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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.

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Kylie Minogue - The One

It’s tough luck for Kylie that she will probably never do anything as amazing as ‘Can’t Get You Outa My Head’ (both song and video are among my all-time favourites). Her newer material is obviously disappointing by comparison (I did like ‘2 Hearts’ a lot, just not *that* much) and I pretty much wrote her off after the dishwater-dull ‘In My Arms’. I didn’t think ‘The One’ was much cop either at first.

Then I forced myself to watch the video and OH MY GOD I’m so sorry Kylie, I still love you and always will. The vid is totally the gayest thing ever of course, like ‘Vogue’ with a generous side-helping of poppers or something - fine by me. Kylie’s voice and clothes are from the PAST but the bleepy synths and the spiky graphics are from the FUTURE and it’s just mesmerizing and before you know it you’re humming love me love me love me love me under your breath.

To transform this otherwise weak bibble-techno track into a great pop song Kylie needed to plant some personality into it - an area she has been criticised for in the past - and I think she’s really upped her game here. One of the best things about this video is that Kylie seems to have finally accepted that she is a middle-aged woman, and by golly she is a gorgeous one (e.g. when she’s wearing that jacket at 2.44 I do a little swoon). She’s not just a gay icon demanding our love, she is a still-glamorous film star who is too old for the leading role now, desperate to cling on to A-list status but accepting that she’s going to have to give up at some point so she might as well age gracefully (NB Madge PLEASE pay attention to this). Let’s hope life after 40 treats Kylie well.

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Utah Saints - Something Good ‘08

The Big Dumb Electro Bosh sub-genre of pop has been reliant on tits-and-arse fancy dress videos for some time now, so full marks to Utah Saints (along with Wiley and most surprisingly, Eric Prydz) for trying something a little different in 2008. But while Eric Prydz sucked out all the momentum of his brilliant hands-in-the-air feelgood track ‘Pjanoo’ with a baffling Borrowers-meets-Pocahontas effort, the ‘Saints have outdone themselves.

There’s nothing technically fancy here - this video could just as easily have been made in 1989 - on the surface it’s just some dudes dancing with a daft gag at the end. But the looks on the dancers’ faces (esp the girl at 2.13) wins me over every time: the absolute joy of dancing together in unison to a brilliant track at the best club night you’ve ever been to. Infectious, life affirming and slightly sped up but not enough that you notice at first. When the blonde girl nods at 2.06 to cue the rest of them in on the off-beat I just want to give them all a round of applause and a big hug, like I am the sixth former responsible for a group of hitherto untameable Year 7 kids who have finally got the hang of the dance moves to Steps’ ‘Tragedy’ in the dress rehearsal, just in time for the House Music competition that I’m not even supposed to be helping with. It’s a pleasure to watch.

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McFly - Lies

2008 will surely be remembered by pop fans as the year that McFly suddenly started doing what the hell they liked, and that what they liked was BEING MENTAL a great deal. Hurray!

So of course they are going to come up with 6-minute epic mash-up of Tank Girl (Van Band?) and Mad Max, but with extra Street Fighter special moves thrown in. I mean dudes wtf? Also THANK THE LORD Harry has grown his hair back a bit and doesn’t look half bad with a bit of post-apocalyptic grime on his face. Mmm, lovely Harry. Also speaking of hair, the evil matriarch has an excellent blue wig on.

Best bits: Danny exclaiming ‘noez we’re out of water!’ early on, the band leaping up from the stage in a blaze of red light at 4.06 (and the ensuing choreographed fight-scene middle-8), a big robot with a chainsaw at 5.38 who is probably called Sir Mince-a-lot… You get the idea. It’s all good. The world has been wonderfully enriched by this particular piece of cultural accomplishment.

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DJ Q & MC Bonez - You Wot

Although my favourite track by these two is the stadium-rousing 'Get Mad' from 2007 (“L double E-D-S get mad!”), this is almost as good with a video to match. I love the toy cars going round on the record player, someone barbecueing a seven inch and everything happening so quickly that you’d need a quadruple dose of Ritalin just to keep up.

