Posts from 5th March 2002

5
Mar 02

POP-EYE 3/3/02

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POP-EYE 3/3/02

Mist, velveteen and thick, slowly expanded to take up the space where previously merely fresh air lived. It rolled over this – the oldest of rivers its thick oily river snaking between the south of his past and the north of his even further past. His future – well that would be decided on the bridge. The light dimmed, the crisp indigo blue of the sky replaced a blackout curtain of night – turned brown by the streetlights. And from the tinny headphones in his ears ran down the ever ebullient Mark Goodier, trying to make this weeks countdown sound exciting. Records had been broken, superlatives could not sum up the historic moment we were about to hear. More singles sold in one week than ever before, more even than Band Aid. Truly for our man hustling against the mist and the cold – this must me a great moment to re-enter society. Culture, the true culture of the 21st, was going to start here.

And then he heard Will Young. Evergreen. For a second, when Goodier in his practiced tones of Radio One smarmery, our hero had feared that this was a remake of the Barbra Steisand hit. Once he heard it he wished he had. A duller piece of pop he had never heard, had this Will Young (not a pop star name by a yard) had won Pap Idol. And with this, he hit the centre of the Millennium Bridge and flung himself. Thus being the first suicide on that newly opened bridge.

Evergreen is rubbish. Its a double A side and Evergreen is the better track. They could have released Will singing any of Jonathon King’s novelty blockbusters and they would have gone to number one though – even with all the King negative publicity. Will, for all of his looking a bit like a monkey, looks like a nice chap and hence shall be chewed up and spat out by the pop machine within six months. For someone to be a Pop Idol we need to idolise him, not be his mate – or even worse want to be his mum. I’m not arguing for authenticity in pop – Christ knows that’s impossible – but a rubbish single with a cover which looks like Morrissey with a lobotomy. I ask you.

At least Shakira looks nice on the cover of her record. South Americas answer to Britney Spears – why does everyone need an answer to what is obviously not a question. This is an interesting record because while it gets by on not doing anything spectacular; its collection of thumps, hooks and panpipes at least sound a bit different to – say – Will Young’s by numbers production. Should it have been number one if Will had not been around? Any other year maybe not, but at the moment when the best number one of the year has been by a dead bloke – you have to wonder (and trust me kids – the end is not in sight).

Lasgo can see in my eyes that there is something I have to tell them. Its a sort of back handed compliment I guess. Perfectly acceptable daytime stadium house. It is as close as much dance gets to an old fashioned pop single. A high energy disco stomp which really does not want to be noticed. And yet it makes number four of our all new top five. The most interesting thing about Lasgo is how they got their name – from how a man without any teeth would pronounce Glasgow.

Right, let me get this straight. Just because I quite liked Movies by Alien Ant Farm does not make me the RAWK correspondent for NYLPM. As befits this denial – in a Methinks doth protesting too much way – I think Nickleback stink. You know why. Its because they are whinging. I only like rock when it is joyous I have no time for losers – as Queen once said. Alive by P.O.D. and Movies are upbeat. This Is How You Remind Me moans through its full portion of time – and reminds me of Pearl Jam. Still its an interesting comparison on the Kerrang sponsored Nickleback to the NME darlings The White Stripes whose – admittedly upbeat and hence preferable – slice of punk only pokes its head in at 21.

What’s this at number ten. Why its little Beverly Knight with her single “Tonight Matthew I’ll be Gabrielle”. Except she mistook the eyepatch for a Macy Gray wig. Shoulda Woulda Coulda is track two on any All Woman compilation, is pleasant and has the best title of any record in the top forty. Also in the same old same old department is Jamiroquai (is there really a band?) with Love Foolosophy. Paging DJ Do You See – it would not be such a painful pun if Love Fool was in anyway a proper phrase and not just a title thunk up by the Cardigans.

The lower reaches of the charts are indeed the breeding place for some povvy singles this week. The Lighthouse Family and their single “Run” (a joke requiring no further explanation). A dance version of Time After Time. Bubba Sparxx realising that everyone went – yeah he is Ugly – after his previous Timbaland effort tries reverse psychology with Lovely. No-one falls for it and the production is not quite Ugly.

Question. What do you call a Gorrillaz single without a remix.
Answer. Number 33. Ha ha ha. (It was this, beyond anything else which convinced our hero to not commit suicide where he was and strike out for the centre of town. Pity about what he found there.)

It’s obvious why this Pitchfork reviewer

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It’s obvious why this Pitchfork reviewer didn’t like the new Lambchop album – see for instance what he says about their last record, Nixon: “As the band’s makeshift orchestra performed horn and string swoops worthy of a Vegas-style lounge revue, Wagner’s lyrics and off-kilter vocals provided just enough of a wink to indicate we were all in on the joke, and that it was okay to enjoy the music of our grandmothers. (Hey, remember irony?)”. In other words, the reviewer looked at Lambchop not as a funny band – which they’ve always been and still are – but as a joke band. An easy trap to fall into, I know from experience, if you mostly listen to styles where the funny-serious borderline is rigidly patrolled.

I think Is A Woman is the best record I’ve heard so far this year. Its hooks are tiny barbs but they get to you just the same, and its off-centre supper-club ambience feels entirely charming. It’s a wonderful record for falling asleep to. Most of all, it feels like an entirely fitting progression for the band – most of Nixon was meandering and quiet, after all. The gradual stripping down of the music means that Lambchop’s country and soul inflections are now just gentle hints, memories of listening to something far off and long ago. The music Lambchop are making now, though, is entirely their own.