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The Post-Game Show » Poppery

Archive for the ‘Poppery’ Category

Eurovision 2009

Friday, May 15th, 2009

It’s a well-known fact that the Eurovision Song Contest is the cultural high watermark of the year. This is why I spend several hours every year compiling my guide to the performers and their songs - a cheat sheet to steer you through the contest. This year, for the first time, I’m posting the rundown here at its new home, The Post-Game Show - though in this instance it’s pre-game all the way.

abba

Read the rundown; share it with your friends; and leave your comments to let me know who your favourite acts are, and who you think is going to win. But most importantly; enjoy the music. Every year, the ghost of Mozart weeps, for Mozart never lived to submit an entry to Eurovision.

This year’s contest comes from Moscow. You can watch a live stream of the show from 20:00 BST, 15:00 EST, or see videos of any of the songs, at http://www.eurovision.tv/.

Lithuania
“Love”
Sasha Son

Sasha’s biography tells us, “The Lithuanian artist has received many prizes and is responsible for many chart-busters in the country!” It’s true! He has all his achievement badges, and he is very popular in rural areas! The start of this ballad put me in mind of We Are The Champions, but it’s Lithuanian, and Lithuania has never been a champion at anything, so it’s probably We Are The Starving Downtrodden Peasants Living in Abject Poverty, my friends. And we’ll eat potatoes, ’til the end. The lyrics to the chorus are, “If you really love the love you say you love then surely that love would love to love you back”. And the Buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.

Israel
“There Must Be Another Way”
Noa & Mira

Although the title is in English, fooling you into thinking you know where you stand with this cheerful song, the rest of the lyrics are all guttural throat-clearing sounds. Possibly Klingon. Trek is so big right now. And that one girl definitely has some proper Klingon hair. In fact, the other girl could pass for Bajoran, so maybe this is a Federation peace song. There must be another way to unite the planets! Fire up the warp nacelles and drop the power core into the sun! (I suppose it might also be a song about peace in the Middle East, but there will never be peace in the Middle East so long as the Vulcans are without a homeland.)


France
“Et S’il Fallait Le Faire”
Patricia Kaas

Last year, France boldly opted out of competing in Eurovision, while simultaneously continuing to participate. That is to say, knowing they weren’t going to win, they put forward a musically credible act with a decent song, and offered audiences a three minute respite from the madness (with a different flavour of madness - Sébastien Tellier certainly was not sane). It looks like they are doing it again this year, with jazz singer Patricia Kaas singing an earnest Berlin cabaret torch song. It’s rather good, and thus stands out like a sore thumb.

Sweden
“La Voix”
Malena Ernman

Though born a human ‘woman’, Malena looks and sounds like a weird hybrid of drag act and alien, and her wide glazed eyes look like they were painted on to her eyelids. Her song would be equally at home opening a retro sci-fi TV show or as the theme for the BBC coverage of the European Cup. It has a lot of wailing - and with wailing comes solicitous dancing waiters waving their arms about. Highly camp, and therefore somewhat charming.

Croatia
“Lijepa Tena”
Igor Cukrov featuring Andrea

This starts out sounding promisingly like “Something Stupid”, and the cross-eyed young male singer does seem to fit that description (though I confess a personal weakness for young men named Igor. The hunchback thing is such a myth). This song is not in English, and I’m not sure it’s in Croatian either. I’m having trouble distinguishing much in the way of words at all. It’s 99% yodel. That is considered well above the international standard for yodelling, so unless they have special dispensation, they may find themselves dragged off to a Russian gulag to build tractors for the farming collectives.

Portugal
“Todas As Ruas Do Amor”
Flor-de-Lis

Here’s a bright and breezy little ditty. I believe the title of this song translates as, “Look out, I am going to spin”. If the young lady dressed as a gypsy caravan can pick up some speed with those arms of hers, she could take out her entire backing band of ethnic musicians dressed as children’s TV presenters. The song is bubbly folk, bursting into sudden and unexpected bouts of loud enthusiasm before subsiding back into hurdy gurdy.

