Monday, November 23, 2009

Noughties By Nature #89: Chris T-T - Dreaming of Injured Pop Stars

So what, when you get right down to it, were the noughties? Every other decade has a sound, a style, some set of definite reference points that, while barely scratching the surface of what was actually around at the time, does at least offer an easy way for lazy film directors to establish what particular time period their movie is set in and costume ideas for particularly unimaginative house parties. The seventies had glam, the nineties had Britpop, and the eighties had, well, the eighties, but the noughties had... umm, what, exactly? They’re a hodge podge of both everything and nothing. From the thought out to the flimsy, this was the decade that wanted to have its cake and eat it, the decade that wanted to consume every entertainment possibility presented to it and the decade that decided that genre barriers were nothing more than needless segregation and should be torn down at the earliest opportunity.

And it’s not just the boundaries between genres that became blurred and indistinct. The camps of so-called high and low culture began to bleed into each other, with classical sensibilities happily being referenced in pop songs and Big Brother being discussed on Newsnight Review. Before it would be unthinkable for certain parts of society to have an opinion on something like Pop Idol, now it’s unthinkable for them not to, and even the hardiest indie snob will admit to a grudging respect for the Xenomania production team. This cross-pollination of scenes and ideas has bled into all aspects of life and it’s with that in mind that we - eventually - turn to our Noughties by Nature selection by someone who demonstrates a keen awareness of indie becoming pop and vice versa: Chris T-T and Dreaming of Injured Pop Stars.

Chris has commented on the confused and bewildered state of the decade throughout the noughties, but here we go back to the year 2000 itself and his attack on the uninspired and uninvolving nature of the music scene at the start of the decade. Overflowing with wit and refusing to fall into the generic “being popular is the same as being bad” trap, this song is a revenge fantasy, naming and shaming some of the worst examples of “shit pop” of the day and coming up with excruciating - but suitable - deaths for all those responsible, be they Lisa from Steps, Cher or, in a line which still raises a smile, Kelly Jones. In the wrong hands this could have ended up as an embarrassing bellow of impotent rage, coming across as a nothing more than a bitter sideswipe by someone jealous of other’s success, but Chris’ lyrics, combined with a tune that proves he’s more than happy to embrace the world of hooks, even though said hooks are laced with cyanide, turn this into a joyous celebration of everything that should be right with music.

He’s gone from strength to strength over the decade. You could pluck any song at random from any of his albums and find something worthy of being included in this list, but I’ve chosen this as, while its unlikely that it was being handed round record company boardrooms in a fearful fashion, it did seem to signify a change in the music scene. The shit pop did, for the most part, get wiped out, and acts came along who raised their game and realised that success didn’t have to mean pandering to the lowest common denominator and that the audience could be challenged, making the noughties, whatever they might eventually come to be remembered for, what they are today. Christ T-T may not have been responsible for this actual change, but he had, and continues to have, his eye on the zeitgeist. No-one knows what the next decade has in store for us, but I can’t wait to find out he has to say about it.
Doug Robertson

[Album: Panic Attack At Sainsbury's]

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