The Priests of RockThink

It has always been hard for the priests of RockThink to deal with punk in any manner other than ideological; this is why the Sex Pistols go down in history as somehow more valuable than the Buzzcocks.) An almost unlistenable triple LP dedicated to a communist revolutionary government (The Clash’s Sandinista!) means more to those who write the histories than an unspeakably gorgeous #1 pop … Continue reading The Priests of RockThink

The last gasp of true Top 40

There was one brief and somewhat tarnished moment during my adolescence — somewhere around 1966-1967 — in which I couldn’t distinguish between the inherent value of the Velvet Underground versus the Monkees or Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention and Paul Revere & the Raiders. That confession is not alarming in view of my age (13 going on 14), but consider the circumstances and … Continue reading The last gasp of true Top 40

Buzz and Joy under the influence of

In truth, by criticising pop music NME are merely biting the hand that feeds them. Pop music as every person who’s gone from clutching a copy of Madonna’s Immaculate Collection to owning Sonic Youth’s Dirty can attest, is a gateway drug. Once you’re hooked by that excitement, that buzz and that joy of being fan you can go either way: maybe you’ll experiment, check out … Continue reading Buzz and Joy under the influence of


Anthony Easton: At first I was sad that the production obscured her voice, but it’s in the same sub-genre as KLF and Tammy or Pet Shop Boys and Dusty, and those are some of my favourite things. It is less isolating than those examples, but incredibly intimate, the same otherness of Scott Walker, and perhaps the same rejection of pop history, but with the artifice stripped instead of … Continue reading Petulia

Disco Bubblegum

“There are many substantial reasons for linking disco with bubblegum; the comparisons, endless. Like [Kasenetz and Katz]‘s clapping sound, Euro- and pop-disco are essentially mediums for a producer’s special sound, whereas the performer’s role remains secondary. Disco combines a constant beat with simple lyrics; like bubblegum’s skip-a-rope dynamics, its function is strictly to provide rhythms for people entangles in the exercise of dance. Furthermore, many … Continue reading Disco Bubblegum

A Gaggle of Gaga

  While we’re on the topic. A critical roundup, of sorts. Alfred Soto: “With Born This Way, Gaga aspires to become an all-purpose avatar for misfits and losers. Laughing at her for selecting the godawfulest album cover ever printed is part of the point. She accepts our derision; she invites it. That she succeeds three quarters of the time is testament to her development as … Continue reading A Gaggle of Gaga