Iceland
“Is It True?”
Yohanna

Iceland does not want to win Eurovision. Iceland can’t afford roads right now; they certainly can’t afford a song contest. I’m amazed they even bothered to field a contestant, but maybe Yohanna was on holiday in Moscow when the economy collapsed, and since she was stuck there without a flight home, Iceland decided to let her compete so long as she did her own hair and sang a safely unmemorable song. They must be horrified that she got beyond the semi-finals. If Iceland could afford an assassin, they’d take her out in the first chorus.

sakis-rouvas3

Greece
“This Is Our Night”
Sakis Rouvas

You may recognise Mr Rouvas from such Eurovisions as 2004 (performing) and 2006 (hosting). And if you Google him, you’ll find that there are very few pictures of him wearing a shirt. His nipples are the best known in Europe. The song is pure Europop - grinding, repetitive and overheated, with a heavy dose of mid-90s trance throbbing along in the background. Sakis looks like he enjoys a bit of throbbing.

Armenia
“Jan Jan”
Inga & Anush

It wouldn’t be Eurovision without yodelling, but this one sticks within the legal limit, and once you get past the obligatory cultural warbles, this morphs into one of the stranger entries in the contest; it’s like a Bollywood hokey-cokey, but without any perceptible rhythm. Following the dance moves would be like trying to play Twister on an escalator.

Russia
“Mamo”
Anastasia Prikhodko

Russia were lobbying to win the contest for a long time, and would have invaded some bitches if they hadn’t won last year, so hurray, thank God gaypalooza is in homophobic Moscow this year! But few countries want to win twice in a row, which is why Russia has found some miserable under-age gangster’s moll, given her a shower and a fresh change of clothes, and told to go out on stage and lament and smile. As soon as the show is over, they’ll sell her in exchange for a bootleg DVD of Twilight. (Russians love glampires.)

elnur-samir

Azerbaijan
“Always”
AySel & Arash

I love Azerbaijan very much. They made their Eurovision debut last year with perhaps my favourite entry of all time; a homoerotic rock duet between a screeching meringue angel and a growling leather-trousered devil (pictured above). “Ze urse is in flame, and you mast share ze blem”. They could never hope to match that genius this year, so they’ve opted for a more conventional, slightly ethnic male/female duet, with a thin Martine McCutcheon and a young Andy Abraham. It’s a bit of a step down from the falsetto rockpocalypse.

Bosnia-Herzegovina
“Bistra Voda”
Regina

Regina, you will note, means ‘Queen’, but don’t expect any Freddie Mercury glam operatics from this band. The Bosnian Queen like to dress as a touring production of Les Mis and sing Teutonic drinking songs with military drums. It’s all appallingly glum. I think ‘bistra voda’ is an alcoholic drink distilled from gravy granules. This would explain why they’re so upset.

Moldova
“Hora Din Moldova”
Nelly Ciobanu

This is a song about the hora (as in, the dance) in Moldova (as in, the country next to the country where Michael Praed is presumably now king). I used to know how to dance a hora, but it didn’t look anything like whatever it is these people are doing. Things are different in Moldova. Poorer, but with more tablecloths. Still, if we must have folk music, I welcome this upbeat cheerful folk music full of men shouting ‘hey!’.

Malta
“What If We”
Chiara

We’ve seen Chiara on this show before, so I think I’ve already made the ‘Malta in an evening dress’ joke. Chiara looks a bit like Adele, if Adele went to an all-you-can-eat buffet where they were serving fresh baked Allison Moyet. Chiara doesn’t have that smoky voice, though; instead it’s a very nasal pop voice; one octave in search of an AutoTune. She delivers a stirring little anthem about stars and keys and dice and, oh, just all the different marshmallows in a box of Lucky Charms.

Estonia
“Rändajad”
Urban Symphony

The name of this act got me very excited. I thought it was going to be foxes playing car horns. Sadly it’s just Emily the Strange and a string section, and a song that starts off a little early Eurythmics, but turns into one of those layered numbers with dramatic synths and miserable wailing. Only at Eurovision is ‘dramatic synths and miserable wailing’ its own distinct genre of music. OK; Eurovision and Evanescence concerts.

