Top 100 singles of all time: The B52s, Kate Bush, Aerosmith, Run DMC and the Sisters of Mercy

The B52s - Rock Lobster

What’s the word I’m looking for? Congruence? Confluence? A meeting-point where the weird and the popular align. I’ve been impressed by that a lot lately – how curveball acts like Dutch Uncles and Everything Everything have become as commercially successfully as they are acclaimed.  Even so, even 35 years on, there has never been anything quite like Rock Lobster. Continue reading

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Producers that make (or break) the band

New on Collapse Board

Band-members are like the ingredients of a cake: get it wrong, and the result is bland or sickly. It’s about getting people together who make each other feel comfortable, who can inspire the audience, and who can deflate the ego of an overindulgent songwriter. The producer is the mould. If you pour cake mix onto a baking tray, you’ll end up with a flat, sticky mess. Some producers are like old-fashioned round cake tins, providing a strong but subtle structure that simply allows the flavours to emerge. Others make fancy shapes, so vibrant and daring that its cakeness comes second to its art-form. Like the line-up, the right producer for your band is the one that fits your personal dynamic, and brings out the best in what you, uniquely, have to offer.

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Putting the Sex back into Rock ‘n’ Roll

So, I think virtually everybody in the world now agrees that Lady Gaga is the best thing in mainstream pop for absolutely ages. I think she’s brilliant. If you haven’t already picked up The Fame Monster, then it’s high time you did so. Each track is as infectious as swine flu, with a slightly longer incubation period. It takes me about 4 listens to fall in love with each song – which isn’t bad since I’ve pretty much hated each track the first time I heard it.

Still there’s one track that I find hard to hear, and one video that I find hard to watch, and that’s LoveGame.

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The song might have the most absurdly catchy hook I’ve heard in years, but I just can’t get past the whole “I wanna take a ride on your disco stick” thing. It’s even more eye-watering to me that she claims to have come up with the lyric after saying that to someone in a nightclub once.

We all know that Gaga is very sexual, and it’s a major part of her persona, but it’s just so aggressively portrayed in that track that that even the least prudish among us might allow ourselves a wide-eyed “gosh”. I realised yesterday that it’s because it’s a long time since rock ‘n’ roll had much sex in it.

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