Oct 15

S CLUB 7 – “Don’t Stop Movin'”

Popular78 comments • 7,019 views

#896, 5th May 2001

S Club DSM The unspoken advantage of kit-built pop groups, especially ones made for kids: they’re liberated from attempts to be cool. Often they don’t make full use of this potential. Some decide they want to be cool anyway. Some don’t, but never try for anything more than slush or formula. So why is it an advantage? Because it gives groups access to a toybox of sounds and poses they can use, combine and discard, severed from fashion. Vocoders, for instance, were actually in minor vogue at this point – Daft Punk had found a way to use them sentimentally – but S Club 7’s deployment of synthesised voices is a guileless joy. “Don’t stop movin’ to the S Club beat!”

Their upbeat hits are where the point of S Club 7 comes into focus. Like “Reach”, “Don’t Stop Movin’” is bold hooks and primary colours, an instant infant disco classic that’s just the right side of the line between obvious and banal. The division of vocal labour helps the track enormously – Jo a smooth and secure contrast to the more enthusiastic, slightly rawer Bradley. It’s a fine way of making male-and-female voiced pop work when you don’t need to frame it as a duet. The rest of “Don’t Stop Movin’” mixes the classy and cheesy in similar measure – glossy string punctuation next to sharp vocoder buzz. The results are endearing, an easy high point for the band – finding a space where they can be the likeable, bouncy everybodies they are on TV.



  1. 1
    Ronnie on 20 Oct 2015 #

    Knowing very little about S Club 7, these American ears hear a cool disco track being lowered by some dorktastic kid’s show singers, and I suspect the reviewer is coming at it from the opposite angle, a disco track elevating S Club 7 above their normal baseline.

  2. 2
    Revelator on 20 Oct 2015 #

    This is one of these songs that could have been pretty bad. Pop group goes ‘urban’… and also tries to do classic disco at the same time? While Bradley’s rapping is a bit kid’s TV presenter trying to sound street, it gets away with it on some genuinely committed singing. The really smart choice was limiting the lead vocals to two group members and giving them a good interplay, although Bradley does rather get lost towards the end (probably for the best). For all the potentially-cringy aspects of it, the vocals put in the effort, and at the time this should have sounded like a confident step forwards musically, not almost the last thing S Club 7 would release.

    This was also a real staple on youth-targeted pop radio at the time. I think it was one of those songs that achieved crossover respect as a party track. I was 13 at the time and within a few years it became clear that it had stayed popular with the alt music obsessives who had grown up knowing it. I regularly heard it at university parties programmed into Spotify playlists by twentysomethings you wouldn’t expect to be seen dead admitting they liked S Club 7 tracks.

    Listening to it again, I remember (just like with ‘Survivor’) how bad the radio speakers I tended to hear pop on at the time must have been – aged 13, I was in the target age but was really getting into classical at the time and never got a CD of it. I must have heard it dozens of times on radio but simply didn’t realise that the first line of vocoder was meant to be intelligible – I distinctly remember thinking how clever it was that you’d hear it first as some kind of keyboard, then you’d get that it was a processed voice recording when you heard ‘S Club beat.’ (Or did I get better at making out lyrics over the next few years?)

    It’s interesting production-wise as a case study of late pre-Timbaland pop, before minimal electronic production got into manufactured pop – the second death of disco, if you like.

  3. 3
    mapman132 on 20 Oct 2015 #

    This track could be looked at one of two ways:

    1) Isn’t the premise of the S Club 7 TV show that they’re supposed to be trying to break into the US market? If so, releasing a disco song in 2001 was a pretty big blunder. No way was this going to be a US hit at that time.

    2) OTOH, if the point is to sell records to British kids, I can see why this succeeded. Surprisingly catchy – this could almost define the words “guilty pleasure”. So yeah…6/10.

  4. 4
    thefatgit on 20 Oct 2015 #

    What jumps out for me is that the beat and bassline are supermarket own-brand “Billie Jean”. This reinforces Tom’s assertion that S Club’s “liberation from cool” allows them -ok, their producers- to raid pop’s spare parts bin without getting called out on it. Like many at the time, I heard this everywhere without paying much attention to it. Listening now, all I hear is immense mashup potential. Obviously a Good Thing! (7)

  5. 5
    Cumbrian on 20 Oct 2015 #

    For Christmas 2001, a friend bought me a copy of The Manual – by no means an original version, it’s a very small (smaller than A5 – it fits in the back pocket of a pair of jeans) reprint of it. I set to reading it and had just finished the middle section – arguably the least dated bit that goes on about the suggested structure of a single – when the TOTP Christmas edition came on and I noticed DSM is, absolutely, single making via The Manual. You can almost literally tick the chapters off as the song goes by – even as #4 notes, the use of the Billie Jean, or a close variant thereof, to build the groove is called out in the relevant chapter.

    It’s not because of The Manual that I love it but I do nevertheless. There’s something joyful about it, particularly in the Jo sung pre-chorus, that I just never got from any of the similarly disco inspired UK pop hits of around this time. It’s way better than a 6, I reckon. 8 or 9 for me – the best thing that any of the mixed gender British pop bands ever did.

  6. 6
    Steve Williams on 20 Oct 2015 #

    #2 Not sure about it being one of the last things they’d release, we’ve got another two years of S Club to come.

    I always take this an example of why radio playlists are a good thing, because Mark Radcliffe had to play this on daytime Radio 1 and a couple of weeks in had been completely won over and became quite an enthusiastic champion of it, I remember he would always take any opportunity over the next few years to shoehorn it into the Cheesily Cheerful Chart Challenge and all other features. I used to love it when Scrawn used to be won over by a pop song like that, I recall he was a big fan of I Won’t Change You by Sophie Ellis-Bextor among others.

  7. 7
    Tommy Mack on 20 Oct 2015 #

    My brother and I were so taken with this we swore we were going to cover it but by the time we got another band together times had changed.

    7 or maybe 8 for me.

  8. 8
    Mark G on 20 Oct 2015 #

    Well, I was fully expecting this to be a nine or ten. Its one of a select number of perfect pop tunes, feelgood without being cheesy, and dancepop without losing the soul element. Even manages to get a Michael Jackson backing beat without blatant thievery or watering it down too much.

    Anyway, it was way better than anyone could reasonably expect, and I did hope this would continue. It didn’t, really, but hey. Ten from me.

  9. 9
    Chelovek na lune on 20 Oct 2015 #

    Such good fun to dance or listen to, unpretentious, uncomplicatedly joyful. Only downside: the branding in the lyrics (“the S Club beat” – which is as naff as Craig David constantly being name-checked in his discs round about this time, but still, neither as intrusive nor as unconvincing as their earlier claim about the superlative uniqueness of an “S Club Party”. Although there really is something far too bland and wholesome about the group for words, they could make more than a half-decent pop record when they put their minds to it, and usually when they sped the beat up a bit, too.

    As successful on the dancefloor as any number of immeasurably more “credible” tracks from the 70s.

    Gotta be an 8, at least, for me.

