17
May 10

Which Decade Is Tops For Pops? Round 4: the Number 7s.

Which Decade Is Tops For Pops46 comments • 1,495 views

With three rounds of voting already underway, let’s take our first look at how the six decades are matching up against each other. In accordance with the mood of the times, i.e. in order to make every vote count, I have replaced the hated and discredited “Cumulative Inverse Points” system with the progressive and inclusive “Cumulative Average Scores” system. (This is probably even more baffling to the layman than the old method – but if you’d like it explaining, please see me in the comments box.)

Cumulative scores so far:
1. The Eighties – 12.62 points.
2. The Teens – 11.78 points.
3. The Noughties – 11.72 points.
4. The Nineties – 9.80 points.
5. The Sixties – 8.71 points.
6. The Seventies – 8.37 points.

It’s been a good run so far for the Eighties, who have yet to place outside the top three in any round – whereas the opposite is true for the Seventies, who have been stuck in the bottom three throughout. Meanwhile, it’s neck and neck between the Noughties and the Teens, who are virtually tied for second place.

Time for a new round, then. Let’s take a look at the Number Sevens.

1960: Brenda Lee – Sweet Nothin’s (video)
1970: The Hollies – I Can’t Tell The Bottom From The Top (video)
1980: Rodney Franklin – The Groove (video)
1990: Snap! – The Power (video)
2000: True Steppers Featuring Dane Bowers – Buggin’ (video)
2010: Chipmunk – Until You Were Gone (ft. Esmee Denters) (video)


(Download the MP3 medley)

A child star in the US since the mid-Fifties, Brenda Lee‘s first taste of British chart success came at the age of fifteen, with a coquettish little ode to teen romance that recently resurfaced on the soundtrack of An Education (and very well-placed it was too, as I recall).

As with the Professor Green track, this is dating viewed as a game – and once again, it’s the girl who’s calling all the shots. Brenda plays her hand well, assuming a knowing, somewhat conspiratorial air that masks both her true feelings and the likely depth of her actual experience. Delighting in her beau’s attention, she relishes the newly-found power which it affords her – but still she plays her cards close to her chest, leaving us to wonder just what is being said, and leaving her beau to wonder how seriously he is being taken.

Viewed in this light, the title of the song works as a disingenuous disclaimer, throwing all of us – including Brenda’s anxious mother – off the scent. (“What’s he been saying to you, honey?” “Oh, nothing…”) Nice work, Brenda. You’re growing up fast.

If you’re thinking that there’s something a bit Elton John-ish about “I Can’t Tell The Bottom From The Top”, then you’d be quite right: as an in-demand session player of the day, Elton played piano for The Hollies on this recording, just as he had done for its predecessor, “He Ain’t Heavy He’s My Brother”.

I’ve recently had cause to re-assess my opinion of The Hollies – partly thanks to Marcello Carlin’s fine appraisal of their Greatest Hits collection from 1968 – but at this stage in their career, with Graham Nash departed for CSN&Y and the hired songwriting hacks drafted back in, the band were on the artistic slide.

There was life in them yet, of course – I’ll not have a word said against the magnificent “The Air That I Breathe” – but although this song starts promisingly enough, its chorus slides into a banal juxtaposition of opposites (cloudy/bright, day/night, wrong/right) that instantly puts me in mind of Eurovision. It therefore came as little surprise to learn that its songwriters (Doug Flett and Guy Fletcher) went on to pen Cliff Richard’s second Eurovision entry, “Power To All Our Friends”. Cute in its way, but we’re already a long way from “King Midas In Reverse”.

During the first half of 1980, I worked behind the counter of the Hamleys toy store on Regent Street. For much of that time, I shared a till with a bona fide, card-carrying, burgundy trousered, white-socked-and-loafered Essex soul boy, who was forever championing the latest import tracks, weeks before they charted: Stacy Lattisaw’s “Jump To The Beat”, The Gap Band’s “I Don’t Believe You Want To Get Up And Dance” (later retitled “Oops Upside Your Head”) and Rodney Franklin‘s smoothly stop-starting jazz-funk instrumental… otherwise known as the WANKAH! song.

For according to my source, an Essex clubland ritual developed around “The Groove” whereby, whenever the music stopped dead – as it does no fewer than eleven times in the course of the 7-inch version – the whole club was duty bound to fill the space with a lusty cry of WANKAH! And so, while I’d be amazed if the ritual ever travelled further than my mate’s local disco, I’ve never been able to listen to “The Groove” without inserting a mental WANKAH! of my own, in each and every one of its eleven allotted gaps.