Denmark
“Believe Again”
Brinck

Well, this is devastating. I always took comfort in the belief that Ronan Keating was a one-off. Seeing Brinck, I come to realise that there may be legions of moon-faced Bryan Adams wannabes injecting fake rock growl into their pappy pop voices and straddling their legs like they’re riding Tina Turner. My only solace now is the thought that, if there is a worldwide industry in Ronan Keatings, most of them failed, and have probably been boiled down to make glue. And that thought makes me happy again.

alex-swings

Germany
“Miss Kiss Kiss Bang”
Alex Swings, Oscar Sings

There is a lost Bond song called “Mr Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”, recorded by Dionne Warwick for Thunderball, which was eventually dropped for the Tom Jones title song. You can hear the Warwick song played against the Thunderball opening credits here. It has its charms. You can also hear the Shirley Bassey version here. Even Johnny Cash recorded a song for the movie, which you can hear here. None of this has anything to do with this scatty calypso song. Apparently Germany thinks it’s Havana in the 1920s. Back before, you know, history happened.

Turkey
“Düm Tek Tek”
Hadise

Just when you’re thinking the opening guitar line sounds peculiarly like something from 90s grunge rock, we’re rescued from musical legitimacy by the traditional Middle Eastern pipe music and a baseline either ripped from “Kiss Kiss”, or else from… every single song Turkey has ever entered in the Eurovision Song Contest. I’m led to believe that the people of Turkey do nothing but belly-dance all day. It sounds exhausting, but it is excellent cardio.

Albania
“Carry Me In Your Dreams”
Kejsi Tola

And again with the pipes! Disco gypsy music must be absolutely huge in Europe, given how many countries offer up a slice of the genre at Eurovision every year. The day someone first plugged a Persian bagpipe into an amp was a banner day for Eastern Europe. If the UK ever does want to win Eurovision again, we should just send drum machines to all the traveller camps in Kent and see what comes back.

Norway
“Fairytale”
Alexander Rybak

Norway has fielded a fiddling imp. Cease your fiddling, imp! Little Alexander is surely the Zac Efron of Norway, and like Zac Efron we would be better off not hearing him sing, as he looks and sounds like his voice is just on the cusp of breaking. The fiddling, on the other hand, is rather good, and this folksy jaunt is thus one of my favourites.

Ukraine
“Be My Valentine (Anti-Crisis Girl)”
Svetlana Loboda

Svetlana has a lot going for her; big porn lips, stripped-down athletic men in plumed Roman helmets, the most intriguing song title in the contest, and the name ‘Svetlana’. It hardly matters that the song is a jumble of hectoring noise. I would definitely watch a TV show called Svetlana: Anti-Crisis Girl. She could jet around the world rescuing people from collapsed bridges and plummeting cable cars with the aid of her big lips and her corps of muscular dancing legionnaires. She also needs a nemesis. I’d suggest young Igor Cukrov of Croatia, but I fear she would make short work of seducing and killing him, poor lad.

Romania
“The Balkan Girls”
Elena

Romania, as you know, is famous for its pumping Latin beats. Elena, an Eastern Bloc version of Lindsay Lohan (with all the airport lounge sluttiness that implies), wants to tell us about the thrilling nightlife in Romania’s capital city of Slobdigabblegrad (all right, Bucharest, whatever.) The basic thrust of the song is that Balkan girls are cheap sluts and you should definitely come and party, ja! Balkan girls “shine” for the crowd’s delight, their hips “glow”, and their boobs “pulse” with radioactive fallout. That last bit isn’t in the lyrics, I’m just assuming. Elena does get some respect from me for saying she starts her weekend with “gin, tonic and lime”. Me too! Let’s hang out! You hang out over there, and I’ll hang out over here.

jade-and-awl

United Kingdom
“It’s My Time”
Jade Ewen

By leaving the UK, I’ve missed the reality show that picked the person who would sing this Andrew Lloyd-Webber/Diane Warren number. Apparently the winner was Ms Lips McGee (though her lips have nothing on Svetlana). I’ve also not heard the song before, but just from the title I can tell it’s one of those ‘hey everyone, I just won a singing contest’ numbers. “This is my victory, I’ve come so far, thank you God and cough cough I just swallowed some confetti”. Actually, this is not even as good as most of those songs. The lyrics are astonishingly irritating, consisting as they do of the title repeated ad nauseam. Thanks, Diane Warren, for all your hard work.

