UK No. 1

The Worst UK No. 1’s of 2016 (posted April 2017)

With Rockabye covered, we’ve finally got to the end of 2016. At last, we can finally chuck the year away and leave it to fester in it’s well deserved pit. But first, time to cross some t’s and dot some i’s with the mandatory Best-Of and Worst-Of lists (posted only a quarter of the way into the year that came after it). First up is the worst list, purely because more people always prefer to read the negative stuff:



Special Mentions

‘Dancing on My Own’ – Calum Scott

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This would’ve been No. 1 on this list had it reached No. 1 in the charts: a detestable track done by an unpleasant stalker pretending to be deep and sensitive. As I’ve already said: this song wants you ‘to deeply sympathise with a potential criminal as he does the stupidest thing he could possibly do in his situation, trying to morph a self-defeating stalker into some form of tragic hero‘. As I’ve also said: ‘Fuck it‘.



The List Itself

#5: ‘Say You Won’t Let Go’ – James Arthur

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This song isn’t bad. In fact, I think it’s fine. It knows what it wants to do and it does it in a way that isn’t actively unpleasant. It is boring though. It takes every trope that every dull male artist used this year and proceeds to do nothing with them. Nothing. And unfortunately for it, there were only 11 UK No 1’s during 2016, meaning that the lower end of this list was always going to feature things I didn’t care for as opposed to things I actively hated. The No. 5 spot eventually became a choice between this song and Justin Bieber’s Love Yourself; Love Yourself does more interesting things so this got the chop. Sometimes ‘fine’ doesn’t cut it.

#4: ‘Pillow Talk’ – ZAYN

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Again, I don’t hate this song. I am disappointed by it though. It was the first single from a departing One Direction member, promising a new direction for Zayn as an icon and a new type of music primed to shake up the charts. It delivered on neither of those promises. The end result is something which wanted ‘to feel like a reinvention of the wheel‘ but was ‘little more than a wheel with the word “WHEEL” written on it‘. The world does not need a post-One-Direction Zayn and it didn’t need this.

#3: ‘One Dance’ – Drake feat. Wizkid & Kyla88
I don’t get Drake and I particularly don’t get this. It’s a miserable, confused, unsatisfying piece which apparently counts as a romantic club hit. I mean seriously, how are people enjoying this? That said, this got it’s position not due to it’s internal qualities but due to its effects on the industry as a whole. Firstly, it was No. 1 for 15 weeks. 15 weeks! Given how dull and contentless this track was, that constituted a complete pausing of the entire record industry for the whole spring. And because it was a massively successful record produced by one of the biggest names in pop, it was immediately followed by a lot of copycats. The result was the second half of 2016: a bloated, unmoving monolith of musicless tracks mumbled by an endless series of uncaring hacks. This song ruined pop music in 2016; culturally, it’s the worst thing Drake has done since “YOLO”.

#2: ‘7 Years’ – Lukas Graham

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My review of this song is a 3,000 word monolith of me trying to figure out if I like it or not. As time has gone on though, I’ve been able to come down on a firm opinion on it: it’s crap. I can appreciate it for it’s scale and grandiosity; what I can’t appreciate is how malformed the syntax is, how messy the lyrics are, and, most fatally, how awfully self-important it is. Even worse than this is Lukas Graham himself whose sense of ego wafts off him like BO from a well-worn gym sock, particularly given that he doesn’t have the writing chops to justify it. This song needs to get over itself, much like Lukas himself.

#1: ‘Stitches’ – Shawn Mendes

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The vapid whining of a nasal hack. Fuck it.


So that’s the shit dealt with, now onto the good stuff. Next time: the top 5 UK No. 1’s of 2016…

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Revisiting “Pillow Talk” by Zayn Malik

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I don’t like going back and editing my work after it’s been posted; I’ll correct spelling errors and syntactical issues as much as I can but I prefer to leave the larger stuff alone. You’ve made the statement; now you have to stand by it. But I’m highly tempted to edit my review of Zayn Malik’s Pillow Talk, honestly because I’m not convinced it’s correct.

