[32] Kylie Minogue, ‘Can’t Get You Out Of My Head’

Can't Get You Out Of My Head

Seems lazy to give props to this track with a mere blog post, when Paul Morley managed to devote an entire BOOK to it, but obviously everything about it sitting in a room with Alvin Lucier while – in its techno dreams – it sweeps down an autobahn with Kraftwerk has, erm, already been said. For some reason.

In its real-life context, ‘Can’t Get You Out Of My Head’ was the sleek, pulsating sonic seduction that made it actually matter that Kylie had come back. The slight ‘Spinning Around’ made us say, “Isn’t it nice to have Kylie back in pop?”, but this one prompted a “Thank God.”

Junior says: Nothing, but a broad grin spreads across her face. “Do you know who this is?” I ask. “Kylie!” She’s come through her pop education.

Best bit: Where it breaks down and the synths go a bit ‘Love Action’.

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[6] Secret Machines, ‘Nowhere Again’

Secret Machines

Why does everything have to have a name these days? Why does music have to be put in a box, a genre, a scene? Why does every rock critic have to christen a movement, splicing terms together like so many mini-Paul Morleys? Can’t good music just be good music? The campaign starts here.

So, this is a mighty slice of KrautProg from the two brothers and their mate who made up Secret Machines before one brother split to form the equally splendid School Of Seven Bells.

Junior told me her Barbie liked it. When quizzed on what else Barbie likes, she replied, “High School Musical”. Isn’t it nice to see a doll with such eclectic taste?

You’d be surprised how we race:

[6] Kylie Minogue, ‘Can’t Get You Out Of My Head’

Yes – shock and awe – the Greatest Pop Single of the Century is only the 2001 No.6. It’s a fine record, but it’s as if the critiscenti were simply waiting for a Kylie track to hang the accolade on. The pumped beats, hopping synths, “la la la”s, the non-singing, the ‘Love Action’ “wowowowow”s, they all add up to an addictive confection – it’s just I’d have liked a proper hook and a whiff of soul before propping it up as a paragon of the art. Even Paul Morley, in the Kylie shrine that is his essay Words And Music, is essentially hung up on the video, not the song.

So there you are. I’m a semi-believer.

But we don’t care what I think. Junior was entranced – although, like Morley, she wasn’t fussing about the song, more about the airbrushed loveliness of Kylie on the single sleeve. She wanted to hold it, and spent most of the playback opening the case and saying, “Where’s Kylie gone?” If X is anything to go by, she’s gone on to diminishing pop returns.

[10] Frankie Goes To Hollywood, ‘Two Tribes’

I haven’t listened to the Welcome To The Pleasuredome LP in 20 years. I’m suddenly thinking that it might be quite good. Can anyone endorse this?

We were rushed this morning, as it was Junior’s first full day at nursery. I did notice she was sitting there shaking her head, so I wonder whether she suspected this was all hype over substance. But what hype. We’ve noted how big Wham! were in 1984; Frankie were bigger. Not since Gerry & the Pacemakers blah blah blah. Jive Bunny rather cheapened the feat by matching it a few years later.

The Hamnett/Morley t-shirts, the bribing of Mike Read, the naughty sleeves, the big sledgehammer-subtle messages, not to mention the massive Trevor Horn production – you couldn’t miss them. This record still sounds huge, empty though it is. Even “The air attack warning sounds like…” made Junior jump.

Must say, though: I couldn’t see what was special about modelling shirts by van Heusen. I used to wear my dad’s ones for painting.

[3] Girls Aloud, ‘Biology’

“The way that we TALK, the way that we WALK”. Junior finds this frustrating. Are they teasing her? She’s still laughing at me standing by the stereo, but it’s a CD so I’m not even trying to be the superfly DJ. Those new-fangled CD decks are just cheating anyway. You don’t get the chance to hit the stylus arm by mistake, and you never need to balance a 20p coin anywhere to stop it jumping.

I could be the muso about this song’s unusual structure. Girls Aloud and Xenomania eschew your standard verse-chorus arrangement to fling in a load of highs and “can you see the join?” splicing. It shows ambition that a lot of modern pop lazily avoids, whether you like the record or not, and it’s a gamble. They don’t get the Number Ones you might expect, and perhaps they don’t appeal to “the kids” as much as they do to the pop scholars.

Pop scholars: Paul Morley, Paul Gambaccini, writers at Stylus and Pitchfork, the NME to satisfy the occasional whim, and hey, me. And Junior. Will she be defending this sort of stuff when all her friends are into the 2018 equivalents of Sum 41, the Kaiser Chiefs, the Killers and 50 Cent? Don’t fail me now.