25 March 2007

How can a light that burned so brightly, suddenly burn so pale?

Some of those "identikit cover versions" were mentioned in BBC3s "Top 100 Most Annoying Pop Songs". I actually rather enjoyed this programme, but oddly not for the reasons the makers intended.
It was striking how many of the entries began with a talking head saying "That's a great record.", usually shortly after I had said the same thing, or words to the same effect. I believe of the 50 pop songs listed last night I had at least 45 on my iPod.
My musical taste can, at times be questionable (but those questions can be proudly answered in most cases) but the issue was with the title and premise of the programme. The list from 100 - 50 included "Move On Up" by M People, "Holding Back The Years" by Simply Red, "JCB" by Nizlopi, "Bright Eyes" by Art Garfunkel, "Hello" by Lionel Richie and "Don't Cha" by the Pussycat Dolls. The list was not, in fact, the most annoying pop songs, but the most catchy and fleetingly ubiquitous pop songs. Catchiness and fleeting ubiquity are the very apotheosis of the pop record, and should be celebrated, not denigrated. Yes, not every time and place befits an airing of "Money For Nothing", but in small doses when the time is right, nothing else can hit the spot like the Knopf' banging out those power chords.
Most of the records had been hugely popular in their time, and this can definitely be a curse, but can lead to a strange phenomenon. "Bright Eyes" was huge hit before my time (only slightly, but the point stands) and it became a by-word for naff pop, meaning it was very rarely heard. Once I did hear it properly (and shorn of associated animated rabbits) it is a cracking tune with touching lyrics sung well by a distinctive, interesting voice. In short, it is a pop masterpiece.
In the programme's defence, one of the talking heads was from Toploader, a band who I could never stand, with especial reference to their mega hit "Dancing in the Moonlight", because it was just weedy and pointlessly commercial. Being twinned with Jamie Oliver in a Sainsbury's ad didn't do it any favours either! I'll cheer when that one pops up on the list. And also they showed a clip of Don MacLean, Peter Glaze and Jan Hunt doing a typically barmy "Bohemian Rhapsody" on Crackerjack.

1 comment:

Clair said...

I watched this, too, and I noticed how the talking heads were basically lovin' the bad records as well! What I find annoying about the commentators is that you can see them all flailing around for something new to say, and 75% of them just can't, resorting to saying 'That Mick Hucknall, face like an arse but a demon with the ladies, eh?'. And many of the people were described as 'comedians', yet their idea of comedy was going 'What was THAT one all about, eh?'.