I agree with it up until the middle of Section II: boy band music does work through quasi-subversive sexual repression, and Zayn Malik uses Pillow Talk to talk quite openly about this effect. But the idea that Zayn discusses this so as to ruin the effect and stop it from working, thus allowing his audience to move onto new things, doesn’t seem to truly hold water. I don’t believe it.

The issue for me is that the song’s written in the present tense. Zayn isn’t talking about the past where you used to fuck each other senseless while his four friends watched, he’s talking about the present where you’re fucking each other in a private location with no-one else around. Furthermore, while the song isn’t in future tense, the implication seems to be that you two will keep fucking like this long into the future – many people will disapprove of this but you’re happy so who cares? As such, this song doesn’t seem to be deconstructing the use of sex in boy band music as much as it’s admitting that this use happens while hoping to use it itself sometime in the near future. Which, of course, is not half as interesting or progressive a message as I originally prescribed the song with having.

This does fix one of my major issues with Pillow Talk though. I previously complained that Pillow Talk promised a new vision of pop without actually delivering one. If seen as a grand denouncement of Zayn’s previous work designed to ready the public for a entirely new type of pop, then Pillow Talk is crap because very little in it can truly be considered that interesting or new. When you adjust your view of what it’s trying to do though, it turns out that the song does have a distinct vision; it’s just that the the vision is “Exactly the same as the old stuff, only slightly more honest about what it’s doing and done in a somewhat more artsy way”. Which, actually, sounds a fair enough vision to me. It’s not quite the pop cultural revolution that it could’ve been (and was sold to us as) but for what it is, it works quite well.

Since my original review, I’ve had to scale back my views of what this song was doing, but in doing so I’ve found that it’s not as flawed as I first thought. It’s just a shame that the album it came from was largely underwhelming and that the other single from it has largely disappeared without a trace. Zayn’s work is good but ultimately underwhelming; it started well enough but I doubt the pop world’s going to be truly troubled by it anytime soon.

A No. 1 Review – “Writing’s on the Wall” by Sam Smith

This year, I’ve challenged myself to write a review of every song that manages to get to No. 1 in the UK charts. Yes, I do realise that I’m running very behind schedule. Here’s the latest one:

Part One

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What has always confused me about Sam Smith is that I adore every collaboration he’s done (minus his duet with John Legend), yet I hate the work he does on his own. Admittedly, the only things he’s done outside of his own work are a series of collaborations with Disclosure and Naughty Boy but the point still stands: there’s something about his voice that’s astounding in others people’s tracks which is completely missing from his own.

That said, there is one Sam Smith song I unequivocally love: Money on my Mind. The reason I love it is the chorus: he delivers the line “I don’t have money on my mind” as some form of a bell-curved squawk, producing something truly original the likes of which I’ve never heard.

The question is thus what separates Disclosure, Naughty Boy and Money on my Mind from the rest of Sam Smith’s discography. The answer to that question is actually quite obvious once asked though, the previous songs being electronic dance numbers while Sam Smith himself usually writes soulful gospel-inspired ballads. And the problem is that careening multi-octave warbling placed over gospel music makes too much sense to me.

Thanks to the X-Factor, we’re regularly inundated with at least one song a year, usually released around Christmas, which mistakes cramming as many notes as possible over an orchestra for producing something with scale and emotion. The result is that this type of over-the-top singing has now become the standard for this type of music: if you have more than one violin being played in the background, then the singer’s going to be shouting 100 notes a minute at the top of their voice. As such, for all that Sam Smith is a very idiosyncratic singer in the grand scheme of things, he’s actually a pretty traditional singer for the genre in which he works.