  10. 10
    AMZ1981 on 20 Oct 2015 #

    Obviously this was S Club 7’s biggest hit at the time although Reach has probably proved more enduring (Don’t Stop Moving was a disco favourite at the time but it’s a while since I heard it). It was their crossover hit and the seventh biggest selling single of a year where the `proper` hit single made a comeback. It’s nothing special, just a good pop song and its success really proved how few and far between good pop songs were in 2001.

    It could be added that Don’t Stop Movin’ didn’t cross over overnight as it had two non consecutive weeks at the top, split by a fortnight.

    It was also an impossible single to follow and with hindsight the beginning of the end. There is another bunny to come but only four more singles overall and all their better known songs were now behind them.

  11. 11
    IP on 20 Oct 2015 #

    The pinnacle of naff. 10.

  12. 12
    swanstep on 21 Oct 2015 #

    It’s OK I suppose. Obvious roughly contemporary (inescapable-on-MTV) points of comparison include Backstreet Boys’ ‘Larger than Life’, Aguilera’s remixed ‘Come On Over’, and Madonna’s ‘Music’ (which got the same Tom-score). When you play DSM back to back with those (as I just did), there’s nothing wrong with it, it’s just less hooky/memorable/committed than those. DSM does feel slightly amateurish and enthusiasm-driven overall and kit-set in the backing track but those features could easily be seen/heard as selling-points and as a virtue given S Club’s putting-on-a-kids-show origin and their consequently young-skewing fan base. For me, however, this is a step down from the other S Club hits (all of which have grown on me):

  13. 13
    lmm on 21 Oct 2015 #

    After the initial rush of music I remembered it’s getting harder to say anything. I know this, it was fun, it’s still fun – but this was also the time I started drifting in the metal directing.

  14. 14
    JLucas on 21 Oct 2015 #

    This definitely feels like S Club’s uptempo peak, and it endured as a student party classic for several years afterwards. Now that I’m staring into the harsh glare of my thirties, it’s a while since I’ve been to a student party, but if you hear an S Club song at a gay bar (and you probably will) it’s more than likely going to be this or Reach.

    I never quite loved it, as I never quite loved them – and severe overplay has dulled it’s sheen – but it’s as carefree and effortless-sounding (though obviously meticulously put together) a pop song as you’ll hear at the top of the charts in 2001. Despite the top ten success of Never Had a Dream Come True, it didn’t do a thing in America due to being very much in contrast to the prevailing mood at the time – it was due to be pushed to radio around September time there – though perhaps it was too European-sounding to have been a US hit in any context.

    A song in a very similar style to this that was a modest success in Europe but never crossed over here was Floorfiller by the A*Teens – another mixed-sex pop outfit that sold a few albums in America due primarily to TV popularity. I like that one a fair bit more.


  15. 15
    Andrew on 21 Oct 2015 #

    Sleevewatch: they’ve ditched the cheap and cheerful perma-grin Blue Peter vibe in favour of mood lighting, moody pouts and slightly more expensive-looking photography. I suppose this was supposed to be a subtle indicator that S Club had now Grown Up.

    Indeed, it was a big crossover. I can’t stand the term ‘guilty pleasure’, but there was definitely a feeling among hipster circles that this was pop it was ‘okay to like’. I remember NME were as wild for it as Smash Hits (although as far as I remember, to be fair, effusively so, not with a hint of irony).

    It was later voted ITV’s Record of the Year (a televised viewer-vote competition that ran from 1998 to 2012).

    I think the 6 a little mean :(

  16. 16
    wichitalineman on 21 Oct 2015 #

    “Enthusiasm-driven” is something I don’t get from many S Club records. Still, this sounds starchy to me. It makes me think of offices, and girls in grey suits. Photocopier fumes in the windowless room. An odd kind of party. Everything’s in the right place, but it’s too airless.

    Re Reach – is it on X Factor, or Strictly, or other shows I don’t watch? Because I never hear it anywhere and I’m confused as to why people think it’s S Club’s legacy hit. DSM, as others have already said, has always seemed to have been the S Club record it’s OK to like (though I’m personally much keener on Never Had a Dream Come True).

  17. 17
    Chris Barratt on 21 Oct 2015 #

    And in stark contrast to the hectoring ‘Survivor’ along comes a track that makes no apologies for being derivative and no attempt to be anything more than good time pop music, and won people over with its joie de vivre.
    I can’t pretend to have been a fan a S Club 7 – but then I was 27, and this new style of pop music for kids wasn’t made with me in mind. At their previous uptempo best – S Club Party, Reach – the pop music rose from it’s Tweenager origins into the nations playlists and parties. Don’t Stop Movin’ was something much better – so deft in construction that it could have been the work of a name producer, mated to a video that managed to successfully straddle the line of appealing to the S Club fanbase and beyond (not looking out of place amongst the ‘serious’ dance & R’n’B on the music channels), and cementing the girls (particularly Rachel Stevens) as (more than) ‘ok’ for the likes of FHM.
    It’s not earth-shattering in it’s brilliance, but the nuance, charm and deftness of touch made it’s chart life last all that summer (no mean feat for a single that charted at #1 at the end of April) and, nearing 15 years on, it still sounds one of the last great pop records.
    And, if not just because it’s one of the last mainstream ‘pop’ hits that doesn’t make me feel like I’ve moved to another planet, Oi’ll give it a 9.

  18. 18
    Ed on 21 Oct 2015 #

    I can’t remember anything else by the S Club, but I absolutely love this, and I am pleased to see quite a few people agree with me.

    I think DSM would have fitted perfectly on Discovery, released the following month. It pulls off a similar trick: taking the standard toolkit of turn-of-the-millennium disco, and doing something magical with it.

    A 9 for me.

  19. 19
    lonepilgrim on 21 Oct 2015 #

    what I enjoy most about this is the emulsion of professional production touchs combined but never quite gelling with the ‘enthusiastic’ vocals and generic lyrics. It creates a space for the song to breathe and let me in as an audience member, unlike ‘Survivor’ where, as much as I admire the song, I (thankfully) felt shut out from all the drama

  20. 20
    James BC on 21 Oct 2015 #

    #16 Reach has been an enduring staple of weddings and cheesy discos, at least in the circles I move in. I’ve never heard it on the X Factor.

    On this one, I like to imagine it’s Paul doing the vocoder.

  21. 21
    Andrew Farrell on 21 Oct 2015 #

    This would probably be an 8 or 9 by itself, but it’s also a great social song – the space mentioned in #19 can be filled up by a lot of your friends who know the words singing along at the top of their voices. There was a pop music night attached to this site when I came over to London in 2005, but another one that ran 2006-2010 was *named* Don’t Stop Moving, and so played this song every month. For that, an absolute 10.

  22. 22
    Tom on 21 Oct 2015 #

    Perhaps the reason I only mildly like this is that I never went to DSM! I’m sure it was played at Poptimism too, though. But most of my great “go out dancing” pop records of the 00s are yet to come.

