Kieron Gillen's workblog




"Strange fear I ain't felt for years,
The Boy's coming and I'm close to tears"

I've just found myself grinding my way around my bedroom to the Sugababe's first album in a way that I haven't quite engaged in for God knows how long. This is a sign. The sign is a simple one: I'm drinking again. Not in the way that I used to drink, but in a more common, healthy cheery drinking manner. The sort of drinking where I can go to the pub, head away with a mild buzz and then move with the ethanol distorting the universe just so, just there.

It's a joy. I've probably written about the absolute pleasure of the first Sugababe's album - "One Touch" - before, so I'm not going to repeat myself. Or risk repeating myself, as I'm considering that I may not have actually hammered out those words before. Fuck it - precisis version: Best British Pop Album of the last half decade. No attempt to mini-budget ape the american hyper-R&B science of the period, and only minimal connection with what was actually happening in the British Underground pop of the same period, it just hits twelve virtually perfect sad-hearted teenage symphonies to God... and that's meant in the true sense rather than the Mojo critic one.

(I still remember the almost quietly awed MSN coversation between Chris Houghton and myself where both of us, seemingly simultaneously, realised exactly how good the album wasand how no-one seemed to get it)

Moments in the production just cut right through you, like a tiny fragment of a desperate scratch sounding like the auditory equivalent of lips trying to force a smile one last time and... oh, the album's great. Shamelessly tinny, shamelessly intimate, and shamessly forgotten as all the subtlety of Sugababe V1.0 disappeared in the V2.0 brashness.

(Not that Sugababes V2.0's frictionless surface is in any way an abomination... just something more different. Both "Overload" and "Freak Like Me" are absolute landmarks in nineties pop (Copyright FreakyTrigger 2003), but in such hugely different ways that you really have to stop to force people to appreciate the geometry)

Had an odd moment in the pub on Friday when my music-journalist genes overwhelmed me and I presented those gathered around table with two full-on rants about i) How Modern Mod is an absolute betrayl of the original principles of that founding pop-cult and ii) How "Soldier Girl"'s tryptch of a lyric fires a steel spike through each of the centres of modern pop (i.e. Elation, Depression and Confusion). Arch-Hardware Freelancer Neil Mohr cheerfully notes that I don't normally speak about this sort of stuff, which suddenly makes me realise how estranged one part of my life has got from my other.

I mean, these thoughts are me. Five years ago, the idea that anyone in my company didn't realise that I've got a grotesque hard-on for pop-theory would be an impossibilty. A greeting from me was always accompanied by an extended discourse about - I dunno - the important differences between Angelica and Vyvyan or whoever in post-Kenickie pop-punk or whatever. Now, I've learnt to submerge these thought-flows in favour or something else.

In other words, I've grown up.

Of course, readers of this blog wouldn't know this, since extended pop-epithanies are one of my perennial subjects but... well, the idea that I've succeeded in demarcation in my mental processes is simultaneously exciting and terrifying. It's one step closer to being a cheery suburbanite who at weekends dresses up in (intellectual) drag and goes looking for trouble.

I've wandered off topic, haven't I?

Was there a topic?

Do you care?

I don't think I do.

EDIT: Just stuck on Freak Like Me as an alternative take, and felt a disgusting nasty spasm right on the back of my neck. Just like I'd been picked up and slammed against the wall. I felt the fingernails in that beat. While Sugababes V1.0 offered many things, what they didn't give you was indestructibility.




Kieron Gillen's Workblog, foo'.