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Neil in the Times - Novelty Pop

 
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Honeywagon



Joined: 17 Mar 2004
Posts: 6
Location: Orkney, Scotland

PostPosted: Sat Mar 20, 2004 8:10 pm    Post subject: Neil in the Times - Novelty Pop Reply with quote

Neil's been trying his hand at journalism, it seems. In the Weekend Review section of today's Times, he's penned a piece about novelty pop. Here y'are:

My penchant for novelty songs was a guilty secret for a long time, and probably still should be. It all started with the English electro-pop one-hit-wonder M and his single Pop Muzik in 1979: "Let's do the milkshake, sellin' like a hotcake, / Try some, buy some, fee-fi-fo-fum... Pop pop pop pop muzik". Pop Muzik destroyed the need for another pop song. It says it all.

Then, in the Eighties, there was the Austrian Falco and his revisionist musical biography of Mozart, Rock me Amadeus ("His mind was on rock'n'roll and having fun"), the bewigged Italian classical-disco crossover Rondo Veneziano with Venice in Peril and Einstein A-Go-Go from the English techno-jazz group Landscape.

The novelty pop single reached its peak with Saturday Night by Whigfield in 1994. A lovely Danish girl with pigtails, she sang the perfect "going out" song for girls, while prancing around with a towel wrapped around her head for what must have been a very cheap promotional video. She was pilloried at the time, and I got a lot of stick for liking her, but really what she did was very similar to what Lulu or Sany Shaw did in the 60s. Novelty songs have existed for as long as popular music has - you can take it back to Gilbert and Sullivan, or the dance crazes of the twenties.

Picasso and MirĂ³ were fascinated by naive art, and Saturday Night has a similar appeal for me. The whole song has about three notes, and sounds like a child playing on a toy keyboard.

People like Whigfield truly mean what they are singing. What I don't like in this genre is the Stock, Aitken and Waterman stuff. They're old gits making a quick buck out of kids by writing songs that have no style, and no joie de vivre. Songs like Saturday night might be silly and superficial, but they have a childish aura about them that is very satisfying.

Take Barbie Girl by Aqua, or even more recently, the only Transylvanian twins in pop: the Cheeky Girls. "We are the cheeky girls, We are the cheeky girls... Touch my bum, this is life." Brilliant nonsense. It shines out of the morass of Pop Stars and Pop Idol. Pop should be a little otherworldly, it should celebrate eccentricity. Those TV programmes flatten and normalise everything.

I've written a few very foolish songs in my time, trying to capture the naive joy of those novelty singles. Some of my attempts have actually been rather large hits. But now I've satisfied my need to go on Top of the Pops, wear silly clothes and sing a stupid song. Pop is generally best when it's trying to put across an extremely simple emotion. That's why what I do now is hard to shoe-horn into a pop format, so I don't really try any more - I just make music.
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rachel2205



Joined: 21 Nov 2002
Posts: 724
Location: UK

PostPosted: Sat Mar 20, 2004 8:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good fun, and at least the article pays the bills...
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Lilypod



Joined: 22 Nov 2002
Posts: 1431

PostPosted: Sat Mar 20, 2004 9:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like his liking for Aqua.

P.S. Thanks for posting that, Lodders.
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Casanova



Joined: 21 Nov 2002
Posts: 152

PostPosted: Sat Mar 20, 2004 10:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The man has some rather odd taste! Not surprising really, given his own output.

And Aqua are great. Hugely underrated.
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Come Home Billy Bob



Joined: 03 Mar 2004
Posts: 61
Location: Texas, Y'all

PostPosted: Sat Mar 20, 2004 11:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

M, as well . I dug that album out of an Warner/Elektra/Asylum office's dumpster
when I was a kid & have cherished it ever since
+ the video for Pop Muzik is incredible!...possibly the best music video ever.

Great article. Thanks. I'm going to show it to my wife
- she can't stand it when I play M, but adores the Divine Comedy.
Now I can tell her Neil's in my corner.
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Honeywagon



Joined: 17 Mar 2004
Posts: 6
Location: Orkney, Scotland

PostPosted: Sun Mar 21, 2004 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I always liked Barbie Girl, too, but daren't mention it in public. Neil has guts :-D
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rachel2205



Joined: 21 Nov 2002
Posts: 724
Location: UK

PostPosted: Sun Mar 21, 2004 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lilypod wrote:
I like his liking for Aqua.

P.S. Thanks for posting that, Lodders.


Not Lodestone, though the picture would make you think that!
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Gilderoy Lockheart



Joined: 22 Nov 2002
Posts: 5518
Location: STONEYBRIDGE!

PostPosted: Sun Mar 21, 2004 12:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unfortunately, Rachel, they are indeed one and the same. For some reason, he has seen fit to name himself after what Urban Dictionary describes as a huge, dripping cavernous vagina.

(Cheers for that, Flip - still giggling about it up here, we are )
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rachel2205



Joined: 21 Nov 2002
Posts: 724
Location: UK

PostPosted: Sun Mar 21, 2004 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You do say the loveliest things!
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Absolute Power
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 21, 2004 1:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sure he's admitted the liking to Aqua before. I think it was when he was the Jo Whiley's show on Channel 4 a few years ago.

Admitting liking Aqua and Will Young in one week!

Who's next? Brother Beyond?
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Honeywagon



Joined: 17 Mar 2004
Posts: 6
Location: Orkney, Scotland

PostPosted: Sun Mar 21, 2004 6:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rachel2205 wrote:
Lilypod wrote:
I like his liking for Aqua.

P.S. Thanks for posting that, Lodders.


Not Lodestone, though the picture would make you think that!


No, 'tis me. I just felt like a name-change. I love the word Honeywagon. and I love it even more for its meaning of 'a cart used for carrying crap'. Nothing to do with vaginas. Ignore those distasteful people and their American meanings.
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rachel2205



Joined: 21 Nov 2002
Posts: 724
Location: UK

PostPosted: Sun Mar 21, 2004 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

But weren't you logged in the other day using your old name? Why do you aim to puzzle me? Ya weirdo. Razz
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Rowan Morrison



Joined: 21 Nov 2002
Posts: 1330
Location: Wigan Casino. Keeping the faith.

PostPosted: Sun Mar 21, 2004 8:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

HONEYWAGON?!?!?!

Shocked Shocked Shocked *

*copyright Blue Circles 2003
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cjmacs



Joined: 22 Nov 2002
Posts: 280
Location: danbury, connecticut, usa

PostPosted: Sun Mar 21, 2004 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gilderoy Lockheart wrote:
For some reason, he has seen fit to name himself after what Urban Dictionary describes as a huge, dripping cavernous vagina.



i thought that was a "honeypot"... no????

eeewww. dripping.... Shocked

isn't that where robert planet from led zep named his other faux band "the honeydrippers" - i imagined lusty groupies with v.d.!!!
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Geordie



Joined: 21 Nov 2002
Posts: 1677
Location: The Toon

PostPosted: Sun Mar 21, 2004 10:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cheers Honey.
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