Apr 12

Popular News

Popular20 comments • 1,527 views

Short version: Popular will be back on Friday and back to a regular schedule.

Long version: Obviously Popular posts have been intermittent recently – to put it kindly. There are a bunch of reasons – from adjusting to a new job to the joys and demands of two small kids. But at heart, I think what I wasn’t admitting to myself how burnt out I’d got on writing about music after doing the Pitchfork and Guardian stuff: I needed a break. I would occasionally do a post, fool myself into thinking I’d do more, then just not turn that vague desire into action. It’s not the first time this has happened – Popular itself got started when I wanted to get away from writing and thinking about current music – but I’ve now had a break and feel a lot better for it.

I’m now trying something a bit different. I’m writing posts a batch at a time, instead of one at a time – since this weekend I’ve been working on the rest of the 1993 entries, and have 5 complete and 5 in note form. This still isn’t exactly churning it out, wordcount-wise, but the most important thing is I’ve really been enjoying it again. By Friday I will have enough to start posting them and I’m planning on putting new material up every Tuesday and Friday after that. Meanwhile I will have a new batch on the go.

So for anyone who’s waited it out – thankyou so much for your patience, and I hope you like the new posts. Massive thanks to everyone who’s kept FT going in the absence of new entries, commenters and contributors alike.


  1. 1
    hugh on 11 Apr 2012 #


  2. 2
    thefatgit on 11 Apr 2012 #

    Great news!

  3. 3
    chris on 11 Apr 2012 #

    Great to hear, Tom!

  4. 4
    Erithian on 11 Apr 2012 #

    Real Life and your well-being is more important than Popular, Tom – but this is good news indeed.

  5. 5

    Real Life and your well-being is more important than Popular

    ps secretly none of us actually think this^^^

  6. 6
    Cumbrian on 11 Apr 2012 #

    Cool – good to hear you’ll be back.

    Still, it’s your swimming pool (and I only dabble about in the shallow end anyway), so whatever you’re up for in terms of posting stuff up is all good with me.

  7. 7
    23 Daves on 11 Apr 2012 #

    Excellent news!

    I resorted to the “batch writing” blog entry method myself a couple of years ago now, and it works a treat for me and does tend to keep burn-outs at bay. Though it has to be said, my entries are nowhere near as detailed as the “Popular” ones usually.

  8. 8
    lonepilgrim on 11 Apr 2012 #

    As someone whose attempts at sustaining a blog have run into the sand after four or five entries I continue to be in awe of the amount of high quality writing you have done and continue to do for the Popular project.
    I suspect that Mike had a similar experience with ‘The Year in Pop’ feature – and I hope that he doesn’t feel that he has to finish or continue that project or that its sudden curtailment means that he is unwelcome here. I miss his perspective on Popular entries.
    I also appreciate that other Freakytrigger contributors have stepped up to post entries in the interim.
    I wonder whether in future it might be an idea to plan or announce a hiatus for Popular, much like a TV series to give yourself a break and to manage expectations.

  9. 9
    Chewshabadoo on 12 Apr 2012 #

    Brilliant news.

    Tangentally related: I’ve often wondered if you’ve ever conisdered turning this series into a book when you’ve caught up with the current charts.

  10. 10
    punctum on 12 Apr 2012 #

    Given the possibly unique symbiosis between posts and comments on Popular, I’m not too sure that a book would work unless it was posts alone, and that would be entirely up to Tom. Glad it’s resuming though; I had imagined he’d gotten tired, and looking at some of the entries coming up he’d be entirely justified in throwing up his hands and saying “enough!” A break’s always good – if something becomes a chore rather than a pleasure then it’s time for a pause.

    Listening to Radio 2’s Easter Monday rundown of the all-time Top 40 selling albums in the UK (I have so far written about two, don’t write at all about four of them and the remaining 34 are on the schedule), I am of course fully aware that doing Then Play Long might eventually become a chore… :-(

  11. 11
    Lena on 12 Apr 2012 #

    Welcome back Tom! The mid-90s are a rough patch for sure and I think anyone would pause before leaping in, if only to gather their strength…pauses are good and necessary things and if something gets to be a chore, well, chores are meant to be shared…:-)

  12. 12
    Weej on 12 Apr 2012 #

    Let’s just say new popular entries and you enjoying writing them are two equally good things.
    I’ve been doing the batch-writing thing for my nascent contribution to the genre (this – http://pulpsongs.wordpress.com/ – if anyone’s interested) and it seems to work much better for getting myself on schedule. Getting yourself ready to write an entry is the hard part, you might as well roll that energy into writing another few, it’s true.

  13. 13
    wwolfe on 12 Apr 2012 #

    That’s happy news. Thanks for the update.

  14. 14
    Rory on 12 Apr 2012 #


    I can add from personal experience that what you don’t want to do is get so frustrated that you’ve blogged so little in the preceding year that you make a new year’s resolution to post every single day towards a target of 100,000 words for 2012 using this tool to keep yourself on track, because skirting close to failure again and again will drive you mad. (Perhaps. 103 days and counting, and not mad just yet.)

  15. 15
    swanstep on 13 Apr 2012 #

    The mid-90s are a rough patch for sure

    Looking ahead, the thing that stands out for me is all the Take That hits. Is that the rough stuff? (This is general inquiry, not just for Lena.) I’ve never knowingly heard a Take That song. I know a couple of Robbie Williams songs and know he was in Take That, but that’s truly about it. Take That did nothing in the US, where I spent the ’90s, and checking now I see that they did almost nothing in New Zealand (which normally follows UK trends quite closely) either: only one single (Back For Good) charted and that only spent one week in the top 10 (getting to #6). One Take That album charted but it didn’t go top 20.

    Anyhow, I fear the bunny, but welcome back Tom!

    She leads a lonely life….

  16. 16
    Ottersteve on 13 Apr 2012 #

    Wonderful – eagerly looking forward to your next blogs Tom.
    I’m sure everybody here understands how “battle fatigue” can set in on any huge project such as this.

    I hope these comments will give you a lift and show how valuable a service you provide to us music-lovers – and TRULY, GENUINELY APPRECIATED.

  17. 17
    Tom on 13 Apr 2012 #

    Thanks all!

    #15 – there is only one band whose rash of hits truly daunts me, and we won’t be running into them quite yet. All the TT #1s at least sound different.

  18. 18
    thefatgit on 13 Apr 2012 #

    #17 For Teh ‘Loif of me, I cannot possibly think who that could be ;)

  19. 19
    chelovek na lune on 13 Apr 2012 #

    Welcome back.

    #18 To be sure, to be sure. Dat would make any man want to Swear (it again)

  20. 20
    Jimmy the Swede on 14 Apr 2012 #

    Good to see the Dear Leader has re-emerged.

    Popular could eventually be drafted into a sit-com, I think, with Ricky Gervais playing Tom..

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