Pop picking – part 5 (2000 and beyond – the new breed?)
I tend to be an instinctive writer (is there any other kind?) and that's true whether I'm working on poems or blog posts – I just go for it and I don't worry too much about whether it's a good idea or fashionable or the right way of doing something. This week's series of posts about pop music for example, in true instinctive fashion, was completely unplanned... I just starting thinking about pop music (as a subject) last weekend and hey, presto – here I am at the end of a long week of rambling about what pop music is and can be (at its best perhaps...). I'm sure for some regular readers this little series has been a bit of a turn-off (and for some quite the opposite) but never mind, next week's a whole new week (and the Poetry Bus will be back soon – prompt this week from Karen). And who knows what I'll be rambling on about next week?
But first... for the last pop post we come to the year 2000 (and the decade we seem to have ended up calling the 'noughties'). Again I had an instinctive feeling and in this case my instinct was telling me to post Britney Spears' 'Baby Hit Me One More Time' (written by Swedish writer/producer Max Martin). Why on earth did I think that, you may ask yourself (I know I did). Maybe I thought of it because it's a great pop record (half the world seems to have done a cover version already and that's a good sign of pop success)... or maybe it was because all the other records I've picked this week have been by artists who are also songwriters and I thought that, to really represent pop, I should also pick something that is in the hit factory no-one-here-writes-their-own-songs-but-they're-all-pretty territory... or just maybe it came to me because miraculously all the music I've posted so far this week has been by male pop stars/bands and it seemed time to put a female in the frame. But Britney? Britney? Was that really the best I could do – a song where the singer dresses up as a schoolgirl in the video (I mean really, who needs porn – and while we're on the subject there's a lovely comedy song about substituting burlesque for porn from last week's TV here)? And after all couldn't I have posted something by a woman who does write her own material – something by Carole King from the '60s or '70s (she is one of my VERY favourites and a great writer and I have posted songs of hers before) or some Kate Bush or Blondie, some Tracy Chapman, some Lauren Hill, some Feist... there are so many really great, talented female pop artists that I am crazy about.
Then I looked up 'Baby Hit Me One More Time' (originally written for the band TLC apparently) and realised it was actually in the charts in 1998/9 so it doesn't fit into this post anyway. Ha! So much for instinct. Back to the drawing board. And anyway, it is a song that sounds better when covered by someone else (pick your own version) and that can't be good, can it? Best forget all about it.
So pop of the noughties? Help! Help! At the beginning of 2000 I was 33 and pregnant so this has not exactly been my key decade for listening to pop (I've listened to more Teletubbies than Top Twenty, more folk music than “Now that's what I call music”). I have listened to some pop of the decade though and liked it (White Stripes, Arctic Monkeys, Corinne Bailey Rae, The Gossip, Laura Marling, The Streets' first album...), some of it I have completely missed (Kings of Leon – wouldn't know them from Adam or the Ants, Lily Allen/Katy Perry/Rihanna – all a blur in lipstick, any hip hop after about 1992 – completely beyond me) and some I just cannot stand (anything that calls itself a 'boy band'...and Muse - ugh... plus all that bland Cheryl Cole and X Factor drivel...and Lady Gaga...please god, someone lock her in her bloody endless wardrobe). But what to pick...what to pick? In the end... as an instinctive person... I'm just going to go with my gut. Sure this singer is mad as ten hatters (and she's the songwriter on this one too), sure she looks weird with a capital W and her legs might snap at any minute (but better that than the impossible manufactured perfect of Britters et al – see pic above), sure she's been a little distracted by hard drugs (and that's all a bit sad but not unusual really), sure it's a very retro song.... but one thing I do know is that it's also a song that makes me cry every time I hear it (and that means I love it!). It is pop (from 2007)... excellent pop, soulful pop. Here's... Amy!
And if you like that, you might like this too... also from 'Back to Black' and also written by the little lass with the indescribable hair:
Originally from the north of England, I live in Angus, Scotland where I walk a lot, think a lot, listen to lots of music, sometimes write poems, sometimes read poems out to other people, sometimes write songs, read all kinds of odd things, watch a bit...oh and I look after my family too.
I sometimes organise poetry and music events - details are usually here (though nothing coming up in the near future). This year I went travelling with my family - photos and notes are here. Now we're back I have moved to a new regular blog - it is here.
More about the song
You can buy my book (published 2008) from my website if you fancy it (go to 'book' page) or from www.amazon.co.uk if you prefer the comfort of the multinational corporation. My book is printed on recycled paper and card. I have 12 different poetry postcards available too.