Sunday, February 12, 2006

1001 Greatest Pop Songs Of All Time - #25 - 4ever by The Veronicas

Claire: I often wonder if my current Sissyphus attitude to music (every time I push the rock back up the hill, it seems another James Blunt or Smashing Pumpkins “hit” depresses me and so I start again, trying to push the rock back up the hill and feel positive about music again) is justified. I mean, obviously a world with James Blunt, Jack Johnson, Pete Murray AND Bernard Fanning isn’t one to be happy about, but maybe I’m just jaded from having lived through three distinct golden era’s in Pop music history. However, in recent times, only one act has provided me with a consistent child like excitement. The kind of child like excitement that makes you jump and move with child like glee, and that act, remarkably, are a couple of on the surface Shazzas from the Gold Coast who like wannabe Avril clones on first glance. In fact, appearances made me initially sceptical, but now, I am fully fledged on the bandwagon of The Veronicas. On this list, at this time, this is included as the sound of pop, now.

The Vs, Jess and Lisa, fall into the post Avril era of pop, where the attitude is aggressive and the thrills somewhat spikier. It’s the same aggressive adjustment made by the post World Idol Kelly Clarkson, a louder headrush, the tune thumping louder in the speakers. Luckily, in the case of the Vs, such an attitude doesn’t appear (yet) to have been manufactured – they are what they say they are, excitable and unpredictable girls caught up in the thrills of making great pop. They love doing it, and they work hard at it. Luckily for the Vs, such talent has had it’s own reward with song writing sessions with Billy Steinberg (of Like a Virgin and True Colors fame) and Max Martin (you KNOW who he is). During the sessions with Steinberg, a little song called “All About Us” emerged which was given to TATU, and during the sessions with Sir Max, the adrenalin charged sound of now, 4ever, emerged. Truthfully, if it wasn’t for the Vs and this collaboration, I would almost have totally given up on mainstream music. The Vs give me hope that somehow, someone might yet emerge out of her torpor that is modern music, and provide us all with some genuine pop thrills at the higher end of the chart. Well, we can only pray.

4ever simply doesn’t stop for it’s entire running time. Guitars are crunching, drums are bashing, and Vs and friends are running wild. The aggression in the song is entirely channelled into running amok and having a good time, and not a single second of the song is wasted, packing as much high energy girl pop into the mix as is possible. To proudly state in one breath “Let me take you on the ride of your life!” then dismiss it with a coolly Australian “Yeah, that’s what I said, alright!” is an oddly Australian lyric, at least, the old fashioned non whinging Australia, of laid back cool and charm. Max no doubt supplies enough of a rock edge to JUST sneak past the critics, but let’s face it, this is nothing but bubblegum, a deliriously thrilling ride from go to whoa, just like their bubblegum predecessors who they took their name from, The Archies.

As much as Crazy Chick was my favourite song of 2005, the combination of the fact that this music comes from MY country (and it’s rare I can say THAT proudly) and really came out of nowhere, out of no “scene” or Triple J sponsored hypeathon, and has sold, at least gives me some hope. It was the most exciting song I’ve heard in a long time, and for that reason, it should go straight on this list. Will it last? Will it date? Sometimes, those concerns are worthless. In the here and now, thank God for The Vs. They are keeping me sane.

Alyson: I must admit, from first listen, I was more excited by the Vs potential than any other Australian pop group in a long, long, long time. Not that that would be hard of course, given our long drought in doing anything poptastic. The Vs are such an exciting prospect, they seem totally incongruous for the year 2006, a time characterised by the bland leading the bland. I have an odd feeling they might be a starting point for something, that spiky pop thrills might be refined and reproduced by similar bands, which would be encouraging, if record companies stopped searching for the next pub rocker with a guitar and looked for glamour. Still, even if this flops in America, at least it’s spawned “4ever”.

I agree with Claire in that’s a very childlike thrill. There’s other Vs songs which are a bit more deep and meaningful, but similar to Republicas Ready To Go, this is a full on crash into the heart of the nightlife, into the heart of wide eyed thrills. I always like to see what a song sounds like at full volume, and the Vs pass that test easily. Unlike so much modern music which filters in the back of coffee shops, the Vs are far more excitable and difficult to pigeon hole. We still don’t know a lot about them on a personal level, but we do they’ve had this crazy idea to make loud, enjoyable music you can crank up, dance to and run around mad to and more importantly, enjoy. Amazing idea, I hope it catches on, crazy as it sounds…


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