I’m Walking Behind You

After a two week break, due to hangover and laziness, the Every Number One repost is back!

This would be a sweet, regretful number, if it weren’t for the fact he sounds either mope and pathetic, or sinister and awaiting an ‘accident’ to befall the groom. Oh Eddie, you are a one…

Talk About Pop Music

I have a playlist that contains every UK number one song since charts began in 1952. Thanks to EveryHit, this is a fairly simple process. Let’s remind ourselves of these songs.

View original post 67 more words

Advertisements

Ouefs En Cocotte. Or; posh egg and soldiers

This recipe is an amalgam of a recipe from the website The Kitchn and a Nigel Slater one from Real Fast Food.

It basically feels a Ron Swanson need I have for all real breakfasts to contain eggs. Cereals are for livestock and Scotsmen, to paraphrase Samuel Pepys. Sweet Jesus, there’s a broad range of cultural refence in that paragraph.

It’s almost as easy as boiling an egg, and it feels a little more bougie and adult to say some mouthful of French cuisine than chucky eggs, egg and soldiers, or dippies.

Ingredients

Per egg

1 ramekin
1 egg
50 ml cream
A little good hard cheese
Pepper

Method

Okay. So this can all be done in 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 170c.

In a milk pan, melt the cheese and cream together. Once melted, pour the mixture into the ramekin.

Continue reading Ouefs En Cocotte. Or; posh egg and soldiers

Now That’s What I Call Music 27

220px-Now_That's_What_I_Call_Music!_27_(UK_series)_

Released- 28th March 1994

Music History

1994. Britpop becomes A Thing, Mark Goodier takes over presenting the chart show, and having not appeared on a single Now! album in his lifetime, Kurt Cobain takes his own life. I’m not saying that if he’d been on a Now! Album it wouldn’t have happened, but I will say that Paul Weller has, and I’d happily trade one for the other.

 

Me History

I am 10, a whole decade old, and this is the year I get into music hard. To the point where I would listen to songs over and over, hand transcribing the lyrics. God bless the Internet!

If I had to save one track from this album, and the rest were to be sold off to venture capitalists, that track would be…  a surprise to me! I thought it was Tori Amos or Doop. But Enigma’s Return to Innocence just edges everything else out. Do not take this as proof new age music has any value.

 

Track by Track Breakdown

 

Ace of Base – “The Sign”

Pop reggae corker from the Sedish popsters. Incredibly catchy, and once again, forever tainted by a rude version which starts ‘I saw your Mum‘. I shall use the rest to your febrile imaginations.

Chaka Demus and Pliers featuring Jack Radics & Taxi Gang – “Twist and Shout”

Less good than Salt n Pepa’s version, the Beatles version and the version from Ferris Buellers Day Off. To name but a few. Still, it’s one of those songs that nobody can actually ruin.

D:Ream –  “Things Can Only Get Better”

Catchy and fun. With hindsight, musically I was wrong to hate it. With the same hindsight, it will forever be linked to barbaric dictator lover Tony Blair, so I’m afraid I return to my original position. This song is poison.

East 17 –  “It’s Alright”

Peak East 17 here. A joy when it kicks in. And let’s not forget the genius of Brian Harvey, a man who ran himself over while feeling sick after 3 baked potatoes. A true hero.

M People – “Moving on Up”

By no means cool or clever, but to try and fight that chorus would be like trying to fight the tides of the ocean.

Eternal – “Save Our Love”

Eternal really were a consistent machine, turning out good to adequate R&B with impressive regularity. This one feels like two different ideas sellotaped together, but both ideas are good enough to get away with it.

Enigma“Return to Innocence”

I hate new age music with a passion normally reserved for those who commit genocide. But as stopped clocks are right twice a day, so this song is brilliant. Also, this is sampled and turned into a beautiful autotune nightmare on Das Racist’s near perfect second mixtape, Sit Down, Man.

Bee Gees – “For Whom the Bell Tolls”

Actually a really good late era ballad. Hideous production, but clearly a good song beneath. I mean, it’s not How Deep is Your Love, but really good for a band that peaked 17 years hence.

