Asking The Important Questions

Q&A!

currently playing: Gwen Stefani – The Real Thing

*sigh* Here we go again…

(If nothing else, George Lucas knows how to make a trailer that punches all of the geek buttons)

currently playing: Saturday Looks Good To Me – If You Ask

Hurm.

I seem to have a job. How did that happen?

currently playing: Propaganda — Jewel

TONY BLAIR, WHERE ARE YOU?

He’s in the House. He’s voting. But he won’t enter the chamber. Which seems a little gutless, to be frank.

currently playing: BBC Parliament

It's You're Wrong Night!

Wow. This is an impressive article indeed. It starts off badly (‘The 80s comeback is upon us! Oh, it’s been around since 1998’ bit in paragraphs two and three is particularly spectacular), and heads downhill fast as DeRogatis lists his Top Eight reasons why the 1980s sucked. Perhaps, in the spirit of things, we’ll take things in order:

  1. Over-production

    It’d be wrong to say that there weren’t over-produced songs in the 1980s. But of course, you could say the same about any period in pop music; Paul McCartney famously hated Phil Spector’s lavish work on Let It Be, and Britney Spears’ Hit Me Baby One More Time is Production Gone Wild. It’s definitely not exclusive to the 1980s. If you’re looking for subtle production from twenty years ago, then how about Trevor Horn’s production on ABC’s All of My Heart, or New Order’s The Perfect Kiss, or anything from Dexy’s Don’t Stand Me Down album?

    And besides, Born In The U.S.A. is fantastic, and the production sound is a big part of why it’s great.
  2. Bombast

    Er, okay. Not entirely sure what he’s getting at here, but to be honest, I prefer reach-for-the-skies vocals as opposed to Current Indie Band Attempts To Copy Jeff Buckley’s Vocals (Badly)…
  3. The dearth of social conscience

    Oh, come on. Even granting that the writer is American, and so can be possibly forgiven for not knowing about things like Red Wedge, the campaigns against Clause 28 (reason number 2353 of why I will not vote Conservative), Heaven 17’s Fascist Groove Thang, Simple Mind’s Belfast Child, the Free Nelson Mandela concert, or the gender politics of the New Romantic movement, two words completely destroy DeRogatis’ argument: Live Aid.
  4. Sexism

    Because, of course, there was no sexism in the 1960s or 1970s. Oh no. And we’ve complete purged ourselves of it now. Ho ho.
  5. The advent of digital synthesizers
  6. The dominance of early drum machines

    New Order. The Art of Noise. Pet Shop Boys. Frankie Goes To Hollywood. I don’t need to say much more, except that these are four acts that couldn’t exist without 1980s technology, and all four changed pop for the better.
  7. The fashions

    I have been known to wear mascara, so I recuse myself from this entry (except to say: Adam Ant! Kevin Rowland! Haircut 100! Okay, strike that last one).
  8. MTV

    Yeah. Yeah. Image-over-substance. But at least they played videos back in the 1980s. Also, given that America has never had a unifed radio network like Britain, it was the first time that all of America’s youth could experience something similar to Radio 1; a shared playground that spread British bands and hip-hop all over the nation. And for that, MTV can be forgiven for many sins.

There is good in all decades of pop music; a blanket dismissal of ten years simply because you didn’t like a few songs is silly.

currently playing: Altered Images – Happy Birthday

Tick-Tock-Tick-Tock

They may be a undemocratic, anachronistic sort, but sometimes, you just can’t help having fuzzy feelings towards the House of Lords.

currently playing: Annie — Me Plus One

Presenting…The Most Disturbing Picture On The Internet!

currently playing: Longpigs — On and On

It Wasn't Always Like Links

Part of my pessimism about the chart last week stemmed from Radio 1’s constant tinkering with the Top 40 Chart Show. You would have thought that it would be quite easy: you start the show at 40, and the play all the songs until you get to 1. That’s not good enough for Radio 1, it seems, as they want it to be an all-round entertainment show. Gah. The latest version of this debuted yesterday, with new DJs JK and Joel (imagine Chris Moyles, but even less appealing. I know, I didn’t think it was possible either). I didn’t have the heart to subject myself to the show, but one William Swygart did, and he reports back in Stylus magazine. The short version: it was so bad, he’s terminating his two-year-old Top 40 column with immediate effect.

(by the way: Stereophonics at #1, Annie at #50. RAGE.)

Lots of cute icons!

Notepad Invaders!

A blog that points to good free fonts on the web.

DIY Lazer Tag. The Internet is a glorious thing sometimes.

currently playing: Kylie Minogue – Made Of Glass

Oh My God

Part 1 of 12??? Somebody needs to upload that to a torrent server, and quickly…

currently playing: Electronic — Getting Away With It

Music Musings

I was in HMV yesterday, and I saw that Warners/R.E.M. have rereleased all their post-Document albums with an extra DVD. The DVD has a DVD-Audio mix of the album, lyrics (horror!), plus documentaries about the making of the record. How annoying is that? I imagine that most people who are going to be interested in that sort of thing are probably likely to be R.E.M. fans in the first place, so there’s a good chance that they already have all the albums. If they sold a separate DVD set with the documentaries on, that’d be fine (and if they do, let me know, because I can’t find it), but otherwise, it just smacks of Warners ripping fans off. Shock, eh?

(what’s worse is that the DVDs themselves are a missed opportunity. Shouldn’t they include the music videos for the singles from each album? Oh, but that’d cut into the sales of the video DVD, and we can’t have that, can we?)

In other news, it looks as if the new Annie single, Heartbeat is going to flop this week. It’s #50 in the mid-week chart, which is depressing when you consider that you can sell about five hundred copies and get a Top 40 hit these days. I have a feeling that Anniemal is going to end up as one of the lost pop albums of this decade. I think the singles chart isn’t long for this world, even with the merging with the download figures. Did you know that Moby and R.E.M. had singles out this week? Do they? Elvis’ ghost stalks the chart, with embarrassingly low Top 5 sales every week, as the record company scrambles to outrun the public domain. Will EMI do the same when The Beatles’ recordings become public property?

The singles market is doomed. But what will replace it? Record companies make most of their money from albums, yes, but that’s mainly for established acts. Where will the next generation of pop come from?

currently playing: Annie – Heartbeat