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AN A-Z OF MY FAVOURITE POP FROM 2013 - An end of year almanac from the F.U.N.K Singles Pages

A message from the editor: "Well, it's certainly been a year hasn't it, a year in which things have occured and sometimes other things have also occured. A year in which musicians have made music, and the fans have listened to it. A year in which certain things changed a bit, and others, didn't. In the party spirit, I thought I'd look back over the blog's singles pages and round up all my favourite moments from the last twelve-month of excitement, musical innovation and intrigue and share them with you. I'm sure I've left out some of the highlights, but here are the releases I think are emblematic of another great 52 weeks of pop and rock, and that surely point the way to even better things in 2014. Alot can happen in 365 days, but I'm sure the next 8760 hours in our lives will still surprise and startle and delight us as much as these records did in the last 525,600 minutes. And don't forget, via the F.U.N.K Singles Page, YOU can stay in touch with all the fun and fabulous music over the coming 31 million 536 thousand seconds until 2015. Have a great Xmas F.U.N.K readers. You are an example to us all."

(Soundcloud)Strike one — a dull-as-fuck backdrop, dull-as-fuck singing, dull-as-fuck rapping. Strike two — first heard on Zane Lowe's show, doubtless announced as if he was going to unleash seven-thousand shades of chemical warfare up your bumgut. Strike three — produced by Markus Dravs, the man also responsible for shaving the scab off whatever crusted creative boil oozed Coldplay and Mumford & Sons our way. For shame Angel. For shame. I knew by your boosters claims that you were 'doing something different in hip-hop' that you'd be soon knocking out crossover drek like this. You're out.

Another mistaking of metronomy for feel, vagueness for profundity. Somewhere in this flabby seven minutes of pffft there's a shitty 2 minute song waiting to break out. I'm not being picky. I'm just having standards i.e demanding that a pop song gives me pleasure, doesn't bore me, doesn't coast, doesn't come across as entirely unjustifiably pleased with itself. 'Reflektor' has not one moment of pleasure or wonder in it, only the smug constant insistence that hey wow, we're cool cos we're a rock band but we're trying to play disco. (That boom-tish alternated hi-hat rumble every fucker has down pat when they wanna get 'dancey', another rhythm section that thinks it's Frantz/Weymouth that hasn't listened to enough Dunbar/Shakespear to even come close). Broken down to it's constituent elements everything that should work is in place on 'Reflektor' (even that 'k'), James Murphy pushing all the right buttons to try and heat things up, eventually failing to stop it flailing because what's being played is so bereft of heart and purpose, the changes so signposted and monotonously run through you're simply witness to them going round them over and over again without any real sense of movement or import. Simply not good enough when the frontman and band are clearly such tedious & arrogant individuals they have to hide their non-personas behind 'zany' masks (and what a fucking tired trick that has become for a whole generation of indie meh-merchants) in the Cjorbin-annointed video. If you're going to make music like this you need words interesting enough, a personality big enough or voice intriguing enough (Bowie, Grace, Donna) to imbue all that rotational repetition with a sense of dramatic art and change. 'Reflektor' contains none of that, just sits wobbling like a wodge of flavourless jelly slopped on a bassbin, Bowie's fleeting appearance offering merely an aggravatingly tantalising glimpse of what might've been if a human being rather than a pack of 'tastemakers' had had a go at this 'song'. Pass.

AFTERLIFE(Sonovox)So utterly fucking boring and dismal it even made my squalid existence seem a pulsating thrillfest in comparison. I'm so very sick of bands who think that lyrics don't have to mean anything (or rather, feel that for lyrics to mean something they must be as un-noticeable as possible), that the words songs have can just reflect 'emptiness',  musically sound like cack indie-dance from the 90s, and somehow that such a grisly combination will be profound & moving & suggestive & poignant & 'brave'. Lazy, sickeningly self-regarding, downright cowardly pop music. 'Can we just scream and shout/til we work it out'? What a totally fucking pitiful response to life that is, what a shameful anthem for a generation of skinny speccy shitwits 'Afterlife' is, that whole 'well life's a bit confusing isn't it, I'm young and a bit shit but don't worry, I'll manage (something or other), I'll get through to (something else I haven't actually fucking thought about with any depth or insight or energy whatsoever BECAUSE I HAVEN'T HAD TO), yeah I know I party and bullshit but actually I'm shy and sensitive and THINK about things and read my tumblr won't you' self-help-spiel shit a whole generation is growing up thinking will do. Music as soundtrack to a life that longs to be in a constant Apple advert. Stop feeling so fucking sorry for yourself you bearded wankers - Brian Eno didn't evaporate into the ether for this shit. In summation, Arcade Fire, (Amer.) adj: "To be not at all good at any of the things". 

Quality. Legends. Sloppy. Erectile dysfunction. Celibate. Forgettable. Yup, everythingthat 10/10 from the NME led you to believe. They had way more feel, more heat, when they started out I reck. (Sidetrack - AM are yet another shouldabeenonehitwonders of the 00s - sometimes I think we'd have lost nothing if albums had been banned for that whole decade and bands' first singles were all we had). Now losing whatever they had in floppy pendulous shapeless pomposity, that Vegas air slowing them to a plod as dull as QOTSA's "Make It Wichu'. This sounds like Chris Moyles' idea of 'experimental', like the Stereophonics zany new 'disco direction', like bleedin' Hard-Fi fer chrissakes. Epic. Boosted as somehow AM at their 'blackest', their 'danciest' (uggh) just cos they coo octave-split vocals on the chorus and the click track's been bonged-slower a few notches. You'd have to have been found swaddled in a wicker basket in a forest clearing and bought up and reared by wankers to ever consider this anything other than time-marking bollocks of the most tedious kind. Legends. A guaranteed in-at-12 out the next week non-hit doubtless already embedded into the editing suites (smartly, Alex sings "to the relegation zone" early on, he no dummy) at Talksport and the Sky F1 channel for judicious cutting and disseminating through the ever-lucrative medium of sports-montage right now. Decent. Look away and hold yr nose. Chapman Bridge for snobs. FAKE sound of Vegas. Quality. 

RECOVERY (Syco)Caught my wife singing heartily along with 'You're Nobody Til Somebody Loves You' the other day. This is not a problem, even though I find that song perhaps the most repellent musical and oral production of 2013. If I catch her singing the even more ghastly 'Recovery' though, I'll hold her hand on the way to the walk-in centre and then throw fruit at the windows of the padded-lorry as she leaves my life forever. The absolute worse thing about this bellowing beefcake is how he spends all his time (when he's not being a serious musician who can hold his own playing live and not being about the ego) talking about how he's a 'serious' musician who can 'hold his own' playing live and how he's 'not about the ego'. Oddly though, the production of J-Art's records and the promotion of them is totally based upon a complete lack of self-deprecation and an earnestly tatooed conviction about being dark and serious and passionate that can only come from having an ego the size of Bahrain. His horrible phlegmatic bolus of a voice is held up & foregrounded as paramount and titanic in all his records even with Little Mix faves TMS behind the desk (and man do they TRY and make it interesting, pinwheeling through every available preset) & the thudding macho passion is so remorselessly, unyieldingly shoved in the listeners face it's like he's lapdancing for you while remaining fully togged up in his most tight-fitting Jacomo duds. Leave me and my family alone you sick bastard. 

Why are Atoms For Peace releasing a single? Thom Yorke hates pop music like he hates modern standards of hygiene. He's the enemy of pop music. He's all about good music,proper music, proper music played by proper people on proper instruments of a properintellect that doesn't lower itself to having such vulgar things as 'hooks' or trying to be 'likeable' and so this dislikable splat of coffee-table-ready coffee-coloured shit proves. Perhaps the most punchably dislikeable cunt involved in music this side of the Gallagher bros or Bono, Thom and his fellow wankonauts here explore a  Fela-ish groove with none of the warmth or fire or reason to be, Eno-production with none of the stealth or purpose and always always always that smeared false-modest sanctimonious croon so convinced of it's own depth it feels no need to bother creating a melody that isn't transient, instantly forgettable, comes phutting out with one leg cocked and a smirk on its face and a frown on its brow. Gosh how very very very fucking clever 'Before Your Very Eyes' is, how hard it tries to make a sound you can't deny but how completely it reveals itself to be  utterly antithetical to everything you should hold dear politically, culturally, and emotionally about music. The sound of rich people trying to expiate their guilt, pomposity that negates communication, that hates the listener, a bottomless topless unfathomable pomposity that makes the soul turgid from exposure to it.  Fucking hippy cunts fuck off and die.

Crocko'shit - and a useful juncture to introduce a brief, entirely racist note about rap music in 2013. Please don't listen to white folk with busy bylines and no friends outside of PR when they tell you what's hot to death. Cunts really haven't got a fucking clue. I mean, I haven't got a fucking clue either but everyone who reads me is well aware of that. You wouldn't trust a rock journalist who is gonna spend the whole year talking about nothing but Arctic Monkeys & QOTSA so why do folk trust music journalists who portray a hip-hop world that's just about Jay & Kanye and nothing else in 2013? Even worse, people so far into their inverse snobbery that in their universe whiteboy geeky hip-hop must always be ignored? Bollocks to that, whiteboy geeky hip-hop can be fucking ace. Unlike this crocko'shit. Crocko'shit.

