Posts from 27th September 2001

Sep 01

Last Plane to Jakarta

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Last Plane to Jakarta is today and by some distance the best music zine on the ‘net and I’m ashamed for not having linked to it before. Truth to tell I didn’t look at it before because I knew it would be better than what I’m doing, and I was right. Reason enough to try a bit harder.

Couldn’t Life Ever Be Sane Again?

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What is “Panic” about? Dismissed and attacked since its release as small-minded, or snobbish, or even borderline racist, The Smiths’ anti-disco broadside continues to intrigue. On this thread, The Pinefox calls it a “yoking of two ideas” – a revolutionary fantasia and an attack on dance music – and claims that it’s the second of the two that’s made the press running ever since. What he doesn’t ask is how these ideas might fit together.

The origin of the record, also as described on ILM, is Morrissey’s hearing a Radio 1 DJ playing a bit of pop fluff (Wham, apparently) after initial reports of the Chernobyl disaster. This horrified him, and I’ve always heard the song’s verses literally – a vision of England not in revolution but in catastrophe, and a vision tinted with disgust at the ghastly gulf between the potential severity of, well, everything and the shiny escapism of pop. A pop The Smiths were and are tangled in – “Panic” still gets played in discos itself, week-in week-out.


various artists, “what’s going on?”

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“what’s going on?” is a great song: it was great for our parents; it’s great listening still for us; and it’s especially great if you’ve got a cause. any cause, really. it could be aids, it could be helping victims of terrorism (or, to be more politically correct, victims of failed u.s. military policy in the mid-east). leave it to bono to realize: “bloody hell, it could be BOTH!”

and, oh yes, it is. “what’s going on?” features an a-list of stars, though, really, who let the guy from savage garden in?; if you couldn’t be on tribute to heroes, you’re on here. (if you couldn’t be on here, you’re on the montel williams (!) helmed “we are family”; God knows what michael jackson is doing with his “what more can i give?”; even elvis is reaching from beyond the grave, releasing a single of previously released material such as “if i can dream”) an incredible array of talent — the backstreet boys to nas; britney spears to nelly — take on an incredible song and the results are…well, incredibly bland. a fellow more churlish than myself would say: “surely, the victims have been through enough!” it’s no “voices that care” but it’s still better than “hands across america” — can someone remind me of what that whole thing was about? — and i hope it sells lots and lots of copies and gives equal help to the victims of 9/11/01 and the victims of aids in the african sub-continent.