While most of my online acquaintances were geeking out today at the thought of a new David Bowie album, our house was far more excited by the announcement of new Pokémon games – Pokémon X and Pokémon Y, the first on Nintendo’s 3DS console(1). The announcement was made by the President of Nintendo himself, in a style not far off the Queen at Christmas.
The announcement makes Pokémon creators Game Freak look canny – widely criticised for releasing this year’s games, Black 2 and White 2, on the older DS machine, the rapid follow-up of X and Y shows they’ve been simply holding off until they’ve got a game ready (and a high enough user base to make it worthwhile)(2). After all, if these games make their ship date it will end up that the gap between console release and first Pokémon game is pretty much identical for the DS as 3DS.
So, good business. But good games? The reviews for X and Y are likely to be very similar to the last few Pokémon games, because X and Y themselves are likely to be similar. In fact you could write them now: global franchise, remarkable longevity, but will these be the last, finally they’ve included ____ but a change to ____ is long overdue. more »
Sixteen Listens For Sixteen Weeks: An Everything I Do Liveblog
This song got to number one for 16 weeks, so I decided to play it 16 times in a row, writing as I went.
Play 1: And we’re off. I’ve honestly hardly heard this in the last twenty years so I don’t anticipate the full horror will strike me for a few plays. In case anyone doesn’t know why I’m doing this, “Everything I Do” – a soundtrack hit from Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves – holds the record for the longest consecutive run at Number One in the UK singles chart. At least one other record has come close, a few have threatened to, but this is still the champ. Sixteen weeks. Almost four months.
The record is – oh look, you know this, but anyway – it’s a power ballad, slower in fact than I remember. Very weighty. It levels up repeatedly, reaches a climax about two-thirds of the way through, then we have a lingering solo (which I didn’t remember at all and have really no desire to hear another fifteen times), a reprise of the pre-chorus and chorus, and that’s your lot.
Play 2: So on first go that wasn’t so bad! I was 18 when this song was around and I dare say a great deal less amenable to ballads in general and romantic ballads in particular. The song got to number one just after I’d left school – I was spending the summer listening to Bob Dylan and picking fruit for a pittance. “Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands” – now there, I thought, was a love song. I suspect “Everything I Do” might have a rather wider appeal. (Ah – the solo again – now I’m noticing little moans from Bry on it, dear me.) Anyway I hardly noticed this being number one for its first few weeks and certainly bore it no ill will. more »
Sinead O’Connor is one of the finest song interpreters not just because she thinks hard about the material and the feelings locked in it, but because she’s so good at placing songs into a situation. A great example of this is her version of “Chiquitita”, warm and homely where ABBA’s is melodramatic, replacing its theatrical flourishes with a cosy tick-tock rhythm like a parlour clock. In the video she makes you, the viewer-as-Chiquitita, a cup of tea and settles down for a chat, and it’s perfect: that’s exactly what her version feels like. more »
So we get a winner, down on Brewer Street in Soho, the Glasshouse Stores was voted the number one pub of the noughties by those of us who voted. A nice pub sure, but so much better than the others? To find out why it scored so highly I thought I would canvas a number of opinions – feel free to add your own at the bottom.
My memory may be cheating me but I think the first time we ended up in the Glasshouse Stores it was due to a power cut a pub or two along. Marvellous serendipity if so, and appropriate: an accidental pub becoming a shrine to the unintended social consequences of setting up an online community. This is the top pub of the 00s and is tied firmly to the 00s: I can quite imagine never visiting it again, which isn’t something I can say about several others. The regular ILX meet-ups we held there are mostly a thing of the past, for the happy reason that participants basically stopped being “message board posters” and started being simply ‘friends’. What that misses out is the random element, of course – the sense on entering a get-together that you never quite knew who would turn up. Sometimes new faces, occasionally unwelcome ones – the internet meet-up pitches itself halfway between the cosy drink with mates and the party. more »
Finally, the moment of ABSOLUTE POP TRUTH is upon us! And my goodness, what a nail-biter of a contest this has been. Halfway through the voting, two decades broke decisively ahead of the pack, establishing a lead that proved impossible to catch up with. Although one of them looked to have the edge, its rival chased it hard, making up crucial lost ground in the closing stages and ensuring a RIVETING PHOTO-FINISH. Oh yes.
