Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Well it came. This morning. Twattingly brilliant. Yes, for I now have the second album from the unbelievably awesome Girls Aloud and can I say that it is fulfillingly mind-blowing. I was somewhat wary of expecting too much and I will need probably thousands of further listens but it is spankingly superb (I am starting to run out of superlatives here aren’t I? Ah well, you get the idea.). I’ve had various songs from it fizzing through my head all day as you do with most great songs. Thus it is great. Do you see? Anyway, I might write more lucidly (is that the right word) and in depth at a future date but it’ll definitely need to come with me on my weekend journeys to the dark North of England.

Dug out a CD I hadn’t listened to for ages today, not since well before my accident in May. “Clones” by The Neptunes which as you probably know is a collection of a load of their work from a couple of summers ago. Now I love the Neps, even if Pharrell seems a little over-exposed sometimes. They do rank behind Timbaland in my eyes but that’s hardly a criticism. Anyway I got to the penultimate track before I found the real gold of what is a damn good album anyway; “Pop Shit” by Dirt McGirt, which just one of the many pseudonyms of Ol’ Dirty Bastard, now sadly missed. Yes, he will be primarily remembered for his Wu-associated work and rightly so but this along with “Got Your Money” show that he couldn’t half kill it with the Neps as well as the RZA. I miss him.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Whilst some folks might view this as a very annoying characteristic of a song, I’m finding a great barometer of aceness is the ability of it to stick in your head and make you do silly dances to it even when it isn’t actually playing. The 5 6 7 8s “Woo-Hoo” definitely has it but this morning something which grabbed me as undoubtedly having it was Basement Jaxx’s “Do Your Thing”. There I was doing maths revision (better than it sounds in view of the fact that I might get a degree out of it) and listening to their “Rooty” which I picked up yesterday and I get to “Do Your Thing” which is the penultimate track and no sooner do you know it but you’re all over the place in bizarre body movements I think of as dancing. It’s great, particularly if no-one else is in sight of you. Trust me.

The album itself is great too and was bloody cheap at £7 pre-Christmas. Of course skinflint Richard Branson won’t let me have my student discount on sale items because of course he must be so hard-up. Down to his last ten million quid probably. I feel s sorry for him.

Of course, though, the major excitement for me at the moment is the release tomorrow of the mighty Girls Aloud’s newie “What Will The Neighbours Say?”. I really do hope Amazon have got their collective arses in gear and have sent it to arrive tomorrow. It’s even been getting a good write-up in the Telegraph (I read it because my parents get it and I live with them), which is not exactly a bible for amazingly good manufactured pop (more “Aren’t the Tories great?”). Anyway, I’ll try and post my thoughts on the album when it gets here.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Right, today, in what will be the first in a series…. of one probably, I am looking at great contradictions and falsehoods in the pantheons of pop music (isn’t pantheons a great word? It makes me sound kind of clever).

I think we all know the Queen song “Don’t Stop Me Now”. Ah, I used to love Queen. They were my favourite band when I was about 9, albeit some time after they lost Freddy Mercury. Looking back, they were still damn good and all credit to them for making the UK Music Hall Of Fame. I’d have put the Pistols in instead by that’s just me.

At one point in “Don’t Stop Me Now” Freddy sings the line, “I’m a sex machine ready to reload, like an atom bomb. I’m gonna o-o-o-explode”. Now, atom bombs are not a wonderful invention and luckily they’ve only ever been used twice and that was nearly 60 years ago, but forgive me if I’m wrong in thinking you can’t actually reload one. They explode and are gone. Along with everything else within a dozen miles or so. You can’t reload it because it no longer exists.

Anyway, if anyone else can think of any other similar technical mistakes in the great lyrical history of pop music, feel free to email me and I shall chronicall them here.

