Into The Valley Of Tat

Continuing NYLPM’s warts-and-all look at the sordid easy-come easy-go life of that modern pariah, The Downloader.

ALCAZAR – “Dancefloor Docusoap”: In Europe Alcazar are treated as living gods and no wonder if they can come up with titles like this. The problem with having called your song “Dancefloor Docusoap” is that your lyrics are likely to demand attention, which in turn may well detract from the actual ‘dancefloor’ bit. I think they’re actually talking about “Dancefloor Reality TV” anyway. The best part of this song is the guy whispering “You’ve been Alcazarized!”.

TRANCE DANCE – “Jungleland”: Yes of course I picked this because I hoped it was a cover of Springsteen’s “Jungleland” (and how great is that song? The man who could make it work as disco could have his pick of worlds). Anyway it isn’t, it’s 80s Europop with some faintly regrettable ‘funky licks’ on the guitar and a voice which I can’t quite place but isn’t too far off “Pop Muzik” by M. The chorus is a minor classic of chest-beating period nonsense. Jungle noises enliven the second half.

BUSTED – “Thunderbirds Are Go”: Busted’s new single was announced as “3AM” with this movie song on the B-Side but a quick glance at the airplay figures has pushed the two sides onto more even footing. Busted embody the pop battleground in a single band – some of their singles are pacy hooksome froth loved by all mankind; some of them are semi-skimmed lovelorn grunge, doubtless sincere and totally awful. This release pairs the crassest and realest sides of the ‘Sted and surprise, crassness wins even if the boys sound a bit embarrassed to be singing “You’d just be a fool to be a bad guy”. This has grown on me enormously and people buying me drinks on Thursday night should make sure the CD is well hidden first.

ALCAZAR – “Tears Of A Clone”: Actually this is an even better title than “Dancefloor Docusoap” and a much better song too, a Patrick Cowley-styled electro-disco lament for a world in which science and nightclubs have GONE MAD. Alcazar: they can do ballads too. (I think this song may be rather subtle and clever but I can’t be bothered teasing the meaning out, it’s good though!)

SOMEONE WHO ISN’T JANE WIEDLIN – “Rush Hour”: Rare is the happy hardcore cover version that can’t bring at least a brief smile to my face. In the instant-gratification world of the downloader such chuckles are only a click away. This is a distinctly superior example (“RUSH Hour” do you see!!) though its euphoric non-cover bit is ah melodically basic even by hardcore standards. The hook stands up well and they actually bother to chipmunk the verses too (always a bonus). Fades into version of “Together In Electric Dreams” which sounds equally marvellous.

DR ALBAN – “U And Mi”: The first few seconds sound like Mercury Rev! Then some rentasinger does a bit – which sounds made up on the spot – about being together as one like a family. Then the song decides not to get going after all and goes into a wub-wub-wub thing a la “Doomsnight” (except not as bassy). THEN Dr Alban starts his usual kindly-Uncle-finger-wagging thing and all is right with the world. Except it isn’t or he wouldn’t need to sing about it. “Arab man and Jewish man get mix up”, advises Dr A before discussing his round the world DJ tour with Denniz Pop. “We eat and chat, rub-a-dub together.”

ABBA – “Happy Hawaii”: ABBA in their less dark moods share with Dr.Alban a charming easy-going mundanity: here they’re off to Hawaii. “Alice has been there, she said it was fun”. The tune is the same as one I can’t remember off Arrival but this is better, a Beach Boys tribute with some fabulously shimmering 70s soft rock guitar. Even here there is shadow – “After what I’ve been through I’m making no plans”. There is something to enjoy about almost every ABBA song. Wave noises. Marvellous.

SOME CONMAN – “The Legend Of Zelda (Happy Hardcore Mix)”: Give it a rest. Not even hardcore, may not even be Zelda. What a gyp. May try and get Sarah to identify this.

RUSLANA – “Wild Dances”: due to being at a pub on Eurovision night I’m very late to this. It reminds me of Andrew WK! A worthy winner. An email has been going round offices showing Ruslana performing at Eurovision with no knickers.

Next Episode: More from The Grid, bit of equal-opportunities Soca, much hardcore bollox, boy love, etc.