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Frankie, my dear, I don’t give a damn

So farewell then, Frankie Cocozza, colossal bellend and star of this years X Factor. Looking like the results of an unprotected liaison between Rod Stewart and a horse circa 1973, he strode the stage like a short-arsed police artist rendering of Pete Doherty, if Pete Doherty had been in Westlife rather than the Libertines.

Continue reading

New year and what we can(not) look forward to

Well, that was 2010. The year began with people not doing what Simon Cowell told them and ended with, erm, people doing what Simon Cowell told them. Matt Cardle covered a Biffy Clyro song and made X Factor credible. Apparently.

So what of 2011? What new things will excite us, drive us insane with musical lust, make us storm buildings and fight the powers? Well, The Pigeon Detectives are in the studio…so not there, obviously. Continue reading

A few minutes of silence – Anti-XFactor group uses Cage piece

A new anti X Factor campaign has been launched to beat this year’s X Factor winner in the race to Christmas Number One.

Madness star Suggs and dance acts Orbital and Pendulum are amongst the musicians heading up the campaign and last night they recorded John Cage’s experimental work 4’33” – the sound of musicians doing nothing – at a studio in Soho London.

And if that doesn’t inspire in you a deep-seated and unmistakable urge to punch everyone involved in it in the face before buying thirty copies of whatever pap Cowell’s peddling this Christmas, you’ve gone wrong.

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The X-Factor – Can we all calm down a bit please?

Well, it was the cute Geordie who won in the end up. Cherubic little Joe McElderry won ITV’s talent extravaganza, pipping the less charismatic Olly Murs for the title. It was probably a fair result, as he definitely had the best voice. He’s won a recording contract worth a million quid, apparently – aye, right – and a guaranteed Christmas number 1. He’s a lot more Joseph and his Technicolour Dreamcoat than Josef K, but he seems a nice lad and ELM wishes him all the best.

Yet, today has seen much wailing and gnashing of teeth from those on the side of all that is good and pure in the music industry. The X-Factor is stopping real bands from making money. It takes up valuable resources which we could be putting into some type of utopian artist’s commune, where we could grow proper songwriters to sing about all the bad things like war and that. Or something. Anyway, it is categorically a bad thing and Simon Cowell might as well grow a pencil moustache to go with his black shirts and just admit he’s a fascist. Continue reading

News Nuggets – Now made from 100% mechanically recovered news

neeeervanaThe end of a decade is a strange, unsettling time. Caught on the cusp of what has been and what is yet to come, we huddle in front of our flatscreens desperately trying to make sense of it all. Are you confused just now? You are not alone. The questions, those unanswerable questions, just seem to mount up….like, what’s with Richard Hammond’s hair in those Morrison’s adverts? Seriously. He looks like someone has cruelly blow-dried a basset hound whilst high on acid.

But we can’t sit here and talk about important issues like that, not when we have this week’s news round-up for you. Continue reading

Leonard Cohen To Dominate Christmas Charts!

Happy Christmas, with love from Leonard

Happy Christmas, with love from Leonard

No, you read that right. As you are no doubt aware, the Ladies Man has had a pretty good year, selling out tours across the UK and Europe (despite charging a minimum £104 for a ticket!) and is now looking very likely to occupy both the number one and number two positions in the UK Christmas Chart.

If you smell something stenchy and fish-like, weeeellllllll……you are kinda right. Cohen will not, sadly, be occupying either of the top slots but instead it will be one of his songs which gains him the honour. As most of Britain by now knows, X Factor winner Alexandra Burke has recorded a version of the siren of suave’s 1984 song ‘Hallelujah’ which Britain will send to the top of the pops, as it always does with the X Factor winners first single.

But, this has attracted some controversy, as we mentioned last week, in the cyber world amongst fans of Jeff Buckley who believe that his version, from 1994’s seminal ‘Grace’ album, remains the definitive version. And, to their credit, they have launched an internet campaign – geek porn, that phrase – to get his version to number one as a spoiler.

