Eleni Mandell - Pauline

"Pauline/More than a memory girl/Gotta tell you what/Was a cold blue sofa and an oriental rug when your man got down and your man told me ‘let’s go’.”

Let the guest blogging commence

Simply put, Eleni Mandell’s 'Pauline' is the nastiest, funniest cheating song since M’chelle N’Degeocello’s 'If That’s Your Boyfriend (He Wasn’t Last Night)'. And in all honesty, Mandell’s song trumps N’Degeocello’s with ease, particularly as 'If That’s Your Boyfriend' is all snotty, awesome chorus.

The cheatin’ song is a popular genre, but it’s rare to hear one that isn’t from the perspective of the cuckold or the cuckolder. Mandell’s song is from the perspective of the other woman, she who fucked your man, and it sort of stands as a reply to Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” (no coincidence, there, with the similarity of the arcane names “Jolene” and “Pauline”) In this song, Mandell’s wreaking girl on girl violence, mocking the old fashioned “Pauline” while the guitars rumble and roar. So why do I love it?

First off, it’s kind of sexy, because Mandell can use her voice like an actress, hitting words and lines with appropriate inflection. Then there’s the trashy but perfect saxophone solo in the background. It’s surprising to hear the virginal Pauline in “her catalogue skirt” contrasted with the narrator who wore “black/I wore heels/I wore an ox-blood t-shirt.” Mean girls indeed, but as the dynamics build from disclosure to slightly hysterical bragging, it’s the type of song that would make you follow Ms. Mandell to the end of the earth.

By Elisabeth Donnelly, writer for Purpology and pop(matters)


Four Minute Warning...

1. I'm back on a 56k dial-up connection.
2. I spend hours flicking through music channels looking for something that moves me, sparks me enough to post, but nothing.
3. I have a novel due.
4. Something's going to have to change.

I can either relax my strict criteria and move towards a more popbytes style of things - links, snark, pop culture in general; or, hold off that and post more sporadically, but with meaning and substance.

You've got Gawker, and the fug girls, and stereogum. You've also got Eppy and Tim and Matt, and Jess and Julianne when you need them.

So what do you want from me?


BT ft. Rose McGowan - Superfabulous

“Won’t you wake me up from this?/ All I need is a prince to kiss.”

Yeah come on, and turn it on.

Songs have their time; languishing on my over-filled hard-drive until that listen when they finally spark my synapses – the moment the resonance fires into something real. And now, back in a small town with dark falling on the heat-baked streets that lead nowhere, I need this. God I need this.

Poptastic provided, pounding and blissfully intense, it lifts me from this room with fairy-tale roses climbing across my window but a view I know by heart. I can submerse myself in that driving bass, that sarcastic vocal. The lazy demands that follow every line, the taunt, the urge.

A promise of vivid thunder in my stomach and Oh! The crash of chorus: heart-stop, pulse-shiver. Over and over and over, spiraling out of here in scrawling screams. 4.40 soaring moments away from reminders to keep the volume down. Away from the blinking curser on an empty page.

Give me a dancefloor. Give me my abandon. Get me far from here and the person I used to be.

Yeah come on, and turn it on.


Keith Urban - Days Go By

“Days go by/ I can feel them flying/ Like a hand out the window in the wind.”

Time for some jauntiness! Some commercial country twanging, chorus woohoo-ing, boots ‘n’ hat ‘n’ thank you ma’am jauntiness to be precise. He may be the lost Wilson brother, but Keith sure knows his cross-over pop hit material, layered bass production precision and all.

This is a song to sweep you up in pace and energy; the bubbling underscore of verse chords seeming innocuous but really they pull you forwards, so soon to be overtaken with building bridge and then that magnificent crescendo chorus. No crash, no cry, but the delicious twang of speedy refrain and infectious lyric repetition, triumphant and joyful. Smooth production that you don’t even notice until the backing falls out; just his voice and that rhythmic strum, a drop of banjo, the surge of strings and then you’re swept away again in exuberant exclamation.

Summer and speed, breeze and possibilities.


Lindsay Lohan - First (the video car-crash week continues)

La Lohan's Guide to Not Being Like Every Other Girl in the World

1) Have every ounce of flesh sucked from your limp form like you were attacked by Tobey Maguire during his snack-attack. Because, like, the aspiration to be so frighteningly thin that you need to wear that terrible waistcoat over your shirt just to hold up your malnourished body and stay conscious is SO RARE.

2) Release a guitar-driven song that sounds so mindlessly mediocre and dragging, Lilix could have thrown it together in their basement…

2a) ...I mean, why call on Max Martin or the Matrix when you can have a riff that sounds barely even scribbled on the label of your empty Oxycotin bottle, let alone finished?

2b) When Katy Rose album tracks sound like polished precision in comparison, you know you’re there.

3) Redheads are unusual. Redheads are distinctive. But hey, why stand out from the crowd due to natural beauty, when you can dye your troubles away and be mocked? Of course, the true genius was picking the shade of trailer-trash platinum blonde which makes you look like Nicole accidentally emptied the peroxide jug because you were so distracted by Wheel of Fortune re-runs. Repeat after me: “Match the skin-tone. Match it!”