None of this has ever impeded my enjoyment of Franklin’s ivory-tickling craft, though – especially during the rippling solo break, which manages to stay WANKAH!-free for a full eighty seconds. Although never much more than a niche interest, jazz-funk wasn’t unheard of in the charts – Spyro Gyra’s “Morning Dance” and Mezzoforte’s “Garden Party” spring immediately to find – and I’ve always been more than fond.

As it won’t be long before FT readers have a chance to discuss it in detail, I don’t want to say too much about Snap!‘s “The Power” at this stage. Like “Ride On Time” before it and “Gypsy Woman” after it, “The Power” enjoyed a few weeks of unassailable supremacy on all the dancefloors I regularly visited – and so inevitably, we all got a bit sick of it by the end of its chart run. But it has held up well – and better than I had expected, given Snap!’s shall-we-say erratic subsequent output – slotting neatly into the post-Soul II Soul landscape, while paving the way for the likes of C&C Music Factory’s “Gonna Make You Sweat”.

Until his appearance on this year’s Celebrity Big Brother (YES, I WATCHED IT ALL), I hadn’t given Dane Bowers a second thought in years – and yet from 1998 to 2001, both with Another Level, True Steppers and on his own – he was a big draw, clocking up a dozen big hits and collaborating with Jay-Z (*cough*), Ghostface Killah (*splutter*) and Victoria Beckham (*snort*) amongst others.

For the True Steppers phase of his career, Bowers turned towards the UK Garage scene – and much as I am minded to sneer at his opportunism, “Buggin’ Me” is far from disastrous. OK, so it’s no “Crazy Love” (and it’s most certainly no “Flowers”) and Dane’s mopey vocals are admittedly its weakest link – even if his use of Auto-Tune was several years ahead of its time – but really, this is nothing to be too ashamed of.

From pop stars going urban in 2000, to grime MCs going pop in 2010: taking his lead from Dizzee Rascal and Tinchy Stryder’s massive commercial success last year, Chipmunk moves right into the middle of the mainstream with this collaboration (also featuring the Dutch pop singer Esmee Denters), obliterating any remaining vestigial links with the scene in which he first made his name.

The history of pop is stuffed with examples of this kind of unabashed careerism, and aggrieved cries of “sell out” are all part of the ritual, but as sell-outs go, this one feels shabbier than most – more defeated, even. There’s little joy and little life to be found here; instead, you feel that Chipmunk has merely sighed, rolled over and ceded control to his production team (headed by the ubiquitous Fraser T. Smith, whose signature style seems to be swamping British chart pop at present).

Much as I hate to use words like “disposable” in a pejorative sense, I can’t think of a more fitting moment to break the habit. In fact, what the hell, let’s go the whole hog: it’s AURAL CHEWING GUM!

Ooh, I do feel better for having said that. But what do you think? Please leave your scores in the comments box.

Comments

  1. 1
    Mike Atkinson on 17 May 2010 #

    FINAL SCORES:
    200 points: Brenda Lee – Sweet Nothin’s
    197 points: Snap! – The Power
    139 points: Rodney Franklin – The Groove
    116 points: The Hollies – I Can’t Tell The Bottom From The Top
    98 points: Chipmunk – Until You Were Gone (ft. Esmee Denters)
    90 points: True Steppers Featuring Dane Bowers – Buggin’

    My scores:
    6 points: Brenda Lee – Sweet Nothin’s
    5 points: Rodney Franklin – The Groove
    4 points: Snap! – The Power
    3 points: True Steppers Featuring Dane Bowers – Buggin’
    2 points: The Hollies – I Can’t Tell The Bottom From The Top
    1 points: Chipmunk – Until You Were Gone (ft. Esmee Denters)

    Very little to choose between Brenda, Rodney and Snap! An easy decision to place Chipmunk in last place, but much dithering over The Hollies vs True Steppers.

  2. 2
    taDOW on 17 May 2010 #

    6 pts – snap!
    5 pts – brenda lee
    4 pts – rodney franklin
    3 pts – the hollies
    2 pts – chipmunk
    1 pt – true steppers

  3. 3
    Gordon on 17 May 2010 #

    6 points: Snap! – The Power
    5 points: Rodney Franklin – The Groove
    4 points: Brenda Lee – Sweet Nothin’s
    3 points: True Steppers Featuring Dane Bowers – Buggin’
    2 points: The Hollies – I Can’t Tell The Bottom From The Top
    1 points: Chipmunk – Until You Were Gone (ft. Esmee Denters)

    Agreed, Chipmunk dead last, but Snap! take first mainly because that track was my first ever karoake attempt. Yes, really.