Electronic music however is defined by its somewhat inhuman bleeps and bloops: it’s a genre built out of packaged beats and repeated chords. You rarely get people doing particularly inventive singing in these tracks: vocals are either very robotic or very direct. As such, put a Sam Smith vocal track over your electronic song and it suddenly stands out, his voice completely contrasting against what is traditional for its musical backing. The fact that his multi-tonal twaddling then mixes with the music, thus usually elevating it, is a bonus. Compared to these tracks, his other work just feels like him taking the easy route. Of course someone like him would have orchestral backing; of course someone with orchestral backing sings like that. Put next to his more idiosyncratic collaborations, his original tracks have no way of comparing because they’re just not as interesting to think about or listen to.

In many ways, the problems I have with Sam Smith’s songs in general are the problem I have with Writing on the Wall: it’s a Sam Smith song and it’s a James Bond theme and it sounds like exactly what you would expect from both of these things. What it doesn’t sound like is something which any originality, passion or thought gone into it: Sam Smith sings about the same things he always sings about, doing so against the same type of music he always makes, adjusted just enough to sound as stereotypically Bond-esque as possible.

Basically my problem with Writing’s on the Wall is that it sounds like it’s been written on auto-pilot in about 20 minutes. Which, according to Sam Smith, is exactly what happened. The fact that Sam Smith is open about this and seems pretty proud of that fact thus makes it sound like he just doesn’t care about it. It’s See You Again all over again: an attempted emotional tie-in movie product that no-one’s put any emotion into.

Part Two

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That said, putting your standard Sam Smith song as the theme tune to a James Bond movie is an interesting move in itself. James Bond is basically the British icon of stoic masculinity: the smooth, violent male who goes to clubs to drink martinis and shag the nearest girl to him. James Bond’s a lad: a classy lad, but a lad nonetheless.

To then have Sam Smith warbling about a failed relationship is just bizarre because the James Bond series doesn’t typically deal with this type of material. They killed his wife five minutes after marrying him and then immediately forgot about it: angsting about lost lovers is something that the series just doesn’t do. The closest it ever got to doing this was probably Quantum of Solace and that film’s such a mess, the plot point basically disappears into the background before too long (like the rest of the plot, really).

This ignored treatment of non-sexual relationships feeds into societal messages about masculinity: to be masculine being traditionally seen to be stoic and quiet, the average male reaction to a relationship breakup being (according to traditional narratives) to go to a pub and drink by yourself until another woman comes along to bring you out of your shell. To have a highly masculine series feature a theme song about openly whining about relationships is thus surprisingly subversive: being emotional is masculine now.

This type of thing is fantastic. Stoicism is, in my eyes, little more than a poison, robbing men of the ability to actually ever deal with their problems and causing the extremely rates of depression and suicide which we’re seeing within young male subcultures at the moment. The more that we have masculine heroes who can cry about their problems and work through them via methods which aren’t repression and anger, the better.

So actually, for all I’ve said about this song not being interesting, it is. This isn’t a virtue located within the song itself admittedly – the very idea of a Sam Smith song being an official James Bond theme is interesting in its own right, no matter what song it is – but it at least gives the song some definitive worth.

Part Three

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So is this song a good Sam Smith song? No; it’s more of the same and I’m not a fan of the same. Is it a good James Bond theme? No; it’s not strong enough and really has no hooks to keep you listening. Is it a good pop song? No; it’s unimaginative and passionless. Is it a good song? No; for all the reasons above.

We wouldn’t be hearing this song as much as we are if it wasn’t for the fact that it’s the current Bond theme. It’s a carelessly composed marketing ploy that no-one cares much for.

And with that, I’ve actually wrote something on every song that’s got to No. 1 in the UK so far. I’m caught up for the first time in months! I wonder how long that’ll last.

