Category Archives: Pop

LCD Soundsystem – Call The Police (2017)

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LCD Soundsystem have returned in the last week with ‘Call the Police’, a seven-minute ode to the sounds of David Bowie and U2. This is a welcome step off the dancefloor from my perspective. However, Mr James Murphy is evidently upset about something: “Well, there’s a full-blown rebellion but you’re easy to confuse/ By triggered kids and fakers and some questionable views,” he sings. The song is the lead single from the band’s upcoming new album – date and name TBC. Have a great week.

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Eels – Last Stop: This Town (1998)

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In 1998, the Eels took an introspective turn for their second release, Electro-Shock Blues. It was still pop music, but much darker than debut Beautiful Freak. ‘Last Stop: This Town’ is about singer-songwriter Mark Oliver Everett’s (aka E) sister Elizabeth, who had committed suicide. The video features a spinning carrot that slowly turns into a clone of E. Yes, indeed.

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9 of the best – sounds of 2000

A compilation for the weekend. My favourite songs of 2000 in no particular order:

Radiohead – Idioteque

Blonde Redhead ‎- For The Damaged

Lambchop – Up With The People

The Avalanches – Since I Left You

Alan Braxe & Fred Falke – Intro

Outkast – Ms. Jackson

Marah – Round Eye Blues

Richard Ashcroft – A Song For The Lovers

Phoenix – Too Young

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Honourable mentions also go to: Grandaddy for ‘He’s Simple, He’s Dumb, He’s The Pilot‘; Erykah Badu for ‘Didn’t Cha Know‘; Daft Punk for ‘One More Time‘; Augie March for ‘The Hole In Your Roof‘; Missy Elliott for ‘Get Ur Freak On‘; D’Angelo for ‘Untitled (How Does It Feel)‘; and Edu K for his remix of Otto’s ‘Bob‘.

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Missy Elliott – Get Ur Freak On (2000)

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What happened at the turn of the millennium that sucked the creativity out of the pop musicologists? I have a theory that it was too much Britney Spears that did it. I have to admit there were some bangers in 2000, but you can near enough count them on the fingers of one hand. The Avalanches, Outkast and Daft Punk have already featured here, so that leaves Missy Elliot and the irrepressible ‘Get Ur Freak On’. The song featured on Miss E…So Addictive, an album full of confidence and Timbaland’s production wizardry. Have a great week.

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Gorillaz – On Melancholy Hill (2010)

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Last month, “Gorillaz” announced that their new album will be entitled Humanz and is due out on 28 April. Looking back at their discography, I’ve plucked out Plastic Beach. It may not have beaten ‘Stylo’ and ‘Superfast Jellyfish’ to early release as a single, but ‘Melancholy Hill’ is its standout track. All wistful, pizzicato strings, jaunty keyboards and Damon’s whispers: “Up on melancholy hill/There’s a plastic tree/Are you here with me/Just looking out on the day/Of another dream”. Like an uplifting sequel to 2005’s ‘Hong Kong’.

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The Stone Roses – Ten Storey Love Song (1995)

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I thought about The Stone Roses yesterday. It doesn’t happen everyday, but certainly not as much as it used to. Five years in the making, the second album, The Second Coming, would inevitably disappoint. However, ‘Ten Story Love Song’ is classic Roses – a 4-min-plus slice of glorious uplifting alt pop. It wasn’t worth that very long wait, but we would take what we could get. Perversely, by 1994/1995, Britpop, which was arguably a product of the Roses phenomenon, was in full flow.

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David Bowie – Let’s Dance (1983)

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Okay then, unless you are a die-hard Police fan, or you prefer one of Bowie’s other trinity of singles off Let’s Dance, this is the best pop sound from 1983. It seemingly emerged from nowhere with its unique sound. Stevie Ray Vaughan played lead guitar; David Bowie sang through new teeth; Rodgers produced with a slightly off time signature; and everyone bought the record. Have a great weekend.