  4. 4
    lonepilgrim on 17 May 2010 #

    6 points: Brenda Lee
    The song and the performance on the Youtube clip are pure joy
    5 points: Snap!
    This pumps along nicely – more to say on this in due course
    4 points: Chipmunk
    Being unfamiliar with Mr Munk’s previous work I am unable to say whether this is a sell out or not – but I like Ms Denter’s contributions
    3 points: The Hollies
    As a song this feels a bit cut and paste – redeemed by the Hollies reliable harmonies
    2 points: Rodney Franklin
    I have a low tolerance for this sort of thing – I’d rather listen to Herbie Hancock than a pale imitation
    1 point: True Steppers Featuring Dane Bowers – Buggin’
    I find this as bland and generic as the track above and don’t respond positively to the vocal

  5. 5
    lockedintheattic on 18 May 2010 #

    Wow. That was an incredibly tough one to score. 5 of these score well for me, and it was a tough choice choosing the order

    6 – Snap! – Oh the joys of hearing a song for the first time in ages that you thought you’d got bored of a long time ago, only to find out it sounds better than you ever remembered.
    5 – Brenda Lee – Fantastic performance, especially for a 15 year old
    4 – True Steppers – Not half as good as ‘out of your mind’ – which made it suffer in my eyes at the time. Hearing it on its own now I’m appreciating it a lot more
    3 – Rodney Franklin – gosh. I don’t normally like Jazz Funk
    2 – Chipmunk – this may be a sell out, but it sounds great still, and it’s sad to score it a 2 – I’d rather listen to this than any of the number 8s (apart from Toni B)
    1 – The Hollies – blah

  6. 6
    Steve Mannion on 18 May 2010 #

    6: Snap! – Sorry but can’t help favouring 1990 first again. Have always enjoyed hearing this again over the last 5 years. Look fwd to discussing it on Popular.

    5: Brenda Lee – First time hearing but what’s not to like? Maybe the accent/pronunciation could get on my nerves after a while but not yet.

    4: True Steppers ft. Dane Bowers – not as good as ‘Out Of Your Mind’ but it’s 2 Step textbook moves nudge it above…

    3: Rodney Franklin – First time hearing and it reminds me of some Mike Simonetti stuff from a few years later e.g. I Love The Piano but this sounds a lot cheesier so marked down.

    2: The Hollies – First time hearing but eeehhhhh…give me ‘After The Fox’ any day!

    1: Chipmunk – Depressing to see him reduced to this pap after such promise (inc. his turn on England 10’s ‘She Likes To Move’ 18 months ago). Haters got fair reason as things stand.

  7. 7
    Billy Smart on 18 May 2010 #

    Five top discs to choose between… and one duff one.

    6 – Brenda Lee – Very sassy, very instinctive, very sympathetic.

    5 – Rodney Franklin – The sort of thing that’s often used as backing music on television and radio, but highly superior.

    4 – The Hollies – You might respond more warmly to this as a song once you’ve heard the Kevin Rowland version, which documents a turbulent state of emotional confusion.

    3 – True Steppers – Those blunkyblink raindroppy effects make me happy every time I hear this.

    2 – Snap! – Abrasive! Stupid! But in a good way, probably.

    1 – Chipmunk – It’s scrubbed up to sound loud, but signifies nothing at all to me.

  8. 8
    Mike Atkinson on 18 May 2010 #

    I know you’re all secretly dying to know how my new “Cumulative Average Points” system works. Perhaps it’s best explained with an example. Looking at, say, the current score for the Eighties, it’s calculated like this.

    Round 1.
    Current score for The Undertones: 170
    Current number of voters in Round 1: 38
    Average score for The Undertones: 170 / 38 = 4.4736842

    Round 2.
    Current score for Hot Chocolate: 134
    Current number of voters in Round 2: 37
    Average score for Hot Chocolate: 134 / 37 = 3.6216216

    Round 3.
    Average score for Motorhead: 117 / 26 = 4.5

    Total score for the 1980s: 4.4736842 + 3.6216216 + 4.5 = 12.5953058

    Simple!