Wendy Moten – “Come In Out of the Rain”

Rote balladry. Like lint and cauliflower it exists, but who cares?

Dina Carroll – “The Perfect Year”

Theoretically, 365 times better than Lou Reed’s Perfect Day. In practice, a serviceable but unremarkable ballad.

Phil Collins – “Everyday”

It’s a nice little ballad, but it sounds out of place now. It belongs in its safe little 80’s bubble. Sorry Phil.

Richard Marx  – “Now and Forever”

A nice guitar backing, reminiscent of Blackbird by the Beatles, or Tracy Chapman. Which is then ruined by Valentine’s card sentiment and the vocal ‘talents’ of Karl Marx’s idiot grandson. Workers of the world unite and lynch this man already.

The Cranberries  –  “Linger”

There is a part of me that will always love 90’s teen films. As a result of the soundtracks of these, I will always also love The Cranberries, as I sensitively look camera left and set my skateboard aside to have a Kevin Williamson scripted talk about my feelings.

Tori Amos – “Cornflake Girl”

Yay! Tori Amos is now a thing! And what a brilliant introduction. Dark but catchy. Nearly every bit feels like a hook.

The Beautiful South  – “Good as Gold (Stupid as Mud)”

A joyfully bouncy and wickedly cynical song. I think this is the track I first knew and liked by them, and I remember getting ribbed for liking them. I should have fought back more!

Meat Loaf – “Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through”

The melodrama of the 80’s ballad returns, with that Meatloaf humour ensuring that we’re all in on the joke together. I love the big lug.

Primal Scream – “Rocks”

Impressive Rolling Stones impression. Possibly drags on a minute or so longer than it needs to, but I know from experience it gets better the drunker I am. Eventually I’ll Mick Jagger strut. Bobby who?

Gin Blossoms  –  “Hey Jealousy”

Never got this band, and have always lumped them in with those alternative bands for people who dislike alternative music. See also- Incubus, Kasabian, Hard Fi, anything Paul Weller touches.

Smashing Pumpkins –  “Disarm”

Moody and triumphant, a brilliant first entry to the pop canon by William Corgan and co, from their classic album Siamese Dream. You could pick nearly any track and it would fit the bill.

Doop – “Doop”

Or the UK Eurovision entry 2015. Except miles better. Old time Charlestown music. Dance beat. One word that isn’t even a word for the entire lyric. Absolute bloody genius. I hated it when I was 10. I was an idiot.

Right Said Fred –  “Wonderman”

Never enough jaw harp on pop records is there? It’s a bit odd, this one, and to be honest, a little bit half arsed. But I do love jaw harp.

Cappella – “Move on Baby”

Incredibly generic retread. Lyrics contain the first rhyme that comes into their heads so much that it just has somebody shouting ‘baby baby’ about a million times by the end.

Culture Beat – “Anything”

Saved from 90’s dance obscurity by being incredibly frantic. As if they only had 20 minutes studio time and decides to record the entire thing in double time.

2 Unlimited – “Let the Beat Control Your Body”

Their best effort since No Limit. Nowhere near as good, but it has a certain hectic charm.

Reel 2 Real featuring The Mad Stuntman –  “I Like to Move It”

The breakbeat is fantastic, the chorus is dumber than a cheesecat and I have no idea what he’s saying in the verses. Full marks from me.

K7 –  “Come Baby Come”

I was obsessed with this song at 10, never realising how rude and euphemistic it is. It only adds to my enjoyment now. Swing batterbatterbatter swing and a hit.

Credit to the Nation – “Teenage Sensation”

Swinging, whistling, chilled hip hop. Very much an enjoyable thing. And it chucks in the Apache beat, which has never been used in a bad song. Praises be upon Michael Viner.

E.Y.C. – “The Way You Work It”

The era of new jack soul is upon us. Enjoy the increase in dancing and cheesy chat up lyrics. The last comment didn’t get across how awesome new jack soul is. It’s awesome.

Bitty McLean – “Here I Stand”

Ska and lovers rock inflected cover of the 60’s classic. Bitty McLean’s warm, friendly voice carrys it well.

