Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Happy Mondays

I know The Stone Roses were the cool band to like but it won't surprise you to learn that I didn't go the cool route. Although I liked The Stone Roses, I loved The Happy Mondays back in the very early 90s. Pills 'n' Thrills and Bellyaches is still such a favourite album of mine. I listen to it and close my eyes and I am transported back to my bedroom in Essex. I wish I could tell you I am transported back to a rave in a field in Essex but no, I was never a raving girl. I really am the definition of square.

Anyway, Kinky Afro, Bob's Yer Uncle, Step On and my favourite, Loose Fit. And as I write this I am listening to Wrote For Luck which was on an earlier album. All of them are fab.

What a bunch of crackheads they were. Just watching this video is funny and I love the fact that Bez just bopped around, clearly in the band cos they were mates and for no discernable talent. Happy memories from the Happy Mondays. You're twisting my melon man!


Saturday, 28 January 2012

Girls Aloud

You'd never have credited Girls Aloud lasting more than a year. Spawned from a reality show and seemingly fairly anodyne, they've been one of the great pop delights of recent years.  I give you a run down of their hits with the highs and lows and evidence for why I loathe Cheryl Cole.

They burst out of the starting gates with Sound Of The Underground which surprised everyone by being quite good. Still very listenable now in fact.

No Good Advice.  This also punches above its weight. Terrible video though.

Life Got Cold. A ballad predictably. There must be a rule that your third single has to be a ballad. It's ok, I liked it at the time but listening to it now, it's not memorable.

Jump. Ahhh, The Pointer Sisters classic. I have such a soft spot for this because it's just a great song whichever way you look at it. Put it this way, this is much better than Love Actually. In this video, I want to kill Cheryl with her stupid pouting at the camera.

The Show. We're warming up properly now. This is a great pop song. Fact.

Love Machine. This is my desert island Girls Aloud song. A perfect video and hilarious lyrics. I have no idea whether they all get on but they look like they are having so much fun in this video.

I'll Stand By You. I don't care if it was for charity. No. 

Wake Me Up. This is very blah, it's ok but unmemorable.

Long Hot Summer. I can only assume they had a large tax bill to pay.

Biology. Received wisdom is this is the best Girls Aloud song. And it's is a fab little pop song but I do prefer Love Machine as it is more fun and you can dance to it. However, this video is brilliant. More Cheryl loathing though - you know her hair is all extensions yet she gets paid to advertise L'Oreal. It incenses me!

See The Day. Inexplicable. Just no to the ballads girls. I am going to skip past Whole Lotta History as I don't even remember it and move to Something Kinda Oooh. I admit I love this. God, it's a terrible song but I just love it. It's so silly.

I Think We're Alone Now. These covers are getting offensive. As for Walk This Way. Gawd. Girls, I like you but you are not fit to cover the mighty Aerosmith.

The later songs are all unknown to me and I am thinking I've not missed any classics but I will finish with The Promise which is another great pop song with a really fun video.

It will always mystify me that Cheryl Cole has made it so big. The other four are all better than her, hands down. Prettier, more interesting and with better voices. Plus they don't beat up people in nightclubs. 

I kind of miss Girls Aloud, they were fun and what do we have now? The Saturdays? I weep for the future.

Friday, 27 January 2012

90s songs: Killing Me Softly, The Fugees

The Fugees were huge. Then they went away as suddenly as they had arrived. I adore Roberta Flack so I was suspicious of this cover but it is masterful. Lauryn Hill has a gorgeous voice and I remember buying her solo album, I must dig that out. It was excellent.

They were cool, talented and she was beautiful so how could they fail? I also really love Ready or Not, in fact I prefer Ready or Not. I still listen to that song.

Things I learned today. Lauryn Hill was in Sister Act 2! She has six children, five of whom are Rohan Marley's (Bob Marley's son!) So that's where's she's been...

Wednesday, 25 January 2012


Before Christmas I was having dinner with a friend of mine who said that he considered Crazy In Love to be a perfect video. He used to work at MTV and when Crazy In Love came on, everyone just stopped and watched it. He wasn't being a sleaze about it, he was admiring (or so he claimed and I choose to believe him) the editing, the colour combinations and the way it is a perfect pop video in three minutes with fire, rain, Jay Z rapping and neon colours. He got onto this subject by asking what we felt we could write a PHD paper about, his answer was the Crazy In Love video and this entranced me. I mean, not many people would come up with that answer and then be able to talk about it so eloquently.