    I think also it’s that – as the 2000 entries proved – I was a little less hot for the disco revival than a lot of people here. I love disco, but it seemed to me (and still seems) there were a lot more interesting and fun strands in early 00s pop than making a pretty good disco record. (I am horrible enough to find “Survivor” fun, in its way)

  23. 23
    wichitalineman on 21 Oct 2015 #

    Re 20: Thanks James. I’m guessing that means I’m showing my age. Though I wouldn’t be surprised to hear DSM at a wedding or similar do.

    Re 22: Horrible. Quite horrible.

  24. 24
    Lazarus on 21 Oct 2015 #

    Covered, quite effectively in a sort of rolling country-pop style, by The Beautiful South on their 2004 covers set ‘Golddiggas, Headnodders and Pholk Songs’ which I suppose ties in with previous comments about this being the one S Club song that got grudging respect from, let’s say, more credible quarters. ‘Reach’ is probably more of a wedding disco favourite but I’d sooner hear this one again – I also liked ‘Never Had a Dream’ and another slowie whose title escapes me for now but which was based around a classical melody.

  25. 25
    Erithian on 21 Oct 2015 #

    #16 – I googled “Photocopier fumes in the windowless room” to see if it was a lyric from St Etts that I’d not heard elsewhere. Cracking line. I can almost hear it in Morrissey’s voice.

  26. 26
    Phil on 21 Oct 2015 #

    An easy 8. It does very much the same cheerily fake imitation-of-pop thing that Pure and Simple did, but does it so much better. (I mean, Billy Jean is a good bassline, but it’s not just that.) I listened to it all the way through* – although I averted my eyes from the video – and it wasn’t a second too long. Fun.

    *I only made to 2:28 in Survivor – hope it doesn’t suddenly improve in the last minute.

  27. 27
    Phil on 21 Oct 2015 #

    Photocopier fumes in the windowless room,
    Spineless swine, demented…
    oh, hang on

  28. 28
    flahr on 21 Oct 2015 #

    A*Teens (#14) remind me through asterisk shenanigans of another, less successful TV-powered mixed-sex pop group, allSTARS*, who will grace the lower reaches of the Top 20 later this year. They were somewhat less credible than S Club 7.

  29. 29
    Steve Williams on 21 Oct 2015 #

    #15 Being named Record of the Year on ITV is another good example of its crossover success because that was almost always a massive fanbase-driven vote and usually won by Westlife, so for it to be won by something not by a boyband or a band with an enormous teenage fanbase who were prepard to vote a million times surely emphasises its immense popularity.

    The other thing I used to love about Record of the Year – I won’t link to the winners on Wikipedia cos of spoilers – was that it was based on a vote of the ITV regions, which meant a) they had to mention the ITV regions loads, which I always like and b) each region counted the same regardless of its size, which meant votes in the Channel Islands and Scottish Borders counted far more than a vote in London or the Midlands, so I always imagined record companies getting their pluggers to travel to Carlisle or Jersey to register loads of crucial votes.

  30. 30
    Mark M on 21 Oct 2015 #

    I’ll go with the apparent consensus on this – I like this more than Tom does, as indeed I like Survivor less. As somebody who warmed to disco late in life – in the late ’90s – it probably was well timed for me.

  31. 31
    JLucas on 21 Oct 2015 #

    #28 allSTARS really were to S Club what Scooch were to Steps. Didn’t they even have a short-lived TV show?

    ‘Things That Go Bump In The Night’ was brilliant though. I always enjoy digging it out around this time of the year.

  32. 32
    The Arn on 21 Oct 2015 #

    I know, as per Cumbrian’s comments at #5, that this is at some level deploying a lot of pop tricks – it’s a manufactured band surfing a disco revival wave with vocoders a go go – but dammit there’s a genuine joy to this that just bypasses my filter of scepticism and hits my reptile brain. It captures the wonder of dancing to a great song and catching someone’s eye. And what really makes it is the sort of British amateur ethic of the group, a whole lot of enthusiasm covering any vocal or musical limitations. Basically it’s the idealised essence of a great cheap, sweaty night when you first start clubbing, before adult cynicism gets in the way. And on that front, it can give older listeners a sense of nostalgia for a purer, simpler time so it’s a superior example of the sort of record standard histories paint over when remembering Top of the Pops, the showbiz performers aiming for universal appeal. Think the sub-Abba types like the Nolans or Brotherhood Of Man, the ones that cool couldn’t possibly let you like. Actually, seeing it as an updated I’m In The Mood For Dancing makes a lot of sense…

    Although if I’m being critical the chorus doesn’t quite come in with the impact it probably should have, it’s where the record lets the listener take a breather. So I can’t quite mark it as perfect but it’s a cheap high that felt like a great pop moment at the time. And the power of cheap music always wins over considered analysis.

  33. 33
    cryptopian on 21 Oct 2015 #

    I’ve been lurking a couple of months, so now seems like a good time to join the party (pun not intended). I would’ve been 9 when this hit, so I was bang in the middle of S Club’s core target demographic. Indeed, it’s one of the first songs I remember being a favourite of mine and listening again brought on a great wave of nostalgia. It’s one of those where the whole mood overrides my ability to think about it critically, so it would get a 7/8 from me.

  34. 34
    wichitalineman on 21 Oct 2015 #

    Re 32: I’m In The Mood For Dancing is a good comparison. But it’s no Attention To Me.

  35. 35
    Andrew Farrell on 21 Oct 2015 #

    #27 I think you’ll find it’s “Photocopier fumes in the windowless room / you and I together in the nuclear June.”

  36. 36


    The apex of “just good pop” Drowned in Sound users and Guardian columnists pretend to like as if someone held a gun to their heads. Essential hint: here, no-one’s holding a gun to anyone’s head.

    Except S Club themselves (and their writers) who commit pop’s cardinal sin: nobody should ever self-consciously try to make a “guilty pleasure” hit single that forces mandatory fun down everyone’s throats. Especially when it’s a genre as hypothetically unsnobbish and accepting as disco. You can’t chew that up, spit it out, and melt it down into lukewarm dumplings of “You must like this or you’re a humourless rockist vaccuum who goes to Halloween parties as yourself.”

    There’s a hell of a lot of great hooks here, and the band members have more breathing space from each other than the messy Bring it All Back. S Club’s biggest problem is, for a “light-hearted good clean fun for all the family” act, they were so didactic. “Ain’t no destination baby, we don’t even care” SHOULD be a great defining lyric to make a pop song great, but here it sticks out like a sore, apologetic thumb. There are a gazillion Popular songs past and future I love that, like DSM, are tacky, childish, clumsy, preposterous or over the top, or an “I couldn’t stand this lot in the past, but this is great..” scenario, and it’s fine to combine the “classy and the cheesy”, but the problem’s when, like DSM, you combine it with being so damn *needy*.

    Early 2001 (the crest of a slump in national emotional development that began with the death-or-glory hysterics of 1997) was a massively self-conscious time in UK pop culture, obsessively filing music of the past into “guilty”/”not guilty”/”funny hur hur” categories at sincerity and creativity’s expense, – i.e. when every bloody week on “I Love 19xx” the Bay City Rollers were defended by someone from Hollyoaks whilst Peter Kay mocked goth rock a la “ha ha, freaks with silly make up” despite probably never having heard a full Siouxsie and the Banshees or Cure* album, never mind Bauhaus.

