Friday, January 13, 2006

1001 Greatest Pop Songs Of All Time - #11 - Doin' The Do by Betty Boo

Edward O: There will no doubt by many people, of a certain age, obsessed with the magic of the charts, long before they were exsanguinated by the hideous, slow death of Pop as a viable commercial force, who used to arise early on a Saturday morning to watch the Top Sixty on Rage like I did. Now, they only show the top 50, and it contains James Blunt, so why bother. My first memory of Betty Boo came on a morning like this when I spotted it at Number 16, seemingly from out of nowhere.

I had no idea what to make of this exotic-looking spitfire, who strutted down a school hallway in a leather jacket, dropping cheeky rhymes over de-rigeur early-90s pop dance, accompanied by aural AND visual AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHs and absolutely dripped cool, but I knew I loved it. Too much of a cartoon to be part of the young'un's burgeoning sexuality like, say, Madonna, but carrying with her a quirky manner that her dizzy, low-budget videos emphasised perfectly.

And the song itself was an absolute blinder. While dancing in a science lab and being pulled down a corridor by her ears by her dowdy teacher, she spat our her fun rhymes with simple, but magical wordplay: "Wipe that smile off your face, you're a side effect, like an aftertaste" being one of THE best pop put-downs of all time, interspersed with the deliciously meaningless and infectious (despite its performer-reflexive specificity) chorus. And lots of other brilliant touches, courtesy of both Alison Clarkson's excellent songwriting and the golden hands of The Beatmasters, who always cared more for danceability than credibility - the nagging noise underneath the verses, perfectly accompanying Betty's big-noting, AND the bits in the videos where she's being hated on, the massive, ascending AAAAH bits, the quick-fire but endearingly clunky beats, the Brit-girl rap that gave no attention to being streat, just being fizzy fun even though her flow's pretty great to begin with and the little flecks of dance and house that underlie the whole fantastic project.

Of course, during a promo tour for her second album, she was found miming to a backing tape. In Melbourne, a city I thought liked pop and wasn't a haven for stodgy rockists. Amazing that this killed her career back then when amazing pop stars of today like Britney can get away with it even for those who pay big money. As such, her second album, featuring one of 1992's best ballads, "Hangover", which, if Nicola Roberts MUST COVER if she tries to go solo, went completely tits up in a tide against "manufactured" pop in favour or whatever rubbish was considered more real then.

But some of us never forgot. We devoured her writing credits and dreamed of the day she would come back to smite the fun-haters. And we shall be rewarded.


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