Pretty straightforwardly, as it happens, since both the earlier results in this group ran exactly the same way. Nigeria (managed by Cis) are through on 6 points, Bosnia-Herzegovina (managed by Scott) are eliminated with zero. Which leaves Iran (Wichita Lineman) in a strong position for the second qualifying place with 4 points, and Argentina (Chris) needing a win here on 2.
Songs and poll below the cut!
You’re in the car with the radio on and no expectations, and suddenly you hear it: a song that stops everything around it, breaking through the playlist and announcing itself as a hit. More than a hit, a classic, a song you’ll be hearing for the rest of your life. And the feeling when it happens is a kind of classic itself, one of the iconic freeze-frame moments of loving music. As a self-conscious pop fan it’s something I knew was meant to happen, and every time I was listening to the radio a part of me was willing it to.
So when it did happen – when, for instance, I was in my girlfriend’s car at the end of 1997 and I heard a song start with the chords from “Amazing Grace” and a hesitant woman tiptoeing across them, talking out of the radio, asking for help turning fragments back into a life that might make some kind of sense – how much could I believe my reaction? I’d spent the back half of the year getting my own head together, and the glue I’d used was 60s pop and soul. I’d listened – a lot – to Motown, Philly, Spector, girl groups. I was ready for “Never Ever”. I needed it. Right then, I loved it.
It’s back at last! The highly anticipated Game of Thrones has returned to our televisions and computers, promising boobs, dodgy accents, great costumes, boobs, murder, betrayal, heartache, boobs, UNHOLY ACTING TALENT, dragons, and boobs. For the next ten weeks (or longer, if HBO schedules any breaks) I’ll be recapping and hyper-analysing each episode. NOTHING BUT SPOILERS AHOY, so be warned from…now!
I give every entry a mark out of 10. Here’s your opportunity to tick the ones you’d have given 6 or more to.
My highest score of 1997 turns out to have been a solitary 8, for Hanson’s “MMMBop”. U2 and Elton both got 2s. Use the comments box to talk about the year in general!
Their three Christmas number ones are as much to do with canny release date bagatelle as with enduring public love, but the Spice Girls still gave the impression of taking special care over their year-end singles. Or maybe they just had a knack for ballads. “Too Much” isn’t their most distinctive record – less lush than “2 Become 1”, less melodramatic than their later big weepies – but after the slapdash clatter of “Spice Up Your Life”, a bit of crafted stability might be no bad thing.
France (managed by Jessica) have qualified with 6 points, and will top the group unless they come last here.
Honduras (managed by Kat) have 3.5 points. They will definitely qualify if they come first or second, and may do even if they don’t.
Switzerland (managed by Mullah Rezmat) have 1.5 points. They need to go for the win here and hope Honduras screw up.
Ecuador (managed by Meghan) have 1 point. They also need to go for the win and hope Honduras screw up.
To the songs and votes!
My main point last entry was that “Perfect Day” saw the BBC applying its gift for pop spectacle to the demands of a more curatorial time. This would become – on broadcast TV particularly – an era of tighter demographics and multiplying niches, and the BBC would respond. BBC3, BBC4, 1Xtra, 6Music, CBBC, and in 2002 CBeebies, its channel for the under-6s, anchored for years by Teletubbies reruns.
In the old TV model, Top Of The Pops and the charts had enjoyed a happy symbiosis. With that show well along its slow decline, the charts were left without a centre. Instead they had new outlets – the supermarkets, and Woolworths, increasingly determined what reached No.1. As James Masterton pointed out in the comments for “Perfect Day”, this meant a dramatic broadening of the singles audience – the number of people visiting Tescos or Asda dwarfed the HMV or Our Price customer base, and included millions of musical impulse buyers. Put a tempting single in front of them and your sales could be colossal.
Who would you keep? Who would you drop? Who would you draft?
Assume you have all the budget you could possibly need, and all the persuasive powers to cut through shyness (or else tell the story of who you think you’d fail to coax in…)
Is it still a lobbying ad for the BBC? Is it an ad for the BBC today (as opposed to 15+ years ago)? Is it something else entirely? You curate and you explain!
Would you strive for:
less of the wrong kind of cool (paging wichitalineman)?
less of the wrong kind of soul (paging punctum)?
less of the wrong kind of teenybop (paging puking purplekylie)?
less of the wrong kind of rap (paging everyone!)?
less of the wrong kind of reap!
less metal? (ok can’t actually be less metal i don’t think)
less repeat appearance-y?
less top-of-the-range nobbers phoning it in? (YES s/b FEWER SHUT UP)
less quilty pleasure (more actual real pluralism)? (yes i said QUILTY SHUT UP)
less unappealing to YOU THE CURATOR? (be bold! be interesting!)
less 90s? (go wild! you can after all travel in time)
List suggestions and manifestos in the thread and we will take it to RIGOROUS POLL SCIENCE
And under the cut, the 29 artists in the BBC’s original, just to remind everyone
I have finally compiled Hazel and my posts about Young Avengers (and matters related) into a series – you should be able to see it there at the side when you open this post.
This post – which I’m writing weeks after Hazel put her final essay up – will end up being the intro to the whole thing. So here’s the intro-ish bit.
Charity covers as multi-artist jigsaw puzzles were a whiskery idea by this point, so it’s remarkable how startling and beguiling “Perfect Day” sounds. It’s a successful reinvention of the Band Aid concept that also more or less finishes it off: the next time I write about this kind of record, it’ll have explicit nostalgic overtones.
There are several things this record gets right. Firstly, it wasn’t a record. The “Perfect Day” collage was a video first – a promotional film for the BBC justifying its license fee – and it had a huge visual impact. Massive stars, enticingly shot, and – crucially – not collaborating. The point of Band Aid and USA For Africa was that the famine crisis had been big enough to bring all of pop together, but the BBC’s aim on “Perfect Day” was to celebrate its diversity, not its unity.