    And many who went crazy for DSM are the same disengaged hordes – it’s a lack of engagement out of desperation to get some charm from an era of nu-gruel-metal and reserves of Coldplay or Hear’say. But there’s also a slippery slope from that to today’s sea-nominated hipsters who run finger painting classes and school dinners themed restaurants for grown adults. And the tedious Students’ Union Mighty Boosh fans who run club nights called “100% Cheese” or “absolute shite.”

    4/10. It’s dropping to a 2 if it’s a rainy day tomorrow, though.

    * I know they’re not strictly goffs but it’s late so don’t be, er, toffs.

  37. 37
    weej on 22 Oct 2015 #

    Very that hasn’t been covered upthread, so I’ll just say that DSM is a joy, but never a transcendent one. 7/10

  38. 38
    Phil on 22 Oct 2015 #

    #36 “Oh why does no one listen when I say/Hang the DJ…”

    This is dated now – and was never published anywhere – but I still like bits of it. That bit in particular.

  39. 39
    Andrew on 22 Oct 2015 #

    #24 the very pleasant and charming Natural, based on Pavane by Fauré.

    Little Mix used the same sample recently on a track called Little Me, to much less effect (I like LM a lot but it’s easily their dullest single).

  40. 40
    Tommy Mack on 22 Oct 2015 #

    #36/38 – Christ, I hated the whole student “cheese” thing with a passion and unlike most things I thought and believed when I was 19, I don’t now think I was wrong.

    How bereft is a generation that, at the tender age of 18, can seemingly enjoy music only through a blanket of sneering irony? It also put me off loads of good pop like Queen, Abba and Dexys because it was always lumped in with ‘so bad it’s good’ shite like Vanilla Ice.

    School Disco – remember that? Utterly bizarre: 18-year old kids getting nostalgic for school when they were at school about three months ago. Actually, not getting nostalgic for their own schooldays but getting nostalgic for other, older people’s re-appropriated stylised memories of their childhood. (Also I was told you were guaranteed a snog if you went so I went and I stood on my own and I left on my own and I went home etc etc)

    I suppose the nostalgia boom was so all-pervasive at the time that it spilled over of those too young and naive to understand that you have to live your present in order to have a past about which to later become nostalgic! The best you can say about it is that it probably inadvertently turned some people on to some great pop records they otherwise wouldn’t have heard.

    Members of Imperial’s Alternative Music Society (shudder!) formed LACTOSE: League Against Cheese Taking Over Student Entertainment which would have been brilliant if they hadn’t been a sneery bunch of dicks who just wanted the student bar for themselves to play Mogwai records to ten of their mates. (This did not include me, I was TOO EDGE even for Alt-Soc…)

    All that said, I enjoyed S Club 7 then and I enjoy them now. There’s a joyousness to their cheap and cheerful records. I don’t think they’re cheesy because stuff that got labelled as Cheese tended to be hamfisted attempts at cool from previous generations (Vanilla Ice, MC Hammer, Bon Jovi etc) “OMG, what were they thinking?” etc. S Club 7 were never trying to be cool, they were just trying to make children dance. I don’t think they, or their writers/producers were setting out to make a smirking disco pastiche on this or a Motown pastiche on Reach, they were just trying to make great pop and the limits of their talents were such that they reached for obvious touchstones and still made good pop.

    I wrote a passionate Op-Ed piece in Felix about how the indie kids shouldn’t be so sneering about pop and the cheese bunch should make an effort to expand their musical tastes. It was all a bit pious, I’ll freely admit, though well-intentioned. I’m not sure that the breaking down of boundaries ‘tween mainstream and underground since then has had a net positive effect on the quality of popular music: it’s a weird thing, tribalism is silly at best and positively dangerous at worst but it does tend to go hand in hand with fecund periods in pop music and the auxiliary creativity around pop music (fanzines, fashion etc).

    Bit of a tangent there, a few ideas I’d been mulling over for years and it took the genius of S Club 7 to tease them out…

  41. 41
    JLucas on 22 Oct 2015 #

    #39: ‘Natural’ (probably my favourite S Club record as it goes) is actually an English-language cover of ‘Tous les maux d’amour’, a French top ten hit for Norma Ray in 1999 which was also built around the Pavane sample.


  42. 42
    Phil on 22 Oct 2015 #

    Also I was told you were guaranteed a snog if you went so I went and I stood on my own and I left on my own and I went home etc etc

    Things You’re Least Likely To Hear From A FT Commenter: “ah yes, the Smiths, I’ve heard of them – were they any good?”

  43. 43
    Tommy Mack on 22 Oct 2015 #

    Phil @ 42: Funnily enough it was probably around then that I was first grudgingly getting into The Smiths. As a younger teen I’d found Morrissey’s solo stuff dull then I’d heard he was a racist, then I’d read Steven Wells hilariously defaming him so it took a while for me to come round to actually liking The Smiths!

  44. 44
    Ed on 22 Oct 2015 #

    Emily Nussbaum, the peerless TV critic of the New Yorker, made the good point recently that there are some pleasures that genuinely are – or should be – guilty. Reality shows was her example: talent contests and docu-soaps that are diverting and sometimes gripping entertainment, but that can also involve real misery for their manipulated “stars”.

    The musical equivalent, I suppose, is songs that are appealing even though (or because) they express toxic impulses: ‘Under My Thumb’, ‘Straight Outta Compton’, er, ‘Survivor’.

    Perhaps it would be a good idea if we re-branded those songs as guilty pleasures, and left S Club 7 out of it.

    (It also reminds me of the way our moral language has been completely co-opted by all this care of the self bullsh*t, as in the fantastic Amy Schumer sketch where she and her friends talk about how “good” and “bad” they’ve been, based entirely on what they have eaten.)

  45. 45
    Ed on 22 Oct 2015 #

    Also, with all due respect to Tommy Mack @40, Vanilla Ice, MC Hammer and Bon Jovi were all great, at least at their one-hit wonder peaks.

    I agree with you on the whole “cheese” thing, which is awful, and I am deeply grateful I was too old for School Disco. But I think the motivations here are a bit subtler than you suggest.

    As I’ve written here before, in the context of The Doors, the mixed emotion of “this is silly but also awesome” is one of the most fundamental responses to pop. I mean, even Mogwai are pretty funny if you look at them the right way. I don’t think that acknowledging the ridiculous aspects of a performer or a song – the cheese – is in any way a bar to genuinely enjoying them.

  46. 46
    Tom on 22 Oct 2015 #

    “Cheese” (like GPs, its big brother) is born out of an essentially conservative impulse, but one that reflects a real and widespread anxiety. Like Tommy Mack hints above, it’s an attempt to maintain musical hierarchies in a world where the existing ways of maintaining them (scarcity and critical gatekeepers, which created distinctions between the ephemeral and the lasting) are breaking down. Let’s open the floodgates of availability, fire up the invisible jukebox, but the (temporary) compromise is that we have to accept that some pop is simply lower caste.

