Mostly Pop November 2013

Seemingly gluttonous for punishment, Mr Moth is back to review a selection of this month’s singles releases. This time there are tracks from 1D, Britney, Robbie and other, less easily abbreviated, artists. Some of them are even quite good! Not many, but some!

Yeah, uh, I’ll just have the garlic bread for now, cheers.

Britney Spears – Work, Bitch!

GOOD BRITNEY ALERT. That’s always a comfort. Honestly, I reckon this one is a bit of a winner. No-one really gives Britney the credit she deserves for her constant reinvention and reinvigoration, mainly because it’s not as obvious and contrived as, say, Madonna. Mind you, Madonna changes her hairdo a bit these days and it’s all WHAT CRAZY NEW DIRECTION IS MADGE TAKING TODAY??? simply because we’re used to her rebooting the brand every album. She’s been functionally identical since, like, Music, people! We can stop looking now. Anyway, yes, Britney.

The thing is, Britney is not perceived as an auteur as Madonna is, for some reason. She is a pop product, with an army of stylists and producers picking the look and sound for her. This means that the Britney brand is surprisingly flexible. Yes, as a person she’s a media car-crash but as a performer? Magic. Never a leader, but never so far behind it’s embarrassing (well, not since I Love Rock and Roll). Remember when the Neptunes were all over the place and Britney came out with Slave 4 U? When Timbaland was chart king and hey, here’s Blackout (still her finest hour)? Now here’s electro-Britney! Doing an accent! Seriously, you can’t un-hear her crazy accent once you hear it.

Lyrically, well, a bit dodgy. A paean to capitalism, it almost sounds like Britney reciting a speech she once heard in her early career – although shouting “WORK BITCH” at a Mouseketeer is a bit much, Mickey. Jesus. After listening to it, my wife concluded that, although it might be an attempt at personal empowerment “Bitch is not a word we should be trying to reclaim”. I can’t argue with that. Doesn’t help that she’s dancing with semi-naked ladies, for no reason other than the obvious. Curiously, she’s often missing the steps, where previously she’s been one of the better not-a-dancer-in-front-of-professional-dancers pop stars. Maybe they over-choreographed, maybe she’s just not up to it any more? Maybe they just left the mis-steps in. Still, the video rescues itself by having SHARKS in it, and sharks are so hot right now. She’s like a one-woman sharknado.

Rizzle Kicks – Skip to the Good Bit

More semi-naked ladies, but this time they’re quite the disappointment.

You see, I was starting to believe that Rizzle Kicks might be going somewhere good. Old-school conscious hip-hop good, politically energised good, socially aware good. And yeah, they’re a couple of young lads who’ve been told they can have a video filled with women in their underwear but it’s all cheeky and ironic like, and it’s a song about being young and horny so you can see how this mis-step happened. But it still happened. I’m not angry, just sad. Come back from this, boys, you can do it.

It’s a good song, too, I like it more than your last one. I suppose that’s inevitable when you sample EMF.

One Direction – Story of My Life

Hoo boy, they’re going Full Mumford. One of them even has a waistcoat and neckerchief. Waistcoat? Do we still call them that? What’s with the fashion for calling things like that a “gilet”? Or is that just for what I would call bodywarmers? What’s wrong with “bodywarmer”?  THIS PARAGRAPH BROUGHT TO YOU BY SOMEONE’S DAD.

This is shit, of course. I honestly don’t know why you’d expect anything different. They’re quacking on about their family… in the video. In the lyrics, it’s probably business as usual, but I’m seriously not going to listen to 1D lyrics after the whole “What Makes You Beautiful” debacle. The video, though, is all about faaaahhhmily, like it was directed by Peggy Mitchell while drunk and emotional. All their families have been sort of, I dunno, 3-D freeze-framed, which is pretty creepy. I mean, apparently, Harry Styles was raised by a waxwork. Come to think of it, this explains so, so much.

JLS – Billion Lights

Oh, just spilt up already, JLS. You’re a nice bunch of lads – the tall one, the one with the Hobbit name, JLS’s Dad, the other one – but you’ve outstayed your pop welcome by a good year or two. You’re the pop equivalent of those BT students. I mean, you’re palpably no good, but at least you’re an improvement on the alternative (One Direction/Kris Marshall). Now I only want you gone and-

Oh, fine, fine. Yeah, this exists. It plays for a while, then ends and nothing has changed between then and now. Life will move on, and no-one will remember that they once listened to a JLS song. In a way, maybe they didn’t. After all, does listening not require active engagement from the listener? That would be impossible, surely, since this song slides from the eardrums as if greased.

