This Is Pop #2

I’ve never really been all that bothered about Katy Perry.

Didn’t really care that she’d kissed a girl, much less whether or not she liked it. I  yawned with indifference when she duetted with Snoop Dogg on “California Gurls” (and probably would have moaned about the spelling of “Gurls” too, had it not been for Big Star’s “September Gurls”), or with Kanye West on “E.T.”. I shrugged with disinterest when she married Russell Brand, turned over the page of the celebrity gossip column when I learned they had split.

Then one day, I read that Miss Perry had brought forward the release date of her single “Roar” to September 1st 2013, which just so happened to mean it was coming out in the same week as Lady Gaga’s “Applause” (I swear I remember reading this, although everywhere I have looked when fact-checking this article contradicts my memory; “Applause” first charted in the UK on 24th August 2013). Anyway, I remember thinking this might be the latest instalment in those famous pop rivalries that crop up every now and then, a la Beatles v Stones, Blur v Oasis.

I’d briefly quite liked Lady Gaga when I heard her first album, which I’d stumbled across long in advance of her becoming the international icon she is now, courtesy of a blog that has long since perished, and which to my eternal shame I’ve forgotten the name of. But like the shallow idiot I can be sometimes, I’d quickly gone off Lady Gaga when she got famous, not because she got famous, more because I was just sick of hearing about her and her bloody meat dress.

But the article piqued my interest; I mean, what if I liked Katy Perry’s “Roar”, but I also liked Lady Gaga’s “Applause”, how would I know which was best? There was only one way to find out…

Listen to them both and make an informed decision, of course.

Secretly, I had already decided that Gaga would undoubtedly triumph, she was the undisputed (current) Queen of Pop, right?

Wrong!

“Roar” is an absolutely monster of a record, a perfect piece of pop, full of pomp, positivity, determination and defiance in equal measures. So there:

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Katy Perry – Roar

Ah, you may as well hear the Lady Gaga tune too:

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Lady Gaga – Applause

I mean, s’alright but it’s no “Poker Face”, is it?

“Applause” peaked at Number 5 in the UK chart; “Roar” made Number One and stayed in the Top 100 for 49 weeks. It was the first time in years I’d liked, or even knew, a record that got to Number One.

More soon (and there’s a clue somewhere in all of that as to where we’re going next week).

Friday Night Music Club

No swears this week, I promise. Well nothing obvious, anyway.

We’re going dancing instead. And if we’re going dancing, there’s certain things that we need to take with us.

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165. Echo & The Bunnymen – Bring On The Dancing Horses

Yes, horses. That’s what we need. Course it is. No night out is complete without at least one fluttering fetlock.

And shoes. We need shoes.

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166. Arctic Monkeys – Dancing Shoes

Cheers Alex! (I have no idea how this is the first tune my them that I’ve posted here)

Now what else? Ah yes, a disco stick. No night out is complete without a ride on a disco stick, right?

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167. Lady GaGa – Love Game

Wait a minute….that’s not a song about a stick you use in a disco…that’s a song about….Oi! Gaga!! Noooo!! This is supposed to be a non-rude edition of The Music Club!!

Perhaps we should just go.

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168. The Kinks – Come Dancing

That’s better. A prime slice of Davies storytelling and no mistake.

Next up, released way back in 20-God-that-makes-me-feel-old-07, and for my money one of the greatest indie singles of the last ten years. Recorded by exclamation mark afficonados and unquestionably the greatest non-Welsh band to come out of Welsh capital Cardiff (the band members all met at the fine city’s university, but none are actually Welsh), here with the original release of the single (the version on their debut “Hold On Now Youngster…” album being slightly longer and slower) which you can find on their “Sticking Fingers In Sockets” EP:

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169. Los Campesinos! – You! Me! Dancing!

If that doesn’t have you bouncing round your humble abode then you have not an ounce of grooviness about you.

There’s so much to love about “You! Me! Dancing!”: the outright unfettred youthful exuberance; the slow build up; the hand-claps. And some of the smartest yet twee-ist lyrics you’ll ever hear to boot. This, from the climax of the record – for that’s what it is, a climax – where the lyrics are spoken rather than sung:

And I always get confused
Because in supermarkets they turn the lights off when they want you to leave
But in discos they turn them on…

..And then on the way home, it always seems like a good idea to go paddling in the fountain, and that’s because it IS a good idea.”

(I can vouch for this. For many years when I lived in Cardiff, my walk home was via the front of City Hall, which is graced with some beautiful fountains, and by God they look tempting when you’re staggering back at 4am under the influence of various substances, even if they are switched off at that time. This record gave me permission to do it. Still never had the nerve though.)

