Posts from 1st September 2020

Sep 20

#2: My head’s to the wall and I’m lonely

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A bracket dominated by indiepop – some established at this point, some emergent, some doing things a little differently. There was a lot of this stuff about in 2001; it found a natural home on internet mailing lists and proto-blogs, and if the bigger music press names kept it at arms length, plenty of new websites were cropping up to celebrate it.

I’ve mixed the big names and tracks with stuff I didn’t recognise by sight. In some cases this has meant a blurring of genre lines – for instance, Weeping Willows’ “Touch Me” has the self-obsession and airy post-Morrissey vocals that fit the bracket, but its more muscular guitar chug feels like it could be from a few years later, mixing it up with the Kaisers and the Killers.

#1: La la la la la la-la-la

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This bracket is for what you might call ‘pure pop’, though in the 2001 context that has very uncomfortable overtones, since the stuff in here – Kylie, Steps, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, and others – is mostly music that’s resisting the pull of R&B we’ll see elsewhere. Mainstream pop, maybe – or just traditional pop, pop that’s at least friendly to the tween audience of Smash Hits or Saturday morning TV.

2001: A Poll Odyssey

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As you probably know, I’ve been entertaining myself – and others, it seems – by running themed music polls on Twitter. The next one is based on the year 2001 – participants have picked 256 tracks which I’ve divided into 16 roughly genre-based brackets.
The last year poll we did was on 1990. This one will be very different. 1990 was the year I turned 17, I was paying close and voracious teenage attention to music and had a strong sense of what mattered and why the year was important. In fact one of the most interesting things about the poll was talking to people who thought 1990 pretty much sucked. What I heard as thrilling cross-fertilisation as pop came to terms with house and hip-hop played to them as embarrassing bandwagon-jumping or a lack of focus.