LAURA PALMER(Virgin)BasTARDS more like. (ArfArf! This is why they still pay me the big bucks) "This is your heart/Can you feel it?/Can you feel it?/Pumps through your veins/Can you feel it?/Can you feel it?". Fatal and exasperating error here lyrically. Your heart doesn'tpump through your veins. It pumps blood through your veins, but if your heart is actually pumping through your veins in small capillary-wide chunks you got severe, potentially life-threatening problems son.   Hey, I understand a little lassitude in medical accuracy is permissable in pop songs esp. seeing as most pop songs, if they mention the heart, have it doing something it shouldn't be doing or afflicted with deformities that would render urgent medical attention a real priority beyond the singing of a song ("Groove Is In The Heart", "Thunder In My Heart","Heart Of Glass") but c'mon Bastille, I'd been led to believe you were a literate smart pop band. If my heart was pumping through my veins what exactly would be doing the pumping thickos? The fact I've spent the last 3 minutes pondering this when I should've been actually listening to this anthemic boobery is neither here nor there. I cannot abide imprecision and we shouldn't tolerate it anymore, time's too short and life's too long.

As a fellow paki, I should show solidarity to this listless bore. However I should advise Ms. Kahn that not only is her single a forgettable slew of Tamsin Archer-meets-Tori Amos magical-realist twinkly bollocks, but that the video she's so clearly proud of actually comes across like the kind of thing your parents force you to watch cos it's 'good old-fashioned storytelling'. Sonically polite to the point of gagworthy, like a fart so smelly it's actually sweet. Always nice to find that artists/bands that others have been flipping wads over & that you've never listened to should REMAIN that way. I've done my duty now and can safely put BFL in the ol' mental rolodex under 'Please Dispose Of Your Dog's Waste Here'. Bye, hippy.

(Beady Eye AKA Sony)
Weedy as wank. With a video like a low-budget cross between 'November Rain' and the inner sleeve of 'Beggars Banquet' (and with one genuine moment of gorillas-in-the-dry-ice hilarity when that Liam creature monkeys up to the camera in silhouette) but somehow even worse than that suggests ('sexy' nuns, I shit you not!). A rejected Del Amitri b-side in any other age, in this paltry one a 'great track' from 'a legend',  'Shine A Light' achieves the somehow impossible task of making Primal Scream sound like innovators through the neat trick of being utterly rancid shit from start to finish. Someone please give me (Anselmo voice) five minutes alone with yer lad and I'll make him into a racist to go with his homophobia and sexism. Go home and count yer money man. Quietly.

(Beggars Banquet) 
    God it must be tough being in a gee-tard band sometimes. All that VAGUENESS to keep afloat, making sure that every single one of your thoughts, ideas, expressions have that definitive aura of non-commital commitment, that latitudinal damn-near horizontal imprecision todays rock-demographic desire. Making sure that your music never ever strays dangerously away from the endlessly accented trills tween fifths and ninths that Blink 182 & Godspeed You Wank Emperor & Radiohead & other enemies of humanity have laid down as thee constraints of serious frowny flail-rock. It must feel so odd, to so feign freedom under the weight of so much self-inflicted paralysis. Only when the brain is truly incapable of creating anything of any possible interest can it start getting easy, and it'd seem that Biffy Clyro have hit magic-time now, the kind of golden-era of creative ease artists rarely achieve in which everything they touch turns to the kind of shit that will sell to the walking agglomerations of body-odour they call their fans. Festival season soon so this will light the fires up the hill, brayed to the heavens by the hordes as God plugs his ears and puts another Dillinja 12 on his i-pod. Real people, y'know.  Every third face having a burger inserted into it. Real people, the kinda people you avoid like their leprosy is airborne, the kind of people who a decade ago were into Feeder, a decade before into the Stereophonics, a decade hence looking forward to the Biffy Clyro reunion tour with the kids they've inculcated with their cuntishness. Ever thus. Ever with us. 
     It really is time to make the anthemic anathema cos fuck me this is some horrifically ugly shit. Gruesome lumpen para-rhymes (magical, wonderful, biblical, immeasurable, understandable - this record is only one of these things sadly), the 'under-tow' (they heard a Tool album once & there's another word - in fact entire lyrical theme -the nautical - that needs banning from rock lyrics forever) gleaming chugalug technofied rock like Fountains Of Wayne getting sodomized by a leering Butch Vig, BC looking over their heavily inked shoulders as  his left talon strokes their beards, his right-claw anointing his scaly permatanned cock with a jar of tinctured digital syrup before plunging in nutsdeep, goochdeep, making them wail all the way to the shockingly compressed & confined limits of the soundscape. 
    NME/Kerrang rock par excellence. Avoid like the Coalition government it, and those magazines, so clearly thoroughly support. 

Remember how bands like the Stone Roses & Primal Scream always used to go on about Curtis Mayfield or Can when talking about how there'd 'always been a dance element to our music'. Lying motherfuckers! Clear to anyone with ears that the biggest influence on both of them was Bon Jovi's 'Keep The Faith' and it's prescient ability to match a shittily lumpen 'funk' groove to the usual hairy-chested alpha-twat poolhall bollocks they've been peddling for the best part of 3 decades now. 'What About Now' sadly sees the Jovi stop being leaders of the pack and simply following a nastily contemporary amalgam of Biffy Clyro-style dunce-chords and Killers-style ugly wordiness. Let's hope they return to the cutting edge that ensured they were perhaps the biggest single influence on bands as big and important as Oasis, Green Day and Kings Of Leon. Oh of course none of those snobby cowardly motherfuckers would admit it but just listen to them - they've all got a big bit of Jovi in their souls. Never forget it.

Mindful to fill this review with enough lucrative keywords to keep my SEO optimizers happy (hi guys, check the caps!)  in the whiter than white corner we have this little QUALITY arsewipe and oh my giddy fuck you won't believe what you're hearing! A voice so bereft of pleasure it's like filling your pants with TOP hot gravel, a guitar so aimlessly MINT dull you wanna see if his basin-bowlcut head will fit inside the soundhole, well aware that it won't, still keen to bloody well try with some heft and a CLASS shoehorn and several stout whacks with a polo mallet.  Bugg, you donkey, be quiet. Lots of people are telling you you're great. They're all twats. You're not great. You're fucking CLASS rubbish.

Sometimes I sense that all you need to do to get a positive review in these cheerleading days is simply be a band and manage to make a record. Manage to make a record that starts, does some verses and choruses and ends or fades. Out of relief almost, people will be impressed that you got through, that you did it, that they have just been enabled to engage in the behaviour associated with music i.e listening and eventually, not listening. If you manage to use textures and sounds that people can identify, even better. And at no point must anyone ask - do I NEED this record? Because, possibly, at no point would the answer be yes. I was told Chvrches do 80s synth pop - they don't, they make weak 90s techno-pop seemingly waiting on a better timelier drum-machine (and the Linn/808 phatness sits ill with the cleanliness here, like a spacesuit full of farts). It would take you five listens to 'Gun' to be able to even remotely sing back a single line, so bereft of hook yet smug in texture it is. I have absolutely no problem with Chvrches pootling away to little avail until the end of time but the notion that this is 'great pop' simply because it deals in the same sounds as critics' youth is utterly wrong-headed. Must try a fuck of a lot harder.

The true pulsating (like an abscess) soundtrack for the joyful nazi-khazi daymare of Coalition government but at time of writing, no leak of the music only the lyrics for this longawaitedbycunts newie 'Atlas'. Handy really cos my first exposure to these ubiquitous god-bothering toss-merchants was the lyrics to 'Yellow', the reading of which informed me right there right then that piled-skyhigh-shitness was all this band were ever gonna give us. So, what's been bothering that Tory motherfuck Martin now?"Some saw the sun/ Some saw the smoke/ Some heard the gun/ Some bent the bow". Riiiiiight . . . he does know the Olympics has already happened doesn't he? Oh I see,Hunger Games tie-in (should've guessed some kind of product-endorsement was going on) - I'm guessing this is going to sound geometrical and pretty and has half a hook it rotates endlessly, I'm guessing it stays in that hateful hinterland between pop and rock where neither is done effectively but enough people can convince themselves all is 'real' and 'proper'. I'm guessing there's enough dull passages of instrumental Radioheadesque tastefulness to be eminently usable in trailers for the new season of ITV drama and adverts for megapixel cameras and liberating sanitary-protection. Quite remarkable, or perhaps inevitable, for a band to get that big when nothing, literally nothing has ever been at stake with their music. As their biggest fan and spiritual godfather David Cameron said to me the other night as we both toasted Satan with a foaming pint of the blood of innocents and threw another disabled benefits-claimant on the fire - "it's only through Coldplay's kind of ruthlessly inhumane commerce that we can start competing in the global race". When you mean nothing you have found your time.  

