue Sigue Spuntnik speak English. They understand when I tell them that their concept, their music and their very selves were crap.
Love Missile F-11 was a record with so little wit behind it that it is shocking that it was supposed to usher in a new age. A new age, mark me, where people wore ridiculous Mohican haircuts and had adverts in-between the tracks on their records. Imagine being in the ad sales for the SSS album. Actually the ads are the only successful thing on that disc, unsurprisingly having heard the paltry quality of the actual tracks any punter stupid enough to buy it found the ads to be some kind of respite. Far from being the future of rock’n'roll, Sigue Sigue Sputnik were uncannily like the past, tawdry and crap with very little going on behind some designer clothes.
The ultimate insult was to happen after they split up. Pop Will Eat Itself covered one of their songs. It is impossible to say if it improved it or not, we’ll just call it symptomatic.
IS FOR…NICK RHO-DES
Apparently this awful cove played something in Duran Duran. Keyboards probably. Or eyeshadow. He was the ‘arty one’; the band trying out a one dimensional personailty idea well before the Spice Girls got near the concept. So Rhodes was Arty Duran, Simon Le Bon was ‘Marrying Model’ Duran, John Taylor was ‘Marrying TV Presenter’ Duran, Roger Taylor was ‘Trying To Commit Suicide’ Duran and Andy Taylor was ‘Who He’ Duran.
Nick Rhodes got to be Arty Duran, this status justified by his amazing photographic genius, much hinted at in interviews. Proof of said genius came with INTERFERENCE, an art book published by Nick consisting of pictures of static on TV screens. You see being all arty meant he lacked the skill to tune in his television. Not the only thing he did not tune, if Plante Earth is anything to go by. Its really hard for a keyboard to go out of tune, but Nick, he was artful like that. And wore far too much make-up.