Tim asks the million $Australian question: why do some repetition-based tracks sound good and others not? My first thought is something Bill Drummond said in The Manual. He basically theorises a time when records which will come out which are identical and machine-tooled, and one will still be better than the other because of something which with requisite hipster embarrassment we will call ‘soul’.

Now the idea of ‘soul’ has become irredemably tied up with certain sets of stances and mannerisms, so it’s possibly best to either tie it tightly to a particular genre of vocal music or to ditch it entirely. But what Drummond is talking about, I can recognise, a kind of spark or spirit which animates good pop and leaves bad pop floundering. I suppose that it would be possible to isolate this spark, measure out how much of it is down to production and how much to context and how much to familiar buttons being musically pressed, etc. etc.

But I don’t think I’m very good at doing that – I’d prefer to leave it to the more introspective writers and concentrate on talking about the effects the spark has on you, and trying to find more examples of it. I’m also – sadly – aware of how uncomfortable even writing this kind of thing makes me, as if I’m about to devolve into some nodding old rockpress hippy any bloody minute.