Previously on LGM, and a trawl through the innards of great pop. Lithe. Ebullient. Thrilling – I think that’s the key; if we’re to receive but a brief moment on this planet, it’s best to celebrate it.
My heart is beating faster now, as the traffic’s slowing down. And suddenly I’m all alone with you…
Great pop talks to us on an intrinsic, instinctive level. No need to over-analyse; just sit back, inhale, exhale. ‘Rush Hour’ by Jane Wiedlin is centred upon a weak metaphor, which would be a challenge were it not for the fact that – by virtue of both form and function – pop isn’t reliant upon clever literary tricks and obtuse, chin-stroking angles. Thomas Pynchon doesn’t make pop records, and if he did, I’d wager they’d be shit.
Because great pop is unpretentious, upholding of universality. It comes in manifold shapes and sizes, of course (several of examples of which were sent in by you lot). ‘I Say A Little Prayer’ makes plenty of sense for a whole range of reasons – grace, poise, drama, longing. Ditto for The Ronette’s ‘Be My Baby’ – co-written and produced by Phil Spector, and a track equally important for its influence as the physical dimensions of its sound. (Also, kudos to @WallyTBM and @durutti74, who proceeded to spend the rest of the evening on Twitter firing out track after track of glorious pop. It’s far too big a list to repeat here, but with an itinerary including The Field Mice, Buzzcocks, BMX Bandits, and Syd Barrett, you can be sure that there’s a stunning compilation out there awaiting release; I just wish I could help with the licensing costs).
But for me, ‘Rush Hour’ does something over and above these other tracks. Something that isn’t necessarily easy to explain…
Now your lips are touching mine. And in your eyes that certain shine. Honey I know, just where you’re taking me.
…except by quoting the lyrics. There’s little profundity in Wiedlin’s words, yet the sentiment is pure evocation (even amidst that cheesy, ‘80’s synth hook… and the dreadful, tinny production). It’s so good, baby when you’re at the wheel – that nailed me back in ’88 (when I certainly hadn’t ever fallen in love) just as much as it nails me now (when generally I’m far too cynical to have emotions that aren’t misanthropic in nature). ‘Rush Hour’ is dumb and disposable because that’s what great pop is – it doesn’t try to be anything else. Only, once the track has left the stereo speakers it takes flight in perception with the power of dentist drill Prokoviev. Ooh you send me, you take me to the rush hour. Yes please