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. 

Music Reader: Michael Jackson, Beyoncé, Bastille, more

Me at the Vine linking to great music writing.

Number Ones: Pharrell Williams 'Happy'

Me at the Vine talking about the new Australian #1 single. Fascinating how a 6-month-old song gets a new lease of life in the charts with an event video. I inevitably discuss happiness, yachts, eudaimonia and Scrooge McDuck money pits. 

Best Of Music Reader 2013 - Part 1: Profiles And Reflections

This week I went through all my Music Readers from 2013, and thought about which pieces had stuck with me in some way. I ended up with a list of about fifty pieces, and the way I decided to try and narrow that down was to sort them into a few different categories, and pick five for each category. So here are the profile pieces (on everyone from Miley Cyrus to Jason Isbell) and the pieces where people explain how music has affected their lives in some way (from the funny to the terribly sad).

Music Reader: Lorde, You Am I, R Kelly, Morrissey, more

Me linking to and explaining awesome music writing. 

Number Ones - John Legend 'All Of Me'

I’ve been thinking about that whole Gawker smarm vs snark thing that’s been going around, and decided to apply the general principle of it to this John Legend song that got to #1 in Australia, because my initial reaction to the song was that it was all a bit smarmy. But, of course, that reaction of mine was more because I just didn’t hear my own experiences in the song; smarm is hard to distinguish from not-for-me in music. In any event, I also call Christopher Pyne smarmy, which I also realise is a bit like shooting some smarmy looking fish in a pretty smarmy looking barrel.

Music Reader: Haim, Courtney Barnett, Britney, Snoop, more

This week’s awesome music writing was pretty easy to put together . I reckon there’s a good range of profiles, sharp analysis, personal narratives, etc on both new music and old, on various genres. Which is just how I like it to be.