Finland
“Lose Control”
Waldo’s People

Finland, home of Euro-rock, has this year opted for some pounding headache-inducing techno, with all the sophistication of a 2Unlimited B-side. The video features a man lying down in the middle of the road, which, having listened to this song, I may now do myself. Waldo’s People are discouraged from contacting my people.

Spain
“La Noche Es Para Mi”
Soraya

And finally… a man-eating blonde singing an energetic dance number. My interest in such things is limited at the best of times, but after sitting through all these songs, my tolerance is at a new low ebb. Spain wins the prize for ‘most astoundingly generic act’ in this year’s competition.

That’s it; 25 countries, 25 songs, 25 tonnes of Maybelline foundation. I don’t know who the favourites are this year, but there’s a combination of public phone voting and panel voting, to break up the traditional blocs that have, like, totally robbed the competition of its credibility, so it’s tough to predict how that will skew things.

There’s not much this year that stands out in the way of contestants like Ruslana, Lordi, Verka Serduchka or the aforementioned French and Azerbaijani entries from last year. My personal favourites are France, Norway, Portugal and… oh, all right, Svetlana of the Ukrainian Steppe, the famous Anti-Crisis Girl. But ultimately, I think victory should probably go to Adam Lambert.

Remember, feel free to share your thoughts on this year’s contest in the comments - or to send your friends over here so they can share theirs! A Eurovision shared is a Eurovision halved.

Ineffably Britney

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

Britney is causing a stir again, this time with her actual music. This probably comes as both a shock and a disappointment to poor Britters, and I’m sure if she only knew that her new song might be deemed controversial she would never have released it.

The song is called ‘If You Seek Amy’, but, oh, it’s not about seeking a girl named Amy; it’s about spelling. ‘If You Seek Amy’ spells ‘if U-C-K me’. Well, it does when I say it. Because Britney is a slack-mouthed drawling hick, her ’if’s sound like ‘effs’, thus completing the riddle. In her last hit, the generously reviewed ‘Womaniser’, she said ‘woman’ like she was an SS captain expressing contempt for ‘vermin’.

If you’re wondering how subtly deployed this little spelling puzzle is in the new song, you may be in for a shocking disappointment. The line is, “All of the boys and all of the girls are begging to If You Seek Amy”, with that last part spat out at the end with all the subtletly and grace of a crash test dummy slamming against a wall. In her ongoing quest to find out what her talent is, Britney can now strike ‘meter’ off the list.

Interesting to note that, now no-one in their right mind expresses any sexual interest in the mentally dislocated first lady of dirt eaters, she now thinks both men and women want to sleep with her because both are treating her with the same skittish dread. The poor girl is deranged beyond all help, and might better have called the song, ‘If You Seek Edie’.

(As punchlines go, that one slightly falls apart under scrutiny, so please just chuckle and move along.)

Then That’s What I Called Music

Monday, January 19th, 2009

Welcome to my new blog. My name is Andrew, and I will be using this obscure platform to talk about the things that fascinate me, such as Impressionist art and modern politics. Yet strangely, most of the posts will appear to be about trash culture, such as reality TV shows, superhero comics, and the movie Gymkata. It’s going to be a white-knuckle thrill ride.

To launch the blog I’ve decided to conduct a scientific study into the changing face of pop music over the past quarter century by comparing the original Now That’s What I Call Music (released in late 1983 and rereleased this month) with the most recent volume in the Now series, Now 71, released late 2008. By comparing the first eight tracks from each compilation side by side, I hope to discover if today’s pop can hold a candle to the best that 1983 had to offer. Let us begin.

phil-v-girls

Phil Collins, ‘You Can’t Hurry Love’, verus
Girls Aloud, ‘The Promise’

Case For ‘You Can’t Hurry Love’: It’s a peppy Holland-Dozier-Holland Motown classic with an unbeatable swing!
Case Against: Or it was when The Supremes did it. Surely no song can be improved by replacing three sensational girls in shimmering silver dresses with one bald midget drummer?
Video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2YJjWdsHRI - featuring two - two - Phil Collinses.
Sample Lyric: “Now, break!” As near as I can tell, this is all Collins added to this song. Everything else, he took away.

