May 20

The People’s Pop Poll: Day 1

FT5 comments • 623 views

These are the groups for Day 1 of the People’s Pop Poll! Obviously it contains SPOILERS for the day’s match-ups so if you’d prefer to be surprised read no further!

Division 1 GROUP 1:

THE BAND – “The Weight”: One of their best known tracks, inspired by Bunuel (so says Robbie Robertson), it’s been used in loads of films and was a No.21 hit. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFqb1I-hiHE

DAVID BOWIE – “Heroes”: Berlin ballad that gradually became his most famous song – regularly appears on best-songs-of-all-time lists. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXgkuM2NhYI 

ECHO AND THE BUNNYMEN – “The Killing Moon”: Lead single from Ocean Rain in 1984 and a Top 10 hit. “I know there’s not a band in the world who’s got a song anywhere near that” – Ian MacCulloch. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWz0JC7afNQ

THE WHITE STRIPES – “Fell In Love With A Girl”: Also a UK No.21 hit, and the signature Stripes track that isn’t “Seven Nation Army” – famous also for its delightful Michel Gondry lego video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTH71AAxXmM

Division 2 GROUP 1:

ALY AND AJ – “Potential Break-Up Song”: Disney Channel favourites Aly & AJ’s biggest hit, from 2007. We’ll rate the version with “violence and sexual innuendo” intact, thanks. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqpA5Acc8-c

CARLY RAE JEPSEN – “Your Type”: Third single from E-MO-TION (and a Top 50 smash in Belgium), this has racked up streams as a Carly Rae fan favourite. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlFMVzo9zuE

HAIM – “Falling”: Another band of sisters, with the third single from album monster hit Days Are Gone. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIjVpRAXK18

MIRANDA LAMBERT – “Vice”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zTlaRu_Wsl4: A number 2 country hit and the lead single from The Weight Of These Wings.

Division 3 GROUP 1:

THE GAP BAND – “You Dropped A Bomb On Me”: 1982 funk smash from the Wilson brothers, removed from the radio after 9/11 (for a bit, anyway). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17lkdqoLt44

PRINCE – “Sign O The Times”: State-of-the-nation 1987 Pazz & Jop winner with a surprisingly low number of Spotify streams. Not the last time we’ll be seeing Prince. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8EdxM72EZ94

THE SPINNERS – “Could It Be I’m Falling In Love?”: Swoonsome Thom Bell-produced 1972 hit for the veteran soul group. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8EdxM72EZ94

STARDUST – “Music Sounds Better With You”: A return bout for this Number 2 UK hit from Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter. Can it go further this time? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQlAEiCb8m0

Division 4 GROUP 1:

ABBA – “The Visitors”: Ominous title track of the Swedes’ final album (and a hit single in some places). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvQOA0fznrA

EIGHTH WONDER – “I’m Not Scared”: Pet Shop Boys written hit for Patsy Kensit’s band, includes a bit in French. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-PYqUHfTMA

THE HUMAN LEAGUE – “The Things That Dreams Are Made Of”: Our first album track! The opening track on 1981 synthpop colossus Dare. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehYU6p3aIZQ

MADNESS – “Wings Of A Dove”: The Nutty Boys do gospel (and drive a van out of a plane). Narrowly left off the No.2s poll. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MReDjx1FIaE

Division 5 GROUP 1:

FEMME – “Fever Boy”: Cult pop act FEMME’s 80s-tinted second single, from 2013 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XomrEeZiNj8

PARIS HILTON – “Screwed”: The only track in the poll detourned by Banksy, this was Paris’ first leaked song from her 2016 LP. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=moZm9rHgJns

POPPY – “Don’t Go Outside”: Isolation ballad from 2020’s pop/nu-metal LP I Disagree. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yeRuFdgrwuY

VANESSA CARLTON – “Blue Pool”: Single and title track from the “1000 Miles” hitmaker’s 2015 LP. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-XOmUlIIHI

Division 6 GROUP 1:

ALLO DARLIN’ – “The Polaroid Song”: Second single from the London indiepop act fronted by Elizabeth Murray. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=un4e4VN1ANE

ASH – “Warmer Than Fire”: Download-only single from the Northern Irish indie rockers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aevMTf2fm4E

SOMETHING HAPPENS – “Parachute”: 1990 single from the Dublin band, a lead-in to their major label debut LP. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cuLcCmj4vMY

THROWING MUSES – “Delicate Cutters”: Finishing off today’s polls with the closer from Kristin Hersh’s band’s 1986 self-titled debut. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZAX9WzAr-I


  1. 1
    Tom on 6 May 2020 #

    Post-results notes:

    Group 1 – Bowie (46%) and Echo (26%) through. I anticipated Bowie walking this one but thought it would be a lot tighter between the White Stripes and Echo tracks; underestimated how big a Bunnymen track “The Killing Moon” is, or perhaps overestimated the selectorate’s admiration for the Stripes after years of Jack White nonsense.

    Group 2 – HAIM (38%) and Carly Rae Jepsen (33%) qualified. Pleased that it was close at the top but a bit surprised at the strength of HAIM here, an example of where ok-but-a-bit-lukewarm response within my bubble doesn’t track to the slightly wider world. (I’d predicted Carly Rae would take the group fairly easily). The Miranda Lambert track is excellent and had an unfortunate draw.

  2. 2
    Mark M on 6 May 2020 #

    The Killing Moon got a second lease of life from Donnie Darko, and subsequently turns up on a lot of TV dramas because some people are very lazy. Also, the Bunnymen did quite well around the world, and I know you have an international following…

    Never got the appeal of the White Stripes, so I don’t know if people have gone off them.

    Gutted that Potential Break-Up Song made such an early exit.

  3. 3
    Tom on 6 May 2020 #

    Group 3 – Prince (49%) and Stardust (24%) got through. I messed this one up. Not because of the actual results, but because I thought that the recent inclusion of Stardust in the #2s poll would put more people off it and create a fairer fight with the Gap Band and Spinners, both of whose tracks are fantastic and who have been badly done by. Prince was always going to win it, but I maybe should have tried to find another berth for “Music Sounds Better With You”.

    Group 4 – ABBA (29%) and The Human League (27%) qualified. This, on the other hand, worked entirely as designed i.e. it was agonising and horribly close. If anything I was expecting Eighth Wonder – being a PSB-written track – to make it more of a 4-way fight. I would have been sad to see any 2 of these go out, so sorry Patsy, Suggs et al.

  4. 4
    Tom on 6 May 2020 #

    Group 5 – Poppy (33%) and FEMME (23%) qualified. The lowest voting totals and for most of the running the tightest group – the former was expected as this is one of the niche-iest groups (yes, everyone’s had about a million streams but not, I suspect, from the poll voters). After an overnight surge for Poppy, FEMME beat Vanessa Carlton by a single vote.

    Group 6 – Throwing Muses (38%) and Allo Darlin’ (34%) qualified. Early on it looked like name recognition was going to push Ash through easily at the expense of Allo Darlin’ but again, things shifted overnight. I don’t know how much of the Muses’ easy win is down to being more famous or down to the song, which is unusually intense for a pop poll winner but didn’t face especially stringent competition. Anyhow I don’t feel much injustice took place here…

  5. 5
    Mark M on 6 May 2020 #

    Re4: I’ll admit I voted for Delicate Cutters in deference to me at 17 – it’s not the kind of music I’d readily listen to nowadays (Hunkpapa/Real Ramona-era Muses occasionally). Also, reading Kristin Hersh’s memoir of 85/86 a few years back reignited my fond memories of them.

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