I Love 2005: Because Once Indie, Always Indie

Handsomeboy Technique — Your Blessings

That’ll be an album track on a Japan-only CD. I do have the first album, and yes, it is quite rare.

I know I said at the beginning that this round-up was in no particular order, but I did save my favourite until last. Ever since I heard it one July morning in Carrboro, I’ve been deeply in love with this song.

If I told you that the band seem to be a Japanese version of The Avalanches (it’s been, what, five years, lads? Get back to work!), it’ll probably give you a good idea as to what they sound like; lots of sound collage and blissed-out grooves. But oh, this.

I can feel a new expression on my face
I can feel a growing sensation every place

This song sounds like every crush you’ve ever had. Every time you’ve looked over at someone at a party, every time you’ve smiled a bit too long at somebody, or tripped over your tongue in a failed attempt not to embarrass yourself. That giddy rush when she smiles back, or when she says “hello” when walking down the street. It’s all here.

I wish I could tell you how much I care
every time that you, that you, that you…

It’s a song for hopeless cases, for winter nights that last into four in the morning, for mixtapes and hand-made books, and for giving yourself alcohol poisoning in an attempt to build up courage.

I can feel a new expression
every time that you that you, that you…

Hints of a Chic guitar, the British Dreambabes of the 1960s, synthesised strings, sprinklings of glitter, and those 1970s computer sounds building up into that explosion of a chorus. And than all over again. And again. And again. Then, just as you feel that the song is beginning to end, it comes back for one final time:

I wish I could tell you how much I care
every time that you, that you, that you…

Your cheeks flush red as the singer sings “I wish I could tell you how much I care” with a quiet desperation. You look over towards the other side of the room, and sigh as the song begins its stuttering conclusion.

It’s a song that I can’t listen to regularly, as it completely drains me. But when it crops up on random rotation, it gives me the sensation of a crush in a five-minute shot. Nothing else in 2005 even came close.


Jackie Deshannon — When You Walk In The Room

This is the song that Your Blessings is based on. I think we can safely say that Handomeboy Technique’s version is much better…

currently playing: Handsomeboy Technique — Your Blessings

Political Advice

Tony Blair seems to be obsessed with the sanctity of his legacy. Well, if he wants to cement it into our hearts, there’s only one thing he has to do:

Sir Tim Westwood

currently playing: Art Of Noise – Moments in love (beaten)

I Love 2005: The Ones That Didn't Make It

Annie — Me Plus One

Last year, it seemed that 2005 was going to be Annie’s year. Not only did she have a sizeable following from the music blog set, she also came out very well in the Pitchfork / Stylus singles of the year polls. She looked unstoppable. As it turned out, though, 2005 was somewhat of a disappointment. Anniemal’s release kept on being put back and back (I think it actually made it to the shops in early 2005, only to be recalled shortly afterwards), her singles bounced around the lower reaches of the Top 40, and soon after the relative flop of her album, the Internet backlash inevitably began (led, in part, by Pitchfork! My how fickle indiekids can be, eh, readers? “Bah! You’re not popular now! I hate you - Annie is the Veronica Mars of pop, perhaps).

Which is a shame, as Anniemal is packed full of songs like Me Plus One; funny, bouncy, and full of vim. We need more songs with vim! Two other things: it’s probably one of the last songs that will invoke the cultural memory of Top of The Pops (and she’s not even British! Stupid BBC), and it’s a thinly-veiled attack on one Geri Space, by producer/writer/torturer of small kittens with curling irons Richard X.

You can find Anniemal sitting lonely and coy in most branches of HMV. And other fine retailers. Although not Lush, because that would be silly.

M.I.A. — Sunshowers

M.I.A. suffered from a similar problem, as by the time Arular finally made it out on both sides of the Atlantic, the backlash was in full swing (this time led by Simon Reynolds, who resented her art-school background and the appropriation of grime. None of which stopped him from praising Ari Up in Rip It Up And Start Again, but I guess music critics get reactionary as they get older). M.I.A. had controversy, being the daughter of a Tamil Tiger leader, and as a result got acres of coverage in the music press. All for nought; Arular tanked, her singles struggled to reach the Top 50, and even a Mercury Prize nomination couldn’t help. A pity, really, because Sunshowers is the best dance track about a suicide bomber in 2005. Yes, yes, it was probably the only one, but dammit, that’s not the point.

