We’ll Be Coming Back

Calvin Harris, much as he doesn’t get any credit for it, took a huge risk with his career. His first album, all those quirky Casio toytunes tracks like Acceptable In The 80s and The Girls, was a big enough hit that people knew his name, but it was a novelty sound that probably should have … Continue reading


Of all the foulmouthed female rappers out there that I treasure, Amanda Blank is my favourite. That’s based, really, on a handful of songs – her remix of Britney’s career pinnacle Gimme More, a track on the NASA album, and Spank Rock’s songs Bump and Blow, which both made it onto one compilation because I … Continue reading


Britpop is 20 years old, and Kurt Cobain is 20 years dead, and I have specific memories about both those things. But I also, like every other middle-aged man being sold a media package that claims to be his youth, have objections. Britpop was far from everything. It was important – I still remember my … Continue reading

Simon Says Dance

Every rose has its thorn. And every compilation has its flaw, a song that isn’t as good as the others. The aim is for every song to make you lean forward and exclaim “Yes!” and reach for the volume. The other end of that aim is for nothing to be skippable, for no song to … Continue reading

She Wolf (Falling To Pieces)

In my teenage years the vilified ones, the poster boys for musical evil, were Stock, Aitken and Waterman. Hugely successful as a production team for an army of pop artists, they were Sauron for the generation of indie kids and authenticity addicts that believe everyone’d listen to their chosen miserablists if all that pop stuff … Continue reading


Success can ruin pop music. What about lack of success? When work that’s commercial, that’s intended to reach a large audience, doesn’t get anywhere does that mean it’s failed artistically as well? Does that affect our individual appreciation of it? Over in the rock canon there’s a well-established procedure for music that doesn’t get the … Continue reading


I worry about Haim. Given that I’ve previously confessed worrying about Iggy Azalea, it’s fair to think I expend too much concern on successful pop stars. But with Haim, it’s worry tinged with guilt; they do know what we’re like, don’t they? Somebody has told them? Because they’re an American act who found their first … Continue reading

Wildest Moments

The platonic ideal of popular music appreciation, the plateau rockists wrongly believe themselves to have reached, is to listen without prejudice. To discount the band’s clothes, haircuts, attractiveness or lack thereof, to forget what that annoying critic said about them, to ignore the despised hipsters who think it’s cool to like them. To make your … Continue reading

Your Drums, Your Love

(Sung in sweet, dark soul voice) There comes a ti-ime, in every compilation, to take it down, take it deep down… (end of soul voice) to use an easy trick, really, of following a banger with a quiet one. Using that blank three seconds to switch frame, to radically challenge what the ears are expecting, … Continue reading


What is it called, this new music? The sound that’s taken over, the transatlantic collision between European dance and American hip hop and R&B that’s ruled the radio for the last what, three years at least. The David Guetta sound, the Calvin Harris sound, the Torqux sound. Does it have a name? Or are names … Continue reading