Deep Forest – “Sweet Lullaby”

New agey, incense burning, unmitigated crap. Literally the best thing ever if you’re Chris Traege from Parks and Recreation, otherwise to be avoided at all costs.

Björk –  “Violently Happy”

One of the best things about Björk is that she can take a very leftfield idea, and make it beautiful. Here is a song about irrationality. It’s brill.

Shara Nelson – “Uptight”

When you’ve been the main event on an absolute classic like Unfinished Sympathy, something this pedestrian is always going to feel a little dissapointing. By no means bad, but a little bit one note.

Gabrielle – “Because of You”

After the rote blandness of her last single, Gabrielle tries to reach the heights of Dreams again, by copying the arrangement almost note for note. Better, but a wee bit obvious…

Carleen Anderson “Nervous Breakdown”

Admirable attempt to write a Tina Turner style soul ballad with oomph. Comes very close to succeeding.

Juliet Roberts  –  “I Want You”

Her best song yet. Much like my favourite trip to the dentist, hardly a recommendation.

Urban Cookie Collective – “Sail Away”

M People without the distinctive singer, good chorus or anything good, whatsoever.

Degrees of Motion featuring Biti – “Shine On”

And so the mantle of predictable, dull dance track for morons is passed on to another bland piece of poo.

Joe Roberts – “Lover”

It’s an attempt to do a Prince style ballad. Sadly Joe Roberts is a bit too much of a crooner, and it lacks the attention and groove needed. Still, it makes it halfway, which is better than expected.

Final verdict

24.5 out of 38. A stonking 64%. That puts it up there with the very best of them.

This article is part of a series, chronicling a foolish attempt to chronicle the history of modern pop, through the Now That’s What I Call Music series. All the previous articles, and some other fun stuff, can be found here.

Now That’s What I Call Music 26

220px-Now_26

Released- 15th November 1993

Music History

Albums of the year again!

Nirvana – In Utero A
The Smashing Pumpkins – Siamese Dream A-
Wu-Tang ClanEnter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) A+
Pearl Jam – Vs. C
Counting Crows – August And Everything After D-
BjörkDebut A
Blur – Modern Life is Rubbish A
Liz Phair – Exile in Guyville B+
Suede – Suede C
Slowdive – Souvlaki Honestly, I’ve never listened to it, but a B because souvlaki is all kinds of tasty. What I’ve heard of Slowdive is pretty average though.

Me History

I get my first album this Christmas. It’s a compilation called The Best of Dance 93. It’s a compilation of all the reggae, dance and rap songs I’ve been enjoying this year. It was the only one I could find which had Boom Shake The Room on it too. Check the cover art!

image

A word of warning. My second ever album is Psyche, by PJ and Duncan.

If I had to save one track from this album, and the rest were to be exiled from West Philadelphia, as the result of one little fight, that track would be…  Boom Shake the Room, as you probably worked out from the setup. Sorry Radiohead and Spin Doctors, you’re both brilliant. Just in a different way.

Track by Track Breakdown

 

UB40  – “(I Can’t Help) Falling In Love With You”

You can’t spell mid 90’s reggae revival without UB40. Except you can. There’s no 4 or U or B in that sentence. Half baked cover, carried by the strength of the original.

Pet Shop Boys –  “Go West”

I loved this when it came out, and only found out what it was about a couple of years ago. Love it all the more as a result. Get a traffic cone on your head and dance!

Frankie Goes to Hollywood – “Relax”

I think I love what this song stands for way more than I actually like the song. I’m not sure I have ever listened to the whole of it. It wins on a noble cause and upsetting sad little bigots.

This is another lazy copy and paste job, as Now 2 got to this song first!

M People – “One Night in Heaven”

Unarguably naff- how they won the Mercury Music Prize remains a mystery to me, but Heather Small sounds like nobody else, and the chorus lands it’s punches well.

Eternal –  “Stay”

Pop R&B from back when they were a four piece. Great drum samples, and definitely better than the average dreck a lot of this scene was responsible for.

SWV  –  “Right Here”

Properly summery laid back R&B. A low calorie treat.

DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince –  “Boom! Shake the Room”

The other life changing single I got in 1993. On cassette. I still can’t find anything to dislike about this song, from Will Smith’s undeniable charm, to the Funky Worm sample. Love it, love it, love it.

The Shamen – “Comin’ On”

The Shamen go reggae. Electro reggae. Nowhere near as fun as that makes it sound, though credit for a Dagenham accent over this being an entertaining dichotomy.

Stakka Bo – “Here We Go”

Words cannot express how completely irritating and dreadful this song is. Like being trapped in a lift with a coked up city boy.

Chaka Demus and Pliers – “She Don’t Let Nobody”

Not a bad song, but really dull. There is nothing new under the sun, but there’s no need for this.

Tina Turner – “Disco Inferno”

Normally a cover this faithful would get short shrift from me, but the addition of Tina Turner adds to the original. It’s between this and The Crazy World of Arthur Brown for my cremation.

Belinda Carlisle –  “Big Scary Animal”

Sadly a simple and catchy start and a great title fall into simple mindedness and become ultimately forgettable. A lot of potential, but let down in the execution.

Spin Doctors –  “Two Princes”

Gleefully infectious pop rock. If you want to grin like you’re a little bit simple, just go ahead now. And if you want to disagree with me, I’ll kill you in your bed now.

R.E.M. –  “The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite”

Automatic for the People is pretty much a whole album of great singles. This is one of the weaker tracks and it’s still a great song.

The Levellers –  “This Garden”

Lefty, eco, indie folk. I like these four things, but I can’t help but feel I’m being told off rather than enjoying the song. The Levellers have some great songs, but this is not among them.

James –  “Laid”

When I was 16, I got free tickets to see James, and my Dad came and gave me a lift. He only knew Sit Down but fell in love with this song, and to this day will listen to it at top volume after a few drinks. Such is its universal joy.

Crowded House – “Distant Sun”

Guitar bands appear to be in again from the last few tracks. This is some dull drive time filler though. It’s feast or famine with Crowded House. Sometimes sublime, sometimes somnambulistic.

Radiohead – “Creep”

Full disclosure. I love Radiohead. Four years from now, 13 year old Ben will save his pocket money for two months to buy OK Computer when it comes out. This song is prior to their creative peak, but is still fantastic, and made them a name in the states. They’re so much more fucking special (cha-chunk, cha-chunk) than this song suggests.

Meat Loaf – “I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)”

Gloriously overblown power ballad from one of the most likeable artists ever. His love of using brackets to make stupidly long titles for his songs is to his credit too. I remember it being at the top end of the charts for an obscenely long time too.

Cappella“U Got 2 Let the Music”

I like this one more than the actual content of the song deserves. It’s a standard dance track with a slightly urgent keyboard riff, but I have a certain fondness for it.

Haddaway – “What Is Love”

What I remembered as a tacky but fun early 90’s euro dance track is actually surprisingly soulful. Colour me pleasantly surprised!

2 Unlimited – “Maximum Overdrive”

Two brilliant singles will have to do. Sounds the same as the last few, but less enjoyable.

Culture Beat – “Mr Vain”

Genius levels of dumb dance music. Call it insane but I can’t not enjoy this song.

The Goodmen  – “Give It Up”

Percussive samba goodness. The sound of a carnival distilled into 4 minutes of dancey fun.

Leftfield & Lydon – “Open Up”

Around this time, dance music starts moving forward again in new directions. This collaboration with the once Johnny Rotten is brilliant proof, as he shouts seditious slogans over a sparse beat. A rightful classic and probably the last time Lydon was relevant, unless you really like butter adverts.

Apache Indian  – “Boom Shack-A-Lak”

Fantastically stupid and catchy ragga. I think it was used in Dumb & Dumber which is wonderfully fitting.

Urban Cookie Collective – “Feels Like Heaven”

Back of a fag packet lyrics, and a very standard major key dance arrangement. Unexciting.

Captain Hollywood Project – “More and More”

Honestly, this could be by any European dance act from this era. Dancing by numbers.