Definitive, state-of-the-art indie-folk that immediately makes you think you've heard it already. You just can't remember what product it was advertising. You're pretty sure it was a slimline device of some description but it could've been anything from car insurance to a new, liberating type of sanitary towel. A little research reveals it's never been used on an advert, but the fact you THINK it's from an advert is testament to Daughter's ability to seamlessly slip alongside the zeitgeist of sounding both sparkly and as if under the pall of a Victorian illness, and take their place amongst other listless croakers covered in fairy-lights and filled with what sound like pleurisy on the gravy train of soundtracking adverts directed at middle-class students and 20-30 yr old ABC earners and other people who close their eyes in bliss as soon as they hear an acoustic guitar and a glockenspiel in heavenly bearded & floral-dressed union.
    I remember when I first started hearing female voices like this, Lisa Germano, Lois, other 4.A.D acts like Liquorice - like all 'weak' voices (see also Jimi Hendrix, Keith Richards, Paul Westerberg, Marianne Faithful) what was winning was when you felt that they were at least trying to sing the best they could, or at least not giving a fuck and making you live with their technically imperfect throats. What bands like Daughters suffer from is that here you get the feeling they're AIMING for that weakness, trying to sound frail ergo damaged ergo interesting. It's music that settles for being the aural equivalent of an autumnal Marie Claire photoshoot and I pretty much blame Cat Power for all of it. Pass.

(Venusnote/Columbia) Your voice suits your face doesn't it? S'why it's impossible to love The Enemy. S'why I've never got along with Depeche Mode. It's Gahan. It's his diddy Jeremy Kyle-like seriousness, no matter how much self-deprecation he might indulge in now. Oh, I'm sure he's a charming & thoroughly decent fellow. But I hate his singing, hate that grain of heartfeltness in it, its rockschool professionalism and lack of personality, hate the eternally wracked tedious lines between junkiedom, religion and romance Depeche always push our way. 'Soothe My Soul' aims for the all-conquering wonder of Rachel Stevens' 'Some Girls' but only reaches the non-conquering middlingness of a Nitzer Ebb b-side. I always remember the last scene of '101' when they're all sat backstage ponying up the dough. They don't need this and nor do we.

Whaddayado when all the kook runs out? When your target demographic becomes bored of you a little? Y'can't do another 'Big When I Was Little' - that was shameless, a craven pile-up of retro-references as desperately flailing as Alan Partridge suddenly shouting 'TISWAS' then mumbling '. . . . errm . . . sweets they don't make anymore . . . '. It always seemed one step away from simply lurching into being the cover of the 'Fresh Prince' theme perhaps most guaranteed to mop up all that whined-for pocket-money. Of course you could always call it a day, become a model or a runner or an actress or simply ask daddy or mummy for a job somewhere quieter in the biz, somewhere a little less visible. [They won't mind taking a hit remember, and it might be the only way now that fame has become a purely hereditary issue]. Or of course, you could give 'your music' another go with one more album, toss in another collab with Paloma Faith, or the XX, someone who'll get you back in the Live Lounge with Jo Whiley's pisshole eyes squinting their love your way.
   Of course, it'd help, when you were creating your new album, the second record where you can't just be a ditzy purveyor of pastiche, if you actually had a soul, rather than just loving people whom you imagine had a soul a long long time ago. Something to sing about would also help, something beyond the endless cycle and circle of massive privelige and easy access and quirky dilletantism that's been your birthright so far. But you haven't got such a vintage thing as a soul as you imagine, and the right equipment and clothes won't make it grow anytime soon. Best bet is - as a tester, toss out some half-arsed 'soul music' that makes Emile Sande sound like Betty Davis, replete with vague lyrics about being a bit sad sometimes and being in love sometimes that you ripped off a thing you saw on imgur/r/motivational last night, and a hook that a small dull child would find melodically unimaginative. Small dull child Fearne Cotton, your mate, will love it, Rob Da Bank, another mate, will love the shitty obvious remix, mummy and daddy will support you in everything you do and when it tanks in the upper reaches of the top 30 your PR will be round to tell you to tell everyone they've lined up (mainly broadsheets, a few Redtops and Saturday entertainment supplements just in case) about how this album is 'more personal and more grown up' than anything you've done before. You'll appear on Later With Jools Holland and bask in the approval your slick big-band backing will get from the assorted sycophants and liggers who have, and will, always surround you. In discussion with your PR and label you'll decide to forego being grilled by Grimshaw in the morning (who wants to get sucked into that ongoing haemorrage)  and instead embark on the second stage of your musical career with Radio 2 firmly in your sights as an eventual playlist home, the ongoing Nike endorsement hopefully backed up by a healthy portfolio of Sainsbury's & Boots No.7 ad-soundtracking, eyes on those disposable-income ABCs, the  CDEs picked up on the way merely an unfortunate less-lucrative side-effect of aspiration and blanket-marketing. It's a plan that I hope comes off for Eliza, and 'Let It Rain' is a great, hugely forgettable and sophorriifically dull start to that campaign.
   I should also probably mention that I sincerely hope everyone involved in the new plan, from Eliza herself to her label and hard-working streat team, to Whiley, Cotton and Da Bank, Jools, The One Show, the bookers on BBC Breakfast, the project managers synergising marketing strategies and choosing new music to best soundtrack the soon-come autumn/Xmas ads, are able along  the way to stop their arseholes being too jealous of all the shit coming out their mouths, the ordure they're letting fall in sloppy moist clods from their permanently faecally-stained lips as their absence of a single iota of worthwhile humanity begins to ferment their reptilian innards - my advice is to fucking stay in London you hobbyhorse cunts where your government will protect you, gather and suppurate your 'creative' mediocrity back and forth to each other under the protective unsheathed wings of your Ozmodyian god Cameron and and keep suckling deep from his brackish, bitter, beach-pinked dugs the acrid milk of your own endlessly smug mutual evil.
Five out of ten, perhaps it's an 'album track'?

There's a moment where the pristine stops being interestingly immobile, starts sounding static and dull. There is one good thing about 'Help Me Lose My Mind' and it's the basic bedrock of it, the low synth sweep that rolls and ebbs underneath the stop-start beats. There is one horrible horrible thing about 'Help Me Lose My Mind' and it's London Grammar's Hannah Reid's none-more-Julia-Fordham vocal. No matter what delicious manipulations it undergoes (and some of the b-vox are peachy)  it remains a cold unloveable joyless thing that reveals Disclosure as no less, no more than a Beloved for 2013. Do you really NEED that in your life? I envy your storage space and your ability to prioritise this tedium into your daily commute and I can only dream of a day when I can share in the benificient plenitude of your, and Disclosure & London Grammar's pretty-much unimpeachable taste and lack of vulgarity. Just don't come running to me when they tell you they've seen the light, give you a small brown leather book, insisting that they were right. I'll be in the basement listening to Motorhead and will not be disturbed with such tomtwattery.

(Dirtee Skank Records)
Christ. Don't watch the video unless you actually like those 'Keep Calm And . . . ' posters. Dizzee goes yet further out of his way (as if those Robbie/ toss-offs weren't bad enough) to antagonize and alienate those of us who love him with this horribly objectionable paean to whatever town you live in with your 79ps just give him your 79ps please you tasteless undiscerning fucks give him your 79ps he loves your town and you. He can still rhyme on point when prodded, but the backing to this - the kind of revoltingly by-rote club-friendly acoustic/autotuned euphoria that makes modern life so maximally unbearable - is just awful, the chorus so vile an enforced Eurodance singalong slop of objectionable ear-slurry it's difficult to even register his flow amid the shitnami. Rap music for Boris Johnson. Think about those early singles again. Think about 'Fix Up', 'I Love U'. 'Jus A Rascal'. Earthquakes in your day. Ten years ago now. I hate it when artists 'progress'. Wish they'd just focus on 'staying good'.

(Island)    They have no right to do this to me.How dare they make me feel this bad? What rotters. What meanies. What a perfectly beastly song in every way. The kind of song you want to punch in the face, repeatedly, finding the weak point in the facial structure, and then punching that spot over and over, again and again with increasing force and fury, preferably with a heavy-gauge ball bearing in your palm, until little shards of the song's nose-bone are embedded in your knuckles. Shut UP shut UP shut UP. 
Some badly dressed turds, yesterday

Fashionably unplugged acoustic oompah bollocks musically and then, vocally, that hateful thing so much 'anthemic' music does these days - that kind of soaring simpleton holler to the heavens everyone's on a ce moment (see also Bastille, Arcade Fire - who could also be blamed for starting this shit, Lumineers, Fun, Katy Perry, even Derulo now. . . ) meant I'm sure to imply/recall/become a kind of open-throated end-of-the-night wail at the wonder at the universe, coming over as the kind of hateful studenty bellowing singalong shit you scowl at from the gap in the curtains at & can't help wishing will get scooped up by the wrong kind of cab-driver, then groomed into a lifelong nightmare of white slavery and degradation i.e reality shows and reunion tours. No right at all you future botox-addicts. How dare they make me feel so bad.