    There are other – more respectable maybe? – responses to this anxiety too. Expanding the net of gatekeeping – no longer is 100 albums enough for a list, it has to be 1001, 6000, or 10,000. And bringing pop within the ambit of critical respectability – like this site does. But these are still cousins of the “Cheese” impulse, I’d say, doomed attempts to maintain at least something of the old order.

  47. 47
    Ed on 22 Oct 2015 #

    @46 Agreed. But in defence of Tommy Mack’s callow 18 year-olds, I think you could make the case that an enthusiasm for cheese can actually subvert those hierarchies.

    In the context of a group of new students thrown together for the first time, uncertain of how to negotiate all the complex social signals encoded in musical taste, I can see that “ironic” enthusiasm could be a useful tactic. Counterfeiting an air of superior detachment is a way to earn permission – from others and from yourself – to enjoy music that you would otherwise be ashamed of.

  48. 48
    Mark M on 22 Oct 2015 #

    Re47: I was thinking along those lines – that those nights played a lot of music that people actually liked, regardless of the rationalisation.

    My question is: when did the self-consciously ‘trashy’ student disco thing start? It was certainly felt well-established when I got to Leeds in 1989.

  49. 49
    Phil on 22 Oct 2015 #

    In 1988 I went back to the old college and was startled to see a poster for a “school disco” type event – startled, because the poster was promising the likes of Showaddywaddy, whose big hits dated back to my school days; the first-years of 1988 would just have been starting primary school. It was as if the mid-70s had been retrospectively claimed as everybody’s embarrassing teenage years.

  50. 50
    Tommy Mack on 23 Oct 2015 #

    #45: I wasn’t really saying Ice, Hammer and Jovi were awful (although in Vanilla Ice’s case I was earlier when I described his music as shite!) I was saying that they fall victim to the sneer of the ‘cheese’ malaise because they were once cool or at least shooting for something that could be considered cool at least by an audience naive to hipper notions of cool. Whereas S Club 7 are surely immune from such in that they were never cool in anyone’s books. Although maybe if you were 5, S Club 7 were cool so maybe a ten year old would feel edgy sneering at a 5-year old’s enthusiasm for S Club. Everyone else gets guiltless pleasure by virtue of being so removed from the childhood layers of cool and uncool that it collapses on a singularity of ‘fun’.

    I’d say Bon Jovi were frequently silly but awesome but not on Living On A Prayer which is just boring (and manages talk-box guitar and union busting within its opening half minute).

    #47 and 48 are very perceptive: I for myself went to plenty of the cheese nights but always wearing a sub Robbie ironic smirk so anyone properly cool watching would realise I was above it all. I can’t understand why I didn’t pull back then…

  51. 51

    Haha, I created a monster.

    To be fair, I was also 15/16 in 2001 so my pride/embarrassment and “tune!”/”faeces for the ears” yin and yang were at all-time extremes. If I twigged an amazing guitar solo on a relatively ordinary indie-rock hit like My Vitriol – Always Your Way, I’d replay it for days, in love. If I was enjoying, say, If Ya Wanna by S&M and the Noise Next Door are Absolute Nuggets, when I heard the lyric “Do it, do it, do it to me baby” it felt like a complete stranger walking into my house, taking a leak on my birthday cake. To paraphrase Linkin Park, every slightest sense of cheese, don’t want “One Step Closer*”, want The Edge, a rockist’s Welcome Break.

    Hence why the mid-90s were a procession of dignified “sixes” – even for Cotton Eye Joe and nearly everything post-31 August 1997 has been a “9” or a “2.” That’s puberty for you. Also, someone a few months ago mentioned a startling generation gap with pop-punk (i.e. how nearly all his friends three years younger put Blink-182 in the canon, but his own year group have almost no interest.) Green Day, the Offspring and Sum 41 have a great appeal to crude teenagers even past skate park age, and the genre is older than acid house or grunge! – but being those crucial few years older, I just couldn’t engage with S Club 7, Steps or the All*Stars. Trying to like Don’t Stop Moving felt like I was punching below my weight, retreating when I wanted to see the world, and whilst many childhood favourites I haven’t grown out of – i.e. Tintin, Sensible Soccer, shouting “Contenders, you shall go on my first whistle!” this felt a bit like asking my mum to make fish fingers, Alphabites and spaghetti hoops for tea. (I was also, for my sins, a Stella-supping, FHM***-reading bigmouth with mild Burnley hooligan tendencies, but a slightly bigger bookshelf than the average “lad.”)

    But someone a few years older than me might say similar things about 2 Unlimited, Corona and Haddaway. Then again, by the time we get to Bunnies Aloud, in real life I’ll have reached adulthood and once again my pop fundamentalism will have relaxed into “Just enjoy it and take it for what it is, don’t be a Q-worshipping prick!!!”

    I remember reading a broadsheet feature about School Disco the day Year 11 of Bentham School had their leaving do in Tristan Hey’s garage. I thought “Damn, I’ve missed out on all that carefree behind-the-bike-sheds fun as I was a pussy who left my local comp and went to this private school in the middle of nowhere with only 70 people, 65 of whom who said I was the school Boo Radley**!” But somehow, Clitheroe Grammar Sixth Form provided that anyway. Plenty more on that later.

    Talking about “getting nostalgic for other, older people’s re-appropriated stylised memories of their childhood”, it’s a little bizarre seeing 16, 17 year olds dressing like the Fresh Prince (clean, normcore, vintage sportswear look) or Kelly Kapowski (floral bustier crop tops, high jeans, see also: the video for bunny #1258) – my mind’s always rooted those shows in 8-bit, unmistakably American, LA the centre of the universe 1990-94.. though just like Phoenix Nights with Northern England in 2001/02, they provided daft, sunny, carefree optimism in a time of destructive race riots (and bad second-division grunge) :-/

    I think a way to destroy the “guilty pleasures” taste gulag from the inside would be having an “anti-cheese” night where everyone had to listen to white noise remixes of Animal Collective B-sides which had so much distortion they made your throat turn into popping candy****, and nobody was allowed in unless they had “>75% angular” haircuts.

    * The S Club Juniors one!
    ** Both the Harper Lee and Britpop one.
    *** I had both Rachel and Hannah’s posters on my wall back then. This might be another reason for not joining in the DSM love-in, out of guilt for playing the shallow, pervy, cat-calling builder.
    **** Didn’t this happen at early Jesus and Mary Chain gigs?

  52. 52
    will on 23 Oct 2015 #

    Re 48: When did the student trashy disco thing start? Didn’t G*** G******’s comeback start in the early 80s on the university circuit..?

  53. 53
    Phil on 23 Oct 2015 #

    Patrick M, you’re making me feel old and unhip, all over again. I wonder if there’s something about the particular age gap involved (viz. 25 years), or if anyone born after 1970 would baffle me in the same way if they really got going.

