Wednesday, August 02, 2006


Another Poptastic Chart

News today from Q Magazine of their latest survey: pop songs that are both deeply unfashionable and irresistibly attractive, termed ‘guilty pleasures’. They’ve publicised a top ten of these, presumably as an advertising feature for a hundred in the next issue of Q, but before I list them I’ll tell you that I think four of them are terrific. Indeed, were I ever to whittle down my tastes to a ‘Desert Island Discs’-style list, one song in particular would almost certainly be there (while another is to become Earth’s national anthem). No prizes for guessing – it’s just for fun. You’re not surprised, though, are you?

So who wins the showdown of the brilliantly unhip? Following their recent exposure on Doctor Who (the groovy Love and Monsters), the Electric Light Orchestra consolidate their position as Britain’s most fashionable unfashionable band. Their 1976 single Livin’ Thing tops the poll – fittingly described as “gloriously bonkers,” it’s not quite my favourite of their songs, but does hail from my favourite of their albums, A New World Record. Other tracks which you may remember from there include the magnificently camp Rockaria! and So Fine, one of my favourite stompers Do Ya, and the elegiac Shangri-La (“fading like the Beatles on Hey Jude…”). I’ve been meaning to get it on CD for ages, and notice it’s just about to be re-released with extra tracks. Hurrah! A reward for dithering. “ELO may never be fashionable but, in terms of sheer aural elation, this betters more revered bands’ entire back catalogues,” says a Q spokesperkin. Absolutely. Pop is so often better when it’s not so serious. BBC4, bless them, showed an ELO live concert three weeks ago, prefacing it with the promo for Don’t Bring Me Down (nice song, shame about the video). Fabulously, the announcer introduced it as “Elton’s favourite,” suggesting not only that they were showing it purely in honour of Love and Monsters a month earlier, but that (as that was all the explanation given) they assumed everyone would have watched it and get the reference. They were right, of course.

Hold on tight, then. Ready to see which ones you like, and guess which ones I do (you can have ELO for free)? Here is the news of the ‘Top Ten Guilty Pleasures’:

1. ELO – Livin’ Thing
2. Boston – More Than A Feeling
3. S Club 7 – Don’t Stop Movin’
4. 10cc – I’m Not In Love
5. Gary Glitter – Rock’n’Roll Part 2
6. Foreigner – Cold As Ice
7. Billy Idol – Rebel Yell
8. Status Quo – Whatever You Want
9. Gerry Rafferty – Baker Street
10. Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive

But why don’t people feel guilty about Bohemian Rhapsody?


I don't have any guilt about liking ELO... I'd guess - and I'm basing this on which ones I'd pick - that the other three are:

3. S Club 7 – Don’t Stop Movin’
4. 10cc – I’m Not In Love
6. Foreigner – Cold As Ice

I prefer the Cake version of I Will Survive :-)
Not a bad guess - I'd say I 'quite like' each of those three, though I don't think I have any of them in my collection. I've had a guess by e-mail of Don’t Stop Movin’, and yes, it's quite jolly, but I mainly remember it from a site during the 2001 election where you could click to make Ann Widdecombe dance to it...!

Cold As Ice would have been the only one that I didn't know at all - except that someone sent me a Who video recently that used it as a backing track for Mr William Hartnell ;-)

So, not bad, but no points this time, young Will...
People should feel guilty about Bohemian Rhapsody...

None of those would be in mine (probably because I havn't heard them).
My biggest 'guitly pleasure' has to be Chic's Le Freak.
Following that would be some dodgy goth, metal and prog rock. Then again, most of my favourite music is unfashionable, even amongst groups of people who like it it seems ;)
I have no guilt at all about loving S Club 7.

Don't Stop Movin' isn't even their best track - Reach is better.

PS: their album tracks were terrible. Buy the greatest hits ("Best"):
Be as unfashionable as you like, Tristan!

And I’ll bear your tip in mind, Richard… ;-)

And to give the answers, fond as I am of Livin’ Thing, Rebel Yell and I Will Survive, it’s Gerry Rafferty’s Baker Street that I’d die in a ditch for. Great track, great artist - I have a surprising number of his albums, and of the little-heard ones would recommend the brilliant North and South (1988).

Of course, I was pretty much the only person on Earth to buy his recent Another World and found it so disappointing I’ve still only listened to it once, but that’s beside the point…
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