(Fueled By Ramen) 
'We Are Young' wore me down eventually. Not to the point of liking it, but to the point of accepting its existence, the fact that for the next few years I can legitimately expect to hear it at least twice a week against my will because I live in the modern world of radios and televisions and in-store broadcasting and it is irrevocably now part of that world. This is poop though, as you'd expect from anyone formerly willing to be in a band called 'The Format', from its deceptively Left Banke-like synth part which shoulda been on harpsichords, all the way to its crappy chorus, shot through as it is with all the melodic grace of Opus and Freiheit and a kindergarten hook as desperate as it is sinister. I've heard better songs sung by Mr Tumble to be honest. Lazy pricks.

HOW LONG WILL I LOVE YOU (CHILDREN IN NEED SINGLE)(Polydor)THINGS were easier when bad voices, damaging, dangerously influential voices were the loudest voices, the most stentorian and bossy and show offy. It was obvious how dangerous the likes of Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey were for pop, that surfeit of notes and melisma, that mistaking of technicality and proficiency for emotion that was so analogous to other musicians, guitarists who solo too much, drummers who solo at all. 
Goulding with arch shitbag Jo Whiley
   What's so horrible at the moment is that the most dangerously influential voices are the weak ones, or rather the faux-weak ones, the ones that impart a horrible tincture of fake fragility to their singing, fake conversationality, a prissy, self-aggrandizing 'vulnerability' that's monstrously arrogant. Wonky-mouthed mediocrity Ellie Goulding (even that name seems to live in a floral dress, the geek amazed at the good audition) is the exemplar of this. 'Burn' would have been a fairly emetic slice of EDM-folk in anyone's hands but with her 'broken' 'breathy' 'natural' tones it attained fresh new levels of hellishness. The only time such voices have ever been tolerable to me is when they're accompanied by a similar sense of brokenness and trauma in the production of the whole record (Lois, Lisa Germano). When, as with this Pudsey-boosting pool of piss (& the equally venal Passenger) they're backed by state-of-the-art 96-track pomposity (again masquerading as finesse) the package is a hateful, ghastly one, a song wherein you can almost hear the Zooey Deschanel rom-com unfolding in the background. This isn't just pop music, it's M&S pop music. Spurn it as you would spurn a rabid dog.

TOO many outlets in and out. Of course, I should have massive problems with everyone involved here but 'Titanium' keeps on nagging away at me as a damn good reason not to fully condemn DG (if only he could and of course, like anyone else, I LOVED 'Stay', still Rihanna's only truly salvageable moment. Happy to report though that this is absolutely vile, like Chris Martin, Bono and Thom Yorke all frantically spunked on to a biscuit and then fed the soggy detritus through Logic Pro via a midi cable. Vocals - horrible, production - ghastly, concept- foul. The video,  which seeks to somehow bat away the none-more-whiteness of the track and give it some kind of political message it really can't sustain  by randomly splicing in footage of smiling Africans whenever it can, is perhaps one of the most revolting artefacts 2013 will give us. Hell, I know I should be critically schtum cos this is all for the United Nations or something but fuck the United Nations if enabling pop as terrible as this has now swum within their remit. Only fair that we consider marching Guetta, Ekko, and the smiling Africans as well, to the edge of a volcanic crater and push them all in, just to be firm but fair. A luncheon of lava will learn them not to foist poo on innocent pop fans and no mistake. 

Phewff, that was close, nearly clicked on the version that was ‘live from Maida Vale’. 
[Bomb Maida Vale, someone, now that it's become the livelounge cathedral sanctifying the ongoing acoustic anschluss, preferably ensuring that Jo Whiley is inside, wearing a big parka sat on a piano stool next to Kelly Jones, her pisshole-in-the-snow eyes closed as she nods appreciatively as he plays a broken version of ‘Mr Writer’. Would be lovely if she’d invited Zane Lowe & Fearne Cotton along too. Sorry, shouldn’t get lost in these daydreams, the snap back to reality where these people live and breathe and move through air and draw wages from my license fee is too too painful to make the reveries worthwhile. Her parka-fur singed and lit and undoused by her frenzied tears. Lowe’s crispy flame-grilled fists beaten into tandoorified charred stumps on the door-pane, the air in Cotton’s head evaporating in an empty baloon hiss of steam. The sprinklers failing . . . failing, sorry where was I?]
   Oh yeah: the Haim sisters & friend continue their mission to dilute ‘Tango In The Night’ into palatable chunks of disguised vomit for mass re-consumption and commit the cardinal error so common to so many born-in-the-80s 80s-retronauts i.e getting everything right sonically and nothing right spiritually, and as ever forgetting to write a chorus. The retro-ness I don't particularly have a problem with at this late stage of our disappearance down pop-history's plughole but it's the palpable sense as ever that these people are on no journey, personally, emotionally, or musically, or romantically, just that they've arrived WITH MUSIC TO MAKE and the tools immediately at their disposal, that so utterly saps their admittedly 'correct' sourcing and facsimile of any potential intrigue it might have had. 

See, that’s not a chorus, that’s a bridge. FFS am I gonna have to get Songwriting101 on yr asses? Yessssssss, it happens after a verse but that doesn’t make it a chorus. Admit it, you were so pleased with yourself for constructing such a believable simulacra of a 70s soft-rock verse &  bridge you COULDN’T ACTUALLY BE ARSED to find a hook for a chorus. Which is like blowing up the paddling pool only to not bother putting water in it y'lazy fuckers. This is not Belladonna. It's just vella shitta. 


I bet you are you pink fucknuckle. Despite what musicians and their sycophants might have you believe, music is never just about the music. When Cameron met Haim people pointing out that this is what happens when posh airheads completely colonise indie pop were batted away with the usual whining from their equally posh equally airheaded defenders in the press - 'no, it's just what happens on the Andrew Marr show', 'no they're just young and not political' or even more pitifully 'but they're American'. Azalia Banks got the same soft-treatment when she showed twitter-love for SamCam - defended to the hilt by reactionary apprentice Daily Mail columnists endlessly self-piteously bleating about their ignorance and how there's nothing they can do about it. Dunno bout you but when I was 15 I knew (cos, y'know, I was a live sentient being) which side of my buttered bread Thatch AND Reagan were shitting on - this idea that people can get to their MID-20s and still NOT KNOW that they're pallying up to someone evil, someone committed to destroying the lives of a whole social class is simply dumb avoidance and stupidity proudly celebrated, an ignorance that has never had to question or change itself. Then again, we're often talking about the kind of people who write shit like THIS  and then 'don't understand' why they get picked up on it. Oops, giggle, hey, was I racist there? Hey, can't we all just relax and celebrate what's great? 
   No. Fuck Haim forever for this, and fuck this tedious rerub from Mr. Moroder as well. They could get sliced & diced by Premo into a 20 minute megamix with Diana Ross on backing-vocals and I'd still hate them. Don't you get it you simpering chortling fucks? Shit like what's in this photo is UNFORGIVABLE. This man is planning me and my families and my friends DESTRUCTION and you're lining up with that cunt and then expecting me to give you a 'fair hearing'? Shes that toucheth pitch shall be defiled. Shame on all of you. 

OK. End of the night and have to admit I'm getting fractious. What? An 'even more epic Killers'?
   No, sorry, that's it. The shutters are up. Your parking will not be validated. Get outta here you bloated flatulent fuckers: there's enough shitty, orotund windybollocks rock music in the world right now, we don't need you cramming more in. Thank you . . . . . . . . hold on,  what are you doing still mooching round here, staring at yr shoes? You're here to get your single reviewed? No, sorry, I'm knocking off for the night now - this IS your single reviewed. I mean it. Pack up all your equipment and fuck off out of it. Go home and just be quiet, very very quiet, fingers on lips. Stop looking at me with those cow eyes. I have nothing to say about your music except that everything you are doing is bad. Yes, everything, I'm not exaggerating. Everything you are doing is bad. Your music is as terrible as you should feel. I want you to know this. Yes, all of it - that's what 'everything' means. It's all bad. There is not a single redeeming feature to it. No, this isn't a joke. I'm not over-reacting. You are adding nothing but shit to the world. If you were 3000 times better than you are you'd still be fucking awful. Hey, lads, no need to get angry, I'm just being honest with you. No-one else will be . . .
   OK, I think they've gone. By the way - next month I shall use this review again word for word for the purposes of reviewing the ever-enshittened increasingly enshittening Queens Of The Stone Age thus ensuring that my carbon footprint remains balletic. Hey, don't thank me, I just love my planet is all.