    Mind you, on reflection I’ve been feeling old and unhip since the autumn of 1980. We’d had punk, OK, and power pop (which never really happened), then there was that mad brief wave of bands like Neon, and then there was Magazine and Public Image Ltd, and Desperate Bicycles and Scritti Politti and the whole d-i-y scene, then there was Closer and Metal Box… and generally speaking I felt like I knew what was going on.

    Then all of a sudden I didn’t. I’m not going to slate Davy Henderson, here of all places, but it was something of a turning-point for me when a friend and I admitted to each other that we didn’t actually like the Fire Engines. And Peel, at the time, seemed to be playing little else. We still had the Fall, but it wasn’t the same.

    In retrospect that was when I started focusing on more idiosyncratic & ostentatiously grown-up bands like Sudden Sway and Wire, and on people who were basically singer-songwriters, although I would have rejected the label at the time (Ed Kuepper/Laughing Clowns, Jackie Leven/Doll by Doll, Cope/TX, Costello). 1980: the year the New Wave stopped making sense.

  54. 54
    Tommy Mack on 23 Oct 2015 #

    #51 – “Trying to like Don’t Stop Moving felt like I was punching below my weight, retreating when I wanted to see the world” – this sums up what I really disliked about student cheese: We were eighteen, bright, away from home for the first time, in bloody London no less, we could go anywhere and do anything our loan cheques would stretch to and what lots of people wanted to go to a grotty union bar and smirk over music that was being openly advertised as rubbish.*

    In terms of the actual music, plenty of the songs were bona fide classics and even the genuinely naff stuff had some enjoyable qualities (the worst problem with the real cheesy stuff is that it comes on, everyone laughs/quasi-ironically shouts ‘tune’ and then 15 seconds later realise they have to spend the next three minutes dancing to a mediocre record)

    *Mind you, for 19-year old me, ‘go anywhere and do anything’ meant spending hundreds of pounds going to mainly mediocre alt-rock gigs and hurling my slight, skinny frame into the moshpit like a kamikaze waif**. I don’t claim this as an ideal for living either! Most of us are pretty insecure and searching for identity at that stage in life and ‘angry self-destructive outsider, living my life to the total-freakin’ extreme’ is obviously as much a crutch as ‘wacky, happy, it’s all a big joke, let’s laugh at the silly cheesy music!’ and quite possibly a worse one since it entails being unhappy on principle a lot of the time. What a silly boy I was.

    **Oh and forming my second and worst band, the wackily monickered 50ft High Rock Hard Robot, a sort of junior would-be Rocket From The Crypt. Mind you, our one gig at the union packed the place out which was a nice end to the year but we’re getting ahead of ourselves…

  55. 55
    thefatgit on 23 Oct 2015 #

    I was officially too thick for Uni, so my exposure to the type of music you might call “cheese”, was in its appropriate setting: town centre nightclubs and working men’s club disco nights. I had already formed a hard shell of rockism (not that i realised at the time, but was despite this, suspicious of anything overtly conservative), despite reading the NME at the time Morley et al we’re railing against it. I did have a fondness for disco (you never got anything more leftfield than the odd electro track in town), but I drew the line at The Nolans and The Dooleys and especially Showaddywaddy (who by then, were all well on their way to seaside obscurity), which were WMC standards at those events. I had friends returning from Uni during the holidays, enthusing about such & such band or stating quite categorically that the charts were full of absolute shite, and me thinking I had broader tastes than my further educated chums.

  56. 56
    JoeWiz on 25 Oct 2015 #

    This is a pretty joyous, simple pop record.
    And you should never feel guilty about ANY musical pleasure.

  57. 57
    Chris Barratt on 25 Oct 2015 #

    S Club themselves were at the forefront of the student-targeted ‘Cheese’ thing – just five short years after they broke up to facilitate the launch of Rachel Stevens’ solo career, three of them – including primary vocalists Jo & Bradley – were touring the nations SU venues.
    At the time I was somewhat incredulous – it was another sign of the times, alas. I can’t have imagined (for instance) Five Star going down very well in the Uni’s & Poly’s had they done the same with my generation in 1992, but there you go…

  58. 58

    The problem is, I feel guilty about having the guilt itself (which led me to dismiss hundreds of bona fide classic pop records before I discovered this page at 3 am on a soggy 2012 summer night.)

    I am ashamed to think my teenage cynicism about certain cheerful, uncynical, celebratory and non-alpha male/feminine parts of the charts might have been from some kind of unconscious internalised homophobia. Even at an age when I was graffittiing “Stop the BNP” on public toilets, I said clumsy, small-minded things about gay men when I was 16 or so I deeply regret. Maybe it was OTT, inaccurate stereotyping of LGBT characters on television. Maybe it was reading the sub-Loaded fodder in the media who could only discuss a Kylie record whilst smirking through gritted Roger Daltrey teeth about the ‘pink pound.’ Maybe it was what we touched on with the Eminem threads – me being a teenager and terrified of sexual exploration of any orientation, the teenage jock bullying in PE, Asperger’s and the fear of physical contact definitely making a massive contribution – I really hated anybody physically touching me even if it was just a family member tucking my shirt in – it made me feel unclean – I’ve always been obsessed with cleanliness, if someone farts, say, on public transport, I have to be careful not to let it put me in a black mood for the entire day. We once had to stop the coach when I was 13 on a school trip to Les Miserables because I read a ‘men’s problem page’ asking “Does toothpaste give you a better orgasm?” There were just too many new sights, sounds, smells, tastes and feelings for me to take in with the adolescent world and it’s times like that it would have actually helped me to embrace the warm innocence of “Don’t Stop Movin’.”

    Thankfully my mind opened massively since those questionable days and I have a much better understanding of human relationships and desires. Any LGBT people I met at any age I was always totally fine with when speaking to them but in my younger years I was less forthcoming due to a colossal desperation for girlfriends – you know, laddish paranoia, i.e. the ridiculous idea thinking another man was good looking made me gay myself. That’s completely disappeared now, especially since I’ve discovered I’m most comfortable being anything but an alpha male… Though sadly this record slipped beyond my reach, this maturing and broadening of the mind has definitely helped me become a much better “poptimist” so onward and upward. And if anyone gives my LGBT friends any grief, even if it’s subtle UKIP nudge nudge winkness, I’ll give them a same-sex marriage: my clenched fist with their bigoted nose.

    After all “who wants to be a sad little indie noise-freak who alienates everyone?” – Damon Albarn (!) – But you get my drift.

  59. 59
    Tommy Mack on 26 Oct 2015 #

    Homophobia was rife at school in the 90s. You had your hardcore homophobes who were many and vocal (and we’re not talking knuckle dragging EDL twats either but otherwise affable lads, many of whom were and still are mates*), you had your silent majority who would nod along with the hardcore’s repellent bile and then you had those of us who you might loosely call ‘liberals’ who made a token effort to debunk some of the bigotry. But, here’s the thing, even though I hated the overt homophobia to the extent I’d invite ridicule by telling the hardcore they were talking shit, I was still happy to use Gay and Poof as go-to insults. #ladz #banter. As no-one said back then.