It got me thinking and I agree with him. It's one of the great videos of recent times. She's certainly never looked hotter but what's great about Beyonce is she is hot without alienating women. My theory is it's because she is properly talented, she can sing like a dream, she moves effortlessly, she's not super skinny but has some 'junk in her trunk' (as my sister famously pointed out to me once) and she looks like someone you could have a giggle with. I read somewhere this week that there is something innocent and wholesome about her and this is true. That dress at the end of the Crazy in Love video would look slutty on Rhianna but Beyonce makes it look fab-u-lous.

We all love Beyonce don't we? I've never met anyone who is lukewarm about her. But my problem is her music. When she gets it right, she's untouchable but enough with the ballads Bouncie! My top two Beyonce songs are Crazy In Love, which she will never top, it's miles ahead of everything else she has done and Single Ladies which is the perfect work out song.

Here they both are (and her dancing in Single Ladies is astounding) and I hope my friend writes that paper, I'd read it.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

90s songs: All Saints, Never Ever

I was reminded about All Saints by the lovely Hidden Playlist blog. She isn't kind about Never Ever but I have always found this to be a guilty pleasure song. I know I should dislike it but I think it's a great pop song.

Dear lord but All Saints were so annoying. I wanted to smack them all, especially Nicole. It was nothing to do with her dating Robbie Williams, honest, she was just so goddamned lucky to be in a band with some talented members cos she sure didn't have any. Still, she ended up with Liam Gallagher so karma worked its magic.

They had one good song and this was it. They had the temerity to cover Under the Bridge. They, in short, were no Spice Girls who at least knew they were a bit naff.

Anyway, let's hear it for Never Ever, a great pop song that is so very 90s.

Monday, 16 January 2012

90s songs: Bizarre Inc: I'm Gonna Get You Baby

I'm been thinking about doing a 90s songs series for a while and the party on Saturday night convinced me. It's easy to salute the 80s, they were awesome after all. But we must not overlook the 90s. The early 90s was full of dance tunes. I had totally forgotten about this one until it came on the decks and I couldn't stop laughing.

Featuring a top lyric of all time, "why waste my time, you know you're going to be mine." I've never heard a better chat up line in all my years. I also love "yo dj pump this party!"

There are several versions of this but this one is my favourite because of the introduction which is fabulous. I've no idea who Bizarre Inc was but hats off to them.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Deeply Dippy - Right Said Fred

Tomorrow I am going to one of my best friend's birthday party. She is 40. Actually she was 40 last month but she wisely chose to have her birthday party in the dead month that is January. I can say she's 40 with abandon as she's still six months younger than me.

Anyway, we were at uni together and she was my partner in crime. While those around us studied diligently, suffered pangs of guilt about not going to lectures and went to the library, we stayed up talking until 4am every night, rolled out of bed at midday and had a toasted sandwich together before deciding perhaps we should grace campus with our presence and then went to the bar to cope with the pain of moving out of the house with beer. We shared love for American teen dramas (90210), Home & Away, Barry Manilow, Sega video games (remember them?!), endless cups of tea and biscuits, the Viking Midnight Love Affair on Viking FM, Keanu Reeves, Sister Sledge and all 70s disco, late-night Cluedo sessions, drinking games,  Top Gun, pinball, Miami Vice and countless other passions.

There is no time in your life like your university years, at heart you are still a teenager but you have freedom. You live with your best friends, you have all the time in the world to talk and get to know everything about each other and you can decide that spending a day watching daytime television is best done in your pyjamas with a pot of tea by your side and genuinely feel like you've achieved something by getting out of bed.

Deeply Dippy is not a song you hear often now (thankfully, it's pretty dire) but it always makes me think of Steff as she relished singing the line 'and legs that go on for miles and miles.' What can I say? It tickled us. That's what friends are for.

20 years we've known each other. Where does the time go? Happy Birthday Steff and let's get that cheese on the turntables tomorrow night.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Katy Perry - California Gurls

Apparently teenage girls love Katy Perry. I have this information on good authority. I am embarrassed and ashamed to say I love this song. I think it's a great pop song and it's the absolutely perfect song to work out to. Something about the beats - it's just right whether you are running or pumping iron.

