Not suitable for people with irony deficiency and
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Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Mrs Blighty's guide to popular music

I am NOT having a midlife crisis. I have just entered a new phase of the whole life crisis which started when I was 12 and will no doubt go on into the afterlife (when I will be the first demon ever to try accessorising PVC and pitchforks with broderie anglaise).

The latest phase is listening to Capital Radio, a commercial radio channel "broadcasting live from London's Leicester Square" whose target audience is 18 - 25 year old office workers, couriers, builders and white van man. You can get an idea of the quality of its output if I tell you it currently features "Fitballers" - a daily segment where Lisa, the chirpy morning show co -presenter tells us which World Cup players are, well, fit, with excruciating jokes about playing up front, tackle, etc. And when they do the weather, they sing "Showery Rain, Showery Rain" to the tune of Prince's "Purple Rain". What's not to like?

I can in my defence point out that it was Boy 1 who started the Capital Radio listening. He is now 9 which is apparently the age when boys get interested in pop music and start forming bands (Boy 1's band is called Feedback and he is sound engineer and roadie, on account of not actually playing any instruments and a slight problem with vocal -er - accuracy). Boy 1 came home from school talking excitedly about JLS, which I thought was one of those furniture warehouses that always advertise on telly on Boxing Day: "Stain resistant red leather-look corner sofa that will seat 20 of your closest friends - only £999.99." But it turns out that JLS is a boy band. A very quiet, unassuming boy in Boy 1's class is to all accounts the world's living authority on JLS and JLS Superfan.

But I can't blame Boy 1 for the fact that I now tune into Capital at home while he is in school, and in the car, even when on my own. The sad truth is that I like it, it's very soothing as their playlist only includes about 20 songs, so on average you hear the same song about 8 times day. Very reassuring. I like to know where I am.

The constant repetition (even while I type this I have heard at least 3 of the songs I mention below) means I am starting to pick up the words and felt I should share with you my thoughts on pop lyrics, 2010 style.

To summarise, the lyrics are all very soppy and poetic, hopelessly romantic. The love object in question is definitely being put on a pedestal and worshipped from afar.

For example, JLS are currently riding high with their smash hit, "The clubs are alive with the sound of disco" which features the memorable lines :
" You can be the DJ,
I can be the dancefloor
You can get up on me".


And a guy called Usher is so bashful, he will never get anywhere with the girls:
"Honey got a booty like pow pow pow,
Honey got some boobies like wow wow wow"

The soppy fool.
 Usher in hat being soppy

 Another song (Got Nothing On You - B.O.B. featuring Bruno Mars) starts well, with a bold declaration of affection:

"Beautiful girls all over the world

I could be chasing but my time would be wasted
They got nothing on you babe.."

But then all is ruined by the uber-mushy:
"you wild when you ain't got nothing on,
baby you the whole package plus you pay your taxes
and you keep it real while them other stay plastic
you're my wonder women call me mr. fantastic"

My current favourite though is an energetic young lady called Rihanna, who is very clear about her needs as as woman.

She sings "Come here rude boy, boy can you get it up?"
And then "Tonight baby we can get it on, yeah, we can get it on"

I really admire her determination to motivate her partner to build that IKEA* bookcase and get it attached to the walls. Her devotion to DIY obviously knows no bounds.

But in being so practical, I fear she has gone to the other extreme. Where, I ask, is the romance?

Oh, what's that Rihanna?

"Give it to me baby like boom boom boom"
No, still on about that bookcase.
Ikea Billy bookcase, comes in other colours too

*infamous Swedish furniture store, a big hit with unsuspecting Brits. Items come flatpacked with cryptic instructions in Swenglish, average build time 22 months, frequently cited in divorce petitions.


  1. Yeah, gotta love those songs. not.
    I love your explanation of Ikea though. You are a hoot!

  2. I just have to point out, I pay my taxes too.

  3. You are just too, too, funny Blighty...! When are you going to write your book? India Knight move over..... x

  4. Hahahhahaha

    I hate most songs played on commercial radio.
    They are mostly rude, demeaning and rely on sex in their lyrics because let's face it, there's not much talent going on.