4) Add a glazed thousand-yard stare and the usual artfully posed moves. Why should you dance the way girls really dance – sweat and swing and abandon – when instead you can shift those razor hips as if constricted by that metaphorical corset of female objectification? That would only make you stand out, dear, and god knows you don’t want that.


“Now you’re looking/ About where I thought you’d be looking”

Can I get a yee-haw?
(Not clicking here is seriously not an option)

Indeed you can Ms Simpson! In fact, you can get anything the hell you want for your part in this crazy, fabulous, pop-meta moment. Got a movie to promote? Got some pesky adultery claims to redirect into a revamped sex-kitten image? Getting tired of lil sis outselling y’all?

Fear not, my dear, Papa Joe is here! Oh yes; so concerned over your career is daddy dearest, that he’s dreamt up a fabulous country-meets-uber-pop project for you to reclaim your place in the nation’s transient hearts.

The breathy coquettish vocals! The teasing country twang! The strip-club grinding bass, and oh, the low Willie Nelson sing-a-long backing! The irresistible pouting breakdown!

A video so exploitative, Jess has obviously been working long and hard at Cheap Stripper Academy to learn that thrust and swing action (“Daddy, daddy! Look at what I learned today" disturbing mental imagery alert!). The pink bikini scenes alone need to be worshipped as the pinnacle of incongruous, pointless masturbation-fantasy sequencing!

Love. It. All.

Vitamin C - Vacation

"Need a little sun to break up all the frustration/ And turn it into love/ Ain't nobody going to tell us what we're going to do"

Now this is a fabulous surprise! Part of the freebie mix from Poptimism (one of the best club nights in London), here comes a crazily infectious little gem from the ex-Eve’s Plum singer better known for a track that stands as a horrifying blight on the pop landscape. God, I hate ‘Graduation’ as much as the next sane person (in fact, I fail to comprehend how even little Lauri and Vicki can, like, be totally moved to tears as they scribble insincerities in each others yearbook and pledge to be silver ring thing buddies 4eva!) yet even I cannot help but be enchanted by this bouncing burst of pleasure.

Perhaps I’m powerless to resist cheerleader chanting, or maybe it’s the mindlessly repetitive honeyed vocals that suck me into the whirling vortex of idealized Californian beach imagery (the kind of faux-fifties partying that every US teen sitcom needs to find itself indulging in). Either way, toast me some s’mores and let me jive with a wholesome jock named Chip, because I’m sold!

A complete composite, it takes the verse tune from Tricky’s ‘Black Steel’, combines it with pure ‘Sound of the Underground’ surf guitar riff (that’s right: Pre-Girls Aloud, Girls Aloud-sounding pop!) and throws in a sped-up OMD intro sample, because hey, why ever not? The structure is as perfect as if they kissed the ‘blueprint for pop perfection’ goodnight since first imagining a world filled with joyful pop jewels, (for the technical amongst you, the thirty second middle-8 ‘mix and yell’ breakdown hits at 1 minute 53). I can’t track down the producer/writing credits, but I’ll be extremely surprised if they haven’t surfaced again in some spectacular form.


“One day/ You’ll see me/ But only when you’re dreaming/ One day/ You’ll see I’m number one.”

I’m no longer a teen and thus, sadly, I can no longer legitimately angst. Sure, I can stamp my foot and pout and slam my bedroom door screaming “Muuuuum, I HATE you!”, but it doesn’t count: it’s not angst, it’s twenty-something ennui. Sigh.*

But Skye can angst, oh yes indeed. That particular breed of self-centred petulance that strops its way through bouncing riffs and exuberant posing. Because you ARE the axis upon which the universe rests! Because inane lyrics and fuck you air punches are SO the way to deal with your emotions! Because, like, this is an awesome tune to leap around to in your bedroom before you take yourself and your fake ID out to some sleazy rock club to try and pick up unsuitable menfolk!

Speaking of which…

“I see the danger that lies beyond your eyes/ And I want to scream when you're rubbing on my thighs/ I know I should but I can't say no”

Bonnie knows all about the sting of failed love affairs, and thankfully has poured all her sharp bitterness into a sensuously sinuous burst of acrid regret. Her vocals swoop deliciously between remorse and frustration; the perfect portrayal of that mistake you made, but oh, what fun it was.

Instead of explicit rage or wailing anguish, there’s something wonderfully controlled about the track. A subtle rumble of drum, the odd tremble of strings, while the bass and chords keep a chunky, insistent canvas. Everything reined in, yet with an irresistible swing to each slinking stride. Utterly seductive.

*Not that I ever actually angsted; I wallowed, I moped, hell I even threw in some weeping from time to time – you know, mixing things up a little. But mine was one of those liberal households that held nothing to rebel against. You know: condoms freely distributed, no curfew. Except for, like, the deviant consumption of non-organic produce, nothing was out-of-bounds.

** Also can be streamed as audio from official website - second track on the player.