So This Year

So, what have been my favourite albums and songs this year? As far as albums go, new releases by Ash, Badly Drawn Boy, the Bluetones, Crowded House, the Divine Comedy, Ben Folds, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Goldfrapp, Gorillaz, the National, the New Pornographers and Sufjan Stevens all failed to register sufficiently to make a top ten; no doubt they would repay closer listening, but I haven’t had the opportunity. The new GB3 album (Glenn Bennie of the Underground Lovers, with Steve Kilbey of the Church) has hovered in the wings since I got it last month. Annie’s Don’t Stop from late 2009 is another I considered. On the basis of their excellent demo-mix bonus discs, I even thought about including the 2010 remasters of Mike Oldfield’s Hergest Ridge and Ommadawn. But in the end, I decided it would be a better reflection of my album-listening to go for a top...

Read More · 30 December 2010

So Last Year

So, last year I wrote a post called So Last Year in order to capture my favourite music of 2008 before 2009 was over... and here I am doing the same for 2009 before the end of 2010. Pathetic, he says Eeyore-ishly, but that’s weblog neglect for you. Last time a focus on single tracks seemed appropriate, but this time I’ll swing back to albums.

Read More · 30 December 2010

I wrote a ridiculous amount in the Popular thread about this song. Here’s half of it.

Read More · 30 December 2010

The tail-end of 2010 seems a good time to catch up on the tail-end of 1989 and beginning of 1990 at Popular. Once again my comments have been brief, even when my scores have been high—which for most of 1989 they weren’t. Jive Bunny’s three UK number ones all drew a 1 from me (“like the musical intros round at a pub quiz, without any of the mystery”), and many others got poor-to-middling scores. Here are those that did better, apart from one I’ve held over for its own post.

Read More · 30 December 2010

If I Haver

My last mammoth contribution to a Popular thread was scarcely about the single in question at all. A Scottish commenter tossed in a snipe at another band I like (who happen to be Scottish), I posted a stout defence in reply, and it turned into a long back-and-forth about accents, authenticity, cartoon versions of our home countries, and cultural cringes. The comments below are edited from almost twice as many words of mine alone, and the joins aren’t seamless, but I hope they make some sort of sense. I wanted to hang onto them here, anyway, and as they’re already several weeks old I’d better post them now.

Read More · 30 September 2010 · x1

Before This Damage is Done

My CD of Arcade Fire’s new album has finally arrived, two days after MP3 buyers were able to snap it up for a few quid on Amazon. I’m still glad to have gone for the disk, though, and not just because of a 40-something attachment to physical objects and floor-to-ceiling shelves. When iPods all have 2 terabytes of flash memory I’ll be able to re-rip all my CDs to lossless and have portable music that doesn’t sound washed out in the loud parts, and where will everyone else be with their 128kbps AAC files then, eh? Not re-listening to albums they bought twenty years ago for a rush of nostalgia for the Australian summer, I expect, so they won’t really care; but then most kids haven’t yet experienced the powerful connection between music and nostalgia. Arcade Fire fans, though—us kids know.

Read More · 4 August 2010 · x1

Most of the late-1988 UK number ones currently under discussion at Popular are awful, but one stands out, for me at least. Other commenters gave it an average mark of 4 out of 10, but then most of them don’t care for this band at all...

Read More · 24 July 2010

For this Popular comments repost, I’m rewinding briefly to a 1987 hit before looping back in time to 1988. Two science-fiction-TV-inspired novelty hits that couldn’t be further apart.

Read More · 22 June 2010

I’ve managed to miss an entire year from my Popular reposts. Although I commented here and there on a few of 1987’s UK number ones, I rated none of them highly enough at the time to buy the singles or related albums, and only the Pet Shop Boys and M/A/R/R/S inspire any music-ownership desires today. 1987 for me meant Midnight Oil’s Diesel and Dust, new albums from the Hoodoo Gurus and Spy vs Spy (two more Australian acts), Def Leppard’s Hysteria, and my ambivalent feelings towards The Joshua Tree. A long way from Popular’s year, then. But 1988 is turning out to be a little more interesting...

Read More · 10 June 2010

Canon Rebels

A slightly modified version of a comment posted to FreakyTrigger’s canon discussion in March, which I meant to post here but didn’t get around to at the time.

Read More · 10 June 2010

A few more Popular comments preserved for the archives. I’ll be more selective about what I repost here this year, as I’m not saying much in some of the threads there now.

Read More · 12 February 2010

Better Take Cover

Men at Work have just lost a case brought by Larrikin Music, a song publisher who bought the copyright of “Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree” from the Australian Girl Guides in 1990 and in July 2009 claimed that the flute riff in “Down Under” plagiarised it. Colin Hay and Ron Strykert are now facing a payout of up to sixty percent of their writers’ earnings from the song, depending on the judge’s final ruling.

Writing songs with a mate down under,
Looked around for some riffs to plunder.
Said to him, “Do you think we’ll risk it?”
He just smiled and handed me a Girl Guide biscuit.

And I said, “Ohhh! ‘Kookaburra’ is huge down under,
And one man’s ‘quote’ is a judge’s ‘blunder’.
Can’t you hear the reporters thunder?
We better run, we better take cover.”

Read More · 5 February 2010 · x2

Music in 2009