I have a few things that I wanted to get off my chest regarding my Alphabeat album review that seem better fitted to a thread here, that will probably be lost by morning, than underneath the review itself. To an extent reviews should speak for themselves and I (generally) prefer not to interfere with the commentary underneath, which is the readers' playground.
First off, there were a couple of contentious points I made – partly simply to be contentious, but also with a serious undertone. The obvious one is the "If you don't like this band, you do not like pop music" line. There is a large portion of Drowned In Sound (readers/staff) that this comment was aimed at, rather than anyone in particular.
In my view Alphabeat embody all the ingredients that make a perfect pop band. They are a bouncy, colourful, cute, silly, motley crew, full of personality and just the right side of cartoonish, who are also great fun live. They play classic full-band pop, like ABBA, The Monkees, etc. Their songs are incredibly carefully constructed, with every verse, chorus and bridge expertly crafted without falling into the trap of being immediately derivative of any past hits, yet they know when to reference them for effect here and there then move on, like all good pop bands should. Don’t agree? I’d love to hear a cojent argument to that end.
To me, it seems oddly hypocritical that two bands this week (Feeder and Foo Fighters), who offer up nothing but rehashed, unoriginal, done-to-death boy-rock music should receive glowing endorsements without many people batting an eyelid, whilst Alphabeat, who there really hasn’t been any band like in years and who have a sackful of brilliant songs to boot, is marked down and generally sneered at by all sides. So personality-free guys with distortion peddles should be given get-out-of-jail-free cards to come up with dull, insipid music for the rest of their lives? Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to take any and all abuse about the standard of my writing or my music taste. Go ahead. It gives me a little warm feeling inside.
But tell me honestly: do you really like pop music? Personally, I don’t think it counts if you throw ‘Umbrella’, or whatever the current kitsch hit it’s okay to like, in to your DJ set between DFA1979 and Mclusky. Nor is it admitting liking a couple of Britney songs, or ‘Cry Me A River’ to your mates. Yes, there’s a little bit of irony in liking this stuff, but a good song is a good song no matter whether it is performed by a geeky American indie boy or a bubbly blonde Swedish cheerleader.
Pop is the route surely 99% of everyone here first took to get to their current favourite bands and records. I like Earth and Sun Kil Moon and Hot Snakes and Deerhoof as much as the next DiS person, and I’d rather sell my grandma into slavery than listen to Westlife or Atomic Kitten. My opinion on Alphabeat is my own and no doubt many will disagree, but don’t pretend they’re worth any more or less of a balanced opinion than any of the above.