A No. 1 Review – “What Do You Mean?” by Justin Bieber

This year, I’ve challenged myself to write a review of every song that manages to get to No. 1 in the UK charts. Yes, I do realise that I’m running very behind schedule. Here’s the latest one:

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What the hell British public?! First you put me through the tedium of Meghan Tranor and Charlie Puth combined: then you put me through the same Jess Glynne song that’s she’s been singing all year: then you show me the failed promise of Fight Song; then you make me listen to a Justin Bieber song?! Seriously?! This is the worst period of No. 1s I’ve ever had to cover on this blog. This is the utter nadir of the year. I mean, Jesus.

Believe it or not, I try my best not to be a caustic critic. I want to tell you that Little Mix’s Black Magic is a feminist magick trick and that Lost Frequencies’ Are You With Me is a sterling example of Derridean deconstruction. It’s just hard to say things like this so many songs nowadays are just so obviously worked on by people who don’t care. The current pop scene is broken. It’s just not working.

And thus we have Justin Bieber: the poster child for exactly how broken the pop industry is and the negative effects that this failure has on people. This guy’s an arsehole: an unrepentant, egotistical douche who believes he can do anything without any repercussions. The problem is that he’s not wrong. More to the point, it’s almost impossible for him to be anything but. From his youngest years, he’s been groomed to be a pop star; he was then gifted fame at an early age and proceeded to have his teenage years torn away from him while simultaneously being surrounded by an endless series of Yes Men paid to treat him like the second messiah. Of course he’s lost his grip on reality with a life like that. Of course he goes through life, doing whatever he wants.

That’s been my main problem with pop music since the start of the blog: most of it lacks any connection to the real world. The works of Jess Glynne and self-professed self-empowerment icons talk so vaguely of things in the real world that their works become useless within it; the slew of recent retro throwbacks just avoid the topic entirely; and club music is currently being torn down by those who write it purely because no-one relates to it anymore. Modern pop music, for the most part, just doesn’t care about people’s day-to-day existence and you have to literally fluke your way into producing anything that is.

In this way, we can begin to understand exactly why Justin Bieber is so hated: not just because he’s a sociopathic arsehole but he’s exactly the type of sociopathic arsehole who today’s modern pop scene would create and allow to thrive. Justin Bieber perfectly represents everything that is terrible about modern pop: when we look at him, we are literally looking at the Neitzchean abyss which lies at the bottom of our music industry. And the thing about an abyss is that the more you look at it, the more it looks like you. We created Justin Bieber. We paid for the world in which he lives. We’re rewarded him by buying his works. We’re the people who made him happen. We look at Bieber and we hate him, but really we hate ourselves. We hate what pop music has become. We hate what we’ve become.

I argued that One Direction’s hatedom is overblown in relation to how terrible they actually are. Justin Bieber is one of the worst things in pop music, occupying the bottom spot alongside Chris Brown, Lil Wayne and every other bullheaded monster that modern pop has created. I’m loath to even have to talk about him, nevermind his new No. 1

Oh yeah; his new No. 1. It sucks. Of course it does. But no: I don’t want to be a caustic critic. I don’t want to produce 700 word rants about why everything is horrible and why nothing has meaning anymore. I want to write a positive interpretation of What Do You Mean? by Justin Bieber, arguing that it’s an understated work which deals directly with material existence. I want to pretend that it’s art, just so I can.

So that’s what I’ve done. It’s just not part of this post.

A No. 1 Review – “Fight Song” by Rachael Platten

This year, I’ve challenged myself to write a review of every song that manages to get to No. 1 in the UK charts. Yes, I do realise that I’m running very behind schedule. Here’s the latest one:

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There’s a distinct subgenre of pop song that I just can’t abide: the “boisterous person shouts about how much life has beaten them down but they’re not going to let it stop them” song, examples of which include such trash as Katy Perry’s Roar, Kelly Clarkson’s Heartbeat Song, the entire discography of Jess Glynne and (today’s primary subject) Rachel Patten’s Fight Song.