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Thompson Twins – Hold Me Now (1983)

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I list this song with trepidation. More synth pop from 1983, by which time Thompson Twins had reduced to a trio: Tom Bailey, Alannah Currie and Joe Leeway. The three of them contributed to a sound that filled radio play and dance floors, but it made for a really awkward, swaying moments; or maybe that was just me. Listening to ‘Hold Me Now’ today, I can hear more than a touch of The Police during that chant half way through.

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China Crisis – Wishful Thinking (1983)

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A lot of chat about 1983, among a good set of friends last week. Annus mirabilis or not? Well, ‘Blue Monday’, ‘Uncertain Smile’, ‘Liquid Liquid’, ‘Blister in the Sun’ and ‘Modern Love’ are already blogged and represent a very good start. Now for something very archetypal of that time… China Crisis and ‘Wishful Thinking’. Gary Daly and Eddie Lundon were established songwriters searching for that one song. I am not sure ‘Wishful Thinking’ is it, but what they had discovered was the sound of pure synth pop. The song featured on their sophomore album Working With Fire And Steel. Have a great week.

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The Weeknd feat. Daft Punk – I Feel It Coming (2016)

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And now for a current slice of pop for this Thursday morning. When the Abel Tesfaye (aka Weeknd) and Daft Punk’s Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter got together in the studio, the result was ‘Starboy’ and ‘I Feel It Coming’. I select the latter for its synth-laden, disco love groove. It sounds like the collaboration that Michael Jackson and Daft Punk never did. And as for the new Star Wars-influenced video… glorious. Both tracks featured on last year’s long player Starboy.

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Jens Lekman – Your Arms Around Me (2007)

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A little bit like The Divine Comedy, Jens Lekman is not easy to recommend. You are relying on the audience looking past the schmaltz to appreciate the creative force. ‘Your Arms Around Me’ features on his 1997 album Night Falls Over Kortedala. “I was slicing up an avocado/When you came up behind me/With your silent brand new sneakers/Your reflection I did not see.” Divine comedy indeed.

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Matt Maltese – Studio 6 (2016)

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South London-based Matt Maltese would seem to take his cues from a broad range of influences from George Michael to Father John Misty. Studio 6 features on last year’s EP In a New Bed on Café Bleu Recordings. Have a great weekend.

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Richard Ashcroft – A Song For The Lovers (2000)

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Also in 2000, Richard Ashcroft wrote one of those love songs that doesn’t make my toes curl. ‘A Song For The Lovers’ was the opening track off his first solo album Alone With Everybody.

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David Bowie – Ashes To Ashes (1980)

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One year on and the loss still flows. David Bowie’s 1980 single ‘Ashes to Ashes’ is undoubtedly one of the strangest songs to top the charts. David Bowie tried to sum up his life’s work with Scary Monsters, an album that touches a number of the styles that he had navigated during the 1970s. However, there was nothing to touch the synthesised nostalgia of ‘Ashes to Ashes’ and its reference to Major Tom.

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9 of the best – sounds of 2016

My favourite sounds of 2016 in no particular order…

The Avalanches – Because I’m Me

Whitney – No Woman

Glass Animals – Life Itself

Car Seat Headrest – Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales

Bon Iver – 33 “GOD”

The Strokes – Threat of Joy

Okkervil River – Okkervil River R.I.P.

The Weeknd feat. Daft Punk – I Feel It Coming

Traumprinz – 2Bad

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Honourable mentions also go to: De La Soul for ‘Trainwreck‘; The Last Shadow Puppets for ‘Everything You’ve Come To Expect‘; Let’s Eat Grandma for ‘Deep Six Textbook‘; Anderson .Paak for ‘Come Down‘; Solange for ‘Cranes In The Sky‘; DJ Snake for ‘Let Me Love You’; Honne for ‘Someone That Loves You‘; and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds for ‘Rings Of Saturn‘.

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