Robyn – Hang With Me

Following up a massive hit is one of the more interesting challenges that faces the jobbing pop star. When you’ve had a huge no.1 record – especially an unexpected one […]

Michael Sembello – Maniac

Let’s play a game of doppelgänger intros – 80s edition. I always have a moment of exquisite confusion when this comes on in a club – which admittedly hasn’t happened in a long time […]

Jill Sobule – Supermodel

Sometimes I think I take pop a bit too seriously, because it irks me to this day that Jill Sobule isn’t a superstar. In the mid-nineties I was briefly part […]

New Order – Bizarre Love Triangle

The best pop should be exciting – it should make you run around the house or hurtle to the dance floor as soon as you hear the opening bars, and it should […]

Little Boots – Every Night I Say a Prayer

We’ve talked a little before about stealth marketing, and here’s another time where there’s a whole lot of stealth but very little marketing. I’m referring in this case to the concept […]

Prides – Messiah

As a card-carrying Scottish person (the card donates my organs to Greggs the Bakers) I’m ashamed to admit that I hadn’t actually heard of Prides until they popped up at the […]

Stevie Nicks – Stand Back

Here she comes again – and this time it’s a solo Stevie Nicks effort, and boy does she mean business. Yes, it’s the brilliant Stand Back – and the story of this song is […]

Prefab Sprout – Hey Manhattan!

Prefab Sprout – the perennial bridesmaids of the British music scene. Despite being eminently loveable, and with a sizeable dowry of ace tunes, they never quite made it to pop’s altar to […]

Aretha Franklin – Another Night

1985 saw the legendary Aretha Franklin well into the third distinct phase of her career. Starting out in 1961 as a gospel artist on Columbia Records, her move to Atlantic in 1967 saw […]

Kylie Minogue – Your Disco Needs You

Question: can you have a hit so gay it irrevocably changes your career? Even damages it? Answer: yes you can. Case in point: Go West by Pet Shop Boys. Back in 1993 Neil Tennant was yet […]

Frida Sundemo – Snow

I’m often puzzled by the way record companies go about their business. If you were running a shop and had an exciting new product, would you leave it in the […]

Saint Etienne – Nothing Can Stop Us

If I had a lab and made a pop group in a sort of Weird Science-y way, Saint Etienne is what I would come up with. When I chanced upon Foxbase Alpha in 1991 I […]

Ruth Lorenzo – Dancing in the Rain

This may be an unpopular viewpoint, but something went terribly, terribly wrong at last year’s Eurovision Song Contest. While it was amazing in all kinds of ways that Conchita Wurst triumphed on […]

ABBA – When All is Said and Done

Knowing when to leave a party is a trick that not many pop stars have learned – realising that the lights are about to come up and making a dignified […]

Mylène Farmer – Désenchantée

We return now to the realm of French pop and its undisputed queen, Mylene Farmer. Were you inclined to put Madonna and Pet Shop Boys into a blender and blitz on full power […]

The Other Two – Selfish

There are perhaps no words in pop more terrifying than Side Project. A side project occurs when one or more members of a successful band form another one in between […]

Talk Talk – Living in Another World

No-one could ever accuse Talk Talk of selling out for short-term gain. More than any other band of their time they appeared to be on a very specific journey, one that […]

Summer Camp – Fresh

If you’ve ever wondered what Modern Romance fronted by a Nolan sister would sound like, look no further. Channelling 1981 to quite spectacular effect, Summer Camp‘s Fresh is a wonderful dollop of supperclub […]

Tegan and Sara – I Was a Fool

This is the record that answers the question no-one was asking: if Barbara Dickson and Elaine Paige were lesbian twin sisters from Canada, what would they sound like? The answer […]

Betsy Cook – Love is the Groove

Sometimes, even when you make a really great album, have a bit of a marketing budget, get a modicum of radio play and have a label willing to put out […]