Monday, 6 July 2009

Should the below sound too much of a Jeremiad ...

these two 2009 UK number ones are the kind of pop that still speaks to me, somewhere within (Guetta/Rowland especially). And although it is very, very easy to get tired to death of it and it's obviously a miniscule fraction of what he's capable of, there is something about hearing Dizzee Rascal up there expressing precisely the state of permanent confusion so many of us feel (which is also, I think, what makes so many of us in England feel that Scotland or Wales, once so isolated and provincial and removed from where the action was, may be a better place for us not so long post-2010).

(It is significant, I think, that none of the main protagonists in the above songs are white and English ...)

And there's also this. It is strange to think that Jay-Z was ever the voice of relentless commercialism and self-promotion against the legacy of 1980s hip-hop (but oh, he was, and oh I hated/loved/hated/loved him for it). Perhaps he has become a reactionary, merely defending his territory. But all I know is that "Death of Auto-Tune" is as lacerating a six minutes as I've heard in aeons, and that it absolutely has to be heard.


  1. Yes, there have been some excellent records at the top of the charts recently... Harris's is quite a leap from his rather routine debut album, the opening evocations of Robert Wyatt / Scott Walker splashing out into technicolour techno. It is quite a synthesis he achieves...

    And 'Bonkers' is an extreme record to have at No.1 - all the better for it. Whilst dwarfed by these sort of records, even Lily Allen with 'The Fear' at least deserves some credit for honesty - admitting the vacuity, effectively realising she is part of the cultural problem* in a way that Harris or DR aren't. It is progress of sorts to have her singing about stuff that is tangible compared to the vagueness of Blunt / Keane etc.

    * That facile Bush attack, coming at least 2 years too late! Also, whilst she identifies many of the problems we have in 'the fear', she cannot break out of the system - is as caught in a trap as Presley in the 70s. How could she indeed, still being bothered about selling x many records, first and foremost. And indeed, I cannot say I rate the album much overall; merely that 'the fear' single is telling of its time.

  2. I wouldn't go as far as Marcello Carlin on ILM, but this has been a substantially better year for number ones than some others recently gone by.

    Funnily enough, that was *exactly* how I felt when I heard "The Fear" - partial elation that *at last* she realises just what she has represented and become part of, ultimate, final depression that she cannot jump out of it because, however much she may theoretically want to, she simply *doesn't know enough*, doesn't have full knowledge of what lies beyond for those with eyes to see it. The knowledge that she *could* do something more and yet she can't. When someone is clearly that close and yet that far ... it's the most frustrating sort of record to hear, easily.