I’m going back to Nottingham this weekend for a friend’s birthday and it will be my first chance to experience a city’s public nightlife for the first time since my accident 6 and a half months ago. I went to the Hull student club with my sister but that’s students so not quite the same. I’ll try to examine if I feel any different than I might have done in the past and pick out anything that really tears the fucking floor up. I think that’s the scientific terminology.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

It seems that it is not a good time to be loved by me and famous, because they’re dropping like flies. First it was Brian Clough (who’s Nottingham Forest I saw in his last season as manager when they got relegated), then Bill Nicholson, president of my beloved Tottenham and their legendary double-winning manager of ’61, and then a few weeks ago the well-chronicalled departure of the much-loved John Peel. Then last night I found out about the death of Ol’ Dirty Bastard. On paper he was never a great rapper but the guy couldn’t half entertain and you knew it was him within the first syllable, such was his instantaneous character and voice. In tribute today the first CD I played was his “Return To The 36 Chambers” which, although it doesn’t have his most famous song “Got Your Money” on it, is a stunning work and shows ODB interacting with the RZA to perfection.

35 is very young but the guy certainly made his impact that time.

And then we come to Channel 4’s UK Music Hall Of Fame thingamydoodar last night with the announcements of who’d been voted in. I wouldn’t have picked Robbie Williams for the 90s (Dre or Missy) nor would I have thought the public would’ve put him in (Oasis or Nirvana) but there you go. I guess the 80s was always going to be Jacko, likewise the Stones and Queen with the 60s and 70s (although ABBA have a legitimate claim for the 70s), but the 50s entry shocked me. Riff Pilchard? Riff fucking Pilchard? Oh dear. I’d have put Sinatra, Buddy Holly, Little Richard and my choice the mighty Chuck Berry in ahead of Cliff Richard. Oh well, I guess Rik from the Young Ones will be pleased. And don’t even get me started on U2 getting automatic entry ahead of the Stones, Dylan and Jacko.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Momentous scenes today as the Daily Telegraph (unfortunately that’s the newspaper I have to put up with every day because my Dad won’t read anything else) continued in their weekly “download the ten best songs of an artist for £5” (or we could just do it for free, but shock horror “illegally”). Last week was Bob Dylan and generally the artists picked have been in his sort of vein in appealing to Torygraph readers. But no, not this week. For this week it was the one, the only, the mighty, Missy Elliot. Holy shit! Missy being plugged by the Torygraph? Good choice Mr editor blokey. (Thank god they chose to put the masterpiece that is “Get UR Freak On” in because otherwise there would have been hell to pay.)

Of course their rather strange view of music downloading was epitomised a few weeks ago when they said that legal downloading is now revolutionising the way we hear music. Get with the times. Does Napster mean nothing to you people?

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Have I ever been as excited about a forthcoming album before? ILM has been musing on the point of Girls Aloud releasing albums but come the 29th of November I reckon I shall be most pleased they do. I’ve just been listening to the first album and, having the house to myself I’ve been sitting here doing degree-level maths revision whilst at the same time dancing and miming all the words. They’re something my accident hasn’t caused me to forget; Girls Aloud lyrics. They only sing a fifth of them each themselves. Me, I sing them all.

The debt album is just so death-defyingly brilliant (death-defying in that I loved it before I almost died and I still love it. It quite possibly helped me survive.). It could well be my favourite album of the decade thus far. It has it’s challengers from the likes of Daft Punk, Basement Jaxx and Andrew WK but I guess it’ll be five years before I can properly assess what is my favourite. God, I’ll be 27 by then. Positively geriatric.

Anyway, bring on the 29th of November!

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

A new big fat killer on the side bar today, as I realise just how good Britney’s "Shadow" is (and yes I do realise the slight sexual implications of that comment but who cares?). I picked up the "new" Britney album (I say new but it has 2003 on the copyright bollocks) the other day for a measly £7 and it’s as damn good as I expected, "Shadow" standing out. This surprised me a little because if you’d described it I wouldn’t have picked it out as one to watch for because sturing ballads are not my usual fair, certainly not judging by Britney’s back catalogue, but this one seems to hit me in the way other ballads seem to hit people who’s opinions on such matters I might casually dismiss. Obviously that comment leaves this weblog entry to be widely dismissed by any regular readers of this that might exist (I beginning to doubt their existence). If you pop-lovers need any encouragement to investigate this song (you’ve probably already heard it if it was released last year) a quick glance at the credits inside show that the production is the work of THE MATRIX, a name I have managed to remember despite my brain injury and a name that says to me it could well be great. Oh, and if there are any sad folks reading this who like for artists to write their own stuff, rest assured that Britney has a co-writing credit for this song. Unless there’s another B. Spears working for her, which I doubt.

