Mostly Pop April 2015

More pop reviews from MrMoth, more machine now than man. This month will go down in history as “The month Moth reviewed Mumford & Sons without swearing”.


Kendrick Lamar
King Kunta

I remember when Kendrick Lamar was here last, slouching around behind Pusha T. I liked that and I’m pretty sure I like this too. It’s a grower – although the first time I heard it I caught the end and thought it was SORRY KENDO. I just calls it as I hears it. Anyway, further listens have confirmed that this sounds nothing like and that I am clearly no good at the very basic task of listening to music, which is bad news for anyone still reading this shit.

For those of you still here, I can say that I liked this quite a bit. I mean, it’s no, but it’s pleasingly old-school, which now means it sounds like late 90s hip-hop. Not to sound quite as old as I am, but in my day “Old school” meant Run DMC or The Sugarhill Gang. I know my audience is mainly cool and with-it young people [sideways look to camera], but just in case there are any people of my age reading, that’s not what I’m saying. His phrasing here is like DMX, if DMX didn’t gargle with gravel.

Stacey Solomon

Have you ever had a really nice barbecue? I mean, not using frozen food, using fresh stuff. Properly marinated pork shoulder, maybe. Or a side of salmon – put a couple of slices of lemon on it, pile it with fresh herbs like dill and parsley, load of butter, wrap it in foil and sling it on for a for about 25 minutes. Depends on the heat of your barbecue I guess. Don’t forget to put some new potatoes and corn on the cob on the side. Honestly, corn on the cob done on the barbecue is amazing.

Mumford & Sons

Thing is right I watched this video because it was a tour of London and I live in London so it was like ooh look there’s that place I live never see that on the telly do you and the music was on in the background so it was like watching a bit in a film where you’re not listening you’re just looking but then some guitars kicked in or maybe just really emphatic banjos I’m not sure what these guys play any more and the pictures went like blurry kaleidoscopes and I had to stop watching and start listening and it was rubbish stadium rock.

This isn’t even the real video it’s the “official audio”, so I can’t imagine anyone getting as far as I did when they make a proper video and it’s just some blokes dressed like the Hovis delivery boy prancing about in a shed. OR WHATEVER. I don’t know, maybe they all dress like Jack White doing that Ray Reardon impression he does these days. Like that time Kings of Leon shaved their beards or Arctic Monkeys stopped letting their Mums dress them, this is Mumford and Sons deciding to get all heavy guitars and AOR. This is an inevitable career path, I suppose. Ditch whatever sound made you a bit different (banjos, 70s pop-rock, being literally the band that played at school assemblies and everyone clapped politely at) and try sounding like U2 around The Joshua Tree. I expect Mumford and his Sons will be headlining another major festival soon. They should try Download.

Nicki Minaj
The Night is Still Young

What do you do if your song is a bit blah, a bit weak? Especially if your singles are usually striking and brash, unignorable? How do you keep people talking about you?

How about making a video that is totally gay? Be a hip hop artist showing a relationship between two men that is not even a thing. It’s just the love story you get in every video, only it’s two guys, everyone! Oh shit, look how normal that is! Huh? Huh? I am TOTES cool with this. Me, Nicki Minaj! I bet you weren’t expecting that! Let’s all talk about how progressive Nicki Minaj is in the often aggressively homophobic hip hop culture! Woo yeah Nicki! Talk about me!


As with a lot of the songs this month, I feel like I’m watching an artist tread water. Is this an attempt for Madonna to produce an inspiring torch song, a Frozen for the current decade (whatever we’re calling it. I mean, I wasn’t wild about the last decade being “The Noughties” but this one? Are we even bothering with a name?)? Or just capable album filler unexpectedly promoted to single status? We may never know. So here we are with this exceedingly humdrum walking-pace song that turns up, parades around waving a little flag, leaves.

Can we at least enjoy the video? Well, it’s Madonna so it… hey, you know she has that gap between her front teeth? Has it always been this pronounced? I can’t stop looking at it. No, come on, focus. So Madonna is a ringmaster who has survived the apocalypse and… nope,  IT’S ALL I CAN SEE. God, sorry. Terrence Howard is there, wondering how he lost that sweet Iron Man gig and enacting summary justice on those who attempt to use his playground equipm- seriously, am I going mad? Has she had it artifically widened or removed a cap or something? WHAT IS HAPPENING? Anyway, it ends like a 90s James Cameron flick, with the formation of the… the nucular… the nucular fam… You can all see it, right? Suddenly she looks like Kate Moss’s mum? TELL ME YOU CAN SEE IT!

David Hasselhoff
True Survivor

I’m pretty sure this is as knowingly bonkers as it’s possible to be while remaining Scandinavianly upright. That’s right, Kung Fury (the film for which this is a theme song and from which the video takes its look) not only genuinely exists (because the internet) but it is also Swedish in origin. The plot is something about time travel, Nazis, dinosaurs, Thor and wait, wait. Wasn’t Nazis-on-the-Moon Iron Sky from that sort of area, too? And the trailer for the sequel to that has dinosaurs in it. Northern Europe, you guys have issues with Hitler (somewhat understandable) and Tyrannosaurs (somewhat less so).

This really looks and sounds the part of an 80s fantasy action flick promo video, though. The editing, framing, lighting, effects, all spot on but run through the filter of the internet. The pastiche is perfect. The only real problem is Hasselhoff himself, who never fully gives the impression that he gets the joke. He’s game enough to play along, but something worrying lurks under that mullet. There’s a nagging doubt that maybe he expects to be taken seriously as an artist after paying his dues like this. Yeah, Dave, that’s just not happening. Just enjoy the weirdo career you have now.

Janelle Monáe

Look, honestly, I think Janelle is ace and a force for good in this world but this is poor. It feels like one of those tracks that haunted the charts in the early Noughts (ugh), usually with heavy letterboxing on the video; the singer on a beach, surrounded by smiling dancers like oh this is a swell beach party you guys. Sure, this is Janelle so it’s a little more urban, a little more New York, but it’s the same aesthetic, visually and sonically. As I said earlier, this is an artist treading water. I hope, anyway. I’d hate for this bland mess to be the latest direction of someone as eccentric and inspired as Janelle Monáe.

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?

8 thoughts on “Mostly Pop April 2015

  1. I really like the Madonna. I like the video, which is like from the time when videos looked like that and there were Levi ads on the telly, and I like the song. I really hope Madonna does Strictly this year.

  2. I take it the Madonna one isn’t a Specials cover then?

    Also, is the first one really called King Kunta?

    1. You know, I deleted the line “Worst Specials cover ever”, thinking “nah too cheap”.

      King Kunta happens to be the bad guy in several of the worst Mario games.

      1. Oh, I had something in my post acknowledging what a terrible joke it was. I think I have been defeated by poor formatting skillz.

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