Although I fear bassline will once again fail to become a chart fixture in 2009, hopefully the kidz will keep churning out this sort of quality material until everyone starts paying proper attention (perhaps that Ritalin would come in handy after all?). No beef just vibes!

(More vids of 2008 to be posted sharpish! You’d never guess that I’d left it all to the last minute, would you?)

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Wiley - Wearing My Rolex

Another of my faves from 2008! A pack of foxy ladies in velour jumpsuits and Converse cause havoc (whilst munching away on some fried chicken) and show how ridiculous the whole electro-bosh Benassi business is, whilst getting in a pop at Dizzee Rascal’s Sirens at the same time. Let’s gloss over the furry agenda shall we?
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La Roux - Quicksand

Reading last year’s Next Big Thing predictions, it was almost as if a bunch of critics had gone down the pub with a big pile of press releases each, chucked away the ones that hadn’t been sent to every single person present and made paper hats out of the remaining three, and then played a game where you had to guess who was on your hat by asking Yes/No questions (“Is it a female solo singer?” “Yes” “Is it Duffy?” “No” “Is it Adele” “Yes” etc) then used the experience gained during said game as a basis for their Recommendations For 2009 column.

This year the Names To Watch seem a lot more varied (e.g. some Y chromosomes are present) and at least seem to realise what century it is: La Roux in particular seem unlikely to be doing any Motown pastiches anytime soon. I’m glad someone has realised that while Pop’s Glorious Past is something to be cherished, there’s only so much of it to go round and someone is going to have to start making new music soon to avert a total Pop Famine. Combine that with having an actual producer in the band who has half a clue what they’re meant to be doing and Pop’s Prospects seem much cheerier.

Also cheering: the lovely warm video is just the thing for a cold December - like reading the ‘Holidays Abroad’ pull-out section in the Christmas edition of the Radio Times.

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Pendulum - Propane Nightmares

Here’s another of my favourite videos of 2008. A bunch of downtrodden proles commune together for a spot of Religion, with the Demon Headmaster playing Frank Butcher the preacher and Pendulum as the House Band (tough gig - though I’m sure they could bash out a half-decent rendition of ‘Kumbayah’ if necessary). Everyone gets dished out some Holy Gin and hurrah their troubles have melted away.

Except the poor dude with the crutches (let’s call him Dave) doesn’t think much of this healing lark - his anterior cruciate ligament is clearly still giving him some gip despite Frank’s Demon’s best efforts. Serve him right for DOUBTING the restorative properties of gin - everyone else seems to be ok. OR ARE THEY? Quick Dave, run as fast as your gammy leg will carry you! Escape the dreadful black dust that sort of looks like the invisible dinosaur thing from Lost! But it turns out they’re just at the top of Hampstead Heath or somewhere and it was all just a metaphor, phew. Dave and his mate have escaped from the grimness of the city and its empty promises of happiness/conformity, and are safely in the real world where everything is still rubbish (helpfully pointed out by the dudes spitting at them) but at least Dave is under no illusions about it all now. The world is an unkind place and there’s not much you can do about it, so suck it up and get used to it!

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Blackout Crew - Put A Donk On It

Ahahahahaha sick! This is one of my favourite videos of the year (I’ll be posting more of them as we get closer to Christmas), by the lovely Bolton lads what form Blackout Crew. They receive a special delivery of a DONK MACHINE through the post, and use it to beef up their already rather jaunty tune. Also the advantage of having lots of dudes in your group is that you can easily fill a ‘nightclub’ setting if you get all their girlfriends and mates to come along too.

Favourite bits:

- the day-glo ‘electro’ dancers attempting a car-driving Benassi

- the way they’ve only got one microphone between them

- small girl crying at 2.52

- the short dude turning up at the house just in time for the middle 8

- the fact that the lead dude sounds like Mark from Mark & Lard when he says “Now THAT is good!”

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