  9. 9
    Alan not logged in on 18 May 2010 #

    6 – Snap 90 still amazing
    5 – Brenda! 60 cor, cracking
    4 – Chipmunk 10 aw, wuvly chippy chipmunk. (i probs not care about this in 2 months time, but now I rly like it. you are all MEEEAN)
    3 – Rodney 80 nice enough background noodling
    2 – Hollies 70 falling asleep now
    1 – True Steppers 00 hate this – didn’t like this corner of two step at the time. smoooove to featureless

  10. 10
    punctum on 18 May 2010 #

    6 points – Brenda Lee
    Cautiously sexy – she really has no choice in the matter, even though she knows that she has the whole world in front of her – Brenda offers a scenario which, though not unknown to the likes of Wanda Jackson, was pretty radical in a Britain stuffed with demure, hessioned songstresses seemingly born in 1894 at the age of 45. Brenda suggests, not in herself knowing the full answers, but her diary key winks and the pre-emptive Kitty Wells swagger in her growl tell us that he’ll succumb…and he’ll love it.

    5 points – Snap!
    Recorded at “Hype Studios” in “Brixton.” Right. A Teutonic confectionery con, but by some accident it had quite an impact here; as central London got smashed up in the Poll Tax riots (“I’m the lyrical Jesse James!”), this was playing out of most speakers everywhere around the city and the burning was felt, almost to the point of regretful exuberance. Remember when the charts could echo our feelings about the wider world?

    4 points – True Steppers/TV’s Dean Gaffney, um, Dane Bowers
    Ah yes, remember when AutoTune was still a tickling novelty? This was Cheggers Plays Kraftwerk with a bit of Stoke Newington roughage; Our Dane probably didn’t have the slightest clue what he was mouthing but his attempt to be The Future is, a decade hence, rather endearing. “Out Of Your Mind” with Dane n’ Becks, however, is a tower of seldom acknowledged power.

    3 points – The Hollies
    Thanks to Mike for linking up my Hollies piece on TPL. They were indeed in a bit of a quandary after Graham upped and left, leaning simultaneously towards cabaret time and still wanting to be taken seriously. There’s an album from this period – Confessions Of The Mind – for which you have to give them full marks for trying (if not for the rather disappointing end result, although the six-minute orchestral title track has its fans). This “I Can’t Tell The Bottom From The Top” – co-written, I see, by Kathryn Flett’s dad – inevitably pales, however, beside Kevin Rowland’s extraordinary re-reading of the song on My Beauty, an expression of raw pain and unalloyed loss comparable with anything on John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. Decent 1970 AoR with still a wistful tinge of ’67 about its verses but the Hollies lack the initiative to take the song further.

    2 points – Rodney Franklin
    “Coming up right after the news, it’s the Lost Budgie slot and the Bulletin Board. The funniest message will win a 25p postal order and a Radio Oxford mug. And there’s music to come from Engelbert Humperdinck, Elkie Brooks and Brendan Shine. This is Radio Oxford, serving the community and mending your tiles.”

    1 point – Chipmunk/Esmee Denters
    OK, the Professor Green song is funny and sharp, but here’s where I have to invoke the spirit of Mark Perry (“Alternatives” on The Image Has Cracked to be precise); “So you’ve got Roll Deep at number one, half the top ten are records by grime people, they’re on the radio and on the telly, and it’s great – but it’s not, is it? You’re getting diluted shit.”

    I don’t think anyone can claim victory here. And what does it say about how the British music industry regards black music in the 21st century that black artists are only allowed to put out records written and produced by off-the-peg white guys? That they’re not triumphing with the music that drew people like me to them in the first place, but with records that just sound like everybody else’s because that’s the only way they can get on Radio 1? Because unless something’s a Club Banger or Glee then you can forget it, and brilliant records like “Need You Now” which should be climbing to number one here instead of slipping from a gloomy peak of #21, get completely overlooked.

    The skewering of music radio towards rote chart pop for teenagers and away from adult pop really has had a devastating effect on the charts; in the States, people like Monica, Melanie Fiona, Maxwell, get huge smashes, but who’s playing them here? Why bother, indeed, when faced with a pantheon of commercial and state-funded stations who only want to play “Maggie May” and “Careless Whisper” forever because they’re driven by money-motivated fear and endemic racism? When I hear a piece of pallid piss like “Until You Were Gone” – what exactly does that mean, Mr Smith? – I think of what Bangs wrote about Bob Seger, except that at least in Seger’s songs there remained an undertow of something– rage, the will to change circumstance. Fraser T Smith is like the yellow-jacketed council official of British chart pop, clamping down on everything different or provocative or even moderately entertaining, and he, and this, and everything which supports both, need to be smashed and destroyed.

