Charley says GUEST BLOG! The Pipettes say POP!

The Pipettes have a very good single coming out on July 19th.

Call Me‘ is the opening track from their sophomore album ‘Earth vs. The Pipettes’. It’s the obvious big hit between all the excellently polished new tracks and, as mentioned above, it’s just very very good.

I asked the group, now consisting of Monster Bobby, Jon, Seb and Alex with sisters Gwenno and Ani on lead vocals, to write a guest blog for Charley says POP!

After the jump, you’ll find their five biggest inspirations in music. A list which is eclectic to say the least!

1. Shania Twain (by Jon Falcone)

Whatever people may think of her, the song-writing was amazing. Working in an industry that I consider 99.9 per cent style and bluster and one per cent content, I’m a staunch supporter of great tunes, no matter who delivers it. I therefore treasure with intensity one hit wonders and acts that can keep the hits coming (not in a Coldplay way where the band are what sells, but in a Shania, Abba, Roy Orbison, Neil Sedaka way where the songs are undeniable). So for me, when Shania was pumping out hit after hit it was for me the last ‘classic’ performer I think we’ll ever have. The music business model can’t facilitate ‘classic artists’ who aren’t already considered ‘classic’ as it must be cheaper and more cost effective to churn new bands than to continuously re-package an established artist. Yes I was severely criticised for loving Shania and still am, no one has my back on this topic, but hey, who cares, great tunes.

2. Taylor Swift (by Seb Falcone)

Taylor Swift is someone who I think is many people’s guilty pleasure. Beyond and above everything else she produces great pop songs which I think is a nice change from the generic manufactured pop that seems to be pouring out of the radio in its masses at the moment. Her songs have been consistently great which is why I look forward to hearing what she’ll deliver next.

3. George William Frederic Handel (by Monster Bobby)

It may seem curious, perverse even, to include the venerable old composer of the Messiah and Royal Fireworks Music, in a list of one’s favourite popstars. But the history of popular music in Brtain was changed decisively by Handel – just as Handel was changed decisively by popular music. Brian Eno once characterised the difference between the worlds of pop and ‘concert’ music in terms of what he called a “short feedback loop” – the constant contact with an audience that almost literally enforces a kind of populism and melodic sensitivity upon the pop star. Yet, while this decisively was not true in the case of the later albums by the world’s most famous pop band, The Beatles, who had ceased touring or having any contact with their audience at all (except from loftily high on the top of a building) in the later stages of their career; it certainly was the case with Handel. For the vast majority of Handel’s early work in Britain was composed for the operatic stage, and the composer’s connection with the stage was never the distant, abstract one of the artist in his garrett, commissioned to write an opera by some party entirely external to his affairs. Handel was himself fully a man of the theatre, actively engaged (alongside his partner, Heidegger) in running the business and acutely aware of the vagaries of public taste. This may well be one of the reasons for the extraordinary melodic inventiveness of Handel’s early operas here, their extraordinary profusion of addictive and insidious earworms – and also the reason which made his tunes so eminently pinchable. For alongside Handel’s more refined – though still enormously popular across seemingly all social classes  – opera house, was at that time developing in London, numourous more street level entertainments. The most famous of which today, and the one in which the theft of Handel’s melodies is most notorious and most noticeable, being John Gay’s Beggar’s Opera. Mixing Handel’s airs with church hymns and folk tunes, the satiric ballad anti-opera’s popularity was such that (alongside other thefts of Handel’s music – copyright being virtually non-existant in the early eighteenth century) it contributed to the financial collapse of Handel’s own theatre and his eventual move away from drama into the crafting of oratorios. While The Beggar’s Opera itself can be considered one of the major forerunners of the English music hall – not to mention being perhaps the chief influence on Bertolt Brecht’s Threepenny Opera (both works share the character, Macheath), a work which had itself a profound influence on the modern musical.

4. Britney Spears (by Ani Wintour Saunders)

Whatever has happened or will or won’t happen to Britney Spears, for me she remains one of the best pop acts. Ever. Sure it’s great to hear great musicians playing really great but sometimes you just want to listen to a good ol’ pop tune and my lord has she had plenty of those. I could just stop at ‘…Baby one more time’, but that would be silly. Might it be a scientific fact, maybe? Might it just be a simple plain fact, probably? But is it not one of the best pop songs EVER? I just knew at the time, when I understood next to nothing about what made a great pop song, that this would be an important moment in pop history and it’s something that has greatly shaped my own little pop history. Whilst most of my friends at school were listening to Nirvana, Rage against the Machine, Smashing Pumkins… you know where I’m going with this, I was very secretly listening to Britney Spears and N*Sync. I believe me and Max Martin should be mates! Anyhow, there’s also been the amazing ‘Toxic’ and although the latest album ‘Circus’ didn’t come close to changing my life I’m still a pop-optimist and a Britney-optimist. She’s an amazing performer and is still my favourite!

5. Elvis Presley (by Gwenno Saunders)

Elvis was never someone I payed much attention to for a really long time. Sure, I quite liked ‘Jail House Rock’ when it flashed across the screen as a child, detested him when I lived in Las Vegas, look at what he encouraged? Overweight, middle-aged crooners wearing really bad outfits. And then it dawned on me, when I got home, the flashing lights,faded, and the hot, dusty air but a distant memory, that Elvis was everything America has ever been. His adolescent dreams, spotty face and blue blue eyes, his unquestionable duty to show a whole generation that they should obey their Government and join the Army, his over-indulgence in every aspect of his life and his weird relationship to sex. But most importantly, through all of that, his burning ambition to be loved, to entertain, to be exploited by tapping into every crevice of American musical culture that he could find, yet somehow managing to make me cry and feel safe, all at the same time.

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