The reason I don’t like them is because I think that most of them are just too vague to be useful. The main point of these types of songs is to serve as catalysts for audience self-insertion – they’re designed for people who are feeling betrodden by life to sing out loud and increase their confidence. Unfortunately, this idea is entirely unsustainable. You’re not going to fix your insecurities by just shouting that you’re strong and expecting the world to fall into line accordingly. Strength and cliches alone won’t make you unstoppable: being able to identify your faults and thus come up with strategies to combat them will.

Take Katy Perry’s Roar for example.

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“I used to bite my tongue and hold my breath/ Scared to rock the boat and make a mess / I let you push me past the breaking point […] You held me down, but I got up / Already brushing off the dust / You hear my voice, you hear that sound […] I went from zero, to my own hero.”

Certainly sounds like a narrative, doesn’t it, telling us a story about one of Katy Perry’s relationships. But what story? What relationship? What did the “You” of the song do to Katy Perry? What did she say to him? What were the tangible results? In short: what do I have to learn from this song? That if I want to be heard more, I should speak louder? Why thanks Katy Perry; I would’ve never figured that out on my own.

Just as an experiment, let’s set a problematic relationship and see if Roar can help. Let’s say that I’m in a relationship with someone who doesn’t value me enough, I know they’re not purposefully doing it, I want to stay with them, and I believe that the relationship would be fine if only we could get it sorted out. Given all the above, it’s obvious that I need to talk to my partner but what do I tell them? How will it affect the relationship? How do I make sure that no-one gets offended or that what I have to say isn’t taken the wrong way? Roar has no useful answers; it merely tells me to speak up, the thing I know I want to do anyway.

Katy Perry: “Do that thing you want to do.”

Me: “How?”

Katy Perry: *shrugs*

It’s useless.

Now let’s say that I’m someone trapped in an abusive relationship who wants out. Based on this song, I tell my abuser to stop attacking me and thus get the worse beating of my life. Now the song’s refusal to specify what type of relationship it’s actually on about has become dangerous.

Now let’s say that I’m in a relationship which isn’t working and which no-one’s comfortable with ending. Finally, the song might actually convince someone to cut it off and carry on. But this type of relationship is the type that will fall apart anyway. If your relationship is so low stakes that something like Roar is useful to you, you can barely be said to need Roar at all.

At it’s most functional, Roar is thus nothing but a fast-forward button for minor problems. More commonly, it’s just nothing. No-one will ever truly have a use for the song; it means nothing to no-one. And that’s a critique which can be applied to most songs like it.

Fight Song does actually work to fix many of these problems though.

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Rachael Platten claims that she’s “a small boat / On the ocean / Sending big waves / Into motion”; that she’s “losing friends” and “chasing sleep [while] everybody’s worried [because she’s] in too deep”. So what she going to do? Nothing! She’s going keep on singing her “Fight Song” and carry on doing what she wants to anyway, fuck the consequences. She’s an individual and is not going to let social pressures stop her from saying what she wants to say. She doesn’t even promise that she’ll enjoy doing what she wants: she foresees her future as being a “fight”, yet she’s going to do it anyway.

So what makes Platten’s song better than Roar? The answer’s simple: it keeps its message specific. Her sea metaphors and the lack of a singular person to whom the song is addressed removes the idea that the song is about a relationship and turns it into a song about Platten being against nature itself, the song pinpointedly defining itself as being about one person against the world around her. In particular, the use of the term “Fight Song” defines the song as being about artistic endeavors and the music biz – it’s telling young artists to hold onto their original voices in an industry infamous for taking original ideas and sanding them down ’til they’re invisible. This might limit the people to whom this song has some material use but it has its defined demographic and it has a message which can actually help them. Roar tries to remain vague enough to apply to anything and thus barely applies to anything at all.

