This is Pop #6

Blimey, where does the time go? Has it really been….oh wait.

It occurred to me after last week’s post about Blue, that maybe this thread has already become something different to that which I created it for.

See, the idea was that I wold write warmly and affectionately about Pop Songs which I genuinely love, and every post so far has been about exactly those sort of songs.

Yet, for the majority of the post, and last week’s was a case in point, I spend 95% of the time slagging the act in question off, then the last 5% confessing that they made one record I rather like and posting it. And it occurred to me that maybe, just maybe, this is my way of proving that I like the one record, by demonstrating my dislike for everything else said act ever recorded, said, did, breathed, or farted.

I dunno. Maybe I’m thinking about this too much. But I decided that this week, I’d feature a pop song that I like by an act that I know nothing about, and know no other songs by.

As I’ve mentioned before, when I hit 30, I had what I now recognise as being Mid Life Crisis Number 1. (I’m currently just about over Number 3. Or maybe it’s 4. I think it’s probably healthy that I’ve lost count.) But at the age of 30, Mid Life Crisis Number 1 manifested itself by making me go clubbing. A lot.

But part of the problem with starting clubbing at that age is that you soon find out there are many sub-genres of what I broadly class as “dance music”. You also – and by you, I mean me – find out that you have no idea what any of those sub-genres are, or what they sound like, and even when they are played next to each other, you can’t tell the difference.

Two examples. I was once at a night upstairs at the Clwb Ifor Bach on Womansby Street in Cardiff, seeing some DJ or other, the name of whom perhaps unsurprisingly escapes me now. Stopping to have a cigarette break at the back of the room, I got chatting to a bloke, and it transpired we’d both been at a club night elsewhere a month or so previously. I asked if he had enjoyed it, and he kind of turned his nose up and said “It was okay…but not quite as breaky as I’d hoped.”

I’m sorry, what now? “Breaky”? As in “Achy Breaky”? Was he disappointed that there wasn’t an outbreak(y) of line-dancing? I decided rather than ask him and look stupid, I’d nod sagely, and then ask my mate what he meant a bit later.

“He means break-beat,” was his reply. I again said nothing, nodded, and decided that I’d have to find someone else to ask what that meant, and keep going, asking someone different every time, until either I’d asked everyone in the world until I was back round at the first bloke again, or until someone gave me an answer I understood, which ever was sooner.

Another time, about ten years ago now, I found myself working in the worst job in the world: cold calling people, on their mobile phones, and trying to sell them a new mobile phone contract and, most importantly, persuading them to give me their bank details so I could set up a direct debit. You know those people trying to get you to donate to charities that you cross the road to avoid? It was like being one of them, except without the eye contact, without the “you’re doing a good deed”-ness of giving to a worthy cause, and, most importantly, with the added attraction of being told to fuck off approximately 97 times a day. I was terrible at it, which since the basic salary was so pitiful that you had to make some sales just to be able to eat, was not good news.

On top of that, bar one or two recovering alcoholics and/or junkies who’d been forced to apply for a job there to get them off the dole, I was by far and away the oldest member of staff there. The kids around me were all nice enough, but I didn’t really fit in. One was a lad who was a Dubstep DJ. I had no idea what that meant, and feigned knowledge if ever we happened to speak. He clearly wasn’t taken in by me.

Probably because we bumped into each other one night in a bar. There was a DJ playing some tunes I didn’t recognise. He seemed to be enjoying it, so I asked him if this was that Dubstep stuff he was always banging on about it. He looked at me with genuine disgust.

“This is Dizzee Rascal,” he said. I deduced from this that Dizzee Rascal does not make Dubstep records. And by the way, I have no idea if that’s really spelled Dubstep, or dubstep, or dub-step, or whatever. Dubstep, schmubstep.

So when I tell you that today’s choice is, apparently, from the bassline house scene, you can take it as given that I have no idea what that means and have read it somewhere. Besides, I was under the impression that all house records have a bassline, but what do I know?

Further investigation reveals that bassline house is a spin-off from the UK garage movement. Of course it is. That’s music that can be blaring from Kevin Webster’s tranny on Corrie, right? (Not having watched the show for about five years, I have no idea whether or not Kevin still owns a garage, by the way. I just wanted to use the phrase ‘Kevin Webster’s tranny’, if I’m honest.)

Now stay with me, because this is where things start getting complicated. For today’s song is by a duo called H “Two” O. H “Two” O hail from Leicester, and consist of Selim Ben Rabha, who is also known as “Solution”, and Simon McDevitt, AKA “Oz”. The pair also go by the names of “Hit ‘Em” and “Hard”, which I can’t decide between pathetic or pitiful to describe. That’s way more alter-egos than anyone needs to have, unless they are trying to remain undetected by either the police or the taxman. Or both.

H “Two” – no, wait. I can’t go on without saying something about the inverted commas around the word Two. The inference isn’t that the “Two” is somehow inaccurate, possibly knowingly so, but since there are actually two of them in the duo, then the inclusion of the inverted commas is entirely redundant. Which, since I’ve never heard anything else by H “Two” O, might make their inclusion a little more appropriate.

There is absolutely no need for the inverted commas around the word Two. I know that. You know that. But seemingly Selim/Solution/Hit ‘Em and Simon/Oz/Hard don’t know that, so I’m going to have to keep referring to them as such. Please be advised that every time I write it, it is through increasingly gritted teeth, my fingers bashing at my keyboard in barely suppressed rage.

Joining H “Two” O (grrrrrr….) on today’s track is a bassline vocal group called Platnum.

No, I haven’t misspelt that. I think we can safely say that nobody involved in today’s record were paying full attention in Chemistry lessons.

And so to the record itself. This is not a record that a man of my age should like. I am clearly not the target audience. I’m so far removed from the demographic, I can no longer see the demographic. So, perhaps I like it because by the time it came out, in 2008, it was already old hat. A review of the single I found on Digital Spy described it as “as dated as a cassette recorder”, and that “its banal 2-step beats [Sorry, what’s this now? 2-step..??], characterless vocals and cheap, trancey synths…it sounds like an Ayia Napa also-ran from 2004.”

That must be why I like it: because by the time it came out, it’s chances of ever being played on Ayia Napa – a holiday destination I have no inclination whatsoever to visit – were already at nil.

God knows there’s no other logical reason I can come up with to explain it.

Brace yourself.


H “Two” O feat. Platnum – What’s It Gonna Be?

More soon.