Monday, December 31, 2007

1001 Greatest Pop Songs Of All Time - #34 - Something Spooky by Atomic Kitten

Alyson: When we did this list, or at least, came up with the idea behind it, there were only 5 (now 6) artists we banned outright. We accepted at some point we were going to be promoting songs by Artists we didn't really like overall. Just wait until Claire has to deal with ABBA. It was important that this list just didn't end up being "Alyson and Claire's favourite songs" - if a song was great, and deserved to be on this list, it should be on here, regardless of a) artist or b) our own prejudices. Yes, ABBA will be here at some point, probably Umbrella, and we can accept that. It's the 1001 Greatest Pop songs of all time, and songs that are important to a pop year will be included, not just songs we like, it's important to make that really clear. We don't take this responsibility lightly.

Ricki Lee, obviously though, is banned.

Anyway - Atomic Kitten. Not one of my favourite bands, and the people within the band don't do a lot for me, as people. Probably unfair in some ways to say not one of my favourite bands, since my exposure to them is pretty much restricted to "Whole Again", "The Tide Is High" and the worst song I heard in many years "Ladies Night" (slappers unite!). More a band I don't think about a lot. Towards the end of their run, they approached 100% perfection simply by uniting rock AND pop critics against them. By and large, they started off OK, the first album isn't too bad, and then kind of went downhill from there. This is a positive list though, so I will admit a certain fondness for debut single "Right Now", if only for a) the kitten logo they were trying to get up (like the Napster logo without a face) and b) the demented frenetic energy of the film clip, bobbling around awkwardly on mad camera angles with no budget spent on stylists. Maybe that's the problem, stylists turning them into a band for slappers. I digress.

However, tucked away on the B side to Right Now, you'll be possibly surprised to know, is a slice of almost 1960s bubblegum heaven. In fact, change the vocalists and drop the modern production a touch, and it could slip easily onto the debut albums of The Banana Splits or Josie and the Pussycats. It sounds wonderfully like something that play over the antics of Josie or Shaggy running around a haunted house chasing a ghost and then going through a door and realising the ghost is chasing them. Entitled "Something Spooky" (and the theme song to something called Belfry Witches, some kids show or another), it's brilliantly addictive pop. I mean, it starts with 10 chants (not sung, chants, it's important) of the word "hey". How bubblegum is that? And wonderfully, it's lyrically about absolutely nothing meaningful, being about witches out on the prowl, "burning up their broomsticks til the morning sun" and speaking spells. The hooked and looped chants make the song, and the wonderfully silly spoken word bit "Oh no! Look out! Ahhhhh!" could come straight from the best work of Kasenetz and Katz. And believe me, if you can't see the line "hubble bubble double trouble" as fantastically bubblegum, I can't explain it to. The whole song bubbles and fizzes with so much good natured tuneful silliness without ever slipping into cynical parody, it's magical, it's wonderfully pop and it's a shame Atomic Kitten didn't continue down this particular musical path.

Is it cool or hip? Absolutely not. It is screamingly good bubblegum pop? Oh god yes. Now, about your wardrobe...


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