“We’re undeveloped, we’re ignorant, we’re stupid, but we’re happy”. There’s my epitaph, right there.

Anyway, if you ever, ever get chance to go see Los Campesinos! live, treat yourself and go, you won’t be disappointed.

Next up a band whose debut album I bought on the strength of the review in Metro, the daily free-tabloid so beloved of eye-contact-avoiding commuters. Not, I should stress, because the quality of the review was in any way illuminating, just simply because I liked the name of the band and the album in question. So, here from their “In Our Space Hero Suits” album it’s:

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170. Those Dancing Days – Space Hero Suits

Next, a song of two halves. Well, actually a song of about one quarter and a remaining three quarters. You’ll see what I mean.

Featuring a union of Euros Childs (formerly of Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci fame) and Norman Blake (currently, I hope, of Teenage Fanclub fame), this is Jonny:

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171. Jonny – Cave Dance

I’ve gone a bit quiet on my “From Leeds With Love” thread for a couple of weeks (again); I’d love to say this was totally planned so that I could justify posting a song by The Wedding Present here, but that’d be a total lie, I just haven’t got round to writing one.

So, here’s The Wedding Present, with the second of twelve 7″ singles they released in 1992:

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172. The Wedding Present – Go-Go Dancer

Next, to a song more famously recorded by the group’s front-man after the band split and he went solo:

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173. Generation X – Dancing With Myself

Hold on a minute…..Oi!! Idol!!! Noooo! We’re supposed to be keeping things clean round here this week, we do not need your thinly veiled hymn to the joys of onanism smuttering up these pages.

(Bloody love that record, though.)

And now, as they say, for something completely different.

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174. Leif Garrett – I Was Made For Dancin’

Say the name Leif Garrett to me, and two things pop into my head; firstly I seem to remember him wearing the most ludicrously tight red leather trousers – not a good look, ever – and secondly, for a while he seemed to pop up every other week on The Multi-Coloured Swap Shop, the BBC’s Saturday morning live kids TV show which ran from 1976 and 1982. That is, he popped up on the weeks that the “special” “musical” guest wasn’t ironing-board-chinned talent-vacuum B.A. Robertson, anyway.

Garrett was quite the teen pin-up for a while, although this never really translated into record sales, either in his homeland in The US of A or here in the UK. They bloody loved him in Germany and Australia though. Read into that what you will.

Should you be so inclined to go and purchase his Greatest Hits album – and I see no reason why you would want to do that, since I’ve just given you the only thing approaching a decent song he ever made, so you can see just how far short of the mark the rest of his songs fall – but if you are so inclined, then please do. It’s entitled “The Leif Garrett Collection (1977-80)” which gives you some idea of his shelf life. It doesn’t however, give you any indication of just how long he outstayed his welcome by.

Moving on, and here’s one of them there mash-up songs. It’s in disguise though, as you can tell by the title. I had no idea I owned this until it came up on my iPod the other day, so I can only think that I must have obtained it from one of my peers out there in the blogosphere. So…er…thanks. I think.

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175. Liquid Gold – Dance Yourself Dizzy (Yomanda Synth and Strings Mix)

See, what they’ve done there? They’ve taken Liquid Gold’s super-cheesy 1980s UK disco hit “Dance Yourself Dizzy”, slowed it down a bit, and thrown Yomanda’s super-cheesy 1999 club smash “Synths and Strings” over the top of it.

I have a bit of a soft spot for both of these tunes, “Dance Yourself Dizzy” because it reminds me of being a kid, and “Synths and Strings” because I was once in a bar in Cardiff where I found an acquaintance of mine (a bloke called Nigel who used to run the quiz night in my local pub) was DJing. He was dropping some naff records – it was that kind of a bar – so I approached him and asked if, since he was playing such piss-poor records, if he would mind dropping a bit of Yomanda for me.

He gave me a right look and said “My records might be cheesy, but I draw the line at ‘Synths and Strings’

Anyway, that mash-up doesn’t really work in my book but who am I to judge, so here’s the video of the Yomanda tune, posted for no other reasons than for comparison purposes, and certainly nothing to do with the plentiful shots of ladies in short skirts, nosireebob:

Right, just time for one more. I’m intentionally trying to keep things brief this week, and not bang on as much as I have here recently. Please don’t moan, I’ve had a very busy week and frankly I’m knackered.

So here, without any need for further introduction, explanation, deviation or hesitation, but plenty of repetition, is super cool French duo Justice:

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176. Justice – D.A.N.C.E.

More soon.