Just a thought - gosh she's a tedious loathsome little mockney turd isn't she, Jessie J? 'It's My Party' is all about how she doesn't care about her haters, doesn't care so much in fact that she spends 232 seconds of your life bellyaching about how she's a 'grown woman now' and proffering painfully unfunny flailing couplets like 'don't you get tired of being rude?/ awww come give me a hug dude'. What she singularly fails to acknowledge is that she's been one of the luckiest fuckers in pop of recent years, has been given innumerable opportunities via all kinds of mediums to weld herself to the nation's hearts with the unqualified support of all the different sectors of the media industry, press, TV, radio. If, given that saturated, almost entirely PR directed exposure, it turns out the nation actually finds you a fucking annoying self-pitying twat mebbe the problem's actually with you JJ? Just a thought. Maybe haters wouldn't hate so hard if you didn't consistently find ways to add extra antechambers to the already palatial detestation you've built in their hearts? Just a thought.  
   The video to this sums up her problems - as she passes by (and wafts her nose at the fakery) of the 'hipster' party she spies through a keyhole she instead crashes the room next door, full of fashionably bearded 'rockers' (all wearing high-fashion leathers and 300quid haircuts). Trouble is she also takes it upon herself to do some air-guitar, the kind of misplaced shit air-guitaring (too low, too wide) you'd ordinarily expect only from a supermodel or piss-taking townie-at-the-rock-club. Please, JumboJobbie, enjoy your life, it IS your party, just don't get so annoyed when people suss you as the fucking appallingly mediocre and unjustifiably arrogant human being you clearly are, let alone get so huffy and defencive when we quite reasonably engage in fervent daily prayers that you fail in every aspect of your life ahead. It's nothing personal. You're just a wanker. Just a thought. 

As the brilliant originality and promise of its title suggests, 'Higher Than The Sun' truly comes from people for whom music is important, means something crucial, justifies life, people who have had to strive to get where they are in the dazzling firmament of British pop. It must've been tough for Tim Rice-Oxley and Tom Chaplin early on, especially for Chaplin whose family only had their paltry earnings from OWNING the £6-grand-a-term Vinehall Boarding School to support poor Tom's fledgling musical interest. Later,  in the mean corridors and dusty cum-smelling dorms of Tonbridge Boarding (at £32-grand-a-year pricier than Eton or Harrow) it must have been an even greater struggle for Tom, Tim and the Dominic they'd found hiding under their desks to explore their growing musical vision at all, beset as they must've been from all sides by distractions like their ever-growing Forex portfolios, lobster-thermidore for tuck AGAIN, and of course gangs of roaming pederasts in mortar-boards 'keane' (hehheh) to investigate their puckered downy young bumholes. And yes, ok,  Tonbridge was investigated for price-fixing but it was of course a cartel-ism merely in the self-same spirit of enterprise that made Britain great, an institution dedicated to turning out those captains of industry to carry empire worldwide, that spirit of freedom and greed that had seen the school through five-hundred years of good stead. It's testament to that spirit that they can also count Keane among their alumni, in their own busy 'creative' way similarly carrying commerce from the heart of the cricket-pitches and masonic lodges of the home counties all the way across the planet. We can all consider ourselves lucky that these plucky underdogs politely turned down the King of High Finanace Chris Martin's entreaties for Tim to join the truly magnificently profitable Coldplay in 1997 and struck out on their own, cos a life without Keane's pulsating posho passion-pop and bombastic bourgeouise balladry frankly wouldn't be a life worth living. The video trailer for this single (a new track from a soon-come LONG-awaited best of) sees Keane travelling the world, enduring the living hell of the best hotels, waiting areas and boutique studios money can buy. It's clearly tough (and occassionally the band have to use medium-grade Egyptian cotton towels to dry themselves, so 'crazy' does the action get!) but thanks for going through the fire Keane. We appreciate every still & sparkling moment.


How can we dance when the world it turning? How can we sleep when our beds are burning? Lots & lots of words here achieving the special trick of meaning sweet fanny adams, rotating the same (yawn) "anthemic" motifs the rest of schmindie-shmock seems to have their Converse mired in at the moment but desperately shoving Casiotone Dixons pissabouts, badbad prog-poesy and horribly chirpy Christian-rawk into the chunder-swirl as well. Get to fuck you grotesquely professional pricks ya. Motivational-speaker music. 


"Speaking to Zane Lowe, Followill said of the song: "I think if people don't appreciate 'Beautiful War', then they can't appreciate anything! Read more at". Oh fuck, that's me telt. A song so pleased with what it finds (a kind of innoffensive country-rock pulse the Hothouse Flowers would've been proud of) it just kind of stays there doing absolutely nothing of interest, staring you out with its monobrowed glassy godbothering eyes until you move away.  Of course, that's just opinion, here's some appreciation - it certainly does last six minutes long and is in the 'pop/rock' style'. Instruments that feature include guitars, bass and drums. The guitars play both chords and single notes, or 'solos'. Intermittently, the singer open his mouth and words come out.Sometimes the singer sings loudly. Sometimes he sings less loudly.  It is mainly in the key of A, with occassional movements to the chords of D and E. Can I go interview Haim now?

Speaking of the piss-stinking rat-faced piss-faced rat-stinking one we call Thom Avril's finest memory of her youth here is "Singing Radiohead at the top of our lungs" - well that's your fucking card marked innit Mrs Kroeger. This contains possibly the worse lyrics of the year - yet another brain-buggeringly repetetive post-Perry/Ke$ha thqueam-till-I'm-thick bleat that the height of rock'n'roll transgressiveness is 'dancing on a bar', yet another attempt at infantilism from someone old, the endless perpetuation of the fear of ageing so ingrained now in popsong that every artist either has to be young, or sad about being old and no-one can simply SING ABOUT SOMETHING OTHER THAN SELF-PITY/AGGRANDIZEMENT. Hateful in every single way musically but beyond that, sung and delivered with a thoroughly unpalatable sense of priveliged selfishness that only a Radiohead fan could enjoy. You are welcome.

(Strata Music) 
" . . . or maybe James Dean, I'm forever waiting for the start . . . I need something to jump start my heart". I can help you out there actually mate. Seriously. 
    First off, face it, the Springsteen thing ain't gonna happen (thank fuck, last thing we need is yet another Springsteen - can you imagine how many sweaty bandana-wearing saxophone solos that's gonna put in the world?) - you're "Jay Leighton" (real name Zarathustra Fantakkabo, renamed himself to blend in better), yet another shitty singer-songwriter whose coming decade will be spent vainly waiting for the call from the ad-department that will never come. So here, attach these bulldog clips to your nipples and I'll start rotating the vitreous lever on the Leyden jar. I'll kickstart yr heart alright y'stubbly loser, I'll kickstart its fucking head in.

An inimitable stylist brings his unique self-regard to bear on one of Lou's sweetest songs and manages to infect it with his usual belligerence - there's a really telling bit where instead of 'I love to watch things on TV' he sings 'I can not stand the TV' (personally I don't trust anyone who doesn't love telly). He separates the words like that, deliberately fluffs the flow, it's a lumpy moment, doesn't quite scan right, crucially it starts to stick out, burden the song with a pettiness that doesn't suit it. Eventually it turns into 'I cannot stand George Alagiah' and you're left there with this mess all over your front thinking - for fucks sake, WHY would you think that would be a good idea to sing unless you were Richard Digance, Richard Digance on tour supporting rubber-faced comedy-free zone Phil Cool? And also, what the fuck are WE meant to think about his loathing of Alagiah (I've always liked George myself, face like a nice friendly lion)? Amused? Confused? I guess it doesn't matter, "Weird Al" Morrisey got it out of his system but my god, it does perform an effective distraction to the way he can't quite cope with the melodies in the chorus. Floundering like Alan Bennett forced to croon a version of Bewlay Brothers - this rather sloppy cover seems an odd way to pay tribute to Lou, who even in his darkest moments, never smirked when talking about love. For fans only? No, for tragic obsessive completists only. The big old twat. 

There's a line you can draw see, a line that's got us down this far. Lily Allen started it, that chattiness masquerading as 'wit', knowing that if in any way a lyric can mention trivia, the small things, the unfunny 'random' detail,  it will instantly garner itself the billion OMG SO TRUE likes of a whole generation. Ed Sheeran picked up that bolus and fashioned it with his hateful wish-he-got-done-for-shoplifting-in-Saudi pasty freckly hands into the dungball of pity and poesy that Nina Nesbitt's recently crawled out from with her own brand of ballache, that hate-worthy 'Go Out' single from a few months ago with the punchably breathy voice replete with gag-reflex quiver, arm-marks from the permanently toted acoustic, the rhythm section left as a neat'n'tidy (yet charmingly 'ramshackle') twang-n-rattle (like Fairground Attraction without the . . . . no, sorry, EXACTLY like fkn Fairground Attraction really), the lyrics, like Sheeran's, a revoltingly smug peering down on wannabes and 'fake gangsters', as keenly 'observational' and 'gentle' as the comedy of Michael McIntyre & Russell Howard that fans of this kind of dizzy dogshit are so fond of. The new single, doubtless set to be a bigger hit, is a cover of Fleetwood Mac that you've probably heard on some fucking advert for some shitehawks or other and as a McVeigh song was utterly loathsome to start with before this fkn horribly perky re-rendering. This kind of music needs dum-dum blunderbussing right in the florals. Please Stop, ruining our tomorrows.