Rachel Stevens — I Said Never Again (But Here We Are)

If Annie showed that the blog scene isn’t strong enough yet to break acts, and M.I.A.’s fate revealed that the mainstream music press wasn’t all that useful either, then Rachel Stevens’s woeful year just goes to show that nobody has a clue. At all. Universally acclaimed by the Internet, the mainstream press, and buttressed by a plethora of TV appearances, Come And Get It should have been one of the pop successes of the year. It wasn’t. And it’s still unclear as to why; was it the release of the earlier weaker singles as opposed to this fantastic Mud-inspired (and written!) track? Her walkout on Dick & Dom (you would have thought her publicist might have mentioned the gunge)? Or just that today’s pop kids couldn’t bring up any enthusiasm for her? It’s a mystery. (Perhaps Toyah could help)

31/12/2005 EDIT NEWS! Rachel Stevens has supposedly been dropped from Polydor.

Robyn — Be Mine!

Aha! Wrong-footing you! This can’t be a flop, because it’s not even officially out yet! Hah! Mind you, Robyn (from Sweden) is already tipped to be 2006’s Annie (from Norway). Essentially, this is Cyndi Lauper’s Time After Time played at double-speed on a cello. But hey! It’s really sad, complete with pouring rain! He gave her scarf away! That cad! That bounder!

currently playing: Strawberry Switchblade – Since Yesterday

Help Is On The Way!

Don’t worry, lads, I have a fully-functional credit card again!

(I already have this coming over shortly muahahahaha)

currently playing: tina tott – Take Away The Emptiness Too

This is a Level 1 Alert...

Rumour has it that Kula Shaker will reform for 2006.

I told you that the Kaiser Chiefs could only lead to badness. But did you listen?

currently playing: New Order - Procession

I Love 2005: <em>Take Me Out</em> For The Pop Set

Girls Aloud — Biology

Why don’t you FOOL me
FEED me, say you NEED me
without wicked games
Come on and HOLD me
HUG me, say you LOVE me
and not my dirty brain

I don’t really need to say anymore.

(Oi! You’re not getting away that easily! — Ed.)

Yes, it really is two songs bolted together in a scenario that Dr. Frankenstein could only admire. But when the bolt of lightning that is the chorus finally hits home, you can hear the giggling sound of Brian Higgins in the background, screaming “IT’S ALIVE!” as ver Aloud delve into Spice Up Your Life territory. Irresistible, unstoppable, and the best UK single of the year.

(Two things though: “I’ve got one Alabama return / That’ll take me far away from you / Because when you take me in my arms / I turn to slave I can’t be saved” Erm, yes, slightly dodgy Alabama/slave juxtaposition there, girls. Secondly: have Girls Aloud ever made a video that isn’t complete bobbins?)

currently playing: Girls Aloud – Biology

2006: YouSendIt Won't Save You

You may have missed MTV and Microsoft’s announcement of the URGE project, a new service which will be launched next year. From the news reporting, it seems that they’ve decided to try and make money from the MP3blog format, recruiting some of the highest profile bloggers (Fluxblog’s Matthew Perpetua and Tiny Little Genius’s Jessica Hopper for starters), and, as a bonus, offering the songs in the iPod-unfriendly WMA format. Which seems fine enough, if a little pointless.

But, in a probably-unrelated, but-worth-thinking-about-manner, Poptext recently received a nastygram from the Mechanical Copyright Protection Society and the Performing Rights Society, essentially telling Abby that she needs a blanket licence to run her MP3blog (which, incidentally, still wouldn't put her in the clear for posting MP3s, but then music copyright clearance is rather dumb). This is a much bigger step than what happened to me a couple of years ago; it seems that the industry is going to put their foot down hard on the entire scene just as soon as they can claim that there's a legal alternative (and if the WMA files are set to self-destruct after seven days, then that's even better, isn't it?).

I guess it was fun while it lasted.

currently playing: Act – Short Story (Thinker)


And while I’m here, I’ll just mention that Static Multimedia are doing their albums and singles rundown of 2005 right now. I’m not in today’s album count, but I’ll be appearing in both that and the singles one eventually!

currently playing: Girls Aloud – Long Hot Summer

Best. Nativity. Ever.

Don't worry! Batman is protecting Jesus from King Herod!

Straight To Hell

Okay, so one's a transvestite.