Case For ‘The Promise’: It’s a Girls Aloud single. That’s generally a good sign. The retro-60s vibe isn’t entirely convincing, but the alchemical powers of producers Xenomania remain eerily effective.
Case Against: The verses are a bit saggy. Not ‘Phil Collins’ saggy, but saggy nonetheless.
Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSMosULG5GI - Five sensational girls in shimmering silver dresses! Well, four sensational girls and Nicola. 
Sample Lyric: “My Aladdin’s lamp is down, / And I’ve got a fear, oh baby right here.” No, I have no idea.

Verdict: Victory for Girls Aloud. 2008’s spangly girl amazons take Now 71 into an early lead against 1983’s lacklustre little man.

duranperry

Duran Duran, ‘Is There Something I Should Know’, versus
Katy Perry, ‘I Kissed A Girl’

Case For ‘Is There Something I Should Know’: It’s no ‘Rio’, ‘Save A Prayer’ or ‘Hungry Like the Wolf’, and it sounds suspiciously like a dry-run for ‘The Reflex’, but this lesser foot-tapper is still pretty catchy.
Case Against: It’s no ‘Rio’, ‘Save A Prayer’ or ‘Hungry Like the Wolf’, and it sounds suspiciously like a dry-run for ‘The Reflex’.
Video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCqkHbn9ANo
Sample Lyric: “Can you read my mind, can you see in the snow / And fiery demons all dance when you walk through that door”. They don’t randomly pull crap out of  a hat like that anymore, kids.

Case For ‘I Kissed A Girl’: It’s got a good beat and you can dance to it.
Case Against: Ah, the complex sexual politics of Katy Perry. She thinks ‘gay’ is a synonym for ’sissy’ (in the spiteful Ur So Gay), but she’s happy to indulge in a little faux-Sapphism if it gets her some attention, which this shrieking ditty certainly did, even though it skirts safely within the boundaries of territory staked out by Tatu six years ago. Edgy stuff, Katy.
Video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fBdgZUtpBg (Note: Contains no actual girl-kissing.)
Sample Lyric: “I kissed a girl just to try it / I hope my boyfriend don’t mind it.” Putting the ‘what a cock’ into ‘what a cocktease’.

Verdict: One track is a lost gem, the other need never, ever be played again. The ’80s claims its first point.

ub40-v-pink

UB40, ‘Red Red Wine’, versus
Pink, ‘So What’

Case For ‘Red Red Wine’: It’s a Neil Diamond song, and Neil Diamond is a genius; it’s a song about alcohol, and alcohol is brilliant.
Case Against: It’s Birmingham reggae. Thanks to the funereal pace and Ali Campbell’s snivelling nasal vocals, this may actually be the world’s first reggae dirge.
Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rg1iEBWxVeQ
Sample Lyric: “Red red wine you make me feel so fine / Monkey pack him Rizla ‘pon the sweet dep line”. Actually, that’s from the ‘toasted’ 1988 re-release, but it’s so awful that I had to throw it out there.

Case For ‘So What’: Pink is the poet laureate of punchy Lambrusco-fuelled party anthems, and on that score this song does not disappoint.
Case Against: Songs don’t get much more obnoxious. When she married motocross racer Carey Hart she went on and on about how in love they were. After a failed two-year marriage (really worked at that one, huh?), she’s now going on and on about the divorce. The song also mixes playground chanting with an empowerment message that doesn’t apply to non-rock stars. Let’s face it, the world was not desperately waiting for a figurehead to speak out on behalf of poor, oppressed rock stars. Also; Pink is not a rock star. Pink is a pop star. Someone needs to mention this to her.
Video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bNDr1A6dTU
Sample Lyric: “The waiter just took my table / And gave it to Jessica Sim”. Did I mention that this song is obnoxious?

Verdict: In addition to being obnoxious, ‘So What’ is also kind of awesome, and I’d rather drink cold vomit than listen to ‘Red Red Wine’ again. Victory for the ’00s.

limahl-kings

Limahl, ‘Only for Love’, versus
Kings of Leon, ‘Sex on Fire’

Case For ‘Only for Love’: The Kajagoogoo front-man’s solo debut has not gone down in history as a classic, but the video has its charms. ‘Limahl has decided to travel to Earth to explain love to his sidekick Toby’, we are told. This involves donning high-waisted ladies’ jeans, sitting in a café with a piglet, and abducting a surly fashion model. Quite what sidekick Toby gets out of all this is not clear.
Case Against: What is this thing you Earth-people call ‘Limahl’?
Video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=McB0SUR5i1A
Sample Lyric: “Love was never planned ever before / Some have spent their whole life searching, cold and insecure”. Bitch.

