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This blog is about music videos. If you want to know what I think of the songs, you can find my exciting and witty opinions at The Singles Jukebox.







Kat Stevens: Pleasant bibble bookended on the frequency spectrum by ’70s-claymation-series piccolo (WHEEDLEEE!) at one end and container ship foghorn (PAAARP!) at the other.

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This song has been stuck in my head for the last 24 hours or so, but I still think a [7] is about right - there’s really not much more to the track than the PARP and the TWEEDLEY-EE, memorable as those bits are. But I keep thinking about the video: again, very straightforward, slowly paced, rather pleasant, with a circular ending. Unlike in the Odyssey, it’s the siren hula dancer’s visuals that lure in our hapless bartender, rather than their singing (of which the track has none).

We only see brief snippets of the bartender’s reality before he enters his trance. We don’t know if his bar is in Britain or in Bali. For all we know, he could have just sleepwalked the 20 metres from his hotel room outside onto the sand dunes (which actually could just as easily be the Mumbles as the Maldives). However judging by how quickly the staff turnover is at the end of the video, let’s assume it’s in Clapham. So why are these ladies enticing antipodean gap year boys to sunnier climes? Are they generously relieving the boys of their drab glass-polishing existence, or do they have a sinister motive? Surely not - the chirruping, farting song is far too innocent-sounding for that. It feels like an episode of Charlie Chalk, a relatively gentle Ivor Wood animated kids’ show about a shipwrecked clown, where the initially hectic theme tune belies the fact that nothing that bad (or even exciting) ever happens. It’s soothing and escapist - literally, in our bartender’s case.

From my limited recent observations, anonymous bosh videos (i.e. those without a visible ‘ft’ singer) seem to have fallen into three lazy categories: 1) the standard boobs-o-clock Benassi (whether that be set in an airport/bakery/submarine); 2) a Scandinavian child running away from an unseen monster into a pine forest; or 3) a gang of teenagers pointing at a horse in the middle of an industrial estate. ‘Bullit’ is leaning towards the first category with our lovely dancers, but while they’re tantalising I don’t think you could really call them titillating. I can’t quite put my finger on it but the tone feels very late-90s, more like a (non-Gondry) Chemical Brothers vid.

I was humming this tune at the bus stop in Dalston this evening as two crackhead dudes were hassling the homeless guy with the dog who always sits by the Barclays cashpoint, sirens flashing past to the rescue, but not for him. Nights drawing in, heavy bag on the shoulder. ‘Idealistic’ idiots opening awful restaurants that are in fact art installations, designed to outrage (as they’ve always done, it’s just that now we can instantly know and disapprove of them, and said art project can actually cover its costs by charging £50/head for some fried chicken). I hummed this song and thought of my childhood sat cross-legged in front of the television, I thought of long summer holidays racing around on the hot tarmac, round the roundabout at the end of our cul-de-sac with the big trees in the middle with the kids next-door. I tried not to think about the woman elbowing me out of the way so she could get on the 149 first, because I am a Positive Person and I don’t want to let these things get to me. I hummed the song to myself rather than listened to it properly because it’s not always wise to have your headphones in at the Dalston Junction bus stop, even though there’s tons of people around and I’m tall and strong and way down the list of targets. There’s always someone at Dalston Junction with their phone in their hand, and I make sure it’s not me. Humming, humming, trying not to think about not having had a proper holiday this year because of various bullshit. It’s also wise not to get lost in a trance thinking about far off beaches or suburban roundabouts, because not having your wits about you is worse than having your headphones in. Best wait till you get on the bus and have to squeeze past Elbows McGee who’s decided to park herself on the lower deck, right in front of the stairwell. Once safely upstairs you can listen to PARP and TWEEDLEY-DEE to your heart’s content and drift off with the hula dancers.

Actually scrap all that, I’ve realised the main reason I’m fascinated by this video is that the bartender dude’s haircut reminds me of top British backstroke swimmer Chris Walker-Hebborn. AS YOU WERE.

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Kat Stevens: I’ve spent all summer beefing up my upper arms, lats and trapezoids and it’s been immensely satisfying. I can pick up a basket of wet laundry like it was a mere basket of dry laundry! I’m pleased to find that the Boy Better Know crew have a) achieved similar levels of Hench b) written a suitably energetic song about it. All that’s missing is a Man 2 Man sample! I’m not entirely sure when my Ferrari is due to arrive but another couple of chin-ups should do it?