Juliet Roberts  –  “Free Love”

Probably her best track yet, but still smacks of Capital FM’s Dance Anthems. By which I mean the most dull and predictable songs containing around 120 beats per minute.

Jamiroquai – “Too Young To Die”

Jamiroquai, and specifically Jay Kay and his stupid hats and ‘hey man, don’t be evil’ politics irritate me worse than sitting bare arsed on fiberglass. But this does have a good chorus. Grudgingly.

Dina Carroll  – “Don’t Be a Stranger”

As a nine year old, I loathed this song. How small minded I was. A gorgeous arrangement, atmospheric strings, and belting chorus make for a hell of a ballad.

Take That – “Pray”

Still yet to release a bad single. Breezy, lovelorn pop, which makes sense of why they did so well.

Gabrielle – “Going Nowhere”

Laughably poor follow up to a genuinely good song. Go back to Now 25 and just listen to Dreams again.

Lena Fiagbe – “Gotta Get It Right”

More let’s be nice to each other preaching, but this time with some fun, rapid fire verses, so much more enjoyable.

Soul II Soul  – “Wish”

I wish for more wishes, world peace, and the four minutes I wasted on this song back.

Lisa Stansfield   – “So Natural”

Repetitive, stale R&B ballad. Half a song, stretched over 5 minutes.

Björk & David Arnold – “Play Dead”

A first appearance from Björk, who a generation later, is still yet to release a duff album. David Arnold’s swooping arrangement must be at least half of what landed him the James Bond job too. Sounds like nothing else, in the best of all possible ways.

Lenny Kravitz – “Heaven Help”

Lightweight ballad. Kravitz I such better served by rockier material, although he does have a good voice for this.

Go West “The Tracks of My Tears”

For God’s sake just listen to Smokey Robinson instead. This is sandpaper to the originals 3 ply roll.

Janet Jackson – “That’s the Way Love Goes”

Not her most exciting single, but if this were recorded by the weeknd today, it would totally still get hype for its moody R&B stylings.

Final verdict

23 out of 40. 58% great, and this is out of 40 tracks, the biggest now yet! Good work after the terrible 25th.

This article is part of a series, chronicling a foolish attempt to chronicle the history of modern pop, through the Now That’s What I Call Music series. All the previous articles, and some other fun stuff, can be found here.

A Simple Pasta Bake

So I’m now, for personal reasons, trying to keep my cooking yeast and dairy free. I have to say, yeast is absolutely everywhere. Anyway, this recipe started as a picture of a tasty looking healthy pasta bake on Instagram, which I have tried to replicate.

I like to think mine goes one better, as it includes a picture of me wearing a colander on my head as I make my Bolognese, but I have since looked up the original which links to another persons blog, where their original recipe is. However, there is a lack of colander as headgear there, which I view as a bit of a disaster. The recipes are really good though.

image

Anyhoo…

Ingredients

  • 200g wholemeal pasta (fusilli, penne, etc)
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 200g beef mince
  • A couple of sprigs of thyme and rosemary
  • 2 red peppers
  • A courgette
  • Garlic oil

Method

Put the pasta on boil, and in a large saucepan, brown the beef mince over a low heat, to keep it soft. Up the heat a little, and add the chopped peppers and courgettes.

As these soften, throw in the tin of tomatoes and the leaves from the rosemary and thyme. Add a little dried oregano if you wish. As you can’t use sugar or balsamic vinegar here, you’ll need to slowly cook this out for about twenty minutes, to remove the bite from the tomatoes.

While this cooks, preheat the oven to 180c. When your Bolognese is done, mix it with the pasta in a large roasting dish, and bake for about 15-20 minutes. Serve, eat, enjoy.

image

Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

Chicken Enchiladas

Still loving Mexican food! This is another recipe from Thug Kitchen, which I’ll say again is a damn fine cookbook. I betrayed it’s vegetarian ethos by substituting black beans (a FODMAP no no) for shredded chicken, but unless you’re Morrissey, I know you’ll forgive me!

I love enchiladas. Basically Mexican lasagne to all intents and purposes.