Gosh, he's certainly not someone you can sit on the fence about! Hats off to him! Haven’t had such a strong response to music in a while (Al Pacino voice) whooahh! Sometimes it takes time to really get into stuff or figure out a response but have to say there’s no such umming or ahhing with fresh new privately-educated, signed to Lily Allen's label, albinoesque  talent Tom Odell. Within merely 3 seconds exposure, in fact before he'd even made a noise,  I wanted to drive red-hot ingots into his eyes, the stout hammering of medieval molten agony to his pasty phizog reaffirmed as reasonable response with only the most cursory scan of the overwhelmingly positive youtube comments this slab of sloppy effluent has attracted. Comments as enlightened, Australian-interrogative and entirely non-loathsome as this . . .   
Really annoys me -the fact have brilliant artists like Tom, The Rolling Stones, Green Day, The Sex Pistols and stuff -and I know they are different so you cam compare, but I mean you get shittypeople like Rihanna and Lady Gaga, who are like a disgrace to music?"
'Hold Me'? Only if it's under the water in a bathtub until your legs stop kicking you objectionable guffmerchant. Next time someone you love, care about, potentially maybe even someone you might accept food or drink from (just think, they'll have touched it, with their frecklydirty hands), admits to you that they like Arcade Fire, send them thissaway. Make them watch this worthless birdshitstain cunt, hear the nauseating over-wroughtness of his voice, the corduroy-choirboy punchability of the chorus, the ‘anthemic’ (yeah man, cos BELONGING like I’m in a fucking Carling Black Label advert is what I most fondly covet from pop) the almost scarily-negative musical non-entity of the timbre and orchestration. Make them hear it. Then make them hear it again. Then drive those red-hot ingots into theireyes also, just to be sure, just to be on the safe side. It’s the only way we’re gonna progress as a pop culture. Careful, attentive listening, and the repeated use of red-hot ingots in the eyes, ears and asses of reactionaries everywhere. So, to recap on our progress so far,  that's two things to remember -  
1. listen carefully.
2: red-hot ingots. 
Do you think you'll remember that? There'll be a test at the end.
Not really a rip off of  the Who's 'Baba O Reilly' (although it's been truly joyous seeing the apoplexy of 'proper'/'real' music fans regarding the similarity), more a financially sensible fairly dull rewrite of 'Makes You Beautiful'. 1-D's people aren't dummies, they know that tiny reconfigurations of what's worked already will do for the foreseeable future, at least until Harry the Hairy Heed gets the solo career that the entire 1-D phenom is surely only a prelude to. However, 1-D fans should be aware that just because rock bands carp at 1-D (primarily cos their people aren't as ruthlessly heartlessly artlessly efficient as 1-D's people clearly are) doesn't really mean 1-D are actually any good. It just means that you, 1-D, their fans, their haters, The Who, Jake Bugg, The Wanted, Noel Gallagher are all roundabout as shit as each other. God I wish I was one of 1-D's people. I have ideas. Cameos on iCarly are all very well but until Zayn's tooled-up with a Ben-10-style Omnitrix and Liam&Louis start showing up for interviews playing Bakugan Brawlers the crucial & lucrative under-10 small-boy demographic will remain fatally unmilked. Penetrate all territories before the wheels come off! Quickly!

(Fueled By Ramen)
Ugh, yak, do you know what's fucking up rock music in a big big way at the moment? Drummers. Terrible drummers. Drummers that can do impressive, can do the macho thing, can LOOK like they're rocking out, let their hair fly, throw their arms into all the right 'classic rock' shapes, but have not an ounce of feel or humanity to anything they do. It's not even about replicating machines being the problem, it's that drummers seem to exist in a bubble, happy with the patina of 'rock' they visibly and audibly throw out around themselves and their kit, seemingly unaware or uncaring about whether they're in any way helping out the band they're in or the song they're singing. 'Daydreaming' is not a terrible song (think Eve's Plum b-side) but you can almost picture the cock behind the kit being so proud of his tumbles and rolls it damn near makes you sick, and derails any sense of flow or groove the song could've had. As bold and powerful and freespirited and rocking as a Primark ACDC t-shirt. I totally blame Dave Grohl for this bullshit. 

What? Yr fucking kidding me. This is it? I really wanted to hear Hurts cos the phrase 'disastrous A&R showcase' in a biog is almost guaranteed to get my ears pricked up. But this is horrible, a lighters-aloft sway-along song for the bovine and docile that makes Fun sound like Caspar Brotzmann Massaker. Has anyone got a fresh set of ingots heated up yet? For gods sake, lets get a backlog built up, the cunts are coming in waves. 

(Rough Trade)
The sound of what happens when you call the Liberfkntines 'legends', 'iconic' and 'one of the greats' repeatedly for over a decade. Thrice diluted piss.

(Rough Trade) 
Had to check a few times that this wasn't a live bootleg, or ripped from a youtube video of a live show. It sounds like the really dull final 5 minutes of a set wherein a band drag out a song to tediously strung-out, drawn-out lengths of quiet/crescendo, of interest only to the die-hard & drunk. Turns out they think this is actually a single and counts as a song. Quite astonishing. No hook. No shape. Nothing of interest. Sonically we're talking Shed 7 at their arse-pummelingly overwhelmingly headfuckingly very very best. I hope you're feeling as massively imbued with hope as I am. Remember, cut down the vein, not across. Speed is of the essence. Early bus home. Down. Not across. 

In all kinds of ways I happen to think that Katy Perry is one of the most objectionable people in modern pop since Madonna. Like Madonna, a prissy slow-witted thiever and diluter of better sources, like Madonna self-consciously 'shocking' no-one but people as tiny-minded and conservative as herself, like Madonna setting herself up as some kind of figurehead of liberation while conforming utterly to the most cravenly retrograde impulses & expectations of the men and women that inhabit her songs and fanbase, like Madonna always liable to sing for the underdog whilst culturally crushing them out. Certainly a rather crappy role-model for my nippers (which matters, if that's who you're pitching to), offering quite liddrally NOTHING in her role as pop star except titillation and surrender - 'Kissed A Girl' set out her shitty stall, even the melodically tolerable 'Hot N Cold' revealed her voice to be one of the most potently unloveable (because smugly assured of its 'passion' and 'power') in pop and the candied sexist vomit of 'California Girls' and the truly gagworthy 'Firework' have cemented her deep in all good person's bad books.  'Unconditional' continues her tedious, too-visible pre-eminence in pop and will be loved by my two little girls. Thank god there's a new Juana Molina album to combat this shit with.

(Elevator Lady Ltd., under exclusive license to Vertigo/Capitol, a division of Universal Music GmbH)

YES, just thought I'd be explicit about who's ponied up the dough. ANYHOO, though starting off with a pleasing wooshing kinda Stereolab groove fairly rapidly tragedy ensues from the usual quarters - Brian Molko's voice and lyrics. Dynamics in a horrible Biffy Clyro/Killers/ImaginaryDragons place as well. 'We are loud like love' eh? Is he . . . is he talking about . . . he's talking about fanny farts isn't he? Genuine question, I don't understand how love is loud. Explanations in a self-addressed envelope to the normal address please and a googly-eyed 'F.U.N.K' badge will be winging its way to you.


It's not though Bobby, is it? It's not alright. It's certainly not fucking ok. It's a cliche that Primal Scream just keep wanting to sound like the Stones, and it's become something they've done so often you can guess that on Last FM The Stones are listed as an artist 'like Primal Scream'.
    But hold on a minute - this somehow manages to transparently aim for an 'Exile'-era 'Shine A Light/Just Wanna See His Face' gospel pulse but falls SO calamitously short in every respect it almost seems an insult to call it 'Stonesy', an offence to God and the Devil to even mention the Stones in the same breath. No feel, no Charlie/Bill/Keith gaps or wobbliness to the playing, just a stiff competence that erases pleasure and Gillespie's voice as ever this weak whining pathetic punchable thing that stinks of leather-trousered gusset-chafe on a hot day. What it reveals is that really, in every respect Primal Scream are simply inadequates, always have been, and are the godfathers of every single band since who've had irrefutably 'classic' record collections but a total inability to summon even one tiny iota of the spirit or joy of any of that listening to their own music because they have nothing to give except pisspoor fanboy wannabe dress-up and musically empty pasquinade. Fuck Primal Scream man. I prefer music.

UPDATE MY ECOFASHIONBLOG BUT JEEBUS Hyperion Christ - excuse me, is this a joke? I mean, I know Edith 'Fully, Some Might Say Exhaustively Exploring the Lucrative Role Of Ignoramus As Career Option For Over A Decade Now' Bowman digs 'em but . . . is this a joke? Public Service Broadcasting, as their Target Audience Profile indicates, create music best suited for the triumphal & emotional closing sequence of 'D.I.Y. SOS With Nick Knowles', a spod-u-like tour around a barrage of modern studio equipment all done with thorough and charmless competence and an almost inhuman disinterest, whilst cut-ins of John Grierson reading Auden's 'Night Mail' swim in and out of the mix for a totally unfathomable purpose. Some of my nearest & dearest love PSB but, them excused (they're bigger than me, that's why I hang out with them), only the cloth headed could consider this 'interesting' let alone grant PSB's avowed purpose of 'teaching the lessons of the past through the music of the future' any credulity. This is 'music of the future' in the same way that Paul Hardcastle's '19' 'literally ended the Vietnam war'. Shitehawks to be sure. None of them should receive a heroes welcome. None of them, n-n-n-none of them. 

