March 18, 2013 Mostly Pop March 2013
Welcome back to Mostly Pop! Last time out it was all a bit tedious because it was old men trying to be pop stars even though their career was about ten, fifteen, thirty years ago and they’re mostly rock stars gone soft. Enough of that. We’re 4/5 female this time and it’s all about POP POP POP, in your face. No ballads, all bangers. Get comfy, turn your speakers up and click through as I attempt once again to not get too confused and angry in the face of music intended for people twenty years my junior.
Nicole Scherzinger – Boomerang
OK, then, let’s go. Well, this is fine, as pop songs go, and the best of Scherzinger’s solo career (uh… which possibly means it’s the best of her career full stop since the Pussycat Dolls had a hit:miss ratio of 0:All), full of skippety-hoppety oh-ohhs and a nice enough hook. It’s not up there with the best, but it’ll do. Honestly, it’ll do! Sounds pretty much the same as Domino by Jessie J, though, doesn’t it? OH MY GOD IT’S THE SAME SONG! Almost. It’s almost the same song.
The video uses replication effects rather well. Must’ve taken a while to film all the different Nicoles – Nicole jumping! Nicole crouching! Nicole leaning awkwardly backwards! Nicole doing the Usain Bolt pose! All put together with, I have to say, quite an eye for composition. It keeps the video just about interesting enough to keep you going to the end without flipping channels, despite the bits that look like she’s in the VR training levels from Metal Gear Solid.
It’s just… uh, Nicole, what are you wearing? Literally every wardrobe choice is a car-crash. In slow motion. And the car is full of kittens. PVC hotpants? A binbag kimono? Fishnet, well, everything? Do you simply not have a stylist or are they drunk? Super-drunk, all the time.
Taylor Swift – 22
YOU CAN’T MOCK HIPSTERS IF YOUR VIDEO LOOKS LIKE AN INSTAGRAM PICTURE AND YOU’RE WEARING THAT HAT. This isn’t rocket surgery, Swifty. Bloody hell.
I tell you what, this is very different to my life at 22. Obviously, it’s very different to my life at any age ever, since I never owned a glitter cannon, never went to a party so festooned with fairy lights and never had a nap in a massive pile of bodies on the beach. Or literally anything in this video. But still, on a relative level, this is more like life at the age of 18. I’m splitting hairs, perhaps, and we all try to extend our childhood beyond its natural bounds these days, but seriously I had a job in a bloody call centre at 22, all this larking about was well beyond me. The main difference between me and Taylor Swift, then, is that she is a multi-millionaire and I am a man who worked in a call centre.
This will be a massive hit, of course, how could it not? Taylor Swift is so hot right now, what with that whole not getting back together song and this will do nothing to dent her momentum. It’s catchy and upbeat as fuck, the video is full of pretty girls larking about photogenically, the lyrics are about youthful exuberance, what’s not to love? It’s as polished and manufactured a product as pop gets, though, so if you have a problem with that you’ll hate it. Why not listen to the Lily Allen song of the same name? It’s a bit more angular and bitter. You’ll like it.
The Saturdays – What About Us ft Sean Paul
Bram ba dam ba dam! Oh, Sean Paul, you so funny. Bram ba dam ba dam! All pop songs should start with someone doing that.
Pop’s least interesting girl group return with a song which becomes at points so UNRELENTINGLY BANGING I actually had to turn it down because it was doing my head in. And yet, at the end of it, I remembered nothing. It was as if Will Smith had used his Men In Black memory-fucker to remove the entire thing from my head. I just watched it again on YouTube as I type these words so I had at least something to say and I still can’t hum it. What the actual? I’m going to watch it again.
Fuck’s sake. I’ve taken notes, though – comedy Jamaican accent at the start (not Sean Paul, the Saturdays), bit bored of the Saturdays now I MISS THE COLOUR CODING GIMMICK, broken into a football ground to dance in a very small area near the pitch why??, Frankie’s hair tipped into self-parody, don’t they hate each other oh Sean Paul, impossible to discern dance moves, god it’s going on a bit, when is this done?
Sounds about right.
Olly Murs – Army of Two
I assume this isn’t about the soldier-of-fortune videogame of the same name. But who knows, maybe that’s Olly behind those masks? Olly and, oh, let’s say Gary Barlow (into whom Olly is slowly morphing, like a chump). Do you ever click the videos, by the way? I ask because I talk about the videos more than the songs, usually, and you’re missing out if you don’t. Anyway, with that in mind, let’s have a look.
Shamefully, I’ve a bit of a soft spot for Olly Murs. It may be because my daughter likes him and he produces innocently catchy pop. Also he fell downstairs that time and it was funny. This is his normal output, really, but a bit thumpier (this is the kind of incisive music criticism you come here for, yeah?), like he’s on 33 rather than 45. Nice bit of military drumming to go with your usual, too, which ties into the whole army theme. Oh, that’s very clever.
Then out comes Olly and… Olly! And Olly! And, and, Olly! Hold on a minute, the Nicole Scherzinger video was full of Nicole Scherzingers, too! What’s going on? Is our theme for the month ‘multiples’? The Saturdays don’t need clones, there’s five of them. And Taylor Swift had a group with her. So bring your friends if you have them and if you don’t – bring clones! These seem quite angry, these Olly Murses. Well, as angry as he gets, so he pulls a grumpy face like an eight-year-old denied his Findus Crispy Pancakes, then starts grinning again. He can’t help it! He’s too nice! Lovely Olly.
Icona Pop – I Love it (feat. Charli XCX)
Icona Pop don’t need backup. This is a wall of anthemic pop – admittedly anthemic Europop, but let’s get over that, eh? – brought into your face by a two-person girl gang, and it frankly beats the shit out of everything else this month. A repetitive, pounding three-minute (ah, pop, you beautiful three minute bastard) blast aimed at making you dance, making you chant, getting your arms in the air, getting you to give not one single fuck for 180 seconds.
It’s not hard to see why it’s all over adverts and TV shows – something so perfectly infectious hasn’t been unleashed into the pop atmosphere since the Ting Tings slapped us all in the face with Shut Up And Let Me Go and everyone is going to want that zing attached to their brand. Sure, this is not a band destined to last but do you care?