One of my projects during my recent injury recovery over the last six months has been to find the celebrity who was born as close in time to various people I know, friends and family basically. Britney was mine, being, as I remember, 12 days younger than me. We obviously thus have an affinity with each other.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Well, it seems Channel 4 have finished their announcements of the nominees for the UK music hall of fame. They’ve decided that Elvis, the Beatles, Bob Marley, Madonna and extremely bizarrely U2 are automatic entries (exactly how do U2 rank above Michael Jackson in the musical hierarchy of anyone except their parents?) but now we’ve had all the 50 nominees from the last five decades and time for me to state my hopes (not my tips because a fair few of mine won’t be anywhere near).

50s: Chuck Berry. Undoubtedly Chuck Berry. His "Anthology" is the music I own from the furthest point back in history and time has not weathered it. The guy was a lethal guitarist and "Johnny B. Goode" would tear anywhere up.

60s: Bob Dylan. I own more Dylan than any other musical act so he almost qualifies by right. For someone famed for his obviously great lyricism, he could pen a decent tune too.

70s: The Sex Pistols. A couple of years ago I’d have picked The Clash over them but subsequent listens to "Never Mind The Bollocks…." elevates the Pistols to the top deck. One album really but what an album and one massive song that speaks the truth about the monarchy.

80s: Beastie Boys. Here lies two quandaries. Jacko has achieved the most and undoubtedly is awesome and Public Enemy are beacons in the pantheon of hip-hop but the Beasties have done it for 15 years or so now and they have never cheapened rap and been successful because they’re white. The other quandary is do we pick them just on their 80s stuff or is it their whole career.

90s: Dr. Dre. The whole career problem again but some of his best work was in the 90s, particularly "The Chronic" and 2Pac’s "California Love", maybe my favourite 90s song. This is what pipped him over the mighty Missy Elliot. Her and Timbaland’s masterpiece is "Get UR Freak On" and that’s from this decade, so Dre wins.

Just realised that all my choices are male so I must be a huge sexist. For what it’s worth though, for the 00s so far I’d either pick Missy or Girls Aloud.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

And in breaking news today, Nick might have found his favourite album of the year. Well, one of them anyway, until the Girls Aloud album finally gets released. (Kanye West’s "The College Dropout" was the holder.) Anyway, today I listened to "Meltdown" by Ash and it really does grab me. These fellas came out of the Brit-pop scene whilst still teenagers and they’re still around, albeit with an extra member. I don’t see much of Oasis, Blur, Pulp or Supergrass still churning out career-high stuff. Ash, though, continue to do it and "Meltdown" really hits so many spots. It all comes down to the fact that Tim Wheeler sticks so many killer hooks in his songs, and, as I seem to be stipulating rather a lot recently, hooks are what ignite me. What really pleases me also about this album is that I got it for only £7.00 at Was in Nottingham which is brilliant considering it’s dead new (it was second hand but still, what a bargain). I’m quite pleased with myself in that whilst walking round Nottingham for the first time in about five months I managed to limit myself to only buy two CDs (the other was the newish Britney one which seems pretty hard and cutting for her but ace nonetheless). Yay Nick.

I’m still a bit out of the loop with new music due to limited internet time and lack of downloadability. I also can’t seem to get a job for until I go back to Uni in January because the landlords of North East Hampshire don’t seem recognise a brilliant barman when they see one. Hence fewer records bought. Bugger.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Right, today, ladies and gentlemen, I want to talk about Andrew WK. You remember, he exploded out of Detroit I think two or three years ago and the NME bigged him up a bit but not much happened after that. Not much, that is, except I bought his stuff and loved it. No-one else seemed to though. Bugger. Weird really when you consider that other NME ‘names’ of recent years have struck a chord, as it were, with a proportion of us British musical types. Folks such as The Strokes, The White Stripes and The Hives. They’re all alright, but they don’t quite have the knockout punch of Andrew WK. As I said the other day, hooks seem to be the barometer of decentness (is that a word?) with me these days and the venerable Mr. WK has them in droves, but his twist is that they are delivered with such a almighty smack that you can’t but be under his spell. It’s rock to highest degree but also, if you delve further, pop to the highest degree too. Enchanting stuff.

I have his first two albums, “I Get Wet” and “The Wolf” and jolly excellent they are too. A little research has revealed no third album but dammit, more should be heard of him.

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