One is 'Some Girls' by Rachel Stevens of S Club 7. She's been doing pretty well so far anyway - her first couple of solo songs were really quite good, with excellent videos. But this is much better, glorious electronic pop released at just the right time (it's very summery) with a memorable chorus and a beautifully stylish video. And harmonies, and, well, yes, a certain amount of 80sness.
Not, however, quite as much as the other song I'm thinking of. Which comes to us courtesy of JC Chasez of *NSync and is called - really - 'All Day Long I Dream About Sex'.
I do wish there were someone around to answer for me the question "What has happened to JC between his last single and this one?" His last single, which I believe was his first solo one, was weak and directionless and I was very disappointed, because actually he's a marvellous singer and I had high hopes for him coming out of *NSync.
But, although this song doesn't showcase his good singing skills any better, it's...so completely different I'm not sure he hasn't been secretly invaded by a race of tiny synthesisers. It's so electro it hurts, and it's adorable and hilarious as well, and the version of it I've got has a long synth middle eight worthy of Apoptygma Berzerk. And it's very silly. Did I mention it was very silly? It's very silly. What on earth is going on?
Well, whatever it is, it's produced a single that's making me very happy.
I am sick and tired of hearing people complain about 'the state of music today'. Oh, you can complain about the music *industry*, if you like - complain about the charts being rigged, complain about Napster, complain about the people complaining about Napster, complain about fat men in suits making more money than anyone else out of poor defenceless musicians' hard work, complain about the industry, by all means. Just don't complain about the music.
I once said to asrana that if an artist or a band had made *one* good song, even if the entire rest of their output was diabolical, I'd find it. I was exaggerating for effect at the time, but over the last couple of years I've begun to wonder whether I am, in fact, the only person hearing the good in amongst the bad. Or whether I'm the only person even *listening* for it.
Look, I'm not claiming everything out there is good. I have an absolute horror of both Atomic Kitten and Westlife, and no understanding whatsoever of their popularity. But that's not the point.
The point is that out there there are *great* songs, and I'm not talking about in the indie charts or the alternative charts or the dance charts or indeed outside the charts all together, I'm talking about right there in our pop charts, and I am absolutely *sick* of hearing people say "Look at the state of pop music today, it's all manufactured rubbish" and the like.
I'm not arguing that some of it isn't manufactured, either, though I'd argue that that's not necessarily a bad thing. If we're getting good songs to listen to, does it really matter that the people bringing them to us have been selected for it by someone who knew what they were talking about? Personally, I would far rather listen to Girls Aloud bringing us the glittering 'Sound Of The Underground' than four lads who taught themselves to play guitar, badly, singing a song about how much they, like, hate their parents and stuff. I would like the world to *contain* both, certainly - but I see nothing wrong, in terms of music, with the former that is somehow 'right' with the latter.
Just to make sure I'm not accidentally talking nonsense this week, i.e. that the charts aren't by chance uniformly ghastly this week of all weeks, I've been over to the Radio 1 top 40 to check.
I'm not going to go into who is at what number. As is so frequently pointed out, actual singles sales count for little in terms of where in the charts things get these days. Yes, the current number one is awful. No, that's not the point either.
I'm not going to go into the dross, either, because *that* isn't the point. There has always been bad music in the charts at the same time as good music, and it's the good music I want to focus on, because it really does sometimes seem as though *nobody* else is bothering to do that. I can, of course, only speak out of personal taste, and I think it's safe to say that something I love will not be likely to be adored by, say, zoo_music_girl or zotz. That said - things in the current UK top 40 that I think are great :
O-Zone - Dragostea Din Tei - gloriously silly Europop. Perfect.
Kelis - Trick Me - it's sort of reggae, and it's so good that I like it. Really.
Scissor Sisters - Laura - now is not the time for the hundreds-long list of reasons why the Scissor Sisters are so good.
Anastacia - Left Outside Alone - not enough to buy it, but this woman is extraordinary and it *is* good.
Hoobastank - The Reason - has grown and grown on me, and I expect it will go on doing so.
Janet Jackson - All Nite (Don't Stop) - absolutely stunning, gorgeous and subtle harmonies and if you can't be bothered to listen for them, just enjoy it as an extremely sexy song that's heaven to dance to.
The Rasmus - In The Shadows - again, not enough to buy it, but this lot are definitely talented, and I like it to listen to.
Emma [Bunton] - Crickets Sing for Anamaria - I don't know how she's getting away with releasing some of the most unlikely songs around at the moment, but long may it continue.
D12 - My Band - if only Eminem, bless him, would let himself be this daftly brilliant more often.
The Streets - Fit but You Know It - god, but this is good, as has been everything he's released up till now.
If anyone's about to say "that's hardly a lot, is it?", that's a) a quarter of the chart and b) there's a fair amount of the rest of the chart that I haven't knowingly heard. And that's just this week.
I know there are those of you out there who would absolutely hate all of the above songs, but this is my rant and *I like them all*.
And if you can listen to the entire top 40 every week - every week, mind, because there are always new songs coming in to it - and never hear a single thing you like, then by all means, slate modern pop music as much as you like. Actually, slate modern pop music as much as you like anyway - like a certain French gentleman, I defend to the death your right to say it, but, probably unlike a certain French gentleman (although you never know), while you say it I will be over here dancing to Rachel Stevens with a big grin on my face. Damn it.
And *now* I feel better. ~grin~