    Being gay at high school must have been like being a jew in Nazi Germany, living in fear and shame, constantly worrying that you were going to be found out and brutalized.

    Things seem a little better nowadays. Gay Pride is far more prevalent in the public eye and homophobia is held in the same contempt as racism, at least overtly (there is obviously still plenty of subtle homophobia – and racism in the media. As a teacher I didn’t see nearly as much bigoted behaviour as I did as a pupil (although I realise this is partly because I was a teacher and not a pupil!)

    As for pop, my teenage tastes were tied up with all manner of internalised prejudices, mainly class. I definitely see traces of misogyny and homophobia in the Cheese thing though. It’s like blokes dragging up on stag nights: femininity is something to be ridiculed and mocked. Mind you, the Cheese thing was about belittling anything that didn’t conform to the ultra-bland mores of late 90s fashion. Too camp was cheesy but then so was too macho or too slick or too anything that wasn’t tepid ahedonic wallpaper.

    *I’m glad to say they’ve grown out of it now we’re no longer in an environment where being a twat is conflated with being hard.

  60. 60

    “The ultra-bland mores of late 90s fashion” – Christ, tell me about it. I’ll leave discussing the August 1997 flux capacitor yet again till future Oasis bunnies (oh, the excitement!), but from there to 2001, the “It’s all crash bang wallop”/”You can’t tell what they’re saying”/”Is it a man or a woman?” TOTP parental cliches were eclipsed – across the generations – by “I hope they’re not manufactured”/”Does he/she write their own material?”/”Proper songs with real instruments and real emotions.”

    And that dour, one-dimensional, pipe-and-slippers ideology made people write “100 things better than UK Garage” lists of bile, whilst claiming the new I Feel Love or Good Vibrations to be, er, Embrace – All You Good Good People or Hurricane #1 – Only the Strongest will Survive.

    Much more on this much later, but this “nice one, Grandad” argument has increased in its suffocating influence through the years, and arguably peaked with the deeply unpleasant atmosphere around “no Kanye West at Glastonbury.” It’s no surprise caricatures of a “typical” member of that petition have been a dour, middle-aged Mondeo man with a parka from Liam Gallagher at his most charmless and a bowlcut like Paul Weller at his blandest.

    I don’t think my lack of love for DSM is dour rockism. I appreciate it’s trying to be the ultimate summery disco-pop song, it just appears, bizarrely, like the dadrock I’m railing against in this post – far too studied.

    It’s tricky ground, but the dismissal of US R&B/UK Garage/”can’t stand them, they used to be in the Spice Girls/Take That”, or previously Abba, Queen and Dexys as “cheese” whilst letting off dreadful Noelrock/New Acoustic Movement indie miserablism scot-free……….. is a close cousin of………. rabidly right-wing television and newspapers (and their readers/viewers) blaming economic problems on immigration or the fallacy of mass organised cartels of “benefit scrounging families with 750 kids”… when you never see, say, documentaries on Channel 5 about billionaire tax evaders or Sun articles on how the long-term sick or disabled have received appalling mistreatment from the DWP and ATOS.

  61. 61

    (And of course ’1997: the year that buggered up Britain’ can probably be tested with more flavour (or Flava) in the film of Kill Your Friends)

  62. 62
    flahr on 27 Oct 2015 #

    I read #60 very quickly and thought it was going to suggest there should be a Channel 5 documentary about Shed Seven being a bit crap.

  63. 63
    Edward Still on 27 Oct 2015 #

    As outlined previously when discussing Reach, S Club were something of a pop epiphany for me. Timing was a massive part of my continuing love for them and this is another nostalgia-laden song.

    I was doing my A-levels while this was number 1 (mercifully the last year to do straight A-levels as opposed to the poor suckers in the lower 6th – Guinea Pigs for the A2 / AS experiment), and it was a time of unguarded optimism for me and my very closest buds, particularly with a post-college “lads” holiday on the horizon. This song perfectly summed up the mood at the time, and was subsequently enjoyed on the dancefloors of Marbella with the holidaying footballers and assorted other millionaires we would never really fit in with. You couldn’t have told us that at the time though. A fully rose-tinted 8.

  64. 64
    Tommy Mack on 28 Oct 2015 #

    #60/#61: I don’t think it’s necessarily ‘dour rockism’ to dislike DSM. I can fully appreciate why someone might hate it and I’m sure if I caught it when in the wrong mood I’d absolutely loathe it.

    I’ve always had a soft spot for SC7 probably because they hit just as I was feeling like a bit of a twat for spending the Britpop years going ‘pop is garbage, metal is nasty, dance is just turning on a computer, Ocean Colour Scene, now that’s proper music by proper musicians…’ so I was happy to say ‘you know what, these are actually really good pop songs’ (they weren’t *really* good pop songs tbh but I was a new convert I guess – actually I was returning to the pluralist fold of my youth after a couple of years in the dour rockist wilderness)

    So you can see the cheese thing as an extension of rockist prejudices ‘pop is shit’ retreating slightly into ‘pop is crap but let’s have a laugh and dance to it anyway’ OR you can see it as knee-jerk reaction against the ghastly bloat of 90s britrock: ‘when we took music seriously it lead to Hurricane #1 so let’s never take anything seriously again, wahay, it’s MC Hammer, let’s laugh at his silly trousers!’

  65. 65
    Patrick Mexico on 3 Nov 2015 #

    Bloody good points Tommy. In the no-mans-land of this confused turn of the millennium revisionism, I also recall anything vaguely “commercial dance” being viewed as anathema or “cheesy annoying scally crap.” You don’t get that every year, definitely not when the Mondays/Roses fused with rave culture and probably not now when Mr Vain and Dreamer are “golden oldies” in the eyes of the bro-house kids. But in 2001, even sampling Show Me Love or Gypsy Woman would have been cruising for a Casablancas-jacketed/Coby Dick-chained bruising. It was Disco Sucks II but via class rather than racial and sexual prejudices. Maybe it was the “townies and moshers” rivalry where faultlines were unlike now very clearly drawn, maybe the Vengaboys taking tacky Europop fun a step too far, maybe it was the death of the superclub around this time, maybe it was repetitive generic music with videos for lobotomised horny teenage boys that samples 70s soft rock yer da’ likes. (Some of this to come on Popular in 3 years’ time, unfortunately)

    I remember being amused going on holiday to Majorca in 2001 that my sister had prepared a tape called something like “Decent Dance, honest!”. The big bubblegum happy hardcore tune around the 14-15 year olds around that time round Blackburn way was something called “We are the children of the night” and to this day I find it all kinds of indie-bedwetter problematic :D

  66. 66
    Shiny Dave on 7 Nov 2015 #

    Patrick – I’ve meant to reply to this for a few days now, as there’s plenty of angles your recent comments have sparked a thought or twenty.

    I seem to recall reading a tweet this week where one of the Gallaghers – don’t know which – was interviewed in Esquire magazine and unironically suggesting young people on benefits have the latest smartphones and aren’t actually poor. So your connection between Tory tabloids and Britpop (#60) runs even closer than you think!