Ingredients

  • 3 chicken thighs
  • 200g grated yellow squash (I used kabocha)
  • 1 large or two small sweet potatoes
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • Half a tube of tomato paste (I used a mix of normal and sundried)
  • 1 tbsp hot chilli powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • Packet of corn tortillas
  • Handful grated cheese
  • 1/2 an avocado
  • Chopped fresh coriander 

Method

Get two saucepans out. Fill one with enough water to cover the three chicken thighs. Pour the stock in the other.

Bring the pan of water to the boil, drop in the thighs, cover and take off the heat. These will be ready to shred in 20 minutes or so.

Bring the stock to a simmer, add the chilli powder, cumin, oregano and tomato paste and stir until smooth. Reduce this down for 10-15 minutes till it is about as thick as single cream.

Microwave your sweet potato for 5 minutes, then remove the skin and mash into a bowl. Mix with the grated squash, and add the shredded chicken. Mix together well.

In a large enough rectangular roasting dish for the rolled up wraps, pour a thin layer of the sauce. Add a strip of the filling to a tortilla, and roll it up open ended. Repeat until the dish is full, there should be five or six when you’re done.

Pour over the remaining sauce, and top with cheese. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes at 180c. When you’re done, top with chopped coriander and avocado. image Enjoy.

Now That’s What I Call Music 25

220px-Now_25(UK)

Released- 2nd August 1993

Music History

The Wu Tang Clan and Rage Against the Machine release their debut albums, Enter the 36 Chambers and Rage Against the Machine, which is a pretty big deal to me, as they are two of the greatest albums of all time. In other news, Prince becomes an unpronounceable symbol, and Michael Jackson interferes with children.

Me History

I am spending all summer playing football (I’m crap) and 40-40 (I’m pretty good, mostly because I’m sneaky), round the wooden park, 5 minutes from my house. I had a look as an adult- it’s tiny, but it seemed huge at the time.

If I had to save one track from this album, and the rest were to be replaced by unpronounceable symbols, that track would be… Well, it’s a Triple Threat match between 4 Non Blondes What’s Up?, REM’s Everybody Hurts and Inner Circle’s Sweat. I’ll go for Inner Circle, purely because it has happy memories of my youth, and of my more recent travels.

Track by Track Breakdown

George Michael & Queen –  “Somebody to Love”

All for a good cause, raising money for AIDS, but this live cover sucks all of the operatic silliness from the original, and while George Michael is a great singer, Freddie was a clear mile greater.

4 Non Blondes  – “What’s Up?”

Solid gold classic. Why are we producing less individual, brilliant female artists now. Well we are, I suppose (Bey, St Vincent, Tegan and Sarah, Carl Rae Jepsen, Azelia Banks to name a small selection) but I just don’t feel like they dominate like they did at this point. Grumble. Anyway. 4 chords perfection.

Tina Turner – “I Don’t Wanna Fight”

Tina is her best when she ignores cultural trends, and does what she likes. This sounds like a song that’s aware of the trends of 1993, and suffers as a result.

Ace of Base –  “All That She Wants”

First things first, clearly the best Swedish band since ABBA. The song is great, but the more I listen to the lyrics (and I’ve had 22 years) the more worrying it becomes. Is it pro or anti feminist? Are the men willing participants? Why do I worry so much about pop music in a world where terrorism and drone strikes are a daily occurrence?

Gabrielle – “Dreams”

Trite as anything, but it does have an unforgettable chorus, which I don’t think Gabrielle ever topped. Also, everybody remembers the whole deal with the eyepatch/fringe. Which is pretty odd.

Lena – “You Come From Earth”

Sung flat, and the worthy subject matter is dealt with all the subtlety of a five year old with a bulldozer. One saving grace? Nice drum sample. That’s about it.

R.E.M. –  “Everybody Hurts”

Almost certainly the least fashionable R.E.M song. But even if it’s not their best (that honour goes to Nightswimming, and if you disagree I will fight you) isn’t it wonderful that a song that says ‘I know you’re depressed right now. It happens to everyone at some point. You’re not alone’ could become so huge?

