Utter, utter, utter Popular.

Read More · 15 November 2009 · x1

A-ha! It must be Popular time.

Read More · 12 November 2009

The last few Popular hits of 1985 were up and down, but for me they evoke a particularly memorable time. What most brings back the year for me in chart terms, though, is scarcely to be found on the UK number ones chart. The Eurythmics were one touchstone, although I’ve already mentioned that Australia had the other hit from that album. Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” was another; I bought the 7”, and remember feeling slightly out of step in doing so, because it didn’t make the top five in Australia. Tears for Fears are a big gap, and there’s another band we’ll get to soon enough. I also bought and adored Simple Minds’ “Alive and Kicking”, which no doubt is too late in their discography to be cool, but sod that. (Hey, my favourite album of theirs is Real Life, so what do I know.) And although they never bothered the top ten, Killing Joke’s “Love Like Blood” and Night Time were huge for me that year, thanks to a mate at matric who put me onto them. He also introduced me to the charms of Who’s Next and Quadrophenia, so I owe him double; thanks, Sim.

Read More · 9 November 2009

A ho-hum run at Popular, with one or two exceptions.

Read More · 20 October 2009

After the preceding run of 1985 blandness at Popular, I didn’t expect I would feel so strongly about the Eurythmics.

Read More · 4 October 2009

Charitable misfires and jungle warfare at Popular.

Read More · 2 October 2009

Beatlesque Beginnings

Two Popular asides.

Read More · 19 September 2009

An average run as 1985 kicks off at Popular.

Read More · 19 September 2009

The clocks ring out 1984 at Popular.

Read More · 6 September 2009 · x1

A Popular grab-bag.

Read More · 30 August 2009

Guilty feet and tribal rhythms at Popular.

Read More · 21 August 2009

Not Dead Yet

The site Information is Beautiful did the rounds yesterday (MeFi), and this post of an infographic from the New York Times about music formats piqued my interest. Music sales across the board seem to be falling off a cliff, with the implication that nobody will be buying any music at all in a few years. No doubt the RIAA would blame it all on file-sharing, but there are surely other equally or even more significant factors, some of which the graphic itself suggests.

Read More · 18 August 2009

Another Popular recap, in which an unlikely teenage obsession is revealed.

Read More · 15 August 2009

So Last Year

For someone who used to post about new-ish releases fairly often, I seem to have become trapped in an early-’80s musical timewarp here. It’s not all the fault of Popular, although that has had a big retro-influence on my listening for the past couple of years. A lot of the problem is that the parental lifestyle no longer allows much space for listening to whole albums. I rarely get a chance to listen to stuff on the stereo, because a certain two-year-old objects to anything that isn’t Madness’s “Driving In My Car” or Feist’s The Reminder (“the lady”, as we know her; thank God it’s a good album, or by now the lady would have driven us nuts). On the trip to and from work I listen mostly to podcasts (Adam and Joe on 6 Music, Radio 4’s Friday night comedy, and a few others), and even that has stopped while I’ve been cycling to work in the good weather. Apart from that, my listening has mostly consisted of single tracks gathered here and there, almost all of them through iPod headphones.

Read More · 4 August 2009

Relax, it’s red alert time at Popular. Hello?

Read More · 1 August 2009

A lesser Paul McCartney track prompts some deeper Beatles-related thoughts at Popular.

Read More · 27 July 2009

Farewell to 1983’s Popular hits.

Read More · 22 July 2009

The world almost ended on 8 November 1983 [via Mefi], a date with particular resonance for anyone who’s been remembering the year with Popular. If it had all gone mushroom-shaped, the very last number-one song we’d have heard would have been: Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl” in the UK; Kenny Rogers’ and Dolly Parton’s “Islands in the Stream” in the US; Spandau Ballet’s “True” in Canada; and Culture Club’s “Karma Chameleon” in Australia and New Zealand.

Apocalypse Now That's What I Call Music

Read More · 11 July 2009

More Popular comments. I’ve skipped Rod Stewart’s “Baby Jane” because it went nowhere in the Australian charts, and it was a struggle to remind myself how it went, even after watching the video.

Read More · 7 July 2009

Recent reviews and reminiscences from Popular, remixed.

Read More · 30 June 2009

More remixed Popular comments. Neither song was particularly meaningful to me, but the memories they invoke are the real point.

Read More · 30 May 2009

More of my comments from Popular, lightly remixed for the archives. I’m leaving my own blog comments off to encourage people to go there instead.

Read More · 22 May 2009 · x2

Last week I joined an online community I’ve been following from the sidelines for a while: Freaky Trigger’s Popular, where Tom Ewing has been reviewing every UK number one in chronological order. I remember seeing it back when it was new, thinking “hmm, that could be interesting if he keeps it up”, but not really following along because the ’50s hits meant little to me; and then being seriously impressed when I checked back at around the 1973 mark. It’s one of the highlights of the personal-blog-community-web-o-sphere, though I should have expected no less from someone who wrote one of my favourite things ever about same.

Read More · 21 May 2009

Music in 2007