In 2012, before her first memoir told us the truth about punk, childbirth and what it’s like to nearly die, Viv Albertine released an album called The Vermilion Border. Reviewing it back then, I was struck by how revolutionary it sounded. Here were songs about real life in raw, unvarnished detail, totally sidestepping metaphor, about IVF, being fed up about being a housewife, being desperate to experience more life as you got older. Albertine could get away with doing songs about ageing, I thought, because she was an old punk. Madonna tried that for a while, got less pop as a consequence, then ran away from it. After all, pop stars generally still had to play young. the 1975’s new single, Give Yourself a Try, began: “You learn a couple of things when you get to my age.” Then Matty Healy discussed grey hairs, and told us about getting “spiritually enlightened at 29”. Florence Welch, 32, was singing about getting over anorexia, and realising love … [Read more...] about ‘We were sad of getting old’: how pop stars are growing up gracefully
Spanish pop star
Pop stars don’t necessarily ponder racial politics when crafting a new direction but they do consider the bottom line. On that front, the wisdom of turning to country is uncertain. Younger Now flopped and Joanne was no hit machine but those albums may prove to be canny routes to longevity. With rock in decline, country is the new epicentre of traditional instrumentation, midtempo ballads and other ingredients that appeal to older listeners. “Justin Timberlake is 36 years old,” says Powers. “He’s a dad. Who can blame him for being inspired by Chris Stapleton, who had his commercial breakthrough at 37? Country fans are loyal, they support live music, they even still buy recordings.” … [Read more...] about Stetsons, beards and good, honest sweat: why pop stars are going back to basics
But, as further proof of how difficult it is to have a relationship in the house, things got tough for Holly and Kyle. So much so, that their cast mates sat them down in series 11, when they were no longer together, and said one of them had to go, admitting they couldn't handle the tension. … [Read more...] about Who is reality TV star Holly Hagan – and why is she worth a whopping £400,000?
3. Berio: Sequenza V (1966) One solo trail will always lead to another. You can quickly discover new stars operating as rebels interested in making the world a freer, fairer, wonderfully odder world, discover the very different things that make them tick, and their own ways of ordering and reordering the universe. Luciano Berio’s Sequenzas were 14 exploratory pieces written for solo instruments of voices between 1958 and 2002 – while all that pop and rock fuss was going on in a very different kitchen. Think of them as a kind of box set, a mysterious, untamed, ancient and modern world to explore, like a great novel or HBO series. My favourite at the moment is V, for solo trombone and, even more madly, for clown (it is a tribute to Grock, whom Berio called “one of the great clowns”)correct, and also for “vivacious” and a little “vicious”. It was written in 1966, the same year as Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde and Cecil Taylor’s Unit … [Read more...] about Paul Morley: ‘Pop belongs to the last century. Classical music is more relevant to the future’
This is part of my stage set from Glastonbury 2010,” says Elly Jackson, AKA La Roux, pointing at an 8ft gold- and silver-plated palm tree. “I got lights fitted in it so it’s a lamp, too,” she continues, her bright orange sweater clashing perfectly with the oversized ornament. But we are not standing in some vast storage space picking out old tour props; we are in her living room in south London, where the palm tree now takes pride of place behind her TV. Even her cat Calypso eyes it up strangely as she settles on the sofa between us. Jackson had to fight to get her bold centrepiece, haggling with the hire company who kept telling her no. “They said: ‘We don’t sell stuff,’ and I was like: ‘I get that, I’m not stupid, but I will give you anything for it.’” … [Read more...] about La Roux: ‘My label dropped me on New Year’s Day. I was like, yippee!’