Meanwhile, the bottom four decades enjoyed a right old ding-dong, jostling each other furiously and never bowing out of the fight. The gap between the lower four was every bit as close as the gap between the upper two, making this year’s “Which Decade” our CLOSEST! CONTEST! EVER!
Shall we proceed? Yes, perhaps we should. Lord knows, you’ve waited long enough.
NOTE: For extra at-a-glance clarity, I have designated the 20 top scoring records as HITS, the middle 20 as MAYBES, and the 20 lowest as MISSES.
Sixth place: The Seventies.
Cumulative average score: 32.31 points.
Share of the vote: 15.39%
Norman Greenbaum – Spirit In The Sky. 4.84 points, first place.
Christie – Yellow River. 4.12 points, 2nd place.
Creedence Clearwater Revival – Travellin’ Band. 3.68 points, 3rd place.
The Moody Blues – Question. 3.41 points, joint 3rd place.
Dana – All Kinds Of Everything. 2.92 points, joint last place.
The Hollies – I Can’t Tell The Bottom From The Top. 2.90 points, 4th place.
Frijid Pink – House Of The Rising Sun. 2.80 points, 4th place.
The Move – Brontosaurus. 2.73 points, 5th place.
Tom Jones – Daughter Of Darkness. 2.70 points, last place.
England World Cup Squad – Back Home. 2.21 points, last place. more »
Here we stand at the summit of Pop Football achievement, looking back at 63 matches: some wonderful, some perplexing, some illuminating, very few boring. We’ve heard so much pop, enjoyed so many marvellous moments, and we have 30 losing managers to thank for all their research and taste.
Never mind all that, though. Here at the summit we can also look forward, forward to the Big One. Two teams remain, two managers giving it one last best shot each. Matt DC’s Nigeria have powered through round after round; a drawn game in a tough group mars an otherwise-100% record, but they accelerated through the knockout stages and stand confident and consistent in the biggest game of all. Andrew W’s Germany have plotted an altogether mazier path to today; second to Ghana in their group, they found some form in beating the USA in the round of 16, then enjoyed winning two of the closest games in the tournament.
This match and this Championship close at midnight on Monday 14th June more »
In the comics series Phonogram, there’s a scene in which the – kind of horrible – pop DJ Seth Bingo and his indie collaborator Silent Girl are struggling to work a recalcitrant dancefloor into life. Their solution? “Play the Blondie!” – a copy of “Atomic” which literally glows as it’s withdrawn from its sleeve.
Every club and every DJ has this kind of record – the song you put on as an act of faith to galvanise the night, or as an act of celebration to help it to its peak. “Always On My Mind” has been one of mine. There comes a point whenever I play pop music to a crowd that I want to play the Pet Shop Boys, and the next question becomes, well, why not play this? more »
People in the Popular comments boxes are talking about “the canon”. I’m always quite curious as to which bits of the canon have ‘taken’ with a broadly pop-positive audience such as we have here. So here’s a poll, very easy to fill in, just say which of the Top 50 albums OF ALL TIME EVER you love. You can interpret how strong an attachment you want “love” to be, of course.
The list of albums is from Acclaimed Music, a kind of ‘metacanon’ which lists the top 3000 albums.
To make it more interesting, answer these questions in the comments box:
1. What’s the WORST record on this list?
2. Which of the records you ticked did you love first?
3. Which of them did you start to love most recently?
Here at Freaky Trigger we have realised that January has been a bit slow with output. A new year can put new strains upon our writers and what with Tom’s Guardian column and me embarking on a year without cinema, pickings have been slim. What was needed was something that would galvanise all the writers, a shared passion, a subject with suitable artistic depth that that everyone young or old could contribute to. When framed in those terms there was really only one possible subject that in 2010 needed the kind of re-evaluation and celebration that only FT could provide.
Manda Rin, Sci-Fi Steve and John Disco’s manifesto for a Teen-C Revolution may now be generally forgotten in the merry-go-round of the British charts, but after BIS WEEK you will have no more illusions of the vital importance of this small Scottish band at the turn of the millennium. Ground breaking, historic and influential in fields that may surprise you, BIS WEEK will demonstrate the tendrils of Fake DIY which have infiltrated nearly every facet of the arts. From film, to books, to reality TV, to even the British food revolution of the 00′s, Bis can be seen to be the secret architects of so much that makes current life so interesting. (Hell, I believe one of us may even suggest that Bis basically invented the internet). more »