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Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
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Thursday, 8 December 2011

You want pop? I got pop

I take it all back. I wrote libellously, in an earlier post, pop lovers were inarticulate. This is what I received when, having reviewed Radiohead, I asked my younger daughter what else was hot. I’ll eventually review some of these but I thought the responses had a socio-pathological interest all their own.

MY SON-IN-LAW What is hot? Well, Coldplay could sell out any stadium venue – they would be voted the biggest band in the world at this moment I should think.

Dizzy Rascal, Calvin Harris and Example could release 3 min of burps & get to number one at the moment, but it’s rap music & hardly pushing boundaries.

Lady Gaga is the same – will always get to number one, but with a tried & tested formula.

Ed Sheeran has had a good year – but I think one man with a guitar singing about “real” issues, hardly constitutes unusual. Although he does have ginger hair.

Adele has the biggest selling album of the century, so she would certainly be hot at the moment, but again having an amazing voice is hardly unusual.

“Hot” to me is where the band are still a secret to a select few, unknown by the masses, but on the brink of mainstream popularity. The Vaccines would meet these criteria, and their sound, although classic guitar music, has more of a 1980’s post-punk feel to it that is new and unusual to a whole generation of people. But having lived through the post-punk music era, I personally wouldn’t call it unusual.

Two years ago, Florence and The Machine would have been the obvious answer. The album “Lungs” and the single “Rabbit Heart” were very different to anything else around. New releases still are unique to her, but we’re now used to it & it lacks that hotness.

So, I would go for a Canadian band called Arcade Fire (illustrated).They play guitar, drums, bass guitar, piano, violin, viola, cello, double bass, xylophone, glockenspiel, keyboard, French horn, accordion, harp, mandolin, and hurdy-gurdy. This gives them the “unusual” quality that sets them aside from anyone else. The range of instruments means they are not limited to a specific sound, and keeps them fresh despite going for almost 10 years.The “hot” factor is that they don’t saturate the market by releasing single after single, they release an album every couple of years, do a couple of interviews, and hide away back in Canada. They don’t do huge tours, they don’t do tabloid headlines. They have a short film directed by Spike Jonze, (he wouldn’t involve himself if they weren’t hot), and the album “Suburbs” has won pretty much every award over the last year. Would definitely get my vote as the hot & unusual band at the moment.

MY YOUNGER DAUGHTER (Occasional speeder). You said it would be churlish NOT to listen to Keane. (Ed’s note: I was aware OS was Keane-crazy.) The three to listen to are “Somewhere only we know” (my funeral song and their most popular song.), “Can’t stop now” and “Nothing in my way” (The song the lyricist wrote about the lead singer when he was going to be a (Word deleted. - Ed.). D (OS’s husband) would say “Bedshaped” – and that has the added bonus of having an unusual name…


  1. Another disc I have is A Rush of Blood to the Head which is an early Coldplay. I like it. What worries me is that people sometimes sneer at a style of music, a composer or a band, yet don't generally explain their dislike. I have heard people sneer at Coldplay. Why they sneer, I don't always know. I remember someone, a musician of pretension if not of talent, who you too may recall, opining that Mozart was boring. I didn't agree, and I don't now, but I didn't know why or don't know now, how to argue on Amadeus' behalf. Or Coldplay's.

  2. Plutarch: Seems as if we should hold hands. The overriding aim of Tone Deaf is to listen to music, new and old, all kinds, try to describe what I'm hearing and from what I've written (And nothing else!) arrive at some judgements. This is a high-risk strategy and is unlikely to have wide appeal to blog visitors. On the other hand, those who are better-informed may drop in.

    The strange thing about this - and it's a point I make in the home page intro - is that many people are actively scared of going behind the scenes of music and are likely to remain silent. Embarrassment is always likely to be just around the corner but one thing I have already recognised is that I already know more than I did when I started. Which is more than can be said from endlessly playing to the gallery with Works Well. The proof is that here I am, coming face to face for the first time with pop music, something I've always said I detested. I suspect I may well continue to detest it but at least I'll have legitimate reasons for doing so.

  3. Plutarch, part two: Apart from being badly written the above seems insufferably smug. Are you aware of any cure-alls for smugness; if possible it would be a good idea if I could keep it under wraps during Tone Deaf's fledgling weeks.

    Another amazing revelation: you've bought Coldplay. Nothing you've ever said or written had previously hinted at this.

  4. What instrument did the person play who disliked Mozart? He is such a musician's composer that I can't imagine most performers disliking him. Do tell!

  5. Julia: My words, you've opened a can of worms with that question. Of all things, he played a viola! How about that for irony?

    In a sense Tone Deaf is a reaction against something he said to me. I invited him to comment on the magnificence of K622 (clt cto) and he refused. As a professional musician, he said, he didn't care to discuss music with amateurs, regarding it as a complete waste of time. Well, I'm still an amateur so, Roger, if you're out there, I invite you to drop in and grant me the favour of one more of your Olympian comments.

  6. Viola! That is quite interesting. I seem to remember that Mozart helped bring violas out of the continuo boring bits and into the sun. Certainly a cellist could hold more of a grudge than a violist.

    He must not have had anything to say. Why else hide behind an iffy distinction like that?