  11. 11
    JonnyB on 18 May 2010 #

    6 – Brenda
    5 – Hollies
    4 – Rodney
    3 – Snap
    2 – Chipmunk
    1 – True Steppers

    I was unenthusiastic about this selection until I listened. And I grew up in the epitome of Essexey Essex – but I’m pleased to report I wasn’t much of a frequenter of those sorts of clubs.

  12. 12
    David Belbin on 18 May 2010 #

    6 The Hollies Must have heard this at an impressionable age because I’ve always loved it. Memorably cover by Dexy’s Kevin Rowlands on his legendary solo album
    5 Brenda Lee What lonepilgrim said
    4 Snap
    3 Rodney Franklin
    2 Chipmunk
    1 True Steppers

  13. 13
    Amanda S on 18 May 2010 #

    6 Points: Snap! – Beautiful, spacious, powerful production
    5 Points: Brenda Lee – Sounds like a Leiber and Stoller song (but isn’t)
    4 Points: Rodney Franklin – A good instrumental stands out in a collection of songs
    3 Points: The Hollies – The harmonies are quite interesting
    2 Points: Chipmunk – Solid but unmemorable pop song
    1 Point: True Steppers Featuring Dane Bowers – I don’t like the processed vocals

  14. 14
    Birdseed on 18 May 2010 #

    6 – Snap
    5 – Rodney Franklin
    4 – Brenda Lee
    3 – Chipmunk
    2 – Dane Bowers
    1 – the Hollies

  15. 15
    jeff w on 18 May 2010 #

    Poor old Chipmunk! As I’ve said elsewhere, I like the fact that you can sing the chorus of “We’re All Going To the Zoo Tomorrow” over the chorus of “Until You Were Gone”. And he comes up with some good lines in his bits, e.g. the ‘You took off faster than my career’ one.

    6pts – Snap!
    5pts – Chip Diddy Chip
    4pts – Brenda L
    3pts – Rodney F
    2pts – Dane B
    1pts – Hollies

  16. 16
    Martin Skidmore on 18 May 2010 #

    6 pts: Snap!
    5 pts: Brenda Lee
    4 pts: Rodney Franklin
    3 pts: Chipmunk
    2 pts: Hollies
    1 pt: Dane Bowers

  17. 17
    Mike Atkinson on 18 May 2010 #

    This is a close round – both at the top of the scoring, where Snap! and Brenda Lee are currently in tied first position, and at the bottom, where Chipmunk and Dane Bowers are separated by just two points. Of the votes received so far, all but one of you have awarded top marks to either Snap! or Brenda.

  18. 18

    (mike when does voting close on these? sorry am super-busy till 2moro eve and haven’t had time to plunge in yet: which deadlines will i miss if i can’t start playing till say friday?)

  19. 19
    Mike Atkinson on 18 May 2010 #

    Oh, you’ve got BAGS of time – the voting stays open for ALL rounds, until a few days after I’ve posted the final round. So you’ve probably got another fortnight, at the very least.

  20. 20

    hurrah! and back to work (boo)

  21. 21
    Lena on 18 May 2010 #

    Tough as always, but…

    6 – Brenda Lee
    5 – Snap!
    4 – The Hollies
    3 – Dane Bowers
    2 – Rodney Franklin
    1 – Chipmunk w/Esmee Denters

    If I could have both Brenda & Snap! at 6 I’d be happier!

  22. 22
    thefatgit on 18 May 2010 #

    I feel like I’m part of a consensus with this round. So:

    6 points-Brenda Lee
    5 points-Snap!
    4 points-Rodney Franklin
    3 points-The Hollies
    2 points-Dane Bowers and TrueSteppers
    1 point-Chipmunk

    It’s nothing against Chipmunk, but we have a likeable young scamp who showed much promise in 2008 when he broke with “Chip Diddy Chip”, but here he seems to have hit a brick wall. Such a shame.
    UKG as a movement gave TrueSteppers a tough time. Bugging? Mugging? Buggering Me? Buggering You? No, ta!
    The Hollies avoid settling into proggy introspection, but adopt a poppier stance. Fine, if the material attracts a new set of fans, but too many may have jumped ship with Graham Nash leaving a fan vacuum, that songs like this could never help readily fill.
    Rodney Franklin eh? Who remembers The Freeze? And how did Shakatak get away with ripping this off with Nightbird?
    Snap! came from another planet in 1990 didn’t they? This could be heard on every street corner in town played on ghetto blasters by those shellsuit wearing types who sold liquorice wrapped in clingfilm for £20 per eighth.
    Brenda Lee deservedly gets full marks for this wonderfully sassy toe tapper. You can’t deny Little Miss Dynamite can you?