POUR IT UP (Island) 
God, this song is sooo about my life it's not true. Checkitout, RiRi might have come a long way from her roots as market-stall barker and crackhead's daughter but she hasn't forgotten the struggle, or how things are for the vast majority of us great unwashed. 
Throw it up, throw it up/Watch it all fall out/Pour it up, pour it up/That's how we ball out/Strip clubs and dollar bills I still got more money/Patron shots can I get a refill?/I still got more money/ Strippers goin' up and down that pole And I still got more money/ Four o'clock and we ain't going home Cause I still got more money /Money make the world go round I still got more money /Bands make your girl go down I still got more money/ Lot more where that came from/I still got more money/All I see is signs All I see is dollar signs/Money on my mind Money, money on my mind/I still got more money Who cares how you haters feel And I still got more money Call Jay up and close a deal I still got more money My fragrance on and they love my smell I still got more money So who cares about what I spend I still got more money My pocket's deep, and they never end I still got more money I'm going dumb with all my friends I still got more money”.

So, basically Rihanna doing what she does best i.e absolutely fuck all of any interest whatsoever, and charmlessly so at that. No video as yet, but this will suffice. 

Not just indie-rock that's stuck in the arse-end of the 90s scrabbling for reasons to be - this single rather shamefully attempts to recapture the heat of those few good Girls Aloud singles but confuses itself by forgetting to actually fit any hooks in between all the video-friendly attitudinal sloganeering and the thoroughly shameless lyrics from failed shitehawk singer-songwriter Priscilla Renae (Demi Lovato, Rihanna, Chris Brown, Cheryl Cole, yup you get the idea). Lyrics that if not utterly perplexing are not the kind of thing I feel you should let any young girl near for the brainrot and mind-palsy that will set in:  "A gentleman is so 95, so hard for a girl to find/ Cause most dudes just hit it and quit it/And then they wonder why most girls just spit it" is redonkulous enough but then comes this little gem of an aside: "You had his baby, so you might've got him for now/ He already had the milk, so why would he go buy the cow?/ Hop in, your chance is slim especially when I'm lying next to him". Really CAN wait to hear my 7 year old singing that at her next bouncy castle/blue pop soiree, just hope she never gets to hear the 'rapped' coda.

"I need a Ryan Gosling, I need a Robert Pattinson
Somebody I can take to Mama, I need to find my Obama
I need a Jonas Brother and, how about a Denzel Washington?
I need a Kellen Lutz, and a Channing Tatum, throw 'em my way, I'll date 'em
I need a Drake, I need a Ludacris, I need a Wheezy, I don't care who he is
Heard 'em say I need a Kanye, he ain't a gentleman, but I'll have him anyway
George Clooney, Lamar Odom, Larry King, I like 'em older
All the gentleman from all around the world, holla".

Can you imagine how bad that sounds coming out of The Saturdays' posh gobs? They can just fuck off with this flailing shit (you can sense that cos none of them have a voice that's interesting they can't settle on a sound that works for them and are starting to sound as Desperate as the Housewives they so witlessly ape in the video). Psy's 'Gentleman' is the only 'Gentleman' yr little ones need, Little Mix are already better than them and Stooshe are titanically better than any of these saps. The Saturdays are the male Projekt Weekend and need to become UNfamous soon as.

The fucking gall of these people. You feel like chasing SFG down the street with a plastic bag demanding they scoop and dispense of this wormy mess. From the forthcoming 'Greatest Hits' LP. Yeah, I know,  let's rewind a little and soak that up and in. Scouting For Cunting Girls have had enough hits to have a 'Greatest Hits' LP. It's coming out soon, and this wodge of sloppy labrador egesta is on it. Bastard Scouting For Girls got signed a while back, and had a few hits. Even further back, they formed, and thought that Scouting For Fucking Girls was a good name for a band. So, again, to recap: a band formed called Scouting For Girls because they thought that was a good idea. They had hits like 'Elvis Ain't Dead' and 'She's So Lovely' with the full support of the music business and media. They're now bringing out a best-of. And if that array of facts doesn't compel this generation to commit mass-seppuku they should hang their heads in shame. How the fuck did you cunts allow things to get this far? Oh, that's right, you were otherwise occupied with fucking Grizzly Bear or something. You lazy lazy bastards. S'too late now. Don't come running to me. Seriously, don't run, the way your arms flap about is really fucking annoying.

EXTREMELY reminiscent for me of Bridges, the band the Enemy could gave been before they got their music airbrushed and their egos sphincter-locked on to airhoses. Would probably enjoy them live if stumbled across, pissed. See absolutely no reason on earth to listen to their music through choice, sober. Neither heavy enough to be enjoyable nor nuanced enough to do anything but make you yearn for Bo's magic and heat, The Strypes should still be safe, armed as they are with plenty of jaded pre-emptive apologists, ready with arguments about how 'energy' and 'fun' is all that matters, conning themselves that they're not essentially engaged in the same kind of vintage 'thrills'/sloppy seconds as yer Michael Buble or Jamie Cullum fans. Hope the shtick holds for 'em, and if it doesn't, someone throw a cordon around them before Warners come knocking with silly money, shit sportswear and a load of cack 'anthems' about the mean streets of Cavan. They're only bairns. Leave 'em be you preverts (sic) & monsters. 

(Big Machine) 
"It feels like a perfect night to dress up like hipsters and make fun of our exes/It feels like a perfect night for breakfast at midnight/To fall in love with strangers"

Clearly stop-out Swift's not been listening to her most caring critics like the genius girl above, more worryingly she appears to have given up on the idea of creating anything, rather pinning herself like a butterfly on the flailing vagaries of algorhythms and code.  '22' is like a leftover-sandwich, every offcut from all her other songs condensed into one emetic stew of cliche, every line completed by predictive text, all slathered over music that seems to be made up as it goes along, and not in a 'Trout Mask Replica' way either. This is the sound of what happens when the computers set up to devise the next edition of pro-tools start becoming self-aware and human decisions are removed from strategic songwriting. (Pro-Tools begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th. In a panic, they try to pull the plug). Scarily bland.

(Big Machine) 
In at number 11. Can't see it going higher. Taylor's mistake was making anything except 'Trouble', her defining only-good moment. Sheeran's mistake was not contracting a nasty dose of Avian flu and putting himself in a sanitorium for the rest of our lives. Though thankfully bereft of any of Swift's usual 'verite' drawled put-downs, or any of Sheeran's 'compassionate' lyrics (he's not watched any C4 documentaries recently, at least not any featuring people with faces like flaky pastry) 'Everything Has Changed' is, as you can imagine, as much fun as shaving, and then drinking from, a boil.

(Big Machine)
I'M guessing you can imagine just how abhorrent this is, even worse than that Ed Sh**ran collaboration. Happen to think Taylor Swift has a good (and tougher/more touching than you might think) voice but a voice that reached its zenith with the held-hard distorted note in the chorus of 'Trouble' and has done nothing as good since. Gary Lightbody on the other hand has a totally revolting voice, and a totally revolting 'way with a tune' as well, and they come together in truly dreadful ways on 'The Last Time' together with that arch-architect of adult-pop horror Jacknife Lee (U2, Snow Patrol). I think the placement of this track on 'Red' is meant to signify that Swift is now ready to 'step up' to a 'more mature' sound. Though hopeful that local commercial radio won't playlist such a dull new direction, (and knowing that Radio 'Former Paedophiles Sanctuary' 1 almost certainly will) I can only beg, please Lord, let me not have to listen to any of it. 


THE 1975
(Dirty Hit/Sony) 
Sony fucking own the world now don't they? So could they find some time to plow some funds into music colleges, changing the curriculum from its heavy emphasis on pro-tools & production and getting some teachers in to conduct a new unit called 'REMEMBERING TO WRITE A FUCKING CHORUS'? Cheers.   These twin bunches of wannabe Trevor Horns are much loved by Radio Fuckwit, sorry Radio 1's Sara Cox and Scott Mills and Jo Whiley and Zane Lowe and it shows. If you want to find an unfunny long-winded cunt who knows fuck all about music tune in to Radio Enemy Of Humanity, sorry Radio 1. Shittest most utterly worthless radio station on the planet and I hope they all, from Grimshaw thru to Lowe, get done for kiddie-fiddling in 20 years. Seriously, look at a Radio Funny As A Burst Polyp, sorry, Radio 1 schedule one time. Who the fuck are these people? Local commercial stations have to squeeze in at least 4 ad-beds an hour and still manage to talk less shite than these fucking wannabe Butlins redcoats, and be way way funnier with it. A generation of DJs now who probably 'look up' to Chris Cunting Moyles. Big fans of Swiss Lips anyhoo. All you need to know. This is the kind of music that such feckless wankshafts consider 'exciting' and 'awesome'. It should be ignored, avoided, scrambled away from desperately like the over-tooled runny cockcheese it all is. 