Impossible a few years ago, of course, but in these digital download days, eminently feasible. Indeed, last week they sent it to number 30 and the provisional chart yesterday had it at number three. It’s a shame that Buckley’s most successful chart appearance will be due to a rather flatulent internet gimmick, but if a few more people hear the sheer undiluted majesty of his version, then it’s a good thing. Perhaps. Burke’s cover, for the record, is a passable pop clunker of a cover. It has as much soul as Brandon Flowers, but that’s not really the market it is aimed it. The young lady actually has some talent, let’s hope the Cowell machine doesn’t kick it out of her in the next few months.

History could very well be made, though dribbly pop culture history, it’s history nonetheless; “We suddenly have the very real prospect of two different covers of the same song occupying the No 1 and 2 slots,” said Gennaro Castaldo, a spokesman for the retailer HMV. “I don’t think this has ever happened in UK charts history, and certainly not for Christmas.”

So, Mr Cohen – possibly the least likely songwriter to provide some festive cheer – will be entitled to a big smile as he sups his malt this week. Apart from the massive critical and commercial success of his tour, he was inducted into the Rock’N’Roll Hall of Fame in March. ELM would actually like to call for the hat-trick; everyone download John Cale’s version and let’s see if we can get that to number three. If you’re gonna do it, do it right – that’s our motto!

(While this article is, as you probably gathered, a bit light-hearted, we discovered during the writing the rather unpalatable fact that they are all on the same label. A spokesman for Sony BMG said the company hoped Burke would take the top spot, but conceded: “Obviously it would be brilliant if Jeff got to No 2.” Christ, that’s depressing, isn’t it?)

Jeff Buckley version

John Cale Version

and in the interests of balance.

Alexandra Burke

Reality Show Bites

Much wailing and gnashing of teeth recently about the news that the winner of this years X-Factor – a low-rent version of American Idol, for our overseas readers – is to release, as their first single, a cover of the magnificent ‘Hallelujah’. Music snobs – i.e. people like us – have been left in a state of uncontrolled agitation by the news. My favourite line in the whole hoo-ha came on the Guardian blog, where a poster sagely noted that there “are some songs you just don’t cover” and that “Jeff Buckley must be spinning in his grave”. The irony being, of course, that Buckley’s version was a cover, the song being a Leonard Cohen composition and Buckley’s version bearing more resemblance to John Cale’s superb take on it.

It is sacrilege of course, but I find it hard to get worked up about it. X Factor isn’t about music, it’s about television and making money, roughly in that order. The recorded version of this song will be an utter abortion no doubt, but it’ll be easily avoided. Radio One and those ghastly digital TV Pop stations will play it, it will rocket to number one – the Great British public have shown in the past that the X Factor winner could release a spoken version of Fred West’s Diary  for their first single and they’d still send it to the top – die on it’s arse after a few weeks and then the winner might make it (a la Leona Lewis) but probably won’t (a la all the others.) This is not Simon Cowell having a Damascene conversion to the ethereal beauty of real music, this is about the most-watched YouTube clip of this years X Factor being contestant and favourite to win Diana warbling her version of this in an earlier round. That sealed the deal. This isn’t art, it’s commerce.

The other big news from the X Factor was the genuine outrage in the British newspapers that Britney Spears appeared on the show and mimed her new single. “It’s a singing contest!” they gasped, all indignant and puffed up by their recent ‘success’ in the Brand/Ross farrago. Well, y’know, Britney Spears…singing…never really been the point, has it? Britney Spears made it on the back of a video which, cruelly but accurately, tapped into every male on the planet’s pervier Lolita side.  She’s not a singer, she’s a performer, Miley Cyrus with a divorce and two kids. Good Lord, having her mime was probably a bonus, we are not talking the Voice of an Angel here.

Overall, it’s daft to get worked up about manufactured pap. Save your ire for people like James Blunt and Duffy – as soulless and hateable as anything Cowell ever produced, but with pretensions of relevance and a fanbase who actually don’t realise they are feeding their ears vacuum-packed emptiness in three minute chunks. Platitudinous nonsense for the generation who bought too many shoes. That’s the real enemy. They deserve your hatred, the Pop machine just your contempt.