  23. 23
    asta on 19 May 2010 #

    6 pts- Brenda Lee. I’d give her 10 if I could. Look at that ridiculously unflattering dress and that repressed hairdo, then close your eyes and just listen to that growl into a not-entirely-feigned innocence. Brilliant singer. Brilliant song.

    5 pts- Snap! On every radio, at every club, and during every school dance for a few brief minutes everyone within listening range had the power. It’s held up well.

    4 pts- True Steppers. I don’t recall this being much of anything on this side of the ocean, and it’s not much more than that to me now.

    3 pts- Chipmunk. Mostly I’m just relieved this singer’s first name isn’t Alvin; when I saw Chipmunk on the list I did wonder. And because the female vocalist is easy enough to listen to.

    2 pts- The Hollies I imagine this would work best selling one of those pro-biotic fruit yogurts.

    1 pts- This is jazz in the way that the Golden Arches is fine dining. This is the kind of music played on local cable station travelogues. Dreck.

  24. 24
    Al Ewing on 19 May 2010 #

    Lots of ‘would-have-beaten-but’ in this round.

    6 points – Snap! – PLEASE! STAY OFF MY BACK! OR I WILL ATTACK! AND YOU DON’T WANT THAT! Amazing stuff and still good and now proven UNBEATABLE.

    5 points – Chipmunk – Adorable slice of I-did-you-wrong-pop. Loses some points for bad rhyming, though, which stopped it snatching Snap’s crown.

    4 points – Rodney Franklin – WELCOME TO MY DISCO I AM RODNEY FRANKLIN LET ME TAKE YOUR COAT. Unfortunately no words, which keeps it from surpassing Chipmunk.

    3 points – Brenda Lee – Charming, throaty, balance between innocent & naughty etc – loses points for erring on the side of too much innocence. Sweet nothin’s are already pretty innocent without you bringing your Mum in to end the song.

    2 points – The Hollies – Cheer up emo kid.

    1 points – True Steppers – OH JUST FUCK OFF. The worst song so far out of ALL of them including previous rounds. I WOULD GIVE IT ZERO POINTS IF I COULD.

  25. 25
    Al Ewing on 19 May 2010 #

    Methodology dept: I’ve got a tendency to rate the songs based on nothing but how they sound – without even reading a single word on them or knowing any history aside from personal experience until after I’ve laid down my precious points – so certain details like the existence of F.T. Smith or the historical significance of Dane Bowers’ charmless tosser impression have unfortunately escaped me.

  26. 26
    DietMondrian on 19 May 2010 #

    6. Brenda Lee
    5. The Hollies
    4. Rodney Franklin
    3. Snap!
    2. Chipmunk
    1. True Steppers – those autotuned vocals make me want to hurt someone.

  27. 27
    Erithian on 19 May 2010 #

    6 pts: 1990 Snap – one of those records that revises your opinion of what a genre of music is capable of. That electrifying riff, the threatening rap, the vocal – the whole package is still a thrill twenty years on.

    5 pts: 1970 The Hollies – ooh, this would be rather superior Eurovision wouldn’t it? Not the greatest production, but a fine song nonetheless.

    4 pts: 1960 Brenda Lee – bit of a pop classic although the Hollies get the nod on the day.

    3 pts: 1980 Rodney Franklin – it passed me by at the time but yes, this could be the sound that defines the Essex soul boy phenomenon. Tinkles effectively but it does go on a bit…

    2 pts: 2010 Chipmunk – the song doesn’t do much for me (unlike Esmee) but at least there’s some life and tune to it. Unlike…

    1 pt: 2000 True Steppers ft Dane Bowers – which just, erm, bugged me for the duration. Joyless boring garbage.