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An excellent tune! And also an excellent opportunity to plug my swimming blog which is the foremost source of my recent henchosity.

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To put my cards on the table: I am not here to convince you that Britney Spears is a feminist icon. I am not even here to measure out the ways in which she is or isn’t feminist, much less to go round and round about whether crop tops are a symbol of bodily acceptance or an instrument of self-objectification for the male gaze. I think a heated pursuit of those questions offers little of value while obscuring the many interesting lines of inquiry she opens and sheds light on if you approach her and her work from a perspective of exploration rather than classification. Some of those are about gender, yes, and some are about power, and some are about the tense intersection of the two. But none of them are about is this empowering, is this feminist, because I reject the idea that a female artist must have a certain number of feminism points before she’s deemed worthy of our attention; because all of them are too complex to be resolved with the single word answer those questions invite; and because, wow, boring, let’s get back to the fun stuff.

Tom linked to the Britney OWOB earlier on and I am immensely glad he did - I am spending a very happy evening re-reading the entire thing.

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Not All Australian Rappers…

Kat Stevens: My mother has just bought her mid-life crisis Mazda MX5, approximately 25 years after said crisis was resolved but better late than never. I expect I will shortly be press-ganged into sitting in the passenger seat avec headscarf/sunglasses and pretending to “drive into the Grand Canyon” (two laps round Ruislip Lido). I will loudly complain about how embarrassing it all is but of course enjoy myself immensely. But what to blast on the speakers as we bump the suspension up and down the B436? Mother Dearest is very hardcore \m/ but would still probably give me a Hard Stare and write me out of the will if I put “212” on the car stereo. Maybe this less filthy alternative will suffice for pimping her new ride. It’s definitely better than Glenn Frey, and if we yell “chitty bang bang” enough times maybe we’ll end up FLYING to the Lido?

Hazel Robinson: As soon as I hit play I did a mental “FUUUUCK” — this is huge and pumped full of Prince’s strut and the just-out-of-braces snot of the kind of young female rapper who wants to both make you dance and make white boys throw embarrassing shapes. Fucking revelatory.

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I was so pleased that Hazel is back writing tons of stuff for TSJ that I decided to join in.

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Final Predictions

That is your LOT for this year, dear readers, as I can’t be arsed posting the videos for the UK (trust fund), Germany (zzzz) , Italy (decent enough electro) or Denmark (Bruno Mars).

Final predictions (I managed to get 4 out of the top 5 last year):

TOP 5: Austria, UK, Sweden, Armenia, Netherlands
TOP 10: Hungary, Azerbaijan, Norway, Spain, Poland
MID TABLE: Ukraine, Romania, Italy, Finland, Switzerland, Greece, Malta, Russia, Iceland, Denmark
OH DEAR: Belarus, Germany, Slovenia, France, Montenegro, San Marino

See you all over at The Singles Jukebox this evening!

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Twin Twin - Moustache (France)

If I were casting my vote purely on the recorded versions, France would be my clear winner. Great chorus, slick production, Major Lazer ‘euwerp-erp-errrrrp’ sounds, facial hair as subject matter - my boxes are well and truly ticked. I like it so much that my dreadful French has improved slightly thanks to repeated listens! The Going For Gold video is great fun as well.

Unfortunately Twin Twin can’t sing for shit live, and in a year stuffed full of performers with vocal chops this will sink to the bottom six. Such a shame - as boshing Eurovision songs performed by twins* who can’t sing very well go, it’s right up there with "Lipstick" by Jedward.

*Plus another dude. Bof, etc.

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Tijana - To The Sky (FYR Macedonia)

Finally a THEME being brought to life! Tijana is going all Top Gun on our asses: a big propeller, a band of trusty fighter pilots with tattoos and no tops on (hang on, is one of them Rylan from X Factor?? Argh!) and er, ok that’s it. Mainly because Tijana gets stuck in the bath and needs an uptempo pop tune to get her out again. It happens to us all at some point! Except me, I haven’t had a bath since 1992, not least because it’s easier to climb out of a shower.

Anyway I hope this does well, you’ve got to have some respect for a woman who has flaming torches instead of bedside lamps. I wonder if they sell them in Skopje Ikea?

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