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The Matter Of Britain
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The death that shocked me most that Spring wasn’t Kurt Cobain, or even Ayrton Senna. It was the passing of an owlish man in his 50s who people assumed – and hoped, in many cases – would be running the country before too long. Later on, John Smi[…]

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JAZZYJEFF AND THE FRESH PRINCE – "Boom! Shake The Room"
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At this point, what differentiates the hip-hop that tops the UK charts from the stuff which peeks in lower down is legibility: not too much slang, metaphors spelled out, a flow any kid could follow. At a time when the public face of rap in Britain wa[…]

Popular '86
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AND ABOUT BLOODY TIME. Finally finished 1986 – I know there’ve been slower years but this one really has dragged – thanks for yr patience. Here’s a poll, and add your usual lists, reminiscences, discussions of the year etc in […]

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THE COMMUNARDS – "Don't Leave Me This Way"
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As a straight man it’s easy for me to be complacent about this, but the Orwellian “THE COMMUNARDS ARE BANNED” business at the start of this video looks completely ridiculous to me now, and the fact that it does suggests genuine and […]

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Popular Is On Christmas Holiday
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I’m suffering from pop fatigue, readers, so Popular is off on its Christmas break, and will return after Xmas if I feel inspired, or in January otherwise. Sorry to not put 1986 to bed – it’s proved unexpectedly gruelling! You’[…]

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BORIS GARDINER – "I Want To Wake Up With You"
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Alas, to wake up you must first fall asleep, and Boris Gardiner’s lovers’ rock slowie veers awful close to lullaby. The tune is sweet, the keyboard lands halfway between bounce and caress, and there’s a gentleness and humility in hi[…]

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CHRIS DE BURGH – "The Lady In Red"
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In a market economy, value is not intrinsic – it’s determined by the extent to which other people desire a thing you possess. “The Lady In Red” captures this at the romantic level – Chris De Burgh’s realisation of the value of a woman occ[…]

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MADONNA – "Papa Don't Preach"
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“Papa Don’t Preach” is a fantastic record. Not because it’s a star getting serious, or because it raises issues, or because it ‘tackles’ anything in particular. It’s not a newspaper column. What it does is ta[…]

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WHAM! – "Edge Of Heaven"
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Tempting to give this one the deep consideration G. Michael did when writing it, i.e. none at all. A final Wham! single was required, yes, but “Edge Of Heaven” doesn’t round them off in any particularly satisfying way. Instead it ra[…]

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DOCTOR AND THE MEDICS – "Spirit In The Sky"
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Every year has its flukes but this is one of the more inexplicable – unknowns before and since, amiable psych revivalists by the look of their discography, scoring a massive international hit with this unexceptional cover. Everyone I knew hated it,[…]

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Latest comments on Popular

  1. I remember being in the queue for the Cardiff Virgin Megastore midnight opening/signing for their second album, for a friend,…