Fight Song still can’t be said to work though. For a song which is about originality in the face of an increasingly bland industry, it’s such a shame that it’s music and presentation style are so similar to many other songs around it. I mean hell, it’s title is almost identical to Kelly Clarkson’s Hearbeat Song. Similarly, a lot of the metaphors used are cliched and lazy to me: everyone uses water metaphors nowadays and the “wrecking balls inside my brain” line is only capable of making me think of Miley Cyrus. The result is a song which champions originality while lacking any original features of it’s own. It’s better than most other songs like it, but that’s not truly saying much at all.

A No. 1 Review – “Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself” by Jess Glynne

This year, I’ve challenged myself to write a review of every song that manages to get to No. 1 in the UK charts. Yes, I do realise that I’m running very behind schedule. Here’s the latest one:05

At the end of my review of Not Letting Go, I asked if we could “stop giving Jess Glynne No. 1 hits. Please?” Apparently the answer was no.

And her new single features everything I hate about Jess Glynne, including my main reason I hate her songs: that it’s exactly the same as every single other thing she’s done. Jess Glynne has one song which she sings ad infinitum: clubby pop songs featuring vague platitudes about how Jess Glynne is lonely and how much that hurts/how little she’s going to let that stop her.

And what is Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself? Why, it’s a clubby pop song featuring vague platitudes about how Jess Glynne is lonely and how much that hurts/how little she’s going to let that stop her. Big surprise. There’s no imagination here; no sense of Jess Glynne stretching herself or exploring news; in short, there’s no sense of any artistic merit of this song at all. At this point, Jess Glynne just works on autopilot. You could put all of her songs into a machine, strip them to their component parts and produce new songs by merely pressing “Random” and selling whatever comes out. Hell, that’s probably what she does.

Which wouldn’t be too bad if she was actually any good at what she does. All of the songs of hers that I’ve reviewed have had fundamental flaws: Rather Be is an artistic veneer hiding Glynne’s hollow coreReal Love uses the word “real” without ever specifying what “real” or “fake” are in its context; Hold My Hand is a contradictory mess of duelling clichés; and Not Letting Go is a duet between two lovers who don’t seem to have ever been in the same room as each other.

The problem is that despite how much I dislike it, I have to admit that Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself basically works. It’s composed of simple verses about how loneliness can make you lose yourself, intermixed with an inspirational chorus about how you shouldn’t let that happen. The music in the sadder verse sounds lower and sadder; the music in the more triumphant chorus sounds higher and triumphant. It works. At last, a Jess Glynne song that gets simple things right!

I still fucking hate it. Is this a sign that Jess Glynne has surpassed her former flaws and is now able to produce bigger and better work? Barely. If you have so many basic tenants that you mix at random and endlessly repeat them, it eventually becomes a mathematical certainty that some of them will work and some of them won’t. This is one of the ones that, by a complete fluke, managed to work. It isn’t good, it’s lucky.

Maybe if more songs like this get released, I’ll change my tune and admit that Jess Glynne is basically competent. At the moment though, she’s little more than a random-number-generator that only works one time out of five.

Can we please stop giving Jess Glynne No. 1 hits. Please?

A No. 1 Review – “Marvin Gaye” by Charlie Puth feat. Meghan Trainor

These next few reviews are going to be odd, if only because they’re for songs that I’m not convinced I can give an unbiased, analytical response to. These songs just deeply annoy me; they’re exactly the type of things that I hate. Yet I’m not convinced that they’re bad songs per say – they’re adequate texts, they’re just ones I don’t respond to well.

Of course, I run a review blog; all of my work is inherently biased – the idea of an unbiased, purely analytical reading of anything is a fallacy. But let’s let that curtain drop for once: we can go back to theorising on the state of modern pop music and on the alchemal sexual politics of Little Mix songs after I’ve just got a few rants off my chest. Up first:

Marvin Gaye – Charlie Puth feat. Meghan Trainor

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I hated Charlie Puth’s last song because his performance ripped off Sam Smith. I hated Meghan Trainor’s last No. 1 because of her regressive sexual politics and the fact that she somehow managed to rip herself off. Yet combine both of them into one song and I don’t mind it: Puth sounds like himself this time while Trainor provides a softer-than-usual performance which strikes against her usual sense of entitled egotism and renders her quite likable.