Case For ‘Sex on Fire’: Three minutes of dirty, writhing pop grind.
Case Against: Do those boys look like their sex is ever on fire? At best, their sex is on futons.
Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHhhcKxflMY Steamy barnyard shenanigans. I fucked a goat and I liked it.
Sample Lyric:  ”Hot as a fever / Rattling bones / I could just taste it / Taste it”. Do you know, I think he might be talking about something naughty?

Verdict: Neither act should be relied on for sex education, but the Kings have the more engaging curriculum.

heaven-rock

Heaven 17, ‘Temptation’, versus
Kid Rock, ‘All Summer Long’

Case For ‘Temptation’: It’s an ’80s futurist electronica church hymn. Can you imagine how awesome those ’80s futurist electronica churches must have been? We didn’t have one where I grew up. We didn’t even have a McDonalds until I was about 12.
Case Against: This song may have been partly responsible for the entire concept of the ‘dance remix’.
Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jSODuSo6×8 - A classic from the days when all music videos were made out of cardboard.
Sample Lyric: “Adorable creatures (Temptation) / With unacceptable features (Temptation)”. An early reference, there, to the cast of High School Musical.

Case For ‘All Summer Long’: There is no case to be made for ‘All Summer Long’. There are good things to be said for ‘Werewolves of London’ and ‘Sweet Home Alabama’, which it pillaged for parts, but nothing at all to be said in defence of this steaming wank-trap.
Case Against: Have you heard it? Kid Rock hazily recalls long dull summers spent drinking, smoking and listening to Lynyrd Skynyrd in Northern Michigan, way back in 1989 when he was a mere 37. They don’t even have summers in Michigan! The whole thing is a lie!
Video:  Redacted, for decency’s sake.
Sample Lyric: “And we were trying different things / We were smoking funny things”. Rhyming a word with itself is slack at the best of times, but it’s just embarrassing when it’s the non-word ‘things‘. Kid Rock also recalls, “Now nothing seems as strange as when the leaves began to change”. Yes, autumn is the most remarkable experience of Kid Rock’s life. Repeated arrests on assault charges seem unexciting compared to the wonder of trees.

Verdict: ’All Summer Long’ is actually the worst song ever recorded, so any song would have beaten it. It just happens that in this instance it got beaten by a bona fide classic.

kc-rihanna

KC & the Sunshine Band, ‘Give It Up’, versus
Rihanna, ‘Disturbia’

Case For ‘Give It Up’: In theory this is an awful, awful song, like Kool & the Gang’s ‘Celebration’. And in practice this is an awful song, like Kool & The Gang’s ‘Celebration’. But without these tracks you’ll have an awkward six minutes of silence at your office  Christmas party where everyone is just staring at each other, uncertain what to do.
Case Against: Office Christmas parties.
Video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jtQlRsYqpWE - Derek Jarman Lite.
Sample Lyric: “Na na na na na na na na na na na / Baby / Give it up / Give it up / Baby / Give it up”.

Case For ‘Disturbia’: With its sinister synths and gibberish lyrics, it could easily pass as the Transylvanian entry in the next Eurovision Song Contest.
Case Against: Having never quite got to grips with the pronunciation of the word ‘umbrella’, Rihanna has retreated to the safety of made-up words. ‘Disturbia’ is the title of a Shia LaBeouf film to which this song has no connection; such is the cultural import of Mr LaBeouf. I presume this is from a Shia LaBeouf concept album, featuring such hits as ‘The Even Stevens Movie’ by Chris Brown, and Lil’ Wayne’s ‘Crystal Skulls (Fuckin’ Da Franchise)’.
Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6zdhHLvT7k - Silent Hill meets grinding mound.
Sample Lyric: “Bom bom bee dam bom bom bee dam dam / Bom bom bee dam bom bom bee dam dam”. Lyrics that reveal the heretofore unimagined sophistication of KC and the Sunshine Band’s “Na na na na na na na na na na na”.

