Mostly Pop September 2015

High on legal marijuana, Mr Moth takes a look at the New Music Friday list on YouTube and makes notes (disclaimer may not have been high on the drugs, probably just having some Ribena).


Nelly – The Fix

Quite frankly, it’s a dangerous game to play. Imagine you’re Nelly. I’ll imagine I’m Nelly, too. Yes, the cut on the face has healed nicely now, thanks. No, that was ages ago. Please stop asking about the plaster. FFS. I WEAR A HAT NOW TALK ABOUT THE HAT. Yes it is like Ne-Yo in 2009. Ok, stop talking about the hat. Can we talk about my music, please? Yeah I know it’s been ages since I texted Kelly Rowland using Excel on a Nokia, but I’ve been working really hard since then. So here’s my new single and it… Fine, yes, it sounds a bit like my old stuff. No one said I had to keep up to date. Do I have to keep up to date? Oh.

I can still use samples of classic songs though, right? Yes yes? COOL! EVERYTHING’S COMING UP NELLY. I’m going to use Sexual Healing by Marvin Gaye to spice up my, frankly, crass sex-rhymes. Yeah, Nelly is turning on the sex. It’s getting hot in here! Not herre. Here. I’ve moved on, I’d appreciate it if you would too. I’m going to hit you with some lyrics about taking pipe, and getting wetter than an ocean and skirt very close to just saying “Why not give me a blowjob?” because I’m tired, people. I’m so tired of being this horny for so long. I made a deal with the Devil back in ’99 and… why am I telling you about my dark bargain? Haha, might, er, might cause an early collection.

Anyway. Sexual Healing. Yes. Just going to slip that in (very much in the manner of my penis). Why… why are you now singing Sexual Healing instead of my song? Stop that! You can’t! I’m the artist here, not that dead PRICK! Noooo [The Devil, in a popped-collar raincoat, rises behind Nelly, engulfing him in darkness]

 Willow Smith – Why Don’t You Cry

How does it go? We hate the Smith children. Jaden, with his perma-sulk expression, ridiculous gnomic tweets and shitty film roles. Willow with her precocious music career which… hold on this is quite good. I mean it! It’s neat, well-produced, well-performed, not exactly my precise cup of tea but not everything has to be, does it? It goes a bit odd when Willow decides to drop into a sort of faux-West Indies accent. It sounds to me a bit like she’s imitating Rihanna, which is fine I guess but maybe stick to doing that through the music not the actual phrasing. We know you’re not from Barbados – you’re the most LA kid in history.

Still. Huh. She’s not even fifteen, so maybe we can let her off trying out dumb things that don’t work. I know I did awful, embarrassing shit at that age but thankfully I wasn’t famous (then again, where was her manager?). Her singing is good, too – impressive without being showy. No hyperdrive glissando trills, just a straightforwardly strong voice. I say again. Fourteen. I sounded like a constipated duck at that age (and, indeed, at this age. Maybe I, a real duck, need more fibre in my diet). So, while I can’t quite believe I’m doing it, this is a fairly solid thumbs-up for Willow Smith. Not sure why the video is from i-D magazine, though.

Major Lazer – Too Original

Right, right, there are problems here. For all Willow Smith did a few “pon de”s, this is a bit further down the, uh, cultural appropriation road. Starting with a shout of “AFRICA MASSIVE, ARE YOU READY?” then cut to Elliphant – the whitest woman in the world – doing a bit of rapping… ehhh, yeah. It’s, ‘ow you say? Problematic.

Putting that aside for the duration of the song, though, this is a hell of a track. It rolls along on the same stomping, wobbling thunder as DJ Fresh’s Dibby Dibby Sound*, relentlessly forcing rhythm into your bones till you either collapse or dance.  The video runs with this idea; sweaty and disjointed fun in a nonspecifically-ethnic restaurant seems like a perfect metaphor for such a culturally vague good time.

 Halsey – New Americana

By now I’m openly sobbing, partly with gratitude partly with shame. Three songs in a row that I have to say nice things about! I was genuinely expecting to just dismiss this and move on. The opening felt quite Lana Del Ray (and I cannot STAND Lana Del Ray) and the lyrics were all very self-conscious fags and booze eccchhh until oh for the love of God military drumming. MY KRYPTONITE! So I gave it a chance and it turns out that it’s really great!

Ok, great is probably pushing it but it’s a kind of irresistible chorus that has “High on legal marijuana” rhymed with “Raised on Biggie and Nirvana”, isn’t it? I’m purposely ignoring the rather grating extra “ooh”s because why sweat the small stuff?

Find the video a bit iffy, mind. This what? Post-apocalypse cult shit feels hackneyed, it makes little to no sense and I can’t help but notice that “Being doused with petrol prior to being burned at the stake” is suspiciously similar to “emptying a bucket of water over exposed cleavage” BUT I GUESS THAT’S PURE COINCIDENCE, right lads? Pfft.

Taylor Swift – Wildest Dreams

I’m including this here because honestly HOW annoyed was I that this hit YouTube about two days after I wrote the last Mostly Pop? REALLY ANNOYED! I fumed about on Twitter like an angry Dalek, basically declaring Taylor Swift an enemy of Mostly Pop and that she should be exterminated.  So here we are. Yes I know I snuck Bad Blood in too, but that was just an in-passing. I’m reviewing this, like it or not. Also, everything else this week is shit!

Thing is, right, I was rooting for Wildest Dreams to be a single by, oooh, my fifteenth listen-through of 1989. Not obviously the sort of song I go for, it has a yearning lushness that grows and then refuses to let go. And little things, too, like the constant heartbeat-drum in the background dropping out for line “My last request is…” that set the hairs on the back of my neck off. So yeah, it’s pretty much great. One of the best on the album, so you can see why I was that annoyed.

Video-wise it’s a good match for the music, evoking the golden age of Hollywood and, oh ffs, colonialism really? DOES EVERYTHING THIS MONTH HAVE TO BE A BIT IFFY? Well, sort of but also more just Hollywood’s idea of it (ie wearing nice lippy near a zebra). The question arises, though, of whether Tay-Tay is going to release every song from 1989 as a single or what. If so, I suggest How You Get The Girl next because it’s amazing. Don’t bother with This Love. Ok, I’m done here.

*Yes there probably are more authentic comparators but you realise I am literally someone’s dad writing pop reviews?

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?

2 thoughts on “Mostly Pop September 2015

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