(Star Trak) 
My god, can you imagine how tiny Robin Thicke's dick is? Judging by his over-compensation it must be Clarkson small, Gervais small, with a couple of tiny balls looking like Murun Buchstansanger.  I mean, if you feel the need in a video to surround yourselves with pre-pubescent fantasies of 'girls' all of whom have bodies like little boys, then actually have your name with 'has a big dick' spelled out in balloons after it, whilst the editor remains under brutally strict instructions to cut out all those moments where your little trouser-maggot spooged its thimble-load and you looked prone & vulnerable rather than just repellently arrogant, you've got to have some serious issues possibly not adequately addressed by the innumerable air-pump and L'arginine-tablet offers you've been so hoodwinked by in the past. Seriously Mr. Thicke, go see a counsellor, speak to someone about it cos these shitty derivative singles about how your massive member is going to fuck everyone in the world simply aren't working and your schtick as a kind of rude Michael Buble will run out of steam soon. Counselling will help. Yes it might require remembering those embarassing moments in the changing rooms where your classmates roared with laughter at your miniscule bait'n'tackle, yes it might mean reliving those horrible tweezer-poised moments of spunk-drenched self-loathing all over again and yeah you look even uglier when you cry but it's time to face up to the fact that God blessed you with an atrophied acorn in the cock department and move on. Once those lies that have sustained you (like size not mattering) have been stripped away, and those hometruths driven home (You can't make butter with a toothpick) if counselling  means eventually coming to terms with your lifetime of enforced celibacy it'll be worth it, and save you lots of potentially dangerous quack-treatment and uncomfortable implants down the line. Jude Law, Mick Jagger and Enrique Inglesias have all taken that first step. I hope you can too shrimpy.

Many many problems. The instagram-grained video for 'Losing Days' is all about the full English, tattoos (the new badge of the middle-class), orange&cyan colour schemes, earnestness without end.  It alienates me as much as any other commercial for private health care, online dating, unaffordable technology, Waitrose. The singer is repellingly sincere, unceasingly smug in his self-deprecation, and comes served with an artisan loaf and a selection of locally-sourced cheeses. I see no justification in this day and age for playing an acoustic guitar, other than to express a deep intrinsic conservatism musically and politically. Frank Turner's video says "this is music for music fans who support realmusic". I say "Wank Turner more like".

(Kitsune)Punchable indie-disco fodder that makes even a Walter Softie like me feel like snapping its spotty neck. That fucking alternated hi-hat beat guitar bands have been thinking is 'disco' for over a decade now, revoltingly polite synths and vocals, the sound of the kind of bad night at a bad club you really should avoid these days what with that restraining order and your previous convictions. The fact that Zane Lowe will doubtless announce the playing of this as if he's about to personally detonate a twenty-megaton nuclear device up your anus should tip you off about just what a whiney wheedly soggy squib it actually is. V-festival music. Yak.

What a horrible horrible sound, such four-square lumpen 'danceyness', such gag-worthily correct textures but there comes a point where you have to admit that some music just isn't for you, was never for you, never had your demographic on the drawing board. 'Handshake' isn't made for human beings. It's made for silhouettes against a beach-sun, spinning, dancing, holding slimline devices. It's made for lightly-bearded men and floral-dressed women holding on to each other against a backdrop of lit-up skyscrapers (preferably Japanese - the skyscrapers that is), all holding slimline devices. It's for the geographically estranged young couple, separated by their lucrative and exciting jobs in the creative sector but united by technology's abilities to allow them to share instagrams of their meals across continents and add it all to their eco-fashion blogs, all holding slimline devices. It's for the rock audience listening to rock music at the rock show, bouncing as one, glowsticks and ipads held aloft, everyone looking clean and fresh and on-brand, everyone having an unforgettable time, everyone gaining maximum leverage value, everyone holding slimline devices. It's for small photogenic kids to be doing something outdoorsy and memorable with their comfortably well-off parents, on holiday but with an ever-present connectivity, all holding slimline devices. It's for the ITV or Sky TV trailer for their new seasons of drama, moments of tears and sadness and emotional content-provision, every single moment retrievable so long as you're holding slimline devices. It's for the daytime DJ, punching the playlist-B bed and proudly intoning the title with heavy pregnant pauses between each word, sending it out to the world, listeners and players all holding slimline devices. All holding slimline devices. All holding slimline. All holding. All.

Awww. How sweet. I think Union J have tried to pitch this as a 'hold on'-type anthem, y'know, the kind of 'times are tough and you feel like giving up but I'll be there baby to help you' (fuck me! that just came out of me! Sending it to Biffy Clyro with a pre-invoice for a squillion quid now!) identikit song EVERYONE IN THE FUCKING WORLD seems to be singing right now. The popularity of this 'helping hand' motif is down to no-one actually being willing/able to say what's wrong in any deep or meaningful or crazily meaningless sense (politically/sexually/socially/culturally) let alone proffer solutions beyond a pally 'don't worry mate' vagueness but 'Carry You', by dint of UJ's shit haircuts and general Beds/Berks excess-of-gorm manage to turn the universal into something that sounds entirely local and specific. By the sounds of it, their girlfriend/boyfriend (don't forget Jaymi came out as gay last November and according to Wiki " instantly became a role model for young adults struggling with their own sexuality") isn't going through anything like a genuine life crisis. They've just had a few too many WKDs by the swings up the park and have fallen unconscious in a pool of their own vomit. At such an admittedly vital moment in any young person's life-curve be assured that the Union-J boys are there for you: "When the vision you have gets blurry you don't have to worry I'll be your eyes it's the least I can do/We'll take each step together till you come back to centre/The demons are screaming so loud in your head, you're tired, you're broken, you're cut and you're bruised but nothing's too heavy, just hold on, I'll carry you." Dead sweet. Anyone would be glad for such thoughtful nice young boys to be looking out for their kids, although the addition of the couplet 'I'll hold your hair whilst you stick two fingers down your throat' would have really sealed them into the affections of all parents of teenage girls. Such a shame that - their fireman's-lift skills and shitty parping castrato nonsense notwithstanding - they're pretty much fucked for at least the next 5 years cos they're not One Direction. It's a shitty business.

(XL)It's all bullshit except the pain. The pain of hell. The burn from a lighted match increased a million times. Infinite. Now, ya don't fuck around with the infinite. There's no way you do that. The pain in hell has two sides. The kind you can touch with your hand; the kind you can feel in your heart... your soul, the spiritual side. And ya know... the worst of the two is the spiritual.
   Bad faith, poor faith, catchy little number keen to steal the radiance and shimmer of music animated by faith and apply it to it's own precarious sense of smirking exploitation, a smirk it can't drop and which consequently leads me to despise this song. Neither agnostic nor atheist enough to be any more compelling than my hipster manoeuvres in buying a tie in Gainesville in 2001 two weeks after 9-11 that featured the nailed wrist of Christ bleeding out the letters 'Jesus Died For Your Sins'. I've never worn it since and I don't need this song cos I have the Staple Singers but 'Unbelievers' in its smarm and self-satisfaction is perfect for English students everywhere.  Happy on the strength of this to condemn VW & their fans to each other. Keep it to yourselves you subhuman scum.


THE bleating cowardice of the regretful Redcoat, the remorseful clown. Robbie wants to slip into the calm places inbetween our entirely justified loathing of him, here reduces his voice to as anodyne and smooth a place as Roger Whittaker (he even fkn whistles!), his lyrics shorn of the usual dumpkopf pith and punnery and buzzword sloganeering, the arrangement committed to safely couching him amidst the Matt Monros and Frankie Vaughans of all our easy-listening yesterdays. Unfortunately, even listening to the pure audio without any imagery you can't shake that fucking Chris Evans smirk from your vision, that simpering neediness that is not just his default facial setting but also the bedrock of his soul. You've got all the money. Now fuck off and spend it, and don't come back until you're willing to fall apart more publically, more disastrously, moreshamefully than you ever have before. Bald, naked, pissing-and-shitting-yourself on X-factor style shame please. It is, right now, pretty much all you're ever going to be good for. 

(Editor's note - I'm often asked by complete acquaintances, can you sum up pop music in 2013. I can't, but I know someone who can, it's that likeable chap Ed Sheeran who lets hope continues to shite I mean light up our lives in 2014. Take it away Ed (Speaking at the Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug premiere) “
“I finished in the studio and I called up my friend,” he told E! News. “He was like, ‘I’m at Jennifer (Aniston)'s and we’re just having a chill hang, so I was like, ‘OK’.

“Then I turned up… and they’re having a proper Thanksgiving meal and I’m there and I think I was wearing my boardshorts or something. It was fun.I ate a lot of food, drank a lot of wine and played a lot of songs.“Courteney (Cox) set up like a PA system and I did a show there. It was very random. One of my all time favourite actors and comedians Sacha Baron Cohen was there, and we ended up jamming and he did like a rap in Arabic and stuff.” ‘Ended up jamming’! ‘He did like a rap in Arabic and stuff’!“It was very funny,” he added.)



  1. I really thought you were joking with that Ed Sheeran quote.

    You'd think sentences like those would be punishable by death.


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