    I love your Ikea-Rhianna connection.

  5. LPC - yes, reference to taxes v puzzling but I am glad to see the young people of today are embracing their fiscal responsibilities;
    Deb - the songs really are dreadful, and yet..
    Semi Expat - you are too kind, this bloggie is enough of a creative stretch for me, don't want to overreach myself!
    Carly - all joking aside, I was shocked by the blatant sex references in the lyrics, I don't want my boys listening to that kind of rubbish, also these song lyrics are so impoverished and so Boring. Luckily my boys take a very no nonsense view of all this, at the moment, and inform me that Lady GaGa is pants (which seems to be her most favoured item of clothing). I continue to be amazed at the poverty of the playlists, i think I am listening in in horrid fascination as to how few songs they play...

  6. I must be lost in the eighties as this is all my preferred station plays.
    Am I revisiting my youth or am I so old that I crave the security of actually knowing all the words??

  7. Hahahaha - opps I listen to Capital too for the same reasons. Petit Garcon is obsessed with JLS and you forgot to mention they play Lady Gaga like no tomorrow.

    I have to confess that I wish I'd made the effort to get a golden ticket for the Summer Ball, perhaps next year I can ring up, yelp lots and say I'll be taking Blighty as I thank them, scream some more and become breathless.

  8. I thought the problem with Lady Gaga was that she didn't wear pants some of the time.

    By the by... I think I am going to have to track down the Capital Radio on the interwebs to see how truly bad it really is.

  9. "baby you the whole package plus you pay your taxes" - this line just reminded me to get back to work instead of trying to put a grin on my grumpy face by getting a quick dose of blighty. But hey, doing taxes is so much more fun with a grin on my face instead of a frown. So thank you once again for making me laugh. Now I'm sure my husband won't leave me, "as I got the whole package and I also pay my taxes". Plus we also try to stay away from Ikea, which really helps, in terms of marriage harmony.

  10. Ah English radio, fortunately we can access it through the TV via sky, but in the car where I like listening to radio, I have to put up with French commercial radio which is truly dire! Talk about repetitive! The best radio station is FIP, Only available via the internet unless you live in a major French city google it, it's great, really eclectic and a great way to discover new music.

    I did read your comment abut the lifts at the hotel, bet your boy loved that, It is such a nice place I am counting the day's until I can return.

  11. So true! I too must listen to Capital FM on the school run each morning, as per Boy 1 and Girl 1's instructions. Sadly, I know all the words to the songs you quote (although am trying to forget them). That Usher song is the has a lot to answer for.

  12. Blighty blighty... Semi Expat (my aunt) has directed me to your blog and it has given us MANY laffs!

    I just heart the fact that these crazy songwriters sound pretty down with it innit and when I sing the words to their songs I don't sound like a lyrical master, more like a friggin loud disaster. Oh well. That's why they're cool and I am not. Boo xxx

    P.S: Thanks for hints on Ikea- going shopping with Mr. Melbs this weekend for home stuff woop woop.

  13. Dear ladies, glad to hear you enjoy popualr music!
    Sophie P - welcome, thanks for dropping by, good luck with Ikea.
    SepticSue - same here, we drive round the corner to school (yes I know shameful) with Capital blaring out, we just need a stretch limo with blacked out windows and we would have nailed the pimpmobile look!
    Hair-mess, I never expected payment of taxes to be on a guy's wishlist when seeking a soulmate; it has all been very educational.

  14. Am shoving the eighties down my sons throats. It's working. When they hear 'popular music' they screw their little noses up and say, "but there's no tune". Thank goodness the lyrics haven't caught their attention. Long live 'Huey Lewis and the News'... that's the 'Power Of Love'. A-M xx PS You are officially 'absolutely hilarious'.


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