Verdict: A surprisingly close one this; ‘Give it Up’ is an awful song that’s somehow irresistible. ‘Disturbia’ is decent, yet ultimately resistible. I’m going to have to call this one a draw, making it 4-3 to the modern era.

malcolm-neyo

Malcolm McLaren, ‘Double Dutch’, versus
Ne-Yo, ‘Miss Independent’

Case For ‘Double Dutch’: Surely the greatest skipping song ever to receive a commercial release! That Malcolm McLaren, he knew what the kids were into.
Case Against: Malcolm McLaren was not a man gifted with a great singing voice, or indeed any kind of singing voice. His spoken-word delivery on Double Dutch has the gentle, alarming tone of a well-meaning art teacher trying to suppress his darker urges while on playground duty. 
Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rt6Co7EMNCU - World class championship skipping. 
Sample Lyric:  ”The skip they do’s the double dutch / That’s them dancing / The skip they do’s the double dutch / That’s them dancing”. Punk lives! 

Case For “Miss Independent”: It’s a hooky little pop hit with a pumping angry chorus. No, wait, I’m thinking of the Kelly Clarkson song of the same name. This one’s shit.
Case Against: Mr Yo is a big fan of female empowerment because he thinks empowered women are sex-ay. I’m so proud that we live in an age where women can be patronised because they’re independent. We’ve come so far.
Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wtm8v6MryBk - Ne-Yo wears his silly little hat indoors, even during boardroom meetings. Young men today have no sense of style.
Sample Lyric: “There something ooh so sexy about the kinda women / That don’t even need my help”. This is what passes for progressive thought in hip-hop. Ladies, if you can open a pickle jar on your own, Ne-Yo wants you. “Cuz she walk like a boss, / Talk like a boss, / Manicured nails just set the pedicure off”. If there’s any justice, this man will never be allowed anywhere near a woman again.

Verdict: The creepy skipping song edges out the patronising douchebag song, meaning it’s honours even and it all comes down to this…

bonnie-dolls

Bonnie Tyler, ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’, versus
Pussycat Dolls, ‘When I Grow Up’

Case For ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’: It’s difficult to understand why people still write power ballads when they know the form has already been perfected. This grand high opera of a song defined a decade and set an unreachable standard. It’s pure, undiluted greatness. Bohemian Rhapsody wishes it could be this song.
Case Against : The full length version is only seven minutes long. After just seven minutes the song goes away again, leaving you cold, alone and empty in a Total Eclipse of the Heartless world.
Video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=840B27zYfOk - Choirboys with glowing eyes; angels; foodfights; athletic young men in their underoos. I have no idea what’s going on, but as soon as someone cracks the code I think we’ll all be rich.
Sample Lyric: ”I dont know what to do, I’m always in the dark / We’re living in a powder keg and giving off sparks”. Incredible.

Case For “When I Grow Up”: The song is fractionally less irritating than its spiritual sibling, ‘Rock Star’ by Nickelback. Just as the members of Nickelback are still yearning for the day when they get to be rock stars (nope, not today), so the interchangeable girls providing the wind beneath Nicole Scherziger’s leathery bat wings are hoping they’ll one day grow up and be famous. So long as you can readily be replaced by any of the infinite pool of vapid grasping ambitious jiggling tramps at any spring break resort, you’re never going to be famous, love.
Case Against: First of all it’s a ringtone expanded to four minutes in order to better sell the ringtone; second, it’s performed by girls who were thrown out of pole dancing school for being too cheap; and third, it is probably the death of civilisation.
Video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcEZrEPDV9k - Or you could download some porn.
Sample Lyric: ”When I grow up, / I wanna see the world, / Drive nice cars / I wanna have groupies”. I know I’m not alone in thinkingthe lyric here was, “I wanna have boobies”. I’m sorry to disappoint you.

Verdict: Bonnie Tyler could out-sing the Pussycat Dolls with one lung tied behind her back. She could also out-fight them, all at once or one at a time, and I for one would like to see that.

Final Score

Now 1/1983: Five points
Now 71/2008: Four points 

A surprisingly close-run thing, but the original Now squeaks a victory. I think the real lesson to take from this, though, is that no song released in 1983 was ever as bad as “All Summer Long”, and nothing from 2008 was as good as “Total Eclipse of the Heart”. Standards are slipping. Can 2009 turn things around? A heavy burden rests on the shoulders of poor Lady GaGa.