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Oct 15

S CLUB 7 – “Don’t Stop Movin'”

Popular77 comments • 5,554 views

#896, 5th May 2001

S Club DSM The unspoken advantage of kit-built pop groups, especially ones made for kids: they’re liberated from attempts to be cool. Often they don’t make full use of this potential. Some decide they want to be cool anyway. Some don’t, but never try for anything more than slush or formula. So why is it an advantage? Because it gives groups access to a toybox of sounds and poses they can use, combine and discard, severed from fashion. Vocoders, for instance, were actually in minor vogue at this point – Daft Punk had found a way to use them sentimentally – but S Club 7’s deployment of synthesised voices is a guileless joy. “Don’t stop movin’ to the S Club beat!”

Their upbeat hits are where the point of S Club 7 comes into focus. Like “Reach”, “Don’t Stop Movin’” is bold hooks and primary colours, an instant infant disco classic that’s just the right side of the line between obvious and banal. The division of vocal labour helps the track enormously – Jo a smooth and secure contrast to the more enthusiastic, slightly rawer Bradley. It’s a fine way of making male-and-female voiced pop work when you don’t need to frame it as a duet. The rest of “Don’t Stop Movin’” mixes the classy and cheesy in similar measure – glossy string punctuation next to sharp vocoder buzz. The results are endearing, an easy high point for the band – finding a space where they can be the likeable, bouncy everybodies they are on TV.

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Comments

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  1. 61

    (And of course ’1997: the year that buggered up Britain’ can probably be tested with more flavour (or Flava) in the film of Kill Your Friends)

  2. 62
    flahr on 27 Oct 2015 #

    I read #60 very quickly and thought it was going to suggest there should be a Channel 5 documentary about Shed Seven being a bit crap.

  3. 63
    Edward Still on 27 Oct 2015 #

    As outlined previously when discussing Reach, S Club were something of a pop epiphany for me. Timing was a massive part of my continuing love for them and this is another nostalgia-laden song.

    I was doing my A-levels while this was number 1 (mercifully the last year to do straight A-levels as opposed to the poor suckers in the lower 6th – Guinea Pigs for the A2 / AS experiment), and it was a time of unguarded optimism for me and my very closest buds, particularly with a post-college “lads” holiday on the horizon. This song perfectly summed up the mood at the time, and was subsequently enjoyed on the dancefloors of Marbella with the holidaying footballers and assorted other millionaires we would never really fit in with. You couldn’t have told us that at the time though. A fully rose-tinted 8.

  4. 64
    Tommy Mack on 28 Oct 2015 #

    #60/#61: I don’t think it’s necessarily ‘dour rockism’ to dislike DSM. I can fully appreciate why someone might hate it and I’m sure if I caught it when in the wrong mood I’d absolutely loathe it.

    I’ve always had a soft spot for SC7 probably because they hit just as I was feeling like a bit of a twat for spending the Britpop years going ‘pop is garbage, metal is nasty, dance is just turning on a computer, Ocean Colour Scene, now that’s proper music by proper musicians…’ so I was happy to say ‘you know what, these are actually really good pop songs’ (they weren’t *really* good pop songs tbh but I was a new convert I guess – actually I was returning to the pluralist fold of my youth after a couple of years in the dour rockist wilderness)

    So you can see the cheese thing as an extension of rockist prejudices ‘pop is shit’ retreating slightly into ‘pop is crap but let’s have a laugh and dance to it anyway’ OR you can see it as knee-jerk reaction against the ghastly bloat of 90s britrock: ‘when we took music seriously it lead to Hurricane #1 so let’s never take anything seriously again, wahay, it’s MC Hammer, let’s laugh at his silly trousers!’

