Number Ones: A Great Big World 'Say Something'

I ended up being a bit late to the party writing about this one (which also features Xtina), and after a week at #1, this was replaced by a 6th week of ‘Happy’. And it’s funny in a way that a week of sadness infiltrated the ‘Happy’ bubble; ‘Say Something’ is a pretty sad song, with the hook “I’m giving up on you”. So this one is mostly about why people listen to sad music.

Music Reader: Arcade Fire, INXS, The Eagles, Dick Diver, more

This week’s links to awesome music writing.

Music Reader: Kanye, Kendrick Lamar, Macklemore, Bob Dylan, more

Linking to what seemed to me to be interesting and thoughtful music writing.

I’ve finally finished reading Bob Stanley’s excellent Yeah Yeah Yeah, in which he covers pop history in the age of the physical single (from the early-to-mid 1950s to about the end of the century, when Napster, iTunes, Spotify etc changed things). It’s an education, reading the book - there’s lots of very interesting stuff he discusses that I’d never heard, and I thought I had a pretty well-rounded knowledge of things (and the Britishness of his perspective puts a different spin on things too). Anyway, it’s a book that definitely benefits from having Spotify playlists to go to when you want to hear what things sound like; Stanley references an encyclopaedia’s worth of fascinating pop music. The book is divided into five parts, and I’ve made a playlist for each of the five parts. I’ve tried to make sure I’ve got original recordings, but they’re not always available and I might have gotten things wrong. To my surprise, these playlists I made for my own amusement have been popular on Spotify because other people have clearly had the same impulse and searched for such things - the Part One playlist has Spotify 43 followers, for example. 

Part Five, above, has the early years of techno (Derrick May, Frankie Knuckles), baggy/Madchester (Happy Mondays, Stone Roses), the development of house (Black Box, Haddaway), the development of rap (LL Cool J, Wu-Tang Clan), triphop and shoegaze (Massive Attack, My Bloody Valentine), alternative rock (The Replacements, Nirvana), Britpop (Blur, Oasis), and R&B (Whitney Houston, Missy Elliott).

(Source: Spotify)

I’ve finally finished reading Bob Stanley’s excellent Yeah Yeah Yeah, in which he covers pop history in the age of the physical single (from the early-to-mid 1950s to about the end of the century, when Napster, iTunes, Spotify etc changed things). It’s an education, reading the book - there’s lots of very interesting stuff he discusses that I’d never heard, and I thought I had a pretty well-rounded knowledge of things (and the Britishness of his perspective puts a different spin on things too). Anyway, it’s a book that definitely benefits from having Spotify playlists to go to when you want to hear what things sound like; Stanley references an encyclopaedia’s worth of fascinating pop music. The book is divided into five parts, and I’ve made a playlist for each of the five parts. I’ve tried to make sure I’ve got original recordings, but they’re not always available and I might have gotten things wrong. To my surprise, these playlists I made for my own amusement have been popular on Spotify because other people have clearly had the same impulse and searched for such things - the Part One playlist has Spotify 43 followers, for example. 

Anyway, above is Part Four: it starts with punk (The Sex Pistols, The Clash, etc) and disco (Donna Summer, The Bee Gees), before getting into the various things that came after (The Specials, Joy Division), the electronic revolution (Kraftwerk, Gary Numan), the new Romantics (ABC, OMD), heartland American rock (Springsteen, REO Speedwagon), MTV pop (Prince, Madonna, Michael Jackson), metal (from Sabbath to Bon Jovi), 1980s indie (The Smiths, REM), and the stuff that seemed to sum it all up (New Order, Pet Shop Boys).