So, why am I embarrassed? Have you seen the video? It's a video that makes me wish I was still at university analysing this stuff because it's nasty and sexist and Katy should be ashamed of herself. Women are wrapped up in cellophane. She's naked for much of it for no real good reason. I mean, seriously, I am not a prude, I'm not but when did it become acceptable to have such porno-inspired videos? The entire thing makes me skin crawl yet it's brilliantly done, it's so cartoony and colourful. You can see why teenies like it. I would have adored this when I was 13. However, I think I lucked out because I got 80s Madonna who could knock spots off Katy. What's the difference between Madonna taking her clothes off and Katy? Madonna never did it like this. She always seemed in control of her career and she certainly didn't have some sleaze ball rapper looking menacingly on while she did it.

I don't know, I find it depressing that women seemed more in the driving seat 30 years ago. Maybe it's a sign I am getting old and younger readers will put me right. Also, gurls? Must we?

Nonetheless, I shall continue to listen to the song but will skip watching the video thanks. Here it is, you have been warned...

Sunday, 8 January 2012

East 17

East 17 were the poor man's Take That. There are people who say they were better but believe me, they weren't. They looked like they had more street cred than Take That (if you count wearing combats and having a dog as street cred) but it was all an illusion because, after all, they were managed by the man who managed Bros. That blows that theory out of the water.

The thing about East 17 is that they were all ugly as sin. Look at them! A boy band who managed to induce hysteria looking like that. We live in strange times indeed.

They did have some songs worthy of our attention however. I will always have a soft spot for House of Love. One love. Watching this video is amusing me no end. There was a very particular 90s style of dancing.

Stay Another Day. The song that no doubt pays Tony Mortimer's rent. Not strictly a Christmas song but it is always played at Christmas. It's a nice little song but seriously, LOOK how ugly they are!

The definitive East 17 song for me is Deep. This is a great song, I love it. The video is absolutely hilarious and I urge you all to watch it for Terry's early moves. Don't ask me how I remember the names of East 17, it's a special talent I have.

I am not anti-ugly honestly but I do think a key requisite of being in a boy band is looking reasonably attractive and being able to dance. These boys looked a mess and just bounced up and down. Nonetheless, I can forgive them for Deep (deep down).

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Janet Jackson - Control

I am making up a new playlist to exercise to. As you can imagine, I take this very seriously and like to ensure I have exactly the right music to torture myself to. I make a playlist, burn a CD (cos I am old skool) and then listen to it for a few months before needing a change. I was casting round the internet for inspiration and somebody mentioned Janet Jackson, Control.

I had completely forgotten about this album so I visited iTunes to refresh my memory and wow, wasn't it great? Nobody really took Janet seriously until she released this and it was a fab album. I am listening to Nasty as I type and it has one of the best intros in pop. I also adore What Have You Done For Me Lately? Control and When I Think Of You but I can live without Let's Wait Awhile.

For my workout CD, I chose Nasty. Not Nasty Boys, why can't the internet get these things right? I think it's perfect to pump some iron to.

I also cannot let a post about Janet Jackson go by without mentioning the video for What Have You Done For Me Lately. I adore the little exchange between Janet and her friend at the beginning; "yes honey I love him he is fiiiine!" It's comedy genius.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Jennifer Aniston - I've found a limit

I think we've established I am not that fussy when it comes to Jennifer Aniston films. So I decided to watch Horrible Bosses on Sky Box Office on New Year's Eve. Well, actually I didn't because after 25 minutes I had to give up. This is a terrible, terrible film.

It should be good, it has a good cast: Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell (unrecognisable and very good), Jason Bateman and our Jen. Even Donald Sutherland has a cameo. But oh my god, it's offensively bad. I can't even begin to tell you how bad it is but Jennifer says pussy. I mean, we are not in romcom territory anymore Toto. I am sure she wanted to break type by playing someone truly foul but I say No. No Jen, we like you as the all-American girl next door.

No matter what happens, do not watch this film. You really do have something better to do, trust me.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Abba - Happy New Year

Happy new year! And happy first birthday to my blog. It's been a blast wallowing in nostalgia with you, my dear readers.

It seemed fitting to share my first birthday with the mighty Abba, I don't remember watching this video before however as usual I am bowled over by Frida's wardrobe. That woman knew how to dress. Not one of their finest songs but you can see why I choose it.

So to 2012. No more Christmas songs for 11 months thankfully but we have plenty to pass judgement and comment on. I've not covered Adele, my love for the Terminator films, ET, War Games, Charmed, Freaky Friday (and a commentary of the different versions) and so much more. It seems I'll never run out of teen-related topics. Let me know if you'd like me to cover anything in the comments box and I can add it to my list.

Happy 2012 and thanks for reading. 
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