From now, instead of a weekly roundup of New Killer Tunes, I will feature longer musings on new and fab tunes as and when they spring into view. To start off, this wonderful, resoundingly tuneful ode to the true meaning of life, which is of course: pop music.
Pop music truly is the music for all ages. I discovered this when I was approaching 30, and still trying to find the next gang of scruffily pretty indie reprobates to sell my soul to. I would turn on the radio in, for example, 2002, and listen to the new tunes, and I would think, hang on, what are they playing at? This sounds just like what Ride were doing in 1992. Or Nirvana in 1991. Where were the new sounds, the exciting new ideas? And then it hit me: these new bands weren’t for me any more. They weren’t making music for people of my age – they were making music for people 10 years younger than me, who had been too young in the 90s to pay attention to bands. And that stung. I felt I’d been chucked out of a world that had been my home for as long as I’d been me.
Of course, this same thing could happen in any era. I’m sure those who were around 30 years old in the early 90s would have scorned at the derivative nature of the new indie sounds, and how Ride were just a rehash of My Bloody Valentine and the Jesus and Mary Chain and so on. We all feel that the music of our youth was the Best Music Ever. What’s different is how we deal with it when our youth ends.
For me, throughout my 30s, music became much less of a driving force in my life, and retreated into geekier interests. However, while new guitar bands during this time largely left me cold – with one dazzling exception which I’ll get to at gig 91 of All The Gigs Of My Life – I was drawn into the inventive, exhilarating, shimmering world of pop music like never before. It seemed to me that pop was ageless compared to the blokish, credibility-obsessed world of guitar-based indie music. So I brightened the bland, boringly adult landscape of my 30s with a soundtrack of all the brilliant pop that came out between 2005 and 2015, from Britney to Beyoncé, Kylie to Kesha, surfing a torrent of Toves and a japery of Justins. My absolute favourite single of the 00s was Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance”, my second fave, Rihanna’s “Umbrella”. The indie impulse was definitely not strong with me then. While none of this genius pop had the life-changing effect on me that my bands of the 90s had done, it all brought light into a strange and perplexing decade of life.
So here now is Kim Wilde, 57 years old, grinning and posing her way through this top pop tune, as though the whole empire of pop belongs to her and she doesn’t care who knows it. Every moment of this song is infused with the pure unadulterated joy that only comes with great pop, leaving you with no choice but to leap about the room with arms aloft shouting “pop pop music gimme pop don’t stop!” Kim struts and poses in a variety of fascinating outfits with no fear of looking ridiculous, for as a great philosopher once said, “ridicule is nothing to be scared of.” And certainly, no great pop ever came from a place that feared ridicule.
“The seasons come and go again
And what was old is new again
They say you’re over, times have changed
But there’s no end to this story”
This song shouts out with the message that the joy of pop music remains undimmed, despite the ruthless whims of age and fashion. And that within those ecstatic three minutes, we are constantly reborn, eternally young and full of hope. Because pop music is for everyone, everywhere, forever.