    As for #58 – I was an autistic teenager at this point. Background a tad different – Southern seaside resort in a constituency that was Tory even when this hit (though Labour took the seat by a nose in the delayed 2001 election and was gifted it again in 2005 when the Tory PPC got caught in a Photoshop scandal) – but yes to the sport and bullying (and this school had a borderline American obsession with sport), yes to the sensory confusion, and hell yes to that leading to an aversion to all things sexual.

    Alongside that, I was the child of a Mail-reading teacher, and between that and my academic attainment – a couple of years earlier I’d helped lead my school to a county maths quiz championship, the first time the title had ever left the East Dorset grammars (one of which was attended by Amy Studt, whom I really wish had made it into Popular!) – I absolutely fell into a very conveniently right-wing dichotomy. Hedonism felt like a thing my bullies did, therefore it must have been A Bad Thing; I couldn’t indulge in it at all in the conventional sense because of sensory issues, and I happened to do all my homework and get good grades, therefore I must be A Good Person. Glandular fever in 2000 stifled the second half of that formula, and led me towards a self-hating spiral that I haven’t escaped left and likely never will, but even as late as this, I vividly recall a PSHE lesson – probably almost exactly at this point – in which we did a mock election creating our own parties, and (along with a team that included the student who’d go on to be the year group’s top performer at GCSE) I created the UKIP-esque Meridian Party, its authoritarianism cloaked in Mail patriotism but inspired fundamentally by simple vengeance; make life difficult for those who have wronged me for doing the alleged right thing. (I presume, but do not exactly recall, that National Service was part of the manifesto.)

    How does this relate to “Don’t Stop Movin'” then? Because it was in the build-up to its release that one of its members was charged with cannabis possession, and I vividly recall turning sharply against the band on that. They were lawbreakers! They were a bad example to children! I was 14 going on 44.

    It’d be years before I gave the song a fair shake – I’d swing right round the other way politically before long, but that’s a story for a 2003 bunny, and that move was accompanied by a move towards some combination of second-generation dour rockism and sensory comfort blanketing which I will likely build on in other bunnies.

    Heard today, it’s nothing more and nothing less than a quality kid-friendly take on the turn-of-the-millennium disco revival, and I think I’d give it a 7.

  67. 67
    Tommy Mack on 10 Nov 2015 #

    #65/66 – meant to reply ages ago! Townies vs. Moshers was a huge thing in school and as far as the Townies were concerned, anyone with hair longer than a crew cut was a mosher. I hated the townies because they were pricks, to put it simply. I disdained their dance music because I saw it as childish shit enjoyed by thickos: “I used to like that stuff when I was a boy of twelve, now I’m a proper grown up man of fourteen, I listen to proper music like Weller!” would have been my rationale. So it was class prejudice but it was class prejudice based on people who were generally a pain in the arse on a day to day basis and who acted ‘immature’ which is surely the worst thing you can be in a teenager’s eyes. I was a right-on little fucker and I always hated the overt “ew, poor people” class-prejudice of some of my middle-class mates. I’d had a couple of mates from the local council estate at primary school but we drifted apart at high school as class differences, including music, became more prevalent with age.

    I didn’t much like the moshers either. If I’m honest, I was a bit scared of them, their weird Gen-X humour and their noisy music. I remember feeling physically sick the first time I listened to Nirvana – Teen Spirit, natch – the anguish of Kurt Cobain’s voice and the queasy churn of his guitar FX were repellent to me back then. I used to go into Our Price and look at Guns&Roses and Iron Maiden CD cases with a sort of appalled fascination, imagining the terrifying heaviness of the music, given the artwork.

    From the age of about 13 to 15, I was a fairly prissy little kid who saw playing an instrument as a craft, a way to make proper, intelligent music. Basically I liked The Beatles and people who reminded me of The Beatles. I’m pretty glad it didn’t last that long. As a little kid I’d had very eclectic taste, absorbing anything I came across (though not ‘nasty’ stuff). It took a mate getting into punk and persuading me that the Pistols were brilliant, not just horrid to get me into heavy guitars. Similarly, it was another mate getting into the gateway bloke-dance of The Prodigy and the Chems that opened me up to dance. With pop, I think I just came round to it, hearing stuff on the radio and realising some of it was actually good.

    So, there you have it, I was a bit of a bell-end at school but I had my reasons. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve always quite liked S Club 7 since they were some of the first “cheesy” pop that I heard and thought, ‘you know what, this is actually pretty good.’

    I still didn’t want to dance round to it in a grotty student disco night after night after night though!

  68. 68

    Looking outside, UKIP might be a bit worried about those gay floods ;)

  69. 69

    It’s been a month now. Is Tom okay? I’m not greatly worried about new Popular updates, as he always makes a comeback when you least expect it (remember the Great Mr Blobby Panic of 2012), but as I’m a natural worrier, someone please just tell me he’s well, and has a roof over his head*. Thanks.

    * Something I have my fingers crossed for with thought to other members of this blog.. :-/

  70. 70
    Lazarus on 20 Nov 2015 #

    We have these fallow times from time to time, I log in once or twice a day to see if there’s been any new updates – and it helps to have Top of the Pops repeats repeats to keep the comments crew occupied, although I don’t think there’s been one this week? Haven’t seen one on iPlayer anyway.

  71. 71
    Mark G on 21 Nov 2015 #

    There was one this week, just seen it and am formulating my posting. Fairly decent, contentwise..

  72. 72
    Lazarus on 25 Nov 2015 #

    Incidentally the longest drought there’s been while I’ve been here has been the 77-day intermission between ‘Mr Blobby’ and Take That’s ‘Babe,’ more than twice the current impasse. I don’t know what’s up next – I try to avoid looking ahead – but I doubt if Tom has been working on some 3000 word opus, more likely that he’s just been busy with other stuff.

  73. 73
    Tom on 2 Dec 2015 #

    Hello. Thanks for the concern. Sorry about that. A new entry is about to go up. I tend to get very avoidant when I’m feeling guilty about not putting something up so I stay away from the site entirely, or else I’d have come in and said something earlier.

    There isn’t a very good reason, other than being very busy at work and that eating into my thinking/writing time.

  74. 74
    Lazarus on 2 Dec 2015 #

    Good stuff! Does that mean my TOTP review from Sunday is going to see the light of day at last? Are there moderators in town?

  75. 75
    Mark G on 2 Dec 2015 #


    A lot of the recent postings have got stuck: Accepted, kept presumably, but not output. I guess it’s the “Moderation Blues”…

  76. 76
    Cumbrian on 3 Dec 2015 #

    I got the moderation blues,
    I see comments in thousands,
    And ten million spambots
    comin’ down the mountains.

  77. 77
    cryptopian on 5 Mar 2017 #

    Listening again, it just occurred to me how much 2000-02 production adores the chime-tree. “Run fingers through – instant magic!” It felt particularly egregious here, just before the chorus, since this is uptempo. Lots more chime-tree to come over the next year or so.

  78. 78
    Gareth Parker on 6 Jun 2021 #

    Fine for what it is…..4/10 imho.

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