The Faders - No Sleep Tonight

“I got you/ I got you on my mind/ And it’s time to make you see/ So I’ll just make this/ A little more obvious/ Because I get what I want and I want you to get with me.”


About bloody time, that’s what I say. You wouldn’t have thought it too hard for the British industry to create the perfect girl rock band, pouting angst and ‘don’t mess with us’ riffs bound up in one demographically appealing package, right? Simply take a sample of CosmoGIRL!-reading, Avril-loving, ‘Oo get me I think Good Charlotte are, like, soo hot and paint my nails black, how rebellious I am!’ teens, lock your writers in a room with old Donnas and new Kelly Clarkson material and voila! Pacy, passionate perfect girl rock.

But no. Years have passed since the ill-advised 21st Century Girls debacle, and still no sign of salvation. Well fear not, my pop-loving people, the saviors have arrived, complete with craaazy coloured hair (!), pre-requisite ethnic band member (!!) and video shot of them wreaking rebellious havoc in a school (!!!)

Who would have thought the drumbeat from ‘Lust for Life’ could be co-opted into such thrummingly insistent brilliance? Who knew that scratchy electric vocals were just what bouncy teen rock required to lift it into edgy territory? Joyful and energetic, oozing black eyeliner and fake tattoos, I can but count the ways….

Part 1
An ominously repetitive verse intro! All fabulous chunky riff bouncing jauntily alongside the sassy yet insouciant vocals. The electro effect adds a sort of shivering clarity, maintaining a delicious distance between the musing lyrics and immature refrain.

Part 2
Divinely swooping bridge! Everything falls back into slow-motion for optimal ‘close-up on the hot young things tossing their hair and throwing their REAL INSTRUMENTS (and, like, they wrote the song too!) around’ moments.

Part 3
Pounding chorus! A fabulous crashing, sirens blaring, screaming chorus to be precise, the kind envied by all 2-bit producers who are reduced to handling the Katy Rose album tracks of the world.

That’s right, these girls know their perfect pop structures! Why forsake the path of formula when it sounds so damn good?! So again with the echoing chorus! Again with the swoops and soaring! Again the pounding intensity! Oh, and why not throw in an added electric guitar twang for more slo-mo pouting and a shake of that distressed denim derriere?

Bonus Extras…
Disco double hand-claps!
Oh-oh-oh ohohs!


PopText needs YOU!

As you may have noticed, I’ve got writer’s block. A particular breed of lethargic, Postal Service and Bright Eyes-listening writer’s block, that has rendered me unable to even make half-heartedly sarcastic digs at Mariah Carey. Dire indeed. So this is where I beg you to send pop, any pop, to set my inspiration alight once more.

Do it now, before I reach for the Death Cab. My sanity, and your entertainment, depend on it.


Phantom Planet - Nobody's Fault

“Well I thought I could make you happy down the line/ But I guess it’s been over/ Since you heard this song of mine.”

California, California, here we coooooomeee…. Oh, wait a minute. Stylish hipster band du jour in ‘More than one good song’ shocker! Oh, wait another minute. Was the aforementioned paean to skinny ties and self-referential Jewish boys even that good? I mean, sunshine, blah, roadtrip, blah, chorus bit that is distinguished only by going up and the eeeeeeennnnnnnd. Who knows? Now it is forever intertwined with the traumatic memory of Miss Mischa in that jodhpur/ cravat/ flat tweed cap combo. I shudder. I shake.

So, back to the only other thing these coiffed hair and blazer-wearing little its-indie-rock-and-roll-for-me boys have created. Namely, something that sounds nothing like the rest of their Urban Outfitted bland repertoire! Instead of the dirgesome understatement it seems in fashion to peddle these days (what crazy kids), there’s a Sixties jaunt of bouncing chord progression and pouting self-indulgence. Sure, the ‘woe is me’ness of it all can’t help but ooze from every pore, but at least they’re shouty joyful pores, right?

Ah, the thumping refrain and ‘ahahaha’ backings!
Oh, the layering repetition and fabulously derivative melody!

Now, if only dear Mr Schwartz would close the damn Peach Pit and actually construct episodes that utilize music as an integral part of the mood and setting, rather than rolling out yet another ‘the gang go to a rock show and something happens’ script. Please!


Willy Mason - Oxygen

“I want to be cooler than TV/ For all the kids that are wondering what they’re going to be/ We can be stronger than bombs/ If you’re singing along.”


I wish I was this optimistic.

I wish I still thought things could be changed, that I had the power to do more than make tiny ripples in my own little corner of the world. I wish I could not only vocalize these dreams, but string them into something coherent and adorable. Something which sweeps your feet from under you with the simple purity of belief and blissful idealism: not just the sentiment, but the sweet strumming melody which binds that dream in a safe little bubble of joy.

And so Willy comes wandering along with his guitar, fuelled by our oft-ignored pangs of desire and dreams of a better life for us all. It’s the manifesto for hopeful musing everywhere, and thus entirely vulnerable to sneering dismissal. I mean, he couldn’t epitomize a youthfully naïve yearning better if he tried! And yes, I was tempted to laugh off the construction of utopia, but he overcame even my jaded cynicism. And that’s really saying something.

This is the musical equivalent of the ‘Can’t we all just get along?’, yet it’s the simplicity which gives it such power. The girl in angel wings, waving flowers as the riot police move in with tear gas and shielded eyes. You may ridicule the method or delivery, but surely you can’t find fault with the sentiment.

Because it’s easy to see that something here just isn’t right.