June 20, 2012 Mostly Pop – June 2012
by Mr Moth
DJ Fresh & Dizzee Rascal – The Power
I’m fond of Dizzee Rascal (Bonkers was number one when my daughter was born, plus he’s dressed as a shark in the video), and I can’t say I’m not partial to a bit of DJ Fresh – Gold Dust was one of the best, most summery pieces of pop* in the last few years and even the omnipresent Louder didn’t grate after so many repeats. So this should be the hit of the summer, right? Well, yes and no.
On the one hand, Dizzee is always worth listening to, even if you don’t want to listen to closely to the lyrics (‘She doesn’t have to be high class, just needs to have a nice arse’? Really, Dizzee? Does your Mum know you do this?), and his energetic interjections have livened up the efforts of everyone from Calvin Harris to effing Band Aid. So there’s that. And DJ Fresh’s stuff is still head and shoulders above, say, that greasy bloke who thinks the word ‘Chick’ isn’t a laughably awful thing to have in a song title. What’s his name? Honestly, it’s gone. David Guetta! Thanks, Wikipedia, and also thanks for telling me that ‘Sexy Chick’ is a radio-friendly version of a track called ‘ Sexy Bitch’. Oh, how high you rise in my estimation! So on the other hand from the good backing and good vocals, is the feeling that it’s all a bit inconsequential.
Sorry, is that meant to be a criticism? Fuck it, buy the single, play it out, then forget about it forever. Nice.
Sam Sparro – Wish I’d Never Met You
Yeah, I remember Black and Gold. It was that song that you thought was going to be great, but just turned out to be sort of ok, but at least it wasn’t terrible. Anyway, he’s been a bit quiet lately, no doubt thinking ‘How can I produce another song with such high unfulfilled potential?’
Ladies and gentlemen, he’s pulled it off with aplomb. Wish I Never Met You actually starts off unpromisingly, feigns a build to an exciting crescendo, then gently lets the listener down without violating their eardrums. It’s pleasant enough, with an interestingly 80s sort of sound to it (I can’t quite define how, maybe if you could have a listen and let me know in the comments? That way I won’t feel like I’m going mental. Ta) and a hummable melody and I won’t switch channels if it comes on the telly, but that’s it. My fondness has limits. I do like the ‘You made me feel like a crack head/I squeeze you out like a blackhead’ couplet, too.
Oh, the video. I forgot to talk about the DJ Fresh/Dizzee one because they pretty much forgot to make one (LOTS OF SHOTS OF GIRLS LEGS FEET AND TITS), but the Sparro one is quite nice. He’s an awkward looking chap, and they’ve kind of done well to work with this by making him dress up like a Roaring Twenties gangster and then do lots of synchronised dancing in a Roaring Twenties, uh, Stock Boyband Warehouse. He looks gawky and ridiculous but kind of cool for all that.
Cheryl – Call My Name
Call her name. Go on. Call it. I won’t judge. You called out ‘Cheryl Cole’, didn’t you? Well, prepare to get slapped like a FUCKING CLOAKROOM ATTENDANT! Cheryl, mate. Just Cheryl. Like Cher, but a bit longer. Or Madonna, or Sting. CHERYL. Don’t you forget it.
Whevs, is this any good? Well, you tell me, it’s number one and I didn’t buy it (I did, actually, but as part of my Mostly Pop duty rather than.. ok, fine, I bought it because I wanted to). Like DJ Fresh and Dizzee, this is lovely right now and will be stale and dated as fuck in approximately twenty seconds. Calvin Harris produced, which makes this the second time I’ve mentioned him this month. You may fill in your Calvin Harris Bingo cards accordingly**. Cheryl’s bit is fine; I don’t subscribe to the popular view that she can’t sing, since she won a televised singing contest, but she doesn’t have what you’d call a remarkable voice, does she?
Maroon 5 ft. Wiz Khalifa – Payphone
Ah, like a fleck of dogshit in an otherwise appealing cheese and pickle sandwich, here’s Maroon 5. I’m yet to comprehend the draw of Maroon 5 – is it Alan Maroon’s seal-bark voice or the inoffensive rock-lite of the 5 that keeps their sales so buoyant? Is it their trade in shirtlessness coupled with saucy ladies in the videos? The occasional collaboration with cooler artists (and, for some reason, Christina Aguilera, who was last relevant in 2003)?
Whatever it is, we’re stuck with them. So here it is, Payphone. What a confusing video. I’m not talking structurally – starting at the end is pretty straightforward – but narratively. Why does Alan grab the gun and endanger all the other hostages in the bank? To run off with the pretty lady? Why do they run away from the police – they weren’t the robbers! Why does he then leave her behind? Is that Wiz Khalifa’s car (my streaming isn’t good enough to make out if that’s him getting out of it or not), or what? What’s Wiz Khalifa’s role in all this? Does he own a flash car or live under a bridge? Is Alan calling the pretty lady from the bank from the payphone? How did he know her number? More questions than Mulholland Dr., and considerably less entertainment value.
Stooshe – Black Heart
This is all right, this. Motown with autotune – Mototune! – is probably an unfair label so I’m not going to use it, despite it being very snappy. There’s a proper girl band here, though, isn’t there? Like the Sugababes or something, when the Sugababes were a real girl band and not some grisly collection of inanimate dolls, in a curious reverse-Pinnochio tale. I confess I was a little dubious, worried that they were X-Factor or something, but actually this is pretty good. Yes, you by definition can’t be any good in my eyes if you came up through X-Factor.
Interesting styling, too, with the video complementing their old-school harmonies an’ shit. Shades of Noisettes in the Sixties outfits clashing with the /Shoreditch haircuts. I prefer the singing when it sounds a bit London-wide rather than the shouty faux-American bits, but I understand they’re part of the styling. I don’t do Record of the Month, but if I did, this would be it. However, let me just sound the
INAPPROPRIATE LYRICS KLAXON.
Because what the actual fuck? I’m in an abusive relationship, they sing, he’s a horrible man. I should leave him, because he is an actual monster, like a Frankenstein. I love him though, Dad. Yes I do. Oh, Mum, he’s the best I’ve ever had. Mum, he’s the best I’ve ever had. Right, now imagine having that chat with your parents. Fuck. Off.
Kate Nash – Under-Estimate the Girl
This is.. brave, I guess? I mean, Kate Nash hasn’t had a hit in almost 20 years, so.. wha? 2007? You’re shitting me? But she looks about fort.. oh. Ohhhh, OK, Jesus.
Well, so she looks a bit OLD and like she needs to EAT A PIE in this new video, isn’t that an admirable thing? She doesn’t care what you think of her! While I feel the need to comment, I also feel that the spirit of the song demands that I say fuck you, man! Talk about the music!
Well, frankly, I did all the talking about this kind of music back in 1993, when it was new and exciting and called Riot Grrl, so I expect Kate Nash’s new album to be well-received in the next Mostly Records column. To be honest, this isn’t bad (except in as much as it is terrible), it’s just weird. Who’s the audience? Old fans will be baffled and sceptics will be unconvinced, unless maybe she hacks 4 REAL into her forearm, which is a totally convincing trick. Maybe it really is for her own delight, which makes it super-cool.
But if so, what’s with the Rimmel London shades of lippy bit? And why did it go viral on Twitter this week? Hmm. More unanswered questions.
*Dubstep. This is dubstep, right? IS IT?