No, the problem with this song is it’s lyrics. In particular, the problem with this song is the singular lyric “Let’s Marvin Gaye and get it on” which I’m convinced is one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard.

The problem is that exactly pinning down what’s wrong with that sentence is difficult. Marvin Gaye is a sexy guy who made sexy music; as such, using him as a synonym for sexy seems to make sense. Yet actually doing so is just moronic. Why? Well, while watching a documentary (something featuring Dawn Porter), I once heard Peter Stringfellow say that “Funny isn’t sexy”. I disagree with that statement but it is what eventually led me to what I think the problem is: that the song’s cute and cuteness isn’t sexy.

The lyrics of this song are a couple talking about how much they want to fuck each other. “Let’s Marvin Gaye” thus becomes the couple’s pet name for sex – the type of cute oh-look-at-us-we’re-so-intimate-and-shit terminology that any couple will eventually develop between themselves. By using this type of terminology, the song is thus situating us outside of their relationship, looking in on two people as they get touchy-feely, talk to each other in baby voices and assume the rest of the world will put with their bullshit because they’re in love and that’s all that matters. We’ve all been sat to these people, either on the bus or on a night out – the types of people to whom the outside world no longer exists because they’ve got someone else permanently grafted to the end of their nose.

The problem with cuteness and sexiness though is that the two are basically on separate ends of the spectrum. Cuteness is associated with innocence and childhood; innocence and childhood being largely defined by adults as the state of being unconcerned with sex. This song is thus trying to pretend it’s something it’s not. It’s an innocent song about how much the narrators want to fuck and that just doesn’t work.

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And there’s the problem with “Let’s Marvin Gaye and get it on”: it’s a very childish way of describing something which is very adult. It thus ends up sounding like two people describing something they have no way of knowing about. They think they’re being clever but actually they just sound ignorant and stupid.

Indeed – more than her sexual politics, more than the fact that all her songs are basically the same, more than the way she seems desperate to define herself as a purely sexual object – this is why I fundamentally dislike Meghan Trainor. She thinks that lyrics like “I’m a dog without a bone” or “I’ll be sleeping on the left side of the bed / Open doors for me and you might get some… kisses” are clever, adult jokes; yet in reality they’re just the type of adolescent innuendo that you’re supposed to grow out of. There’s a truly adult and subversive music project to be built out of making highly sexualised songs with a 50’s doo-wop sound but the power of that project will come out of the contrast between the innocence of the music and the debauchery of the lyrics. Meghan Trainor uses innuendo and last-word switches to pretend that the lyrics of her songs are as innocent as the rest of her music and thus the point of the sexual lyrics are completely lost. Her texts are what immature people think mature work is like: i.e. texts which are exactly the same as childish material, only with sex.

Now, of course, all of this can be easily refuted due to the fact that it relies upon the idea that being cute isn’t sexy. I have no doubt that there are people to whom cuteness is sexy. I also have no doubt that there are people to whom watching two people be head-over-heels with each other is wonderful, not annoying. In short: I have no doubt that there are people to whom this song is genuinely romantic. And indeed, the music and the singing are fine. Not since the 50 Shades soundtrack have we had a song which sounds this genuinely lovestruck. But the lyrics mean that it’s ultimately not for me. When I say that Thinking Out Loud is an incompetent mess that people are wrong for liking, I mean it. When I say that people are wrong for facilitating Jason Derulo’s endlessly hideous wankstains, I mean that. But if you actually like Marvin Gaye and think it’s a good song, then I can’t blame you. I just don’t like it. I think it’s a dumb song sung by dumb people.

I will stand by what I say about Meghan Trainor in general though, whether you like Marvin Gaye or not: her persona isn’t clever and it doesn’t work.

Speaking of people whose persona doesn’t work…