(Source: Spotify)

I’ve finally finished reading Bob Stanley’s excellent Yeah Yeah Yeah, in which he covers pop history in the age of the physical single (from the early-to-mid 1950s to about the end of the century, when Napster, iTunes, Spotify etc changed things). It’s an education, reading the book - there’s lots of very interesting stuff he discusses that I’d never heard, and I thought I had a pretty well-rounded knowledge of things (and the Britishness of his perspective puts a different spin on things too). Anyway, it’s a book that definitely benefits from having Spotify playlists to go to when you want to hear what things sound like; the book is divided into five parts, and I’ve made a playlist for each of the five parts. I’ve tried to make sure I’ve got original recordings, but they’re not always available and I might have gotten things wrong. To my surprise, these playlists I made for my own amusement have been super popular on Spotify because other people have clearly had the same impulse - the first one has 43 followers.

Anyway, above is Part Three: which covers the 1970s: it goes from the British bubblegum of Edison Lighthouse to the singer-songwriter era (Carole King, Linda Perhacs) to the world of 1970s funk (Stevie Wonder, Isley Brothers), reggae (from Millie to Marley), the stuff that turned into disco (from The Delfonics to the Jackson 5), prog (Genesis, etc), country pop (Glen Campbell, The Eagles), and finally the stuff that turned into punk (The Stooges, Bebop Deluxe).

(Source: Spotify)

I’ve finally finished reading Bob Stanley’s excellent Yeah Yeah Yeah, in which he covers pop history in the age of the physical single (from the early-to-mid 1950s to about the end of the century, when Napster, iTunes, Spotify etc changed things). It’s an education, reading the book - there’s lots of very interesting stuff he discusses that I’d never heard, and I thought I had a pretty well-rounded knowledge of things (and the Britishness of his perspective puts a different spin on things too). Anyway, it’s a book that definitely benefits from having Spotify playlists to go to when you want to hear what things sound like; the book is divided into five parts, and I’ve made a playlist for each of the five parts. I’ve tried to make sure I’ve got original recordings, but they’re not always available and I might have gotten things wrong. To my surprise, these playlists I made for my own amusement have been super popular on Spotify because other people have clearly had the same impulse - the first one has 43 followers.

Anyway, above is Part Two: the Beatles, of course, aren’t on Spotify, but it inevitably starts with them (and Merseybeat in general), before getting into the world of 1960s soul (the Impressions, Aretha), psychedelia (Love, Pink Floyd), and bubblegum (The Monkees, Ohio Express).

(Source: Spotify)

I’ve finally finished reading Bob Stanley’s excellent Yeah Yeah Yeah, in which he covers pop history in the age of the physical single (from the early-to-mid 1950s to about the end of the century, when Napster, iTunes, Spotify etc changed things). It’s an education, reading the book - there’s lots of very interesting stuff he discusses that I’d never heard, and I thought I had a pretty well-rounded knowledge of things (and the Britishness of his perspective puts a different spin on things too). Anyway, it’s a book that definitely benefits from having Spotify playlists to go to when you want to hear what things sound like; the book is divided into five parts, and I’ve made a playlist for each of the five parts. I’ve tried to make sure I’ve got original recordings, but they’re not always available and I might have gotten things wrong. To my surprise, these playlists I made for my own amusement have been super popular on Spotify because other people have clearly had the same impulse - the first one has 43 followers.

Anyway, above is Part One: it goes from smooth crooners like Al Martino to rock and roll pioneers like Bill Haley and Little Richard to the Wall Of Sound world of Phil Spector (with much in between). 

(Source: Spotify)

Number Ones: The Highest Selling Singles In Oz, 2013 - 10-1

Wherein I write about each of the top 10 best selling singles of 2013 in Australia. And I think I have actually found something interesting and new to say about ‘Royals’ by Lorde in the process? (spoilers: ‘Royals’ is in the top 10 best selling singles of 2013 in Australia, though it wasn’t a #1).

Number Ones: The Highest Selling Singles in Oz, 2013 - 20-11

I cast my eye over the songs that were pretty damn big in Australia in 2013, if not quite absolutely massive, including Bastille, Imagine Dragons, Rihanna, Vance Joy, etc.