New Order – “Regret”

Okay song, made better by the fact it works very well as backing music to a ‘goals of the season’ highlights reel on Match of the Day. New Order- one classic song, and otherwise less good than Joy Division.

Freddie Mercury – “Living on My Own”

As if to prove that he’s irreplaceable, Freddie’s here with a brilliant posthumous effort. I remember loving this and Queen at the time (I wore out my parent’s cassette of Queen Greatest hits) but never linking the two. I was a cloth eared fool!

Gloria Gaynor  –  “I Will Survive”

Nothing can ruin this song. The original remains the platonic ideal, but I’m yet to dislike any version, even when Cake added a needless swearword into it.

Inner Circle – “Sweat (A La La La La Long)”

Loved this song then, love it now. It filled me with joy when, halfway across the world, I saw a band in a bar in Thailand play this song. Clearly, like Manchester United and Mr Bean, this song crosses all cultural boundaries, spreading joy where’er she blows.

Chaka Demus and Pliers – “Tease Me”

Gets the quiet loud thing perfect. Except this is quiet ska instead. Ska is rarely unwanted. Possibly better than loud. Anyway, I love it. The rough/smooth contrast between the vocal and the rap works brilliantly too. Loving the 90’s reggae revival. Hear me now.

Louchie Lou & Michie One  “Shout (It Out)”

Momentarily diverting ragga cover of Lulu’s only real hit. Not a classic, but not without it’s charms.

Shabba Ranks featuring Maxi Priest –  “Housecall”

SHABBA. The song is okay. Nothing special. But as I said before, it’s enjoyable to exclaim, as an exhortation to the gods of pop reggae, the word Shabba.

Duran Duran – “Come Undone”

I warned you that Ordinary World was a very good full stop for the boys from Brum. This is at best a passable attempt to emulate Depeche Mode.

Paul Weller –  “Sunflower”

After a glorious break, the Plodfather is back, reinvented as a dadrock borefest fuckwit.

Kingmaker – “Ten Years Asleep”

It’s either simple and great fun, or moronic and pointless. I’ve listened to it six times in the last week, and my opinion changes each time. It’s getting a yes purely for referencing those late night 0898 chat lines they used to have on telly.

2 Unlimited – “Tribal Dance”

As a Smiths, Modest Mouse and Jens Lekman fan, it’s rare that I am against verbosity in music. But 2 Unlimited apparently improve the more limited their vocabulary. Too many words in this one and their primal joy is lost.

Robin S “Luv 4 Luv”

Dissapointing follow up to the transcendent Show Me Love. I suppose it was too much to expect lightening to land in a bottle twice in a row.

Sybil – “When I’m Good and Ready”

Another track that suffers from being shoehorned into the wrong genre. Would have been much better without the unnecessary danceification.

Dannii Minogue – “This Is It”

Unlike her sister, she has the decency to remain consistent. Where Kylie veers between genius and sheer awfulness, Dannii remains somewhere between mediocre and poor every time.

The Time Frequency –  “The Ultimate High”

In contrast to some other tracks on this volume, this is repetitive and stupid in an enjoyable way. Exists purely for dancing to.

Jon Secada – “Do You Really Want Me”

Oh for fricks sake. Even the worst MOR artists have realised that sticking a house beat on their song makes them sound more modern. Still a load of crap, but now a load of crap with a beat.

Kim Wilde – “If I Can’t Have You”

The mid 90’s trend for dance covers of classics has started to reach its nadir, and sadly, is likely to continue until Britpop wheezes it’s last cider stinking breath in a dirty Camden toilet.

East 17 –  “West End Girls”

There aren’t a great many covers of Pet Shop Boys songs, probably because Neil Tennant is pretty inimitable. The best one I can think of is Flight of the Conchords pastiche Inner City Pressure. The original is good enough that this isn’t a complete disaster, but it definitely isn’t necessary.

Joey Lawrence – “Nothin’ My Love Can’t Fix”

The parts lifted wholesale from My Name is Prince are great, the remainder average. Luckily, pretty much everything but the vocal falls under the former category.

Efau –  “Somewhere”

Hard to describe. Odd. Basically the sound of that loudmouth on the back of the 476 bus self obsessedly talking on their phone over an early 90’s dance beat.