  5. 65
    Patrick Mexico on 3 Nov 2015 #

    Bloody good points Tommy. In the no-mans-land of this confused turn of the millennium revisionism, I also recall anything vaguely “commercial dance” being viewed as anathema or “cheesy annoying scally crap.” You don’t get that every year, definitely not when the Mondays/Roses fused with rave culture and probably not now when Mr Vain and Dreamer are “golden oldies” in the eyes of the bro-house kids. But in 2001, even sampling Show Me Love or Gypsy Woman would have been cruising for a Casablancas-jacketed/Coby Dick-chained bruising. It was Disco Sucks II but via class rather than racial and sexual prejudices. Maybe it was the “townies and moshers” rivalry where faultlines were unlike now very clearly drawn, maybe the Vengaboys taking tacky Europop fun a step too far, maybe it was the death of the superclub around this time, maybe it was repetitive generic music with videos for lobotomised horny teenage boys that samples 70s soft rock yer da’ likes. (Some of this to come on Popular in 3 years’ time, unfortunately)

    I remember being amused going on holiday to Majorca in 2001 that my sister had prepared a tape called something like “Decent Dance, honest!”. The big bubblegum happy hardcore tune around the 14-15 year olds around that time round Blackburn way was something called “We are the children of the night” and to this day I find it all kinds of indie-bedwetter problematic :D

  6. 66
    Shiny Dave on 7 Nov 2015 #

    Patrick – I’ve meant to reply to this for a few days now, as there’s plenty of angles your recent comments have sparked a thought or twenty.

    I seem to recall reading a tweet this week where one of the Gallaghers – don’t know which – was interviewed in Esquire magazine and unironically suggesting young people on benefits have the latest smartphones and aren’t actually poor. So your connection between Tory tabloids and Britpop (#60) runs even closer than you think!

    As for #58 – I was an autistic teenager at this point. Background a tad different – Southern seaside resort in a constituency that was Tory even when this hit (though Labour took the seat by a nose in the delayed 2001 election and was gifted it again in 2005 when the Tory PPC got caught in a Photoshop scandal) – but yes to the sport and bullying (and this school had a borderline American obsession with sport), yes to the sensory confusion, and hell yes to that leading to an aversion to all things sexual.

    Alongside that, I was the child of a Mail-reading teacher, and between that and my academic attainment – a couple of years earlier I’d helped lead my school to a county maths quiz championship, the first time the title had ever left the East Dorset grammars (one of which was attended by Amy Studt, whom I really wish had made it into Popular!) – I absolutely fell into a very conveniently right-wing dichotomy. Hedonism felt like a thing my bullies did, therefore it must have been A Bad Thing; I couldn’t indulge in it at all in the conventional sense because of sensory issues, and I happened to do all my homework and get good grades, therefore I must be A Good Person. Glandular fever in 2000 stifled the second half of that formula, and led me towards a self-hating spiral that I haven’t escaped left and likely never will, but even as late as this, I vividly recall a PSHE lesson – probably almost exactly at this point – in which we did a mock election creating our own parties, and (along with a team that included the student who’d go on to be the year group’s top performer at GCSE) I created the UKIP-esque Meridian Party, its authoritarianism cloaked in Mail patriotism but inspired fundamentally by simple vengeance; make life difficult for those who have wronged me for doing the alleged right thing. (I presume, but do not exactly recall, that National Service was part of the manifesto.)

    How does this relate to “Don’t Stop Movin'” then? Because it was in the build-up to its release that one of its members was charged with cannabis possession, and I vividly recall turning sharply against the band on that. They were lawbreakers! They were a bad example to children! I was 14 going on 44.

    It’d be years before I gave the song a fair shake – I’d swing right round the other way politically before long, but that’s a story for a 2003 bunny, and that move was accompanied by a move towards some combination of second-generation dour rockism and sensory comfort blanketing which I will likely build on in other bunnies.

    Heard today, it’s nothing more and nothing less than a quality kid-friendly take on the turn-of-the-millennium disco revival, and I think I’d give it a 7.

  7. 67
    Tommy Mack on 10 Nov 2015 #

    #65/66 – meant to reply ages ago! Townies vs. Moshers was a huge thing in school and as far as the Townies were concerned, anyone with hair longer than a crew cut was a mosher. I hated the townies because they were pricks, to put it simply. I disdained their dance music because I saw it as childish shit enjoyed by thickos: “I used to like that stuff when I was a boy of twelve, now I’m a proper grown up man of fourteen, I listen to proper music like Weller!” would have been my rationale. So it was class prejudice but it was class prejudice based on people who were generally a pain in the arse on a day to day basis and who acted ‘immature’ which is surely the worst thing you can be in a teenager’s eyes. I was a right-on little fucker and I always hated the overt “ew, poor people” class-prejudice of some of my middle-class mates. I’d had a couple of mates from the local council estate at primary school but we drifted apart at high school as class differences, including music, became more prevalent with age.

