@voyou Jess Phillips on the Today programme there literally saying the problem with Jeremy Corbyn is he's not racist enough. 9 Dec 16 Reply Retweet Favorite

The official chart for August 21

New Britney! When I first heard “Do You Wanna Come Over?“, I thought “Britney doing Girls Aloud,” although actually the guitars are more “Sweet Dreams my LA Ex”; either way, this has something of the sound of mid-2000s British pop, the golden age of popism, a sound Britney didn’t embrace at the time (though there is the unreleased recording of “Graffiti My Soul” to speculate about). I didn’t like “Private Show” at all (I don’t know if it counts as a single, but if it did it would surely be Britney’s weakest), but the two songs from Glory released since then have been pretty good; obviously the release of a new Britney album is a stressful time, but the quality of “Clumsy” and now “Do You Wanna Come Over?” is making that stress more about anticipation than trepidation. Read more↴

The Official Chart for August 14

Last two weekends I was in France, which is why I’ve skipped a couple of my regular music posts. While I was there, I read the French edition of Elle, which seemed keen to undermine the stereotype that French people are fashionable, by advocating “urban pirate” as a key look for Autumn; and to undermine stereotypes about French gastronomy with an article on “bread sushi,” which turns out to be a salade nicoise in a bap. The cover story was an interview with Louane, a French pop star I hadn’t previously heard of. The interviewer brought up Taylor Swift on a number of occasions, and Louane’s professionally noncommittal answers to questions about nuit debout made me think she might indeed be a French Taylor Swift. Sadly, her music lacks most of the character that makes Swift so compelling; Louane makes a conventionally bombastic pop-rock that seems to have been fashionable in Europe for as long as I can remember. At her best, she’s pretty good at it, as on the title track of her album Chambre 12; and another track, “Alien,” sounds quite a bit like tATu, so she’s got that going for her. Read more↴

The Official Chart for July 17

New Britney! I was a bit wrongfooted because I assumed she’d come back with a banger, so I wasn’t sure what to make of this more downtempo track. I quite like it; actually, I like the verses and the bridge quite a lot (a new role for Britney to play: power-bottom-ney), but there’s something about the shift to a more obviously uplifting chorus that feels a bit cheap? The guest rap is garbage, obviously, and its presence is inexplicable (who on Earth thinks “I wasn’t going to listen to this Britney record, but now I know G-Eazy is going to be on it…”?). Read more↴

You want full communism? You better sublate work, bitch

Britney’s new song has been widely condemned as pure ideology; this piece in the Guardian is typical, arguing that the song reflects a contemporary, “religious” commitment to the value of work. That’s not what the song sounds like to me; it’s not so much capitalist ideology as capitalist id. While the official capitalist ethic proposes the necessity of hard work as the ground of equality, the capitalist id glories in the reality that you have to work while (indeed, because), capital doesn’t. Hence Britney’s imperious “work, bitch!” with the subtext that, work as hard as we like, we’ll never be as good as her; and doubtless we’ve all come to terms in our own way with the fact that we’re not Britney and never will be. But, if we follow the insight of the Neue Marx Lektüre that capital is the historical subject of capitalism, we might find in the id of this historical subject some useful indications of the mutations happening to the role of work in contemporary capitalism, and thereby come up with a more dialectical anti-work politics. Read more↴

“Justin Bieber initials on all my winter clothes”

 I’m not sure anyone would have predicted that pop’s it couple of the turn of the century would still be defining pop music ten years later, but it’s basically true: the template for the rave/R&B crossover sound of most pop today, in its dissociative or obliterative forms, was largely set by Justin Timberlake’s FutureSex/LoveSounds and Britney’s Blackout respectively (though of course they’d been gestating in various regional hip-hops previously). I guess the contemporary equivalent of Britney and Justin would be Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber, although their relative fame is reversed: I like Selena Gomez, but she obviously doesn’t have the cultural significance of Britney, while Bieber is unchallenged in his teen heartthrob supremacy in a way JT never was (possible just due to lack of competition; what other pop teenage boys are there now, except for One Direction?). Neither of them has produced anything that is likely to define pop for the next decade, either, but on the strength of Bieber’s new album, it’s not impossible that one day he might. Read more↴

We need to talk about Jason Nevins

In which I round up unrelated thoughts about this year’s music

When “The Edge of Glory” came out, I described it as like Jason Nevins remixing Kelly Clarkson; should probably have clarified that this was intended as praise, an attempt to convey the splendid excessiveness of the song. Indeed, the song has become my favorite track of the year, and the more I listen to it the more it seems to be even more overstuffed than a Jason Nevins remix. Much the same could be said of Born This Way, and while the continuing parade of terrible lyrics, ridiculous outfits, and 13-minute videos got a bit wearing, I think it’s important to maintain fidelity to the Gaga event. Read more↴