Sade – “No Ordinary Love”

Pleasant background music, I suppose. Even by the standards of the rest of the record, it hasn’t aged well.

Richard Darbyshire“This I Swear”

I suppose it’s nice that they’ve included space for a nap break on this album.

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – “Dream of Me”

I think there’s a lot of ideas here. Just not that many of them are actually very good. A for effort, D for results.

D:Ream – “U R the Best Thing”

The song is dull, but isn’t their keyboardist a nice chap! I now listen to this for the keyboard line, and think isn’t it a pity that Brian Cox and Sir Patrick Moore didn’t form a keys and xylophone duo and record a concept album about dying stars.

Juliet Roberts – “Caught in the Middle”

In the middle of this song, I removed my headphones to buy a sandwich, and Real Love by Clean Bandit was playing, and I realised nothing at all had changed at this poundstore dance end of the scale. Depressing.

Oui 3 – “Break from the Old Routine”

Bit of Sarf London rap, with warmth and humour. Probably the mellowest use of the Amen break (YouTube it) in musical history.

Utah Saints  – “I Want You”

An answer to the question ‘What would happen if the Stone Roses, Metallica and East 17 got drunk in a studio together, with autotune thrown in for shits and giggles?’ It’s a very good answer.

Jesus Jones – “Zeroes and Ones”

The red headed stepchild to the Happy Mondays’ golden child. The parts in between the singing are better than the song itself, but it’s nice to hear William Gibson referenced in a song (not by a dreary metal band who oh so originally chose Steampunk as their style…). I got distracted. Good. Not great. Does the job.

Final verdict

16 out of 35 or 46%, putting it firmly in the dustbin of the worst editions. Bleh. There’s a week of bad music I’ll never get back.

This article is part of a series, chronicling a foolish attempt to chronicle the history of modern pop, through the Now That’s What I Call Music series. All the previous articles, and some other fun stuff, can be found here.

I Believe

Sadly, much like Steve, my first experience of this song was Simon Cowell proteges Robson & Jerome too. Hearing it delivered in a rich, passionate soprano makes it much more enjoyable, I must say.

1953 has been a feast of riches so far!

Talk About Pop Music

I have a playlist that contains every UK number one song since charts began in 1952. Thanks to EveryHit, this is a fairly simple process. Let’s remind ourselves of these songs.

View original post 82 more words

Wholemeal Gnocchi

I love gnocchi. After a previous, shamefully poor effort at making pasta, I decided to start from a walk instead of a sprint, and I’d heard that gnocchi is an easier first move.

It’s a cross between pasta and mashed potato, with the taste benefits of both, and tastes a little like clouds.

As you’ll see from the photos, mine were ugly as sin, but were light, fluffy and better than supermarket gnocchi to taste.

Ingredients

Serves two, but easily adjustable!

300g potato, peeled and diced
1 egg, lightly beaten
80g strong wholemeal flour, plus more for dusting

Method

Boil the potatoes until they are falling apart, then mash until smooth- use a ricer if you have one, they are God’s gift to the lazy masher.

Leave to cool for two minutes, then quickly stir in the beaten egg. You have to wait till it’s a little cooler, as otherwise you’ll just end up with scrambled egg mixed with potatoes.

Nest, stir in the flour with a wooden spoon, then your hands until it forms a slightly sticky dough. Transfer this to a dusted surface.

Knead this for one minute. It feels short, but any longer will make the gnocchi chewy.

Roll it out into long sausages about 2cm thick, and cut these into 3cm long pieces. Push indents into these pieces with the back of a fork- this increases the surface area, and helps it catch more sauce.

In a large pot of boiling water, add the gnocchi, around 8-10 at a time. When they’re cooked, they float to the top, so remove with a slotted spoon, and replace with an uncooked one.

image
I had no good photos of this...

When they’re all done, stir into a warmed ragu or sauce, and enjoy.

I went for a sauce of chorizo, thyme, cream and grana padano, which was okay, but I think perhaps tomato would work best with the delicious gnocchi.