  28. 28
    scott woods on 19 May 2010 #

    6 – Snap! – The Power – The default choice. A strong record I nonetheless grew pretty sick of it at the time and for me it pales considerably next to the 10/10 “Rhythm is a Dancer.”
    5 – Chipmunk
    4 – Brenda Lee – Don’t really get the enthusiasm for this.
    3 – The Hollies
    2 – True Steppers Featuring Dane Bowers
    1 – Rodney Franklin – the beginning of this is brilliant because it reminds me of Marshall Jefferson’s “Move Your Body.” Goes downhill at a 90-degree angle from there, though.

  29. 29
    Lionel d'Lion on 19 May 2010 #

    6 points – Brenda Lee
    5 points – Rodney Franklin
    4 points – The Hollies
    3 – Chipmunk
    2 – True Steppers
    minus 1 million – Snap!

    I probably should explain: The Snap! vote is more due to flashbacks caused by an over-amorous couple in the flat above mine back in 1990. This was either “their tune” or the only bloody record they owned.

    I hope this doesn’t skew the results too much …

  30. 30
    Abe Fruman on 19 May 2010 #

    Hmm. Again nothing that I could honestly say that I’m mad about.

    6 – Snap – Hated this sort of stuff at the time but will grudgingly admit is the best single out of this lot.

    5 – Chipmunk – Not a bad tune, really! And actually backed by a real live band with guitars and everything..

    4 – Brenda – Erm, best of the rest

    3 – Hollies – Doesn’t really get going till the bridge.

    2 – Rodney – Sounds like the sort of stuff the play while ITV Nightscreen is on.

    1 – Blowers – Nuff said

  31. 31
    Tom on 20 May 2010 #

    6 points – Snap! It’s not really a spoiler to say that I think this is tremendous.

    5 points – Brenda: goodness me, this is good stuff – first real indication we’ve had that the turn away from rock’n’roll at the end of the 50s was a good idea as well as a bad one.

    4 points – Chipmunk: appreciate the general drift of Marcello’s argument but the fact is while I don’t like the bubblegrime stuff we’re getting as much as the mid-00s music it’s springing from, I do still LIKE it, and I have a particular soft spot for Chipmunk whose hangdog relationship pop always seems to get stuck in my head.

    3 points – Bowers: what makes this song both not work and also be memorable is that harpsichord effect, which was all over UK garage pop in 2000 but really does not suit ANYTHING about the rest of this record!

    2 points – Hollies: not a bad tune but a little ham-fisted in the delivery.

    1 point – Rodney: I don’t really ‘get’ it but certainly this isn’t unpleasant. Good round overall.

  32. 32
    intothefireuk on 20 May 2010 #

    …….with comments this time.
    6 The Groove – soundtracked many a night at the local hop.
    5 Sweet Nothins – have always enjoyed her fiesty vocals.
    4 I Can’t Tell The Bottom etc. – decent tune if a little jaded delivery
    3 The Power – marked down due to over repetition and the fact that I don’t like his rappin.
    2 Buggin – exactly
    1 Until You Were Gone – generic pop

  33. 33
    grange85 on 20 May 2010 #

    Love Brenda to pieces; Hollies track was very very dull; Enjoyed Rodney for about a minute and then got bored. I think over-familiarity has ruined The Power – it’s good but I’m tired of the whole “I’ve got the power” bit. True Steppers did nothing. Not being aware of how Chipmunk might be selling out I just let it go – not wonderful but doing no harm…

    6 – Brenda Lee
    5 – Snap!
    4 – Chipmunk
    3 – Rodney Franklin
    2 – True Steppers
    1 – The Hollies

  34. 34
    Mark Davis on 22 May 2010 #

    6p: Brenda Lee
    5p: Rodney Franklin
    4p: The Hollies
    3p: Snap!
    2p: Chipmunk
    1p: True Steppers

  35. 35
    Martin on 22 May 2010 #

    6 points – Rodney Franklin
    5 points – Brenda Lee
    4 points – The Hollies
    3 points – Snap!
    2 points – Chipmunk
    1 points – True Steppers

    For me this became three sets of 2 to distinguish, Rodney narrowly beats out Brenda, The Hollies edge out Snap!, and Chipmunk beats True Steppers by a nose. The space separating the dyads is LARGE. And (Snap! excepted) I think there’s a general consensus in the voting on this. This is the round so far where I agree with the polling the most.

    Furthermore, Rodney and Brenda are the first two tracks that I’d seek out and add to my iPod — so far.