Watch the video, then. Yes. I watched the video. Did I watch the video? It was… there was some stuff from X Factor and… a crowd, I definitely remember….

Little Mix – Move

Well, this isn’t bad. It is a little bit wallpaperish, at first, a little like a polite rework of Blurred Lines only with actually fully-dressed women* in the video. Then right near the end it all comes together and it’s genuinely fun. Don’t get me wrong, this one isn’t getting near a permanent playlist  any time soon, but I won’t switch it off shouting “No no no no no not in this house!” like I do when, say One Direction turn up.

*This is a pleasing turn-up from Little Mix. Their fashion choices (or the fashion choices of their handlers, at least, god I have to put that disclaimer in all the time) skew 80s, Bananarama 80s at that. High collars! Long trousers! There may even be a boiler suit in there! It does feel a bit like the stylists have taken this as their cue to go mad on any exposed flesh, mind, since the make-up is CRACKERS. Still, it’s nice that not every female pop star has to flash their knickers.

Robbie Williams – Go Gentle

Robert. Robert, Robert, Robert. Please stop this. It’s not good. I know what you think you’re doing, but it requires something you can’t give. Please, just leave swing alone. I know it gives you some fun album titles, and you get to wear a suit and sing into one of those chunky old-fashioned microphones, I know that you want to become a National Treasure more than anything else (especially if you get there before that fuck Barlow), and you’ve got bags of charisma but you can’t sing well enough.

Soz, Bob.

Storm Queen – Look Right Through (MK Remix)

So, then, the Governor from The Walking Dead wakes up in a hotel room and licks a shoe. Then he turns into The Pink Panther and gets a blowjob in a lift, because chicks dig furries, especially ones who know how to take out a zombie with a high-powered rifle, amirite? Yeah I am. Then he has a bit of a dance with a woman who turns up in a car to give him a gem from Swashbuckle. Then it’s back to the lift. All the while, a track that has “big in the clubs this summer” written all over it plays inoffensively in the background. That is all, we are done.

About Thom Willis

Thom is the curator of #microwrites - - and writes his own stories for He lives in London because, given the choice, who wouldn't?

13 thoughts on “Mostly Pop November 2013

  1. I read that as “a woman who turns up in a car to give him Gem from Swashbuckle” and thought, now THAT is an unexpected crossover. I liked the pasty pink panther video. Thought Britney missing all the dance moves was really odd though – why didn’t they edit them out?!

  2. ‘She’s like a one-woman sharknado.’ – I’ve never heard a more flattering description of Britney. I mean it as I love Sharknado (who doesn’t) and no secret I kinda love Britney.

    1. Oh, Britney’s great. It was possibly in the very first Mostly Pop that I marvelled at her ability to just switch on the awesome, to go from shaven headed car crash to pixel-perfect pop princess in the blink of an eye. I’m moved to admiration for her incredible professionalism and unbreakable spirit.

  3. The biggest problem I have with that One Direction video is that they’re working in a dark room with white lights on all over the place. Silly boys! None of your pics will come out, especially the colour ones! And how are you getting a full colour processing job with one dip in the developer solution? it’s not possible!

    And the song’s rubbish.

  4. Watch the Robbie again, MrMoth, and have this in your head.

    “In an Interview with Magic FM said that the song song is a promise to his daughter Teddy, he said: “Go Gentle is a promise I’m making to my daughter. It was written when she first arrived on the planet and I’d been a selfish popstar for most of my life and then all of a sudden I’ve been asked to take care of this whole person. I still am scared that I’m not up to the task! I’m doing a good job of being dad but it’s scary, you have to look after this person for the whole of their life, I’m not very good at even looking after me!”.”

    It’s *hardly* swing!

    1. He ACTUALLY has a daughter? I mean, it obviously comes across as father-daughter stuff but I genuinely had no idea he had a kid. This will teach me to always check Wikipedia, even with someone I think I know. Anise will be pleased that her theory is correct.

  5. ohh he says I love you Teddy at the end.

    Seriously I wish you did this every week. I wish I could pay you to sit in my living room pointing out videos sometimes when I walk past you.

    1. Another of Anise’s questions answered!

      If I did this every week I might become knowledgeable. I prefer to only half-know what’s going on, review odd stuff then look back and shout “HOW DID I MISS CALL ME MAYBE, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD??”

      1. Steve Wright in the afternoon used to play it twice a day, now he only plays it once every two days. Plus there was a spoof version of it to promote Hotel Transylvania, called Call Me Mavy. That is how I came to have heard it more than 18,000 times by June.

      2. It’s a great tune, thoughbut. Listen to the Mostly Pop Spotify playlist and you’ll soon realise that this column misses all the hits.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s