    I didn’t much like the moshers either. If I’m honest, I was a bit scared of them, their weird Gen-X humour and their noisy music. I remember feeling physically sick the first time I listened to Nirvana – Teen Spirit, natch – the anguish of Kurt Cobain’s voice and the queasy churn of his guitar FX were repellent to me back then. I used to go into Our Price and look at Guns&Roses and Iron Maiden CD cases with a sort of appalled fascination, imagining the terrifying heaviness of the music, given the artwork.

    From the age of about 13 to 15, I was a fairly prissy little kid who saw playing an instrument as a craft, a way to make proper, intelligent music. Basically I liked The Beatles and people who reminded me of The Beatles. I’m pretty glad it didn’t last that long. As a little kid I’d had very eclectic taste, absorbing anything I came across (though not ‘nasty’ stuff). It took a mate getting into punk and persuading me that the Pistols were brilliant, not just horrid to get me into heavy guitars. Similarly, it was another mate getting into the gateway bloke-dance of The Prodigy and the Chems that opened me up to dance. With pop, I think I just came round to it, hearing stuff on the radio and realising some of it was actually good.

    So, there you have it, I was a bit of a bell-end at school but I had my reasons. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve always quite liked S Club 7 since they were some of the first “cheesy” pop that I heard and thought, ‘you know what, this is actually pretty good.’

    I still didn’t want to dance round to it in a grotty student disco night after night after night though!

  8. 68

    Looking outside, UKIP might be a bit worried about those gay floods ;)

  9. 69

    It’s been a month now. Is Tom okay? I’m not greatly worried about new Popular updates, as he always makes a comeback when you least expect it (remember the Great Mr Blobby Panic of 2012), but as I’m a natural worrier, someone please just tell me he’s well, and has a roof over his head*. Thanks.

    * Something I have my fingers crossed for with thought to other members of this blog.. :-/

  10. 70
    Lazarus on 20 Nov 2015 #

    We have these fallow times from time to time, I log in once or twice a day to see if there’s been any new updates – and it helps to have Top of the Pops repeats repeats to keep the comments crew occupied, although I don’t think there’s been one this week? Haven’t seen one on iPlayer anyway.

  11. 71
    Mark G on 21 Nov 2015 #

    There was one this week, just seen it and am formulating my posting. Fairly decent, contentwise..

  12. 72
    Lazarus on 25 Nov 2015 #

    Incidentally the longest drought there’s been while I’ve been here has been the 77-day intermission between ‘Mr Blobby’ and Take That’s ‘Babe,’ more than twice the current impasse. I don’t know what’s up next – I try to avoid looking ahead – but I doubt if Tom has been working on some 3000 word opus, more likely that he’s just been busy with other stuff.

  13. 73
    Tom on 2 Dec 2015 #

    Hello. Thanks for the concern. Sorry about that. A new entry is about to go up. I tend to get very avoidant when I’m feeling guilty about not putting something up so I stay away from the site entirely, or else I’d have come in and said something earlier.

    There isn’t a very good reason, other than being very busy at work and that eating into my thinking/writing time.

  14. 74
    Lazarus on 2 Dec 2015 #

    Good stuff! Does that mean my TOTP review from Sunday is going to see the light of day at last? Are there moderators in town?

  15. 75
    Mark G on 2 Dec 2015 #

    Hi,

    A lot of the recent postings have got stuck: Accepted, kept presumably, but not output. I guess it’s the “Moderation Blues”…

  16. 76
    Cumbrian on 3 Dec 2015 #

    I got the moderation blues,
    I see comments in thousands,
    And ten million spambots
    comin’ down the mountains.

  17. 77
    cryptopian on 5 Mar 2017 #

    Listening again, it just occurred to me how much 2000-02 production adores the chime-tree. “Run fingers through – instant magic!” It felt particularly egregious here, just before the chorus, since this is uptempo. Lots more chime-tree to come over the next year or so.

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