  36. 36
    Ben on 23 May 2010 #

    6 – Snap!
    5 – Brenda Lee
    4 – Truesteppers
    3 – Chipmunk
    2 – Rodney Franklin
    1 – The Hollies

  37. 37
    Tina on 23 May 2010 #

    6 points: Snap!
    5 points: Rodney Franklin
    4 points: The Hollies
    3 points: Brenda Lee
    2 points: True Steppers Featuring Dane Bowers
    1 points: Chipmunk

  38. 38
    Clair on 25 May 2010 #

    6 points – Snap!
    5 points – Brenda Lee
    4 points – Rodney Franklin
    3 points – The Hollie
    2 points – Chipmunk
    1 point – Dane Bowers

  39. 39
    wichita lineman on 26 May 2010 #

    6 Snap – cowbells shakin’!
    5 Brenda Lee – wr. by Ronnie Self! Check out his twisted rock’n’roll rave-up Bop A Lena!
    4 Dane Bowers – w/ joanna newsom on harp!
    3 Rodney Franklin – flick! Lonsdale! Farahs!
    2 Chipmunk – err, ok-ish!
    1 Hollies – I blame The Band!

  40. 40
    Z on 29 May 2010 #

    I found this hard to score – I liked it all, except Until You Were Gone.
    6 – Brenda Lee – what a great performance. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
    5 – Snap – It’s not their fault that it’s been played so much that I was bored at the prospect of watching the video. Actually, it’s still damn good and I liked it a lot better than I thought I would. Brilliant
    4 – The Hollies – I can’t even remember this but I must have listened to it a lot at the time – needed something to take my mind off my homework.
    3 – True Steppers Featuring Dane Bower – I like..
    2 – Rodney Franklin. Ooh dear, it was very good, but it went on rather and I got a bit bored. Sorry.
    1 – Chipmunk. Formulaic and dull. And stop pointing at me, child.

  41. 41
    Lord B on 31 May 2010 #

    Good heavens. It’s not a vintage, is it?

    6 points – The Hollies (I think it’s Elton on piano, you know.)
    5 points – True Steppers. It’s Ok, innit
    4 points – Chipmunk. I find him increasingly palatable, actually
    3 points – Brenda Lee – meh
    2 points – Rodney Franklin – sounds like Al’s Bit Of A Disco
    1 point – Snap – Always hated this. Horrid horrid horrid

  42. 42
    Rachiesparrow on 3 Jun 2010 #

    Disco baby!

    6pts – Rodney Franklin
    5pts Brenda Lee
    4pts Snap
    3pts – The Hollies – yawn.
    2pts – Chipmunk
    1pt – Dane Bowers.

  43. 43
    a tanned rested and unlogged lørd sükråt wötsît on 6 Jun 2010 #

    Six for Rodney Franklin – The Groove
    Five for Snap! – The Power
    Four for Brenda Lee – Sweet Nothin’s
    Three for Chipmunk – Until You Were Gone (ft. Esmee Denters)
    Two for True Steppers Featuring Dane Bowers – Buggin’
    One for The Hollies – I Can’t Tell The Bottom From The Top

    Never never never liked the Hollies
    Love the word BUGGIN: singin is a little nasal and unconcerned in a very pretty arrangement, though it sharpens up when the autotune starts to wrinkle it.
    Brenda is the highest I’ve marked the oldest song so far, I think: I always loved her rasp and i like how she growls it out into view here but doesn’t purely trade on it.
    RUN AWAY CHIPMUNK RUN AWAY! Go build a tree fort, as Ewing Minor would put it. A MILF-RESISTANT TREE FORT.

  44. 44
    RobMiles on 6 Jun 2010 #

    6 – Snap. Immense all-time dance classic.
    5 – Brenda Lee
    4 – True Steppers Featuring Dane Bowers
    3 – The Hollies
    2 – Chipmunk
    1 – Rodney Franklin

  45. 45
    Tom Lawrence on 9 Jun 2010 #

    6. Snap! But of course.
    5 Brenda Lee
    4. Rodney Franklin
    3. Chipmunk
    2. True Steppers feat. Dane Bowers
    1. Hollies

  46. 46
    sarlitchin on 10 Jun 2010 #

    6 points – Snap!
    5 points – Brenda Lee
    4 points – True Steppers
    3 points – The